Thinking About My Father

Dad and Mum at their 60th Wedding Anniversary Party in 2017

Dear Readers, as you are great at keeping me honest, I wanted to let you know that I am currently working on a book about Mum and Dad, and particularly Dad’s dementia and how our relationship developed in spite of/because of it. I have promised my lovely writing group that it will be completed by my next birthday in January 2024, so I thought it would be mean not to share it with you as well. Accountability is a great thing, so I’m hoping it will work. I’ve already written quite a lot of it, but keep thinking of other things to include, like you do. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I came across this poem by George Barker, about his mother, and it rather reminded me of Dad at his most outgoing and rambunctious, though he could also be a quiet, thoughtful man. Like all of us, he had many facets, according to how the light fell. As we approach the third anniversary of his death, I find I still miss him and Mum every day. I guess I always will, but that’s no bad thing because it means that they’re still loved and still held in my heart.

To My Mother by George Barker
Most near, most dear, most loved and most far,
Under the window where I often found her
Sitting as huge as Asia, seismic with laughter,
Gin and chicken helpless in her Irish hand,
Irresistible as Rabelais, but most tender for
The lame dogs and hurt birds that surround her –
She is a procession no one can follow after
But be like a little dog following a brass band.
She will not glance up at the bomber, or condescend
To drop her gin and scuttle to a cellar,
But lean on the mahogany table like a mountain
Whom only faith can move, and so I send
O all my faith, and all my love to tell her
That she will move from mourning into morning.

6 thoughts on “Thinking About My Father

  1. Anne

    You have embarked on a healing and worthwhile task. Don’t let it overwhelm you or even try to write in chronological order right now. Collect your snippets together as they come to mind and you will have a wealth of material to sift through and organise into the story you wish to tell. Keep us posted.

  2. Ann Bronkhorst

    I second Anne’s wise words.
    Plus, are any of his friends and colleagues contactable? Sometimes that yields surprising insights.
    My father’s schoolfriend and later, brother in law, when I asked what he had been like as a boy/young man (killed in WW2 and never known by me) replied, “Idle, irresponsible and charming.” This description filled a credibility gap for me.

  3. sllgatsby

    This does not surprise me, as your writing about your parents has been so touching, thoughtful, relatable, and full of love. I am delighted you are going to share it to a broader audience! ai look forward to its release.

  4. Liz Norbury

    I’m sure you will find this an absorbing and fulfilling project. It will also help to keep your parents in the centre of your life, and go some way towards easing your daily feeling of loss. My mum was a keen photographer and my dad an excellent writer (as well as being a musician) and I feel a renewed connected to them now that I’m starting to go through their photos and diaries.

  5. Rosie

    I concur with all these thoughts; photos and objects alone are not enough. Your insights and skill in bringing people and places to life will make it universal and engaging. And it will hopefully be healing and nurturing for you.
    Good luck with it!


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