Can I have a word …. with my Daddy.

 Dear Dad,

                          Happy Fathers Day. I’ve been thinking of you a lot these past two weeks, seen as everywhere has been plastered with well wishes for fathers and suggestions of gifts I’m supposed to buy you to put a smile on your face :S  The only thing of any use to you now is a promise that I still love you and I’m trying hard to remember and hold on to the good times… trying to hold onto your face, your smile, your laugh… and the promise made to a very young girl that everything would be ok in the end.

It’s hard.  It’s so hard and the few pleasant memories I have feel as if they are fading away.  I’m trying to move on. I want to forgive.  Really. I need to let go of this burden I’ve carried for over ten years now. I wish you were here to show me how.  I’d say Father’s Day is killing me this year, but you know this day has been pulling at the cracks you left in my heart for years ever since the mind of the man I knew completely left his body, since you turned your head away from me in disgust. I knew then that you had left in spirit even if your body was still here to offer me some false hope. I couldn’t bring myself to see you after that moment. I couldn’t cope and for that I am sorry.  I shed so many tears over the years I felt I had no strength left. I fought so hard to hold onto myself and still be loyal to you. I tore myself apart trying to reach you.  I failed.

I want to be the bigger person, but the truth is dad, I’m still mad. I have no idea how anybody could look into their own child’s eyes and do what you did to me and when I see all the people out there despair hoping for children to care for… when I watch a new father look into his baby’s eyes I do everything to shut you out because the thought of what you did makes me physically sick.  The truth is I wish I could have looked you in the eyes and told you that. A lot of people have that voice inside their head – the one that tells them they are ugly or worthless or failing. The one that sticks the knife in and twists at all their insecurities… but mine speaks with your voice and there are days when I hate you for that.

I’m bitter, I can be paranoid and I sometimes feel like the whole world is going to let me down just the way you did. I used to wonder what I’d done wrong… what it was that is so awful about me. I used to think I deserved it. If you knew this is what your “few drinks” were doing to me, would it have made a difference?  I ask myself that a lot and to be honest is I’m not sure it would.

Yet still I love you. I really do.  I used to want to hurt you the way you were destroying me, but over the last few years I believe karma may have done that for me… and now I truly hope that you’re at peace.  It’s not fair that you saddled me with the burden of memories of humiliation and pain to carry the rest of my life. It’s not FAIR, but I won’t give up, I will not give in and I will make myself strong enough. I’ll carry on… and I will shine. Just watch me.

I know why you carried pain most of your life. I understand now how much it must have crushed you to lose your parents when you were barely a man. What was it?  Did I remind you of her? Did it hurt you every time you looked at me? Were you trying to do anything just to make that pain go away? Because I know what that’s like… thanks to you. I think I feel it too….

I miss you. I miss the father you should have been. I think of all the days you’ve missed, all the milestones. I dreamed of hugging you on my graduation. I would have been proud to be on that man’s arm on my wedding day. Most of all, I wanted your arms so much the day that parenthood seemed to have been taken away from me. I could have screamed for you. The smiles and the hugs of my infancy are still some of the best I’ve ever had and though you left me with this jumble of emotions to figure out on my own… a hole in my heart I’ve had for years that only now I’m allowed to grieve for. I cry for that man. I long for that man. I’m helpless as the eight year old child you left behind.

I love you. I was made that way, I love you: strong, stubborn, funny, flawed and tragic …

I am a lot like you, but my life will not end as a tragedy. I will triumph in my own special way. I know this because I’m sorry, but I AM stronger than you. I take stubborn to a whole new level.  Nobody could ever hurt me the way you did and look: I’m still here I bet in a twisted way you’re proud..

But most of all I know this because I will carry the burden of your most awful mistake for the rest of my life and still if I had been there that morning you know that I would have held you so tight. I would have looked into those eyes if I could… caressed your gray hair and kissed that wrinkled cheek.  I would have whispered in your ear as you drifted away. Don’t be afraid. I still love you daddy… I forgive you, though its so hard to forget.

All my love

Your Amazing Daughter, Your poppet,

Ali xX

Eulogy.

