It’s been nearly 6 months since Dad passed away. I think I’m fortunate that looking back now, I don’t have any regrets with how our time was spent; there’s no part of me that looks back and wishes things were different. Ultimately, everything that passed between us, every interaction and shared moment, defined and shaped our relationship and helped nurture the peace I feel now. In those last few days watching him sleep, hearing him breath, I truly loved him. I am forever grateful that he was half the reason I came to be, despite 20 years protesting it.
I think most of the issue was I only ever looked at Dad through the lens of a son. I only allowed or rather, wanted him, to exist and behave as a father alone. I refused to see him as his own man who had his own dreams, loves, passions or ambitions, instead I tried to frame him around how I perceived he failed. He was a flawed man who I held up to the flame of my ideals yet acted surprised when the image burned to cinders. In the end though, I’m glad I was there and I know he was glad too.
Despite his brain tumour constantly shredding his faculties from him, I look back on our last 10 months and can count more beautiful moments than we’d shared in the last 10 years. What struck me the most was the day I was out walking him in his wheelchair through streets from his youth and we were talking about the years I spent farming. At the time, Dad was always insistent that the life I was leading was beneath me and I ought to move home and go to university or study in some capacity to forge a more financially viable career. I reminded him of how often he used to berate me for sticking it out so long and he was stunned.
Dad said to me “did I really say all those things? I didn’t really say that to you did I?”
“Yeah mate you did, but it’s long gone now so don’t worry about it”.
“I’m sorry I said those things Nicholas, working as a farmer was the best thing that ever happened to you and I’m proud”.
Who would have known that this short exchange absolved 27 years of my angst.
I miss you mate.