Tomorrow is Father’s Day, it is also my father’s birthday; he would have been 85 years old but he was killed by a bus on November the 26, 2014. This is his first birthday and first father’s day without him here and I have so much I need to say to him about what a great father he was. It was a Wednesday afternoon when I got the phone call that brought me to my knees, my cousin on the other end of the phone saying, “I’m so sorry, your father was killed in an RTA, I’m on my way to meet the police at the hospital” I cannot remember or perhaps I did not process whatever else was said next.
At that moment my body was pulled down by a sound that was exiting my body, landing me on my knees whilst howling , a howling that can only be described as something dying from within me and leaving me quickly and thoroughly. From every moment that passed realisations came to me, “he is and was the only man that will ever love me, I made sense in this world because of him, he is my reference point, he always caught my fall if I would let him, this world felt safer with him here and now I feel unsafe and vulnerable”. Then, came the questions, “how do I survive this? Does anything matter anymore? Does life matter? My brain in turmoil.
The memories became blended in with the realisations and the questions that flooded my mind. My mind continually flashing back to all the love he gave to me. The time he nursed me back to health when I was ill with the Asian flu at Christmas of 1998, I was a horrid and miserable daughter snapping at him the whole time because my body hurt so much and he loved me patiently and kindly even when I snapped at him that my duvet was hurting my body. Nights when I was up with a sick baby and he was visiting he would get up with me and offer to help and I would say “go back to bed dad, I’ve got this.” He would put the kettle on and make me a cup of tea and let me know I wasn’t alone and then share with me his memories of myself and my twin sister when we were infants. Of course he was the father that paid for my driving lessons and bought me my first car and the father that paid for my wedding and walked me down the aisle because he believed in that role as “father” but there was many a time he had to play the role of mother and he did a great job of that too. He took me to choose my wedding dress and he helped with all the wedding plans down to flowers and jewellery. We had girl’s day out shopping and doing lunch, he would take me shopping, buy me lovely things and then take me to lunch. Best of all was that at lunch we could have the greatest conversations about politics, economics, science and foreign affairs because he was a remarkable and intelligent man. My father was capable of filling both roles of the parent and he was all I needed.
It is important that in society we celebrate the role of Father’s they are in an ideal world 50% of our parental influence, they make up half of our genes and we do not come into existence without them. Where mothers are absent or inadequate they fill the role of both parents. Fathers are equally essential to the existence and continuation of the species.
Father’s teach their children how to love and how to be loved, by how they love their children. They show us through their behaviour how human beings should behave. My father was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He was generous and kind and treated everyone with respect and dignity. He was a lovely soul and a brilliant father. He taught me how to love my fellow man and I am so fortunate that he was the one that taught me how to love by the way he loved me.
So tomorrow I shall celebrate my father’s birthday and I shall celebrate him as a great and loving father and all the gifts he gave to me, his genes, his kindness, his respect and his love. I would not exist nor would I have the ability to love without this beautiful man.
Samantha Flower Co-author of “The Persecution of Others”