Reflections of a Daughter

I’ve been reflecting on my dad this last week or so .. I don’t know why, it seem to come all of a sudden with the odd fleeting thought and passing memory building to a crescendo of me staying up into the early hours of Saturday listening to the album War of the Worlds, the sounds of which I remember my dad filling our home with as I was coming into my teenage years ..

My dad was in the army when I was born, my first childhood years from what I can remember were spent living in an army house in Tidworth .. at some points I stayed with my nan’s, my mum’s mum lived in Plymouth and my dad’s in Kent, I went to school in both of these places so I guess I moved around a fair bit .. When I was seven my mum died, my dad remarried, I lived with a new nan in Morpeth and went to another different school..

By the age of ten we had moved to London, my dad had left the army and joined the police and I started my final year of primary age at a school in Highgate before going to Secondary School in Muswell Hill famous for the musicians who had gone there before me .. the teenage years were mixed, I guess that is normal, I’m sure my dad loved me but I never really felt it, I remember being fearful when I’d done something wrong, uncomfortable when he was around, I would shut myself away in my bedroom and ran away from home twice .. I know he tried to be a good parent, a responsible one at least but a week after my eighteenth birthday without saying a word or leaving any note I packed up my stuff, made the cab driver carry my big stereo unit down the stairs and moved in with a friend and her family.

When I fell pregnant with my first child at the age of nineteen, his father to my horror visited my dad to tell him the news .. when my son was born we were back in touch, he seemed to enjoy being a grandfather and we visited each other from time to time .. I was pregnant with my second child when I got married, my dad didn’t attend, he was in a rehabilitation centre following a nervous breakdown from the stress of his job I believe .. my second child was born, a second son Lewis who died eleven weeks later, my dad was there by my side as we had him blessed, during the funeral service and after, practically, he offered to take Lewis’s stuff and store them away.

It was over a couple of years later when he phoned me up to tell me they were moving again, he brought Lewis’s stuff over, it felt awkward and made me nervous.

I didn’t know that that would be the last time I saw him or had any contact with him.

Not long after that, he moved again with my step mum, only he didn’t tell me, I found out from another family member they had moved to another country and there was no forwarding address.

It took a long time for me to come to terms with my dad’s sudden abandonment of me .. I was a parent myself and couldn’t understand how he could do that, I hated him for it, I wouldn’t be able to talk about him without crying, I felt rejected and didn’t know why. About five years after, I asked his mum, my nan, if she had heard from him, she replied ‘hes not talking to us, because we are talking to you’ .. what was I suppose to say to that, I thought he must have hated me to disown his own parents and I still didn’t know why.

Twenty five year later, at the end of November 2018 I received news from his brother, my dad had passed away a week earlier, my questions will remain unanswered except for one, I know for sure I will never see my dad again.

2 thoughts on “Reflections of a Daughter”

  1. Do you mind me asking what happened to your mother? I lost mine when I was 14 so I know what it’s like to be without a mother during the years when you really need one. She was only 37 when she died of lung cancer. Also, did your son pass away from SIDS? I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it was losing your baby. I am so sorry that happened to you 🙁 As a parent, I cannot imagine just up and leaving, moving to another country, without telling my kids. I guess that did hurt tremendously! And then to say what he did to his mom…about not talking to her because she was talking to you…wow! And now that he is gone you can never ask him why or find closure…that’s the same way I feel. There is so much I would ask my mother if she were still here.

    I never felt like my mother loved my twin sister and me the same as she loved our older sister. I know for sure she never bonded with us. I have no memories of her hugging me or telling me she loved me or just any tender moments with her. I remember sitting in my room and feeling envious listening to her and my sister in the living room laughing and watching t.v. together.

  2. My mum died of leukemia, I think she was 28, I don’t know how that affected my dad, he was only 19 when they married .. I will never know why my dad acted the way he did and the only logic I could find was that he had some mental health issues, I remember my nan telling me he had moved three times in the new country as he believed his neighbour was following him .. I do know he became a heavy drinker and that is what killed him .. my son died of SIDS, I think having his brother who was only three at the time is what got me through as he needed me as his mum, I remember going through the practicalities of the funeral arrangements, I think it was a long time before I accepted his death ..
    I often wonder what it would have been like if my mum hadn’t died, my dad barely talked about her and broke of contact with all her side of the family .. I remember my uncle’s wife asking me if I wanted to have contact with my dad over ten years after he disappeared from my life, I instantly said no without thought only for the emotional pain I wasn’t prepared to deal with .. I don’t know where her question would of lead if I had replied differently ..
    I am thinking of writing a letter to my dad of all the things I never got the chance to say, maybe that will help bring a little bit of closure.

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