It may have been yesterday, Mum says it was and she would know, but I thought it was today. I'm not great with dates and usually have to link a significant date to an event of some kind so it's not surprising I have the dates mixed up. Or I wait for my sister Jenny to post a picture on facebook and I know for sure. She hasn't done that this year so I'm a bit at odds. It's not really important though.
I thought my final day of #28daysofwriting was going to coincide with the 7th anniversary of my Dad's passing and I've been planning to write this post for the past week. When I spoke to Mum yesterday she reminded me that it was Dad's anniversary. As Mum says though, it doesn't really matter what date it is, everyday has a bit of Dad in it, a bit of sorrow, a bit of fun and a lot of love. Time just makes it a bit easier to deal with. We have a few of these days in my family so I feel a bit of an expert in this area of acknowledging the life of others and what their life means to us.
So today it seems fitting that I write about the things I learnt from my Dad.
My Dad was a very humble man who lived his life without too many monetary gains but abundant in love. He was an only child who ended up having a brood of 7 children, all in 11 years (probably more a testimony to Mum than Dad!). We were a tight knit family and I had an idyllic childhood.
I learnt from Dad that you need to be generous with your time, to help out where you can and to be involved. Growing up he was always part of anything that we do: president, secretary or chief organiser of school fetes, Parish Councils, endless fundraisers, Little Aths, netball, tennis, table tennis. Whatever we did he did and he did it with enthusiasm, kindness and empathy.
I learnt from my Dad that you accept people for who they are. You trust them until they aren't trustworthy, you respect them until they show you otherwise and you never abuse people in any way. You can put your point across but you are always respectful.
I learnt from my Dad that you need to support the decisions of those you love and care about whether you agree with them or not as long as those decisions aren't harmful to anyone. This one could be especially difficult for my Dad when it came to me. I always wanted to take a risk, try something different, change a part of my life. He may not have agreed with all my decisions but once they were made he was right there helping where he could. I remember the day I moved out of home for the first time. He wasn't keen on any of us leaving the nest, but I was 19 and oh, so excited about the prospect. He wouldn't come out of the bathroom to say goodbye despite the fact that he's helped me find a place, move furniture, suss out the surrounds and talk through the logistics of it.
I learnt from Dad that you love your family unconditionally, that the children need to be looked after, cared for, but most importantly you need to be with them whenever you can. My childhood was filled with trips away, morning trips to the beach for a swim where we would float with him in the calm water, trips to do the grocery shopping, all of us, much to Mum's possible horror. We spent idyllic summers at Mt Martha for years, firstly in tents and then in the van although I never got a position on the inside. We had a massive garage that had a pool table, a table tennis table and housed many a party where we met with our friends and family to laugh, dance and drink together. We had a pool where we could swim and a pergola and bbq where we would dine together. As we all started to grow up the grandchildren shared in this wonderful life created by Mum and Dad.
I learnt from Dad that you can do all of the above even if you didn't earn much money, you finished school at 14, you had to finish your working life at 42 because of a debilitating illness or you had to spend most days of the second half of your life in some kind of pain. I learnt from Dad that whatever life dishes out to you doesn't control you. What you want from life is in your control and if you keep it simple and real and know what's important to you then your life can be rich and full. People will remember you for how you lived, not for what you have.
How lucky I've been to have been able to learn so much from this wonderful man who is my father.