The gift is Home

our familyNothing says home like the food you know, the smells that trigger head movies and the comforting arms and hands that picked you up and helped you mix and stir and “help” cooking when you were a kid.  They now welcome you back into the fold, embrace your grown-upness but still visualised as the child, as you will always be.  Family time is noise in the kitchen, clattering dishes and chattering mouths – we women of many words create more warmth with our talking breath, better than the lukewarm sun does, trying to impress us through a shameless glass.  The men, young and old – three generations of my blood, gather around the finger food that has been laid out to stop them from starving before the main meal…if you believe that, you will believe anything.

My father, the patriarch, his unwilling body fighting his sharp, determined mind – his sharp, determined mind that used to beat his body has put its hands up and retreated.  His brain is stronger than anything else, bar maybe his heart.  He peers over his heavily framed glasses all the better to see a watch face his grandson has handed him to look at.  His 80 year old eyes squint and recognise, the information is swift and he says the battery is a blah blah…..his mind as sharp as a knife.  His son-in-law hands him a glass of wine which he carefully holds, the glass is heavy and cumbersome to him, due to his muscular dystrophy. He already can’t lift the glass to his lips but our mother brings straws with them so that he doesn’t have to.

His grandson, Jay, is a loud kid and is learning to pull his head in, but does show signs of promise with his unresearched fury at certain injustices.  Maybe the same way my father felt about all of those things 60 years or more ago.  My father brought all of us up to question everything, accept nothing at face value and to take risk in a positive way.  He had a strong sense of what was right and fair and he brought four crusaders into the world to carry on that legacy.  Give a shit, the majority of the population won’t – so you just have to.  It’s your duty as a human being with the gift of life on this earth…

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14 thoughts on “The gift is Home

  1. Fantastic, what an attitude and legacy your dad sounds amazing. I hope you enjoy some absolutely brilliant times with him before his disease takes his ability to show appreciation away from him. That is a cruel way to end your days when the mind is active but the body gives up without any chance for the mind to fight. I hope we find a cure and can rewind the damage done. I’m sure you’ll keep on fighting for him, as your mum will. Good luck and enjoy times like these as often as you can they will help later on, trust me. I lost my mum 30 years ago and the pain is easier to manage but still there. Remembering the good times is a big help with that.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing that – and you have no way to know but my father passed away over a year ago – these are the lovely memories I have of him, and I share a few others on here too which I’m sure you’ll come across if you visit again 🙂 thank you again

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      • You’re welcome, I know the pain will be intense now but check yourself when you start remembering bad times. It really helps if you focus on the good until you can live without all the pain grief brings at first. My mum is still the first person I think of in the mornings and last thing at night, but now it makes me smile to remember the good things and I hate the bad we had between us. The pain is still there when I think of all the pain I caused her but I can function now without forgetting. Long may you remember the good times, don’t lose sight of your family but remember the past. The past shapes us and gives us strength but can’t rule our lives going forward.

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        • I am so lucky to have no regrets with the love my dad and I shared – I only have admiration, love and gratitude for who he was – our wrongs were righted at the time (being a silly teenager decades ago!) – I learned alot from him. I so appreciate you sharing this Dave, it reminds me of the unusually solid, loving family I have – I know this isn’t the norm, and I am so eternally grateful to have experienced the unusual. My sister, my mum, my son and I are very close too and support each other through thick and thin, we clamour together, rally in times of strife – they are my strength and my blessing. My sights are on my family, I am who I am because of my family values and the lessons I have been taught by them – and by life, but the core of who I am is from my parents, as we all are – a product of our background. We must learn that “in spite of” we can be better, create better, mend better, connect better, parent better, love better, forgive better – we don’t get a second time around in this life, we have many chances to make it better though and to change what has been wrong in the past 🙂

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          • Kait, how I wish that were true. My dad made no secret that he didn’t want me around when I was younger. He pushed me away and tried to drive a wedge between me and my brothers and my mum. He only started mending fences after he retired and now that he’s ill and close to my friend death he wants to know me and mine. Unfortunately my daughter and I haven’t had a relationship in almost 20 years. Every time I try to repair the fence she burns the house down. Her marriage fell apart a few years ago but even then she didn’t want to let me help. My dad did a really good job of putting a wedge in there, helped by her first step-mum. Can’t change the past and the future isn’t written.

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            • Some things just don’t seem right, do they – I’m sorry there is so much distance there for you – again, I thank you for sharing as it makes me so grateful to have known and to know my family as I do, of course not perfect, but perfect for me. And you did change things, with the fact that you have held out the olive branch several times to her – just because she doesn’t choose to accept that change doesn’t mean you haven’t made it for yourself. Now all that will remain to be seen is if you will see your father before he leaves this place – don’t leave it too long, you need to see him, for your change – not his 😉 but most of all for your freedom, when he is gone – give yourself that gift 🙂

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              • I’m sorry Kait, I have seen my dad a few times a year since 2011, the year my “baby” brother turned 50. He offers to let us stay with him but I can’t bring myself to accept. My brothers were always accepted more by him and live closer but even they visit rarely, have him over to theirs occasionally and seem to view it as an obligation and a chore. I never saw visiting my elderly mother-in-law as an obligation, I was only too happy spending time with her, she would talk of the old Newcastle which I remembered and the war years (which I didn’t). An amazing woman who reminded me so much of my mum, whereas my dad only ever talks about himself. My mum did warn me how selfish he was and how she wished she could’ve had my strength to walk away from him. I don’t know why I’m opening up so much to a perfect stranger but you’re helping more than you know. My family, as everyone’s isn’t, wasn’t perfect but it, along with the times, helped shape me. For that I thank my mum as she had no bigotry in her and helped me to see we are all the same no matter how we look on the outside.

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                • Wow Dave – what a legacy she has left behind! I totally agree with you – please don’t apologise, by the way, only you are understanding and walking the journey you have for you. I just know the greatest gift you can give anyone is freedom – including yourself – and that is the freedom of regret where possible. I’m glad you’ve seen your Dad on and off – he will be full of regret – it may well be on a selfish level and you will be giving him relief if you forgive him, as much of a grinch he may be, don’t let him pass that on to you – Your Mum may have thought you were strong to walk away, but sometimes it takes great strength and courage to stay. I think we all get dealt with on the other side (where ever and what ever that is)- no one gets off scot-free. But maybe your Mum’s lesson is to be there in spite of – especially if he is passing? I’ve seen a lot of people lose people, besides my own losses, and it always strikes me how simply all that pain and regret can be stopped. Not always by both people reconciling – but at least one being the bigger person means that neither one suffers after that loss – whoever is left behind. Blessings to you Dave, I’m so glad you took after your Mum 😉

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