Two days ago I posted a poem my wife wrote about the death of her father 50 years ago when she was only seven. Her two sisters were nine and two years of age.
Last Sunday was the anniversary of her last “Fathers’ Day” with her dad and today is the anniversary of his death.
Fifty years later the events of this day are still firmly embedded in her mind. The events, the emotions and the memories have remained clear all these years.
Dad’s are such a critical presence in a child’s life. Even an absent dad.
The girls grew up with a mythology of what having a dad would have been like. Our first argument after we were married was about who would take the rubbish bin out. In my wife’s mind this was the job her father would have done for his wife if he had been alive. I lost the argument – and most others since.
In many ways my wife’s memories of seven years are just as powerful as my memories of my father over 44 years. Her memories of family walks, dad coming home after work, meal times, stories and the like are etched so clearly and deeply – reinforced by years of remembered loss.
Not all the memories, we have discovered over time, were accurate. Because there was a tool box in the house didn’t mean that he was a brilliant handyman. That is what my wife thought and that is the image that she compared me with. She found out many years after we were married that this was far from the truth. This took some of the burden off me!
Warm memories are like treasures which we nurture and protect. We can take them out of the box every now and then to admire and to reminisce. They give perspective and depth to our lives and take us out of our present and anchor us in our past.