It was twenty years ago since my Dad died yesterday. I wrote this:-
It feels strange writing about my Dad, for he is the one my mother did not want me to have a relationship with. Even as a small child, she taught me that he was badl. A bad man. He was scorned and derided by her. She scoffed at him, all of the time. He was of no worth to her. Unless he was driving a car that was, and she was in it. Even after his death she was raising her fists to heaven whilst looking at and intermittently stroking the bright red Fiesta parked outside the house, angry because he was no longer able to drive the car and fulfil her needs, or rather, desires. Even when he was on his death bed she had shouted at him to “LIVE,” and “FIGHT.” She had been told that he could not possibly live, and that he had got too much wrong with him. She wasn’t prepared to accept that, though all of their lives together she had said constantly and angrily that she wanted him to DIE. And she would TELL him to die! I do not know why, but my mother was an agent of death, wishing death upon everyone. Family members, friends, acquaintances, and just anybody whom she happened to meet and take a dislike to. And that was most people.
However, upon being told by the hospital Consultant that he would die, she suddenly wanted him to live! She even put her fists up to him then, angry at him for daring to die!
I do not know why my mother did not want me to have a relationship with my Dad. He seemed affable enough to me, and he was very funny. When my sister was born, when I was ten years old, she was a “crying baby.” She NEVER stopped crying and, whilst my mother was totally frazzled by it, my father laughed his head off at my sister, thinking she was wonderful for crying like that. He found it funny, and he used to mimic the advert that was constantly on the television at that time for a toothpaste called Pepsodent. It went like this:
“You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent,” sung to a very cheery tune. My father used to call my sister “Old Yeller,” after the dog in the film “Old Yeller.” So he used to sing,
“You’ll wonder where Old Yeller went when you fill her bottle with Pepsodent.”
My mother did not laugh! I did! Much to my mother’s disgust!
I think my father, inside himself, was saying, “Whatever have we got here?” when my sister was born and as she grew up, STILL yelling! On his death bed, he looked at my mother and said,
“Look after Yvonne won’t you.” My sister was his favourite. My mother used to say it was because she was like him. Yvonne always used to call my father “Lunatic,” but as she was quite loony too, I guess I would say,
“It takes one to know one.”
As a child, I longed to have a relationship with my Dad. It never really happened though. My mother just made me believe he was a terrible person. I could never understand it, but she indoctrinated me. Something inside me told me that I could not go against her and like him. But he was my father!
I can never forget that my mother did not allow me to like my father, or to allow me to have conversation with him as a child.
I was there at his death bed though. She wasn’t. Well, maybe that is a bit of a lie, as she was for about the last three minutes. It was a Sunday morning. I had been with him most of the night, up until three in the morning, holding his hand (for the first time ever) and stroking his forehead. Then I had gone home to catch some sleep, and I returned to his bedside at 9 o’clock that morning. When I first got there he was conscious, and the nurse told me how she had gone to him to shave him that morning and had said to him,
“Come on Charlie. Let’s have ‘Dancing Queen.’” When we knew he was dying my mother had brought a tape recorder into the hospital and an Abba tape. My father’s eyes had lit up as it started playing “Dancing Queen.” He looked very approving, and I took his hand and said,
“Come on Dad, let’s dance,” and I danced with him at his bedside. That was the closest I had ever been to him. He loved a party, and I wanted to give him one hell of a party at his bedside. He loved to dance too, just like me. The tape was played almost constantly, right up until that last morning. He soon slipped almost into unconsciousness. I continued to hold his hand and stroke his forehead. The last thing that I wanted him to feel was fear. I loved him SO much in those moments. In those moments, when he was in his seventy sixth year, I claimed him as my father for the first time. I was 53 years old. Shortly after that he slipped deeper into unconsciousness, and his breathing changed. I could hardly believe that this was it. I had only just found my father, and oh, how I loved him. But his breathing continued to become slower, and his breaths further apart, so I knew that this really was it. At around midday my mother who had been largely absent, popped her head round the door and announced that she was going to get her dinner in the hospital restaurant. She was totally oblivious to what was happening and I don’t think she really cared.
Very soon things deteriorated even further with my father, and I was saying gently, as I stroked his head,
“It’s alright Dad, it’s alright.”
My mother eventually re-appeared, having satiated her desire for food and she took one look and I shouted at her, kind of silently,
“Where the hell have you been?” She immediately barked back at me,
“Well if you can’t stand it (meaning death) then GET OUT.” And she pushed me out of the room. I leaned on the wall outside my father’s room because my mother had pushed me out at that vital moment. Once again, just as always, she pushed me away from my father, taking complete control of everything. The father whom I had just found and with whom for the first time in my life I had shared tender moments, had been taken away from me. Suddenly a nurse was beside me, pushing me back into the room, saying,
“If you want to be there get back in there NOW.” My mother had no say in it then. The nurse shoved me forcibly right back in the room!
My father had stopped breathing, and a beautiful nurse was taking his pulse with SUCH a beautiful smile on her face, then, suddenly, she said, still smiling comfortingly,
I screamed and fell onto the wall again. The father, whom I had only just found, was gone!