Advantages It's dad, need I say more?
Disadvantages One day they are gone.
I am a 41 year old Father with 3 kids. I was only a child when my own dad passed away at a fairly young age. What I say about my dad is a brief history as told to me by family members followed by my own recollection of what I thought of him and what I remember of him.It was 13th March 1979 in the early hours of the morning. I had earlier drifted off to sleep listening to my brother play "Tragedy" by the Bee Gee's in the next room. I didn't know it at the time but a tragedy was about to happen in just a couple of hours. The couple of hours had passed when I heard my dad up out of bed, This wasn't unusual as my dad wasn't in the best of health and quite often he would get up as his bronchial problem seemed to bother him more at night. He would take a shot of his inhaler and go back to bed. Another normal night in our house I thought but this time was different. He didn't go back to bed and seemed to be up for quite a while making more noise than usual. The house went quiet and I heard a noise like a wardrobe door banging followed by a dull thud. I heard my mum shouting on my older brothers who then got up. Another older brother who shared a room with me went to see what was wrong and he returned to our room a few moments later crying. I didn't say a word and I didn't get up, I knew what had happened. At the age of only 11 years I knew I had lost my dad forever.
My dad was born on 10th june 1925 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was the son of an English man and a Scottish woman. I don't know much about his early life as he was already 42 when I was born but I know he loved football and in fact was a member of a team called Port Glasgow Rovers in the early 40's. My dad was called up to do his national service and after a couple of years there he was medically discharged as he had contracted Tuberculosis, very common at the time. He spent time convalescing in The Bridge of Weir hospital after having lost a lung due to a subsequent bronchial infection. This is where he met my mother who was also admitted to hospital with tuberculosis herself. As time passed they got to know each other, became a couple and settled in a town near Glasgow where they began to raise a family. After child number one and many in between I arrived 15 years later followed by my little sister 8 years after that. A total of 14 children with one passing away as a baby. I think my dad wanted his very own football team. My dad never got the chance to pick up any skills or trade due to his army time and his following health problems but as far as I know he was always in employment before I was born. He was certainly working all the time after I came along, up until his health got the better of him.My earliest recollection of my dad I'd say I was aged around three or four. My dad came home and was pleased he had just bought a new car. I remember he took myself and my brother outside to have a look. When I was about five we moved house. Our old house was only yards from the school with the new one being only slightly farther away. Despite this, on leaving school one day I just couldn't remember where our new house was, they all looked alike. Being a five year old, I didn't know what to do except go back to my old house, maybe an old neighbour knew where I lived. I got to the house and saw movement through the window, it was dad. He saw me and came out and smiled, he took me home. All the way there I was pointing at houses saying, "I thought that was it, I thought that was it". My dad pointed and said, "Well ,THIS is it".
Dad worked in various jobs like the cash & carry and even an ice cream van before he became a supervisor for the Co-operative in their milk depot. This is where I have my greatest recollection of him and my fondest memories. Even though I was very young, around eight or nine now, I went to work in the morning and helped dad deliver milk before he dropped me off at school. He would come home at night for his dinner and then take me with him again to go "collecting", we went round the milk customers for payment. Now and again he would give me little presents like toy cars or bars of chocolate handed to him from customers. He used to do his little trick where he pulled them from my ear before putting them in my hand.I remember one time I asked my dad if I could try driving the electric milk float as "it looks easy" I think I said. After much persuasion or more to the point, incessant niggling, he gave me a go. I'm sure he would have let me drive again if I didn't nearly hit a Volkswagen Beetle. I used to love sitting in the electric milk float and listen to my dad sing happily as he drove along. He used to sing old songs from the 40's, probably why I now like old movies and stars like Frank Sinatra and the Big Band numbers.
I remember the relationship my parents had and when I tell people that growing up I never once heard my mum & dad argue, they don't believe me. I'm sure they must have but never once did they do it around us kids which I think was very sweet and caring of them.As the years passed dad's health got increasingly worse where he had bouts of difficulty breathing which having only one lung must have been a terrifying experience. This led to short stays in hospital and ultimately caused him to leave his employment. He didn't like sitting around doing nothing so he came up with an idea to buy a car and use it for private hire. He did this with my oldest brother taking share of the driving. I remember coming home from school one day to see my dad very upset, for the first time I saw tears in his eyes. I asked what was wrong and he said someone had crashed into his new car. He said to me it was, "too broken" to be used on the road. I went to my room and felt sad that my dad was upset over his car. It wasn't until years later I realised it wasn't the car he was upset about, it was being unable to provide for the family if he couldn't work that upset him. The car was eventually fixed and put back on the road but it wasn't long before dad became too ill to continue working and the car had to be sold.
I can't remember how much time had passed but my dad suffered a heart attack and was admitted to hospital where he stayed for around two weeks. He left hospital on a Friday day and took ill again the following day. The doctor was called and said he needed to go back into hospital. My dad refused saying he had just came out and wanted to be with his family. I remember the following Monday evening he was watching the Snooker on TV and I went to bed, it was the night I drifted off to sleep listening to "Tragedy". Dad was only 53.The next morning I got up to a very quiet house which felt very strange. There was always pandemonium with all the kids in our house but this was eerily silent. I went into the living room and saw relatives there I hadn't seen for ages and everyone looked upset. I looked at my mum and ran outside. I sat on a wall in front of the house realising that last night wasn't a dream. Just then a car drew up and to my amazement, I saw dad getting out. He walked towards me but my heart sank, it was his younger brother who was uncannily like him. He put his arm around me. I remember saying to him, "That's me got no dad now". He pulled me in tight and walked me to the house.
Some months later I had started high school and leaving one day I saw my dad's old car sitting outside the gates. For just a split second I imagined him getting out the car to greet me and then I realised it wasn't to be. I walked home 2 miles that day crying but I made sure I stopped and wiped my eyes before I got home to my mum.Although my dad was only a brief part of my life, it's a part I will always treasure. Despite his bad health always being a worry I have to admire him and my mum for never giving me any bad memories on top of that. I know they must have had problems relating to money and health issues but they never let it show in front of the kids. My dad never complained about anything and was never aggressive or angry regarding any of his worries. It is because of this that I see him as a loving and caring man who was devoted to making his family happy and doing right by them.
Sometimes I wish I was born sooner so that I could have got to know my dad more. I have missed out on an adult relationship with him that I'm sure would have been something special. Eleven years is a very short time but I'm thankful just for that. Some kids have never known or even seen their dad so I guess I was lucky in some way.I wish I had more to say about my dad but unfortunately he left too soon and I came along a little too late. For anyone out there who has lost a parent fairly recently, don't be afraid you will forget things, your memories only become stronger because you know it's all you have left. My memories of dad are sometimes vivid and if I concentrate I can even hear his voice in my mind. It sounds weird but I can and I'm glad I can.
Today (10th june) would have been dad's birthday.Happy Birthday Dad.
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