Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The serious post

This was always going to be the sort of post that would be difficult for me to write. Difficult because it's about something serious. Difficult because it's normally so much easier for me to do something silly. Difficult because I'm going through something that's really, well, difficult.

My father died on Sunday evening.

Right now we're all in a state of bewilderment and shock. While his health wasn't always 100%, Dad's passing in the matter of a few hours was a complete surprise. The family is strong, but as we lost my grandfather only a few weeks ago, there is a lot for us to take in right now.

There was a part of me that wasn't going to write about it here. Whether or not I'll get some form of catharsis from ignoring that part of me is yet to be seen. I haven't got the energy to do something in parable form, like I did for granddad. I wish I had. But I'm pretty much drained. So the first version of this post - explaining why you won't be reading anything new here for a while - was going to end here.

But as I was sitting here, exhausted after spending the day with my mother and brothers - not doing anything really, just being - I had a bit of an epiphany.

One thing I know I got from my Dad was a love of language. Words - written and spoken - gave him great pleasure. He was an avid reader, and would devour books at an amazing rate of knots. Perhaps it was an inquisitive mind; whenever he obtained a new item he would first sit down and read its instruction manual from cover to cover. I can hear him now: "If all else fails, read the instructions."

I never showed him anything I'd written here - not even the story I wrote after the passing of his own father three weeks ago. I suppose I thought he'd think it was all a bit silly. It gives me pleasure, though, and it's good to know that it sometimes makes complete strangers smile. A few strangers have been good enough to tell me it makes them laugh. Which makes it all worthwhile. Someone much better at this than me once said: "Perhaps blogging is like doing a favour for a friend. It's thankless, but it gives me satisfaction." Perhaps the desire to use words to make people happy is something else I got from Dad.

Final anecdote. I last saw him on Boxing Day. He'd asked for, and was delighted to receive, a large-print copy of the Bible. On seeing our raised eyebrows - apart from Mum none of us are particularly religious - he explained: "I've always wanted to study it. This will take me a good two months or so."

Perhaps he wanted to read the ultimate instruction manual.

Folks, I'm going to take my leave from you for a while. I've got other things to do at the moment. I hope I can honour my Dad's memory by playing around with these silly words again at some point in the near future.



David said...

Phil, really sorry to hear about your loss. There aren't words I can say. Just acknowledge that emptiness and the vague sense that we must try to do something to justify everything and everyone that's gone before. I hope you find that something, as I'm still seeking it. My thoughts are with you.

Lisa said...

Oh Phil, I'm so sorry to read about your father. What a terrible shock to you all. There truly are no words.

I find you particularly clever with words. I've even been known to ring my best friend and read your posts to her over the phone so we can both share in your good humour and have a laugh.

Although your father never read anything you wrote here, I would think he'd have got quite a laugh himself from what you've written..and in turn been proud of you.

My thoughts and sincere condolences are with you and your family.


City Girl said...

I am very, very - unspeakably - sorry for your loss.

Nancy said...

I am so sorry to hear of your family's loss. My heart hurts for all of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Fabs, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Take your time. Our family's prayers and condolences are with you and yours.


Matt, your old neighbour said...

Phil - I am so so sorry to hear of your loss.

I haven't seen you for a while or been in contact and I guess it's times like these that make you realise what's important - Family and friends. You have been a great friend to me over the years so it's a New Year's resolution for me, if you will, that we should get together in the New Year - whenever you're up for it mate.

Please accept my condolences to you and yours.


Mike Nicholas said...

I am so very sad Phil. It's always difficult to know the right thing to say isn't it. As Em pointed out to me, these things are always rather selfish, talking about ones self and not really about you or anyone else. Nothing can be said to make the situation 'better'. Maybe it's catharsis for the bystander? Perhaps I'm just trying to convey my feelings because although I can not imagine what you are going through, I acknowledge the challenges you are being faced with and that I offer my full support in anything should you ever desire it.
You are a very good friend and someone I am immensely proud of calling a friend. Of course I knew your Father too who, like you, is a great personality, kind, generous but most notably very intelligent. Personally, I feel it is important for you to ensure your Father carries on living through your consistently beautiful use of words and language in what ever form you choose it to take. Whether it be here on your blog, writing a book, an instruction manual or anything. Be proud of your talent, for it is one of your Fathers ever lasting gifts to you. You will in turn be forever proud of him. And quite rightly too.

My thoughts and love are very much with you and all your family always.
We are always here for you.

Emma Nicholas said...

Hi Phil,

I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear off the loss of your Dad. I cannot imagine how you must be feeling, but my thoughts and Love are with you.

Although sadly I never got to meet your Dad, Mike has spoken of what a lovely man he was, and it's lovely to read what you have written about him here. I truly hope that happier times are ahead for you and your family in 2009 and that you will continue to share your Dad's gift for words with us. I Love to read your posts and enjoy showing them to friends and colleagues and proudly telling them that my good mate Phil wrote this!

Take care mate.

Love Em xx

Le laquet said...

So very sorry Phil - my thoughts are with you and yours

Rebecca said...

I am sorry to hear about your father, Phil. I hope you are able to find some measure of peace in the new year.


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