Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The (day) has come upon me cried……

……the Lady of Cymru.

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of the death of my beloved father. Fifteen years since we have made each other laugh or had a serious discussion about world events. Fifteen years since we sat side by side on the sofa watching old westerns or building something outside with his power tools. Fifteen years since we talked about the books we were reading or he was giving me advice. Fifteen years since he thoughtfully bought treats like tiny pumpkins or plastic spider rings for my whole class. He loved those kids because I loved those kids.  Fifteen years since I  held his hand. We were always holding hands.

And I almost missed it.

I am shocked by the fact that the date came upon me so suddenly. How could I not have felt this milestone coming on? In some ways this is actually a sign of progress. For YEARS after he died, a black fog would strangle my heart and lead me into a sluggish despair for a month starting on the day he entered hospice (March the 17th) until the day he died. The feeling was one of moving through treacle, in slow motion and with growing sense of dread. The loneliness of missing his was so overwhelming that it coloured my whole life. I could not concentrate or complete projects. I cried easily ands frequently. And then, the day would arrive and on the 15th of April…it would be gone.

Until the next year.

Oh yes there were pockets of grief here and there throughout the year. When I saw a box of men’s handkerchiefs on sale in a shop or when I thought of something I would have loved to share with him. A fact. A cartoon. A sunset. But it hit me hardest during the month that he died because he really did take a month. He slowly gave up walking then eating and drinking then speaking and finally breathing.

Fifteen years ago yesterday he died in my arms with my Mum holding him on the other side.

And somehow I almost didn’t remember.

We woke up like a normal day. We had a bit of a cuddle and then got dressed and leisurely went to the shops, came home for lunch and ran a few more errands. Spiderman is still on Easter holidays and so didn’t need to be at work last night and so he surfed the net while I wrote my pen pal  and about 3:15 we decided to take a walk. We had a lovely brisk walk in the rather warm spring air for about an hour and a half and then toddled home. I sat down to check my blog feed and saw my friend Karen had had a birthday. Something inside me went DING! and I suddenly realised it was the 14th.

It was just like the poem by Tennyson:

Out flew the web and floated wide

The mirror crack’d from side to side.

“The curse has come upon me!” cried

The Lady of Shalott.   

I was shocked and stunned that I had somehow not realised. Then strangely relieved that I didn’t spend a month of my life in mental agony.

I have been thinking of him so much lately as we have a General Election coming up--the big one that determines who our next Prime Minister will be. I would love to be talking to him about the candidates. I have just learned the animal rights stance of all the main parties (conservative, as you would expect, is pro-fox hunting and battery cages for pheasants and for enlarging the badger cull even though it is scientifically proven that badgers are NOT spreading bovine TB--factory farming is.) and I would love to be discussing this with him.

I would love to be discussing anything with him.

I miss him. God, I miss him. But I know he is with me. When I (to quote the Ninja Turtles) “Stand for what [I] believe in and find the strength to do what’s right” I know he is with me. 

So last night we ate a vegan version of a favourite meal of his. He was always a big meat and potatoes man (things like chicken fried steak and milk gravy) and then after the advent of delivery pizza he was a pepperoni pizza guy and I often wonder what he would make of my veganism. I think he would be proud that I had strong convictions and I was living them and that I was speaking up for those who have no voice and making the world better through compassion. He would have still been a meat eater, but he would have respected my ideals.

We had “sausage” mushrooms (button mushrooms cooked in sausage-y spices like fennel seed) --adapted from this recipe from the PPK and mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and lashings of onion gravy. Plus a little bit of leftover Anadama bread to stand in for Texas Toast. 

It was very good. He would have liked it.

I would love for him to be here to share it. To share everything. So much has happened in our lives since he died. I mean, we have lived in two other countries --England and Wales--since then. We have had so many adventures.

So even if the date no longer stabs my heart, I think of you and remember.

I remember everything.

I love you with all my heart,
Your Chaunkie-Chaunk


  1. You took the words right out of my heart and mouth. I miss him for all the reasons you do...........the discussion of current events, the hand holding, the sharing of what we are reading, and my inner camera can picture him so clearly sitting on that corner of the couch and reading while watching good junk on the tv. He was an amazing man, and I am lucky to have had him in my life for those 34 years. I was thinking about the "triangle" family aspect the other day and it hit me that Nippy, Frances and Marty are like that. They are close in the same way we were. Our GLT would be proud of you and T, and I hope, proud of me. Love and kisses to him and to you, my chickadee.

    1. Heather, this is beautiful. I miss him so much; he was a wonderful friend.

  2. This is progress! I know you miss him. And I know he is there with you, always...