He was a good man. He loved, and was much loved in return. He is still loved; his memory is cherished, and he is greatly missed. I miss his sense of humour, his quiet dignity, his honesty and although I’ve always been an independent kind of person, I find that I miss his reassuring presence in my life.
I have always wanted to share his finest qualities. Whether I’ve been successful is for others and not I to judge, but I can hope, and I shall continue to try. This thought of continuance drags me out of memories of my – and my father’s – past, and into the present and future. It strikes me every now and again, and each time it’s a gentle surprise: I have already become my own version of him. I am ‘dad’ to my children. ‘Dad’: that simple word which to me has always embodied a person that I looked up to and aspired to be like.
Hopefully, I have around forty years of life left ahead. Somewhere during the last fifteen years, that amount of time became not enough, and now I find that there is so much living to do in what seems like ‘only’ the rest of my life. I have about that many years of clear memories of my father – I left England at the age of thirty seven – and my impressions of him were made in that time. With luck, I’ll be able to give of myself for longer to my children, my grandchildren and – wouldn’t this be lovely – my great-grandchildren.
Suddenly, today of all days, I feel the mantle of what it means to be ‘the old man’ of the family settling upon me. Hopefully I can wear it in a way that will enrich the lives of my family, that will positively contribute to young lives and fill them with my love. It’s a big deal - no, make that: the biggest deal.
My father’s legacy is subtle, yet rich and I feel it now, more keenly than ever before. My grieving process has come to an end, and now I remember and honour him by being the person he helped raise me to be, and by being the best ‘dad’ I can be.
I still dearly wish he was around, though.