The weird thing I’ve found since he died is that I mainly think of him as he was in this photo, which was taken a long time ago. By the time he died, he’d been ill for at least five years and didn’t really seem like himself at all (he had Parkinson’s).
(It’s the opposite of my memories of my mum. Mum had MS and then leukaemia and I find my memories of her are more when she was ill than before – maybe because I was much younger when she became ill.)
My dad was very funny. When we went on holiday he’d befriend everyone immediately and we’d go in the bar and it would be like Cheers: “Harry!” Everyone loved him. He could be awful, obviously (can’t everyone) and we were never really close like some of my friends are with their dads – I could never describe myself as a “Daddy’s girl” – but the majority of my memories of him now are good.
I don’t want to be one of those people who, as soon as someone dies, thinks they never did anything wrong and pisses everyone off my talking about what a saint they were – I know my friends will have heard me complaining about my dad a lot over the years – but now that he’s gone, I find that stuff just doesn’t seem that important to me anymore. And then I find myself wondering why I couldn’t have let go of it, forgotten about it, forgiven him for it when he was alive. But I suppose it just doesn’t work that way. Not for me, anyway. And not really for my family – we never really talked about anything like that and I certainly never talked about any emotional stuff with my dad.
Anyway. I miss him. More than I thought I would (I know that sounds awful, but it’s true).
When I told Harry today was the anniversary of ‘Grandad Nincompoop’s’ death, he said, “We should have a sad celebration.” So today I’m going to introduce the boys to Dad’s fave – country music. I think I’ll start with some Dolly…