My dad died when I was twenty-five. Twenty-five is supposed to mean you’re an adult. Twenty-five is supposed to mean you have your own life and you don’t need your dad any more. Twenty-five is too soon.
We knew it was coming; he’d had cancer for a while, but nothing really prepares you.
I don’t usually write about it, I don’t talk about it much and I try hard not to think about it. It’s father’s day this weekend and usually they pass without event, but this year feels harder. This year marks the 5th year since we lost him. This year I get married. This year I’ve actually started to think about it.
This isn’t one of those open letters. The intended recipient would never see it; he wasn’t that proficient at the internet in life, I can’t see him stumbling upon my site in whatever comes next (maybe if I guest posted on a fishing website? I don’t know). So I thought I’d tell you about him. If you’d rather not read about a deceased man you don’t know then I understand. If you love misery porn however, read on.
He was one those ‘life and soul’ types. He had a lot of friends, he was involved in a lot of social activities. His funeral was packed, they had to open the upstairs to the room. People were crowded in, standing.
He was really great to be around. I used to keep nights free to watch TV with him when I was an age where I’d normally be going out with my friends. I very much miss those times.
We never really did much for Father’s Day, my dad didn’t want a fuss. I used to get him the same present every year, for some strange reason. The poor man spent about 16 years pretending to be both surprised and delighted by a parcel that contained socks, a comb and some chewing gum! I eventually realised he might prefer something different and was soon old enough to buy him wine. My dad liked wine. I sometimes drank some of his posh wine with him, and my mum told me he was a bad influence (they were together, she wasn’t being mean).
My dad kind of was a bad influence, but in the best possible way. I took him for a lot of appointments because I drove and my parents didn’t. In return he would take me on delicious eating excursions. We’d have breakfast at Asda, or secret milkshakes from the McDonald’s drive-thru. It was great and we were totally living our best lives.
I’m sad that when he left us I was still bad at life. I hate to know that he probably knew how much I was failing and worried about what I’d do after he was gone. What do you even do without your dad? Cry a lot and get really, really fat, it transpires. Eat your feelings. Transfer your pain.
I’m gutted he won’t be at my wedding. It’s not the ‘giving me away’ situation (that’s a little bit archaic anyway for my liking), but just the whole thing. He never met my fiancé (although I’m sure he’d have liked him). He never had chance to meet his grandson, who actually looks a bit like photos of him as child and shares some of his mannerisms. He won’t get to meet the future children I hope to have (yes children I would seriously get pregnant RIGHT NOW if it was in any way a convenient time).
It turns out that life is just very unfair (a lecturer actually warned us of this when I started uni. I already knew too well).
Make time to see your dad on Father’s day. I doubt it matters if you can’t afford to get him anything (although if you’re stuck for ideas, I hear dads love receiving socks, a comb and some chewing gum). Drink wine with him. Eat secret Asda breakfasts with him. Just appreciate the time you’ve got.