Dr David Thom

 

As a kid I once asked my dad what was the highest smartest qualification a person could gain. He told me that it was a PhD. Then he casually revealed that he had one on the study of Sea Weed I thought sea weed was pretty silly, not to mention slimy, but I was still impressed. MY DAD WAS THE SMARTEST. He brought me up short by telling me HIS dad was smarter still, because he solved the Rubik cube using a scrap of paper and a pencil.

 He was a dreamer. But not only did he dream, he fought with buckets full of determination, his own flair, bloody hard work, and wry sense of humour. He achieved much more than he ever imagined he would. This working class boy from Perth moved on from playing football on the North Inch to the top of his chosen profession. He travelled the world and got to America just like he always wanted. I am curious about every corner of the globe because of his tales about sitting on his knees at a Japanese restaurant, climbing Aztec ruins in Mexico, or being soaked at Niagara Falls. He gave me my love for baseball, kept his promise to take me to Broadway and so much more besides.

He truly tried to do his best to make things right. I remember one time coming across a huge bunch of flowers on the side in his kitchen. He told me it was from “some guys at work he had to let go” … let me get this straight, you took their jobs and they sent you flowers. Huh? Turns out he’d worked for two weeks to find new positions for the whole team with a rival company.

 He was so proud. Not only of himself, and of me and my brother. He was proud of his brother E, his wife C and of My cousins G and L . He missed his parents so much. His grief was a burden he carried for the rest of his life. I hope he’s found them up there and he has peace.

Dad was a worrier. He used to worry all the time. And when there was nothing to worry about, he would worry that he’d missed something. … We still love you Dad, so stop worrying.

The last time my Dad was able to give me a proper hug, he held me oh so tight and so very quietly whispered “You are amazing.” He believed we were all capable of achieving whatever we set our minds to. He smiled at this four year old who said she was going to be an actress, and he was still smiling at this fourteen year old who said she’d win an Oscar too. He never said the words impossible/wouldn’t/shouldn’t/couldn‘t… I have a different dream now, but I still have a dream, and that’s what’s important to him.

There are plenty of things I could say about a man who somehow lost his way. There are many lessons his life can teach us but each of us here can figure those out without any help from me. I hope I reminded you of the man he was before all that. Underneath all that, because I know he cared deeply about the people in this room. And I bet, up there, always the businessman, he’s already putting in a good word and doing some wheeler dealering on all our behalves.

 My dad was always the speech giver; I’ve seen him do it at work, I’ve heard the stories about him stepping up as best man. He seemed to know just how to hit the nail on the head, to say what needed to be said and still have everyone chuckling with him OR at him. I don’t think he minded. I can just see his cheeky smile and the glint in his eye as he delivered his punch line. I never imagined that the first time my dad would watch me give a speech it would be here like this… I’m sorry dad there’s no punch line.

I’m so Tiired.

I put it off for as long as I could, but eventually at 1.30 am this morning I had to give in and admit that I would need to pack. I think this is the first time I’m actually dreading crossing the border into Scotland. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to do this…any of it.  The funeral is 2.30 pm on Friday, there will be a rosewood coffin, a prayer, one single hymn, some music, my eulogy… I’m going through the list with my mum on the phone like this is just another day, another family event to be negotiated. So numb and detached as there seems to be question after question after question. It’s only when there is finally silence that it hits me all over again… this is my dad!

I hate silence. I’ll fill it with anything, stupid things… sometimes things that make no sense. I have lost count of the number of times Gadget Guy has heard the phrase “I’m TIIIRED”, but I know it’s a lot because even he is getting a little frustrated. But hay as long as his frustration is expressed as some form of noise; it still fills the awful silence.

I am TIRED. So tired I’m starting to irritate myself. I slept for 8 hours last night – a full 8 hours. That’s the first time I’ve done that since this bomb shell was dropped. Still, today I was only in town for a couple of hours and I was practically begging KM to forgo the movie we had planned to see and just bring me home.  Weary so weary. The world is so noisy, it’s exhausting.  Can’t you people STFU … I’m TIRED.

Can’t cope with noise. Hate silence. What’s a girl to do…

All I want to do is buy a CD. I’m trying to buy this CD. I need this song… I can’t find it oh God I can’t find it… where is it… WHERE THE HELL IS IT… I need that song… NEEED it for my DAD.  Great, now I’m crying in the middle of HMV… bloody great.  I HATE crying.

