It would have been Dad’s 75th birthday today.
It’s been almost a year since we said goodbye to him, and I wanted to write something, but rather than wait the anniversary of the day he died, I wanted to celebrate his life, on the anniversary of the day he was born. It seems so much nicer. So here’s my birthday letter to my Dad…
Dad, its not the same without you . I still think of the house in Ipswich as ‘Mum and Dad’s’ and I catch myself saying it out loud sometimes too. Mum has a cracking picture of you on the landing, your eyes seem to follow me around the room and you have a knowing smile on your face. Mum says that sometimes if she has a bad day and she’s looking at the photo, she tells you to stop smirking. I thought that might make you laugh.
I know you believed in Jesus and heaven, and that you had faith you’d end up there eventually. I remember you being quite impatient to go there, this time last year. I hope you found your heaven. I hope you’re enjoying yourself, swapping anecdotes with Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne. I think you might be a bit wary of David Bowie and Prince though -but I’m sure they’re lovely.
I’m sure I can feel you around sometimes. Often if I’m upset or frustrated I can imagine you giving me that look, the one that meant you really wanted to tell me what to do, but thought better of it. I think to myself, ‘I wonder what Dad would say’, when I’m stuck. I think about you whenever I see a robin – they seem to show up a lot. Remember your last Christmas when you decided to collect just about every Christmas robin ornament you came across and put it somewhere in your room? You proudly showed off your little collection when you came home from the hospice and it was just the two of us, and we had a laugh at the daftness of it all.
I’ll always be glad I had that week with you. I did my best to spoil you, and you were on good form that week. I’m very glad you decided not to drive again though. That drive back from the garden centre was a bit of a white knuckle ride!
I hope you’ll be proud of what I’ve achieved this year…it’s not been the easiest year but the setbacks have just made me more determined. You said that I should stand up for myself more, and that I could have a lovely life if I stopped doing what everyone else wanted me to. I’m working on my people pleasing. Officially a work in progress. If you’re watching over us, you’ll also know that me and Moley could do with a hand sometimes, too. It’s not been plain sailing this year…is it ever?
I miss you every day, Dad, we all do. Jenny bought you a present from the garden centre for Father’s day, Mum is taking flowers to church to remember you on your birthday. I’ll be thinking of you, and smiling at good memories. You in that Fez, doing magic tricks badly. I’ve still got that Fez.
Remember the Christmas parties where you insisted we all had to dress up? The gleeful way you joined forces with Andy B to annoy me and Mum with Barron Knights songs? Playing the Stylophone with me (Mum found that in the loft the other day, shame about the whole Rolf Harris thing)
I could go on and on. As time passes, more little memories pop up. I wish you were here today, wanting everyone around you and to be centre of attention on your birthday.I wish I could give you one more daft card and a nice pressie, and go out for dinner with you and Mum to celebrate. I know we’d end up at the Westerfield Railway, and you’d probably have the belly pork. With a glass of something alcoholic, seeing as it was your birthday.
So I’ll raise a glass to you today, Dad, on your birthday. Love you, miss you. Happy Birthday