Where to begin? Well here I suppose, though really this story starts 37 years ago. Scratch that, make that 74 and 11 1/2 months. But let’s not split hairs. This story, this journey to find dad, started 2 months ago after a shocking family tragedy jerked me into action; or should I say, jerked me out of the inaction that had allowed me to procrastinate for so many years.
And now I am here, on this Saturday tea time in late August, and on the advice of my good friend, P.B., trying to find somewhere to start. So here goes.
I am on a mission to ‘find’ my dad. My father. ‘Daddy’; that childish nomenclature that, despite the fact that we his children are adults, and most of parents ourselves, still use when discussing this significant absent being. But he is not lost, or missing; not divorced or voluntarily absent, or at the leisure of HMPS, but in fact, no longer with us. You know? Up there? On the other side? He died. Ok, dead. Daddy is dead. So final when said in the present tense I have always thought, but a fact all the same. And now that you know this about me, we can begin. I have spoken to you, and you have listened, so we have something in common. Pen-pals if you will. So let’s get going.
I am going to give you some swift facts here, so buckle up, ok? Get ready to just quickly suck this info up so that we can move on, alright? Ok.
Daddy died before I was born. I was still in utero- T minus 7 weeks. He was 37. I know- shocking. But worse, I was the last of 6. Yes, mum was left with 6 kids to corral, feed, discipline- love even- one of whom was still to arrive when she was left widowed. And one (my brother and a twin to my recently deceased sister) was disabled. And another (also deceased, 1979-2004), had a facial disfigurement. And another (the eldest) went on to develop bipolar. And another- are you still reading this?- had a teenage pregnancy. And along came me in October 1980. The fact that I haven’t prefaced my own introduction with some defect, weakness or indiscretion does not infer that I am not myself harbouring terrifying traits, but I will leave those for others to point out (preferably behind my back though please, folks).
Anyway, this isn’t about mum. But for the record, she did a f**king amazing job. This is about dad, and me wanting-needing-to know him in order to (cliché warning!) know myself. I know, how f**king cheesy. But what I have come to realise in my almost 37 years, and certainly in the dark days I have been through recently, is that clichés exist for a reason; because they are so bloody true.
So here’s the thing. I am 37 in 2 months and I am feeling that virtual hand-on-the-shoulder-through-time thang. That thing that tells you, you come from someone, somewhere else. And to in no way disregard the massive influence of my mother and her genes on my present incarnation, the absent parent in my life, as you might imagine, offers more intrigue, more fascination, and more longing- actual physical longing- to know them. To feel who he was, how he was, why he was. And so this has become the spur to my mission; a mission to find my dad.