Come hold my hand & walk backwards with me.
Back through my life & the lives of others.
I have shared this journey with myself & you.
I see my Daddy’s legs, I am small, so small.
He does not reach down to me or pick me up but, I cling to his legs & I want to be near to him.
My Mummy picks me up & holds me close to him but, he doesn’t know what to do.
He smiles & pulls a funny ‘make her laugh’ face.
He doesn’t know what to do so, he does nothing just plays ‘funny faces’ with me.
I stand beside his chair & watch him drink his stout & smoke his cigarette’s.
He is quiet, so very quiet.
He watches silently as I sit & play on the floor. I am a quiet child, he needs me to be quiet.
I wait for any sign that he notices me, it’s rare but, I know he loves me.
I hope he does.
One day he sits with his ‘Black Dog’.
he sits forever & I wait & wait, we all do.
He goes to work & comes home.
Same patterns & predictability, he drinks more now.
I chatter at him & he dismisses my childishness.
He tries but, cannot communicate with me, I am small.
As I grow taller, he teaches me words.
I like words.
I really like that he likes me liking words. He acknowledges me.
He teaches me language,how to use a dictionary.
How to use my words wisely, we do crosswords.
I like that he shares his love of English with me. We share this love together.
I grow up & try to be engaging with him.
He finds me ‘funny’ but, he talks to me now.
He drinks all the time but, he is rarely confrontational, just pensive.
He loves football & talk back radio & documentaries about the world.
He is an educated man.
I look for & find a man like him but, his addictions are too much for me.
I accommodate him & his dysfunction for many years until youth has left me.
He is all I have ever known since I was born.
He is another self absorbed & irresponsible man, this man I choose.
My Father was self-absorbed but, responsibility weighed heavy on him.
My father had no idea that he would teach me to accept the unacceptable from a man.
This is not his fault but, he knew little of his effect on my choices.
I had learnt from a very young age that I was never ‘cherished’ for myself & I looked outside for someone to ‘cherish’me.
My Father did not know that I needed protection but, this was not his fault as, he himself was left ‘unprotected’ very young.
He wasn’t nurtured like a child should be.
He was sent to an all male boarding school at the age of 5.
This separation from his mother & women in general would make his bonding with me impossible.
Instinctively he knew I was his blood but, intuitively he knew nothing of my kind.
As I grew older, he was always there but, not in the sense I needed him to be.
His drinking was his downfall,.
He drank to ‘self soothe’ & we watched from the sidelines.
The “Black Dog’ was never far away from his side.
His decent into the oblivion of a mind addled with alcohol & his ‘own demons’ was long & arduous.
I watched his body fail him from abuse via cigarettes & alcohol &, these substances eventually took his life.
He became like a child & we cared greatly for him.
He did get to experience ‘joy’ & laughter & happiness.
In a mind altered new state, he let ‘love’ finally enter his life.
He enjoyed his Grandchildren, he enjoyed his last years among us his family.
We nurtured & comforted & retained his dignity.
He still had his ‘words’.
We did not take his voice as, he had taken ours.
His thoughts were still valid & respected.
He loved the poem/ode ‘Desiderata’.
‘Go Placidly’ & he did.
His last words to me were, ‘Thank You for all you have done’….
I Thank You Dad, for teaching me the value of words, compassion & a greater understanding for the Human Condition.
Nothing is ever what is seems nor are our perceptions, you taught me this.
I am Grateful & you were very wise in those moments of clarity….’Desiderata Father’.