When I have a problem, dilemma or something I need to talk through I still think about calling you to ask what you think. For a few seconds I forget you are gone. It sounds insane when you were taken from me, and all those who loved you, 13 years and four months ago.
You will creep into my thoughts, as you have just now, when I am alone and the room is quiet. I still miss you, but sometimes think it was a good thing you were saved from the disappointment I would have brought you. The glittering career you wished for me, the long happy marriage and fulfilling life have not really happened. I know you made sacrifices, worked long hours and tried to put me on the right track. But I had to make some choices on my own and they weren’t always the right ones. Even when you were here I didn’t always listen to you, so I can’t even blame your passing for this – it’s mostly my fault.
But, Dad, I’ve done ok. I have two gorgeous children – you would have really loved them and probably spoilt them with sweets and treats. I remember when I was seven or eight and you used to take me with you to the off-licence for some wine and buy me chocolate but say not to tell mum. Most of their friends have granddads, but they only have a granddad-shaped hole in their lives.
I still write, but not the angst-ridden poems I used to share with you when I was a teenager. I know these made you laugh when they were meant to be an out-pouring of emotion. I am not sure you would approve of what I write now. I would have probably kept it a secret, like the tattoo I got at 22 – did you ever wonder why I never had short sleeves when I visited?
There are lots of things I never apologised about – probably because I am stubborn, like you, and find it hard to admit I am wrong. Sorry I threw stones at your car when I was three. Sorry I got into trouble at school for scribbling all over my reading book. Sorry I stayed out late with my boyfriend and dressed ‘inappropriately’ when I was 16. Sorry we had endless rows and didn’t speak to each other for days. Sorry I called you a ‘stupid old man.’ Sorry I didn’t get to the hospital in time to say goodbye properly. Sorry I stopped saying ‘I love you’.
But whatever I did, however hard I made things, you were always there – ready to cuddle me when I cried, ready to listen to whatever trivial and garbled problems I had, driving me here and there.
I smile when I think of you dancing around the kitchen with me and singing silly songs and you dashing to the garden to rescue me when I got stuck up trees. You were always there for me and never complained.
Yet I was a difficult daughter and not the best behaved. It’s best you don’t know about some of the naughty things I have got up to over the years – I am not sure you could endure the shock.
But you are always with me, wherever I am. I see you in my children’s eyes, my son’s smile.
I hope my memories never fade.
Love you, Dad. x