Apparently this is part of those life experiences that make grown ups so much wiser than me. You know, I’m not too fussed on being wise.  How about you keep wise and make this go away?  Nope? Damn.

This is THE hardest thing I’ve done in my life …… and I’ve been through a lot of stuff.

Leaving tomorrow … I will be strong …I will be… I…

Febuary 19th 2010

This date will be forever engraved in my heart. I should be sat here recounting to you the tales of my interview and the minor panic attack that I was sure would keep me from ever gaining a place to study, laughing of the experience and letting you know that it will be OK as I have been invited to two other interviews in early March. I should be talking about the week I spent at my mum’s…

The 19th of February could have been a day of celebration, rejoicing and a confirmation of the fact that I am putting my life back together. I should have been bouncing off the walls with excitement as soon as I opened the envelope. I don’t know if the interviewers saw some spark of passion in my eyes, despite the panic. I have no clue, but that morning the postman dropped a letter onto the floor of our hall way.  “We are pleased to make you a conditional offer”… I’m going to be a student midwife. I DID IT… but there will be no celebration.

In fact I haven’t even finished reading the contents of that letter. It’s been shoved in a drawer some place and ignored. Instead of writing my joyful post, I’ve spent the afternoon crying my eyes out as I try to figure out how best to express the jumble of emotions I feel about my father; how to sum up the life of a complicated man in less than 4 minutes. I’ve never written a eulogy, truth be told. When I took up the task, I had to consult Google before I knew what one really was. Heck I’ve never been to a funeral before…

My dad passed away at around 8.30 am on the morning of the 19th from Pneumonia. He had been frail and not really himself for several years after suffering a series of strokes, but I’d only found out he was in hospital the night before and was planning to visit this weekend.  I guess he couldn’t wait for me.

We hadn’t seen each other for several years and the relationship had not been good for a long time. I was filled with anger and resentment perhaps even hatred and not without my reasons, but now I just feel numb… and so weary. Today, for the first time in what seems like forever, I miss my dad. Not the man he became, but the one he was before he lost his way: the image of him that’s been in my head for the last three days… where he’s smiling…  his blue green eyes sparkling… no longer clouded  by grief, anger and the drunken haze.. I have no idea where this picture came from, but he’s happy and thinking clearly… it seems so real like I could almost touch him… I’d give anything to talk to the man in that picture. I’d have him critique my speech.

Yes, whatever has passed between us, I feel little regret. If he truly is free from his afflictions now, I know he understands why I was absent. I also know he would want to take it all away from me the burden of what happened… the fear, the hurt and the tears. He would want to make me whole again because deep deep down under it all, I feel … he always loved me.

My head has been in a mess since Thursday. The phone has been ringing off the hook and I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m getting so sick of the phrase “are you ok?”

All I can tell you is that I’m tired… oh so tired. My body is aching all over and I have a splitting headache that does not seem to want to leave. Sleeping is hard and even when I get some it doesn’t make the blind bit of difference. I’m stuck in the eye of a storm and I have no idea when it’s going to end. I’m running on empty. I haven’t really thought about whether I’m OK despite the fact that I keep telling everyone I’m alright.

All I can focus on is what I have to do: how I can find the strength… how I can compose myself and ignore all those who question my actions or judge me or seem to know how I should feel even thought they haven’t spoken to me in ages. I’m holding on tight to the fact that at the end of the day what everyone else thinks does not matter at all. This is between me and my dad. Call it “stepping up to the plate”… being the bigger person… taking the moral high ground. Whatever, forgiveness is the final gift I can try to give him.

I’m determined to make sure the final words said about him do him justice  and I will  lead by example and not get caught up in petty fighting or casting blame because it does not make one  bit of difference now, does  it ?

I’m still his daughter… and I will be with him as he makes this final journey. I’m hoping that from somewhere he will send me some of his determination and strength as I try to give him every reason to be proud of the person I have become.

I’ll worry about if I’m OK afterwards.

Ali xX

Getting back to normal.

The good news is I am feeling better. Thank you for the love on that meltdown post. Truthfully, though, I enjoyed and would recommend Craig Ferguson’s book. A lot of the issues just hit far to close to home and my dad has been stalking me for the last week or so in my dreams (when I actually have slept) and a recollection of him awake… his touch… uuugh with him and the memories came. So many emotions tangle together in one huge mess that overwhelms, hurts and infuriates me… and the fear. I’m frightened that I really am worthless as he seemed to think. I worry that other people see in me whatever caused him to hate… disrespect… destroy. I know the reality is his actions are a reflection of him and the screwed up mess he got himself into and never came back from. In my weak moments I still feel the need to shoulder the blame. There must have been something I did, something wrong with me. Maybe I could have done something. These questions hang around and eat me alive for a time till I can get his ghost to piss off again and leave me alone.

I’m winning the battle, but this one thing remains: the urge to drink.  I’m having a little trouble walking past bars at the moment. I can’t escape his genes; my father and I are cut from the same cloth. I can totally understand what lead him to be over reliant on the poor mans pain killer. I know that urge and the mindset that makes you want to drink till you pass out, just to make everything go away for a while. Been there, done that more than once. When I get in this mood its not him I’m scared off. I’m terrified of myself…

Most of the time I’m in control  I can have one or two cocktails get happy giggly fun drunk like a normal person, have a good time and stop. But when those memories are hanging around they get in my head and screw me up. I lose it. I’ve learned in these times I have to fight as hard as I can NOT to touch even a drop… because I won’t stop.

Now some more good news… YES let’s lighten the mood I hear you cry… 

I’ve had letters from all but one of the university choices to say they have received my application and its being considered… things are moving along.

I saw “Up in the Air” this week and loved it so much despite not really being a George Clooney fan. I’ll get ‘round to writing about that eventually. 

I start volunteering with the infant feeding team at their beast feeding drop in clinic tomorrow. Excited about that – hopefully I’ll learn a lot.

Oh oh AND … pitchers and catchers report in less than a month!! (Feb 19th) BASEBALL IS COMING 😀

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m of to bed because I have to be up early in the morning. I’m not a morning person and I spent tonight babysitting a four year old who is an expert in running rings around me and his uncle KM.

 Tired… oh so tired!

Ali xX

Adopted one.

I traveled back to Scotland for a very specific reason. You see,  on Saturday, J turns 60 and I have to tell you his commiserating/sulking at now officially being classed as elderly is at least matched by the exciting prospect of his bus pass which is due to arrive in the post any day (free bus travel for the over 60’s FTW). Now J is not one for parties and a big fuss. In fact, I have it on good authority that he turned down the invitation of a big joint do with his twin sister on favor of a quiet family meal… well family plus me that is. You see, I’ve been J’s “adopted one” pretty much since we met after I became very close friends with his daughter 14 years ago now (wow those years creep up on you don’t they).  Truthfully I’m not sure who adopted who, but I know I’ve learned a lot about what happy families can look like from this family. I’d do anything for him and I know this guy has my back. (We’ll call him Adopted Dad,AD from now on ok ? )

Its amazing some of the quiet most unassuming people you meet have the most interesting lives.  AD’s career goes from Royal Air Force through light house keeper to groundsman at the local hospital and now an occupational therapist working with vulnerable adults with learning difficulties. It takes a special person to do that job and an more dedicated person to give it everything the way he does. Just watching him with this group of lads who all jokingly call him Dad is inspirational. He takes everyone as he finds them and never holds a grudge if one of the guys is acting out or having a bad day. I notice him thinking about them even in his off time, making sure to wear the obscene number plate sized birthday badge (complete with flashing red lights)  to work as it was a gift from his boys also ensuring that a second birthday cake was made specifically so he could share with them. I’d say I’m amazed by his willingness to stand up for those in his care and stick his head above the parapet so to speak when its required but really I’m not amazed because that’s just the way he always has been since I’ve known him.   I am determined to learn lessons from this man:  to absorb some of his attitudes;  to give each woman I care for 100 %  effort;  to be non judgmental and do my best for every family even if their circumstances are not what I would expect or they make choices that I may not personally agree with. I want to be open and approachable in the same way that Jim is to listen and try to remember that everyone has something to teach you.  If I achieve it half as well and this man does I’ll be one hell of a midwife that’s for sure.

Now that’s not to say I’m in awe.  Oh no, adopted is just as opinionated as the man she wished she was related to. We butt heads all the time over…well to be honest almost anything.  I still remember the look on his face as we engaged in our first dinner table debate on Scottish independence (kind of  who the hell does this 13 year old think she is anyway !!??). It’s a wonder he didn’t throw me out and we’ve never stopped bickering since lol. It only makes me respect him all the more. A fantastic sparing partner who challenges the way I think, the things I do… I hope he knows just how much I respect him, that I love him deeply and at the end of the day if I live my life the way he has… if I grow old disgracefully following his example caring for people over things at every turn..  I’ll have rocked at life.

AD (and his wonderful wife , who would be my “Adopted” Mum )  now also have adpoted 2, 3 and 4… having become respite Foster Carers in their fifties. Those are three lucky boys I can tell you!

I have to share one last thing: always making me laugh, AD confessed this weekend that he’s printed out his resignation letter just to have in his briefcase just in case. Looking forward to retirement is an understatement. Of course his boss has warned him she will not be accepting any letters from him in the near future. When he does finally get there I know he will be missed.

The 5 year count down starts now DAD … Happy frikkin’ Birthday !

Ali xX

Who’s the Dad..

Yesterday was Father’s Day – a day which I like to avoid much more than Mother’s Day, which for an infertile is saying a lot. I don’t want to use this post to moan about the situation my dad’s in or what has happened to me in the past because, well, even though I’m still trying to get over it it’s probably better if I don’t dwell there.

I don’t specifically miss having my father in my life for many reasons, but I do miss having a dad – a supportive, guiding one that could make me see sense and give me a hug when things go wrong in that way only dads can. It sucks that my dad will never be proud of his daughter and it really blows that if I became a parent I’d be doing my damnedest to make sure my kids had a childhood so far removed from mine, without really having an example to follow.

Most of all, the dad void SUCKS. When it comes to that “W” word I’m afraid to say, you see, there’s this very specific role for a father on that one special occasion in a girl’s life and when he is missing or absent it causes all kinds of turmoil trying to decide how to fill that gap. My mother insists it should be my grand father as he is “head of the family”. Hmm not sure I really ever understood this head of the family thing anyways… unless your referring to the mafia type family in which case he’s the guy with all the respect  money and hired guns that everybody is scared shitless around right? Now I love my grandfather but he does not fit this head of the family type in my eyes and we’re not really super close. I’d even go so far as to say I might be more scared shitless of the “W” event than I ever would be of this vegetable-growing science-loving one time hill walking man from Scotland (see… that he grows things .. REALLY understands science and walks up hills for FUN… are you getting how not alike we are?). To be perfectly honest I don’t think he’s ever seen me nervous before and I’m pretty sure I might scare him if anything.

My brother is the next suggestion. Well sure, except for some reason the fact that he’s younger than me makes me feel odd about it and we spent most of our childhood apart so even though I’m closest to him in all my family… still not what you would call tight.

My Dad’s brother … well if it’s not my Dad, this makes some kind of sense and really my uncle an his family are super cool and I’d like to be more in touch with them.

*sighs*

You see my dilemma… and the truth is if I’m really honest with myself there are two people in this world I would love to ask … neither of them are listed above and neither of them are EVEN related to me but they have been there for me for years each of them in their own way at different times of my life they have guided, helped, hugged and even chastised me when I should have/could have done better. Both these men have seem me at my worst and still stood by me and in my heart I want them there… because I care for them and I think they have earned this so called honor. Oh and because they have a shot at keeping me from thinking about how mad I am that my dad ain’t there and freaking out.  I just know that doing that will raise a bunch of eyebrows, confuse and possibly upset the family … and and…

uugh the whole situation has hassle written all over it… and this is why I have such trouble with the “W” word.

Maybe my mother is right and there’s no point in even doing the getting hitched thing seen as we can’t have kids together anyways. But that’s a whole other story…

Happy Fathers Day … I say this not to fathers but to all of the Dad’s – the ones who really care and bust it for their kids. The ones who live in hope because their kids haven’t arrived yet… and finally the two guys who have sort of stepped in and occupied the dad void for me.  You all ROCK !

Yeah it’s a day late. So shoot me 😛

Ali xX