Apologies for continuing with the theme of death, this is the last one for now, promise!
I was 3 when my Dad passed away.
I have one memory of him, I had had a nightmare and woke up screaming, I remember looking out my door and seeing Dad on the couch. Although to this day, I'm not sure if it's actually something I conjured up in my mind - I have a photo of Dad sitting on a couch, looking the same as I see him in my memory so maybe its a mixture of that picture and reality, or maybe that's just how Dad looked when he was sitting on a couch!
I don't miss him, and I don't feel like Ive missed out on much by not having him in my life. Though I do wonder if I'd be this person, me, had I had his influence in my life. Who knows.
We rarely spoke about Dad in our house growing up. Its not that it was a taboo subject in any shape or form, It just didn't come up. I guess some people have Dads, some dont. We didn't. Things have happened in my adult years though that have given an explanation for Mums lack of discussion on the subject. She never ever made me feel like I wasn't allowed to speak of him or grieve for him, and she did tell me enough about him for me to feel like I knew him.
Dads ashes were scattered at the Necropolis in Springvale, but it was agreed by all that loved and knew him that there wouldn't be a head stone or plaque of any type as he was a "free spirit" and shouldn't be locked down in any one position. I liked that idea. Though it makes it hard to "visit him" per say. Ive only ever been to the Necropolis on my own, I drive in to the garden where my grandparents ashes are scattered and aimlessly walk around crying. I feel like a fool and when I leave I don't feel like I do when I, say, visit an actual grave site. Its weird, I sometimes pick a flower or something and hold on to it for a while or maybe look for a feather. I pulled a whole plant out once to plant into my garden, but it died! (Karma?!!) I havn't actually been for a few years because of the strangeness of it all.
I know my Dad is with me always, he guides me through life and although a lot of shit has happened to me, Ive never been really sick, I think that's because of him. Steve and I also tried to get pregnant, obviously it didn't happen at the time, and we were in some serious relationship problems at the time. I strongly believe Dad stopped a baby from entering our lives because the timing was wrong, hopefully if the timing is ever right, he'll allow it to happen.
I once had the most amazing dream. It was in black and white and I was standing in the main st of Port Fairy, a funeral procession was passing through the street and as I stood on the corner and watched, I turned to my side to realise Dad was standing with me, he told me "I love you, you know that" and the dream ended. In my heart, I'll always believe that was him, and either he needed me to know that, or he felt that I needed to know. Either way I am content in knowing that he did and still does love me.
Because we never spoke of Dad, it was only a few years ago that I knew exactly how he had died. I had, for a long time, had my suspicions. When I was about 15 I found his death certificate, it listed his reason for death as "narcotic toxicity". I'm happy to admit that at this stage of my life I was naive! I looked up "narcotics" in the dictionary and I remember the description being something about sleeping pills, so when someone asked me how my Dad died I'd say "Narcotic toxicity, which means he had too many sleeping tablets" I cringe at the thought now, those people would have been thinking, "that poor naive girl!"
A few years back Mum, knowing that I would usually visit the Necropolis on or close to his anniversary, asked if she could come with me. She had never been before. It was odd, but unbelievably therapeutic, and will probably be a conversation that stands the test of time in my memory, possibly the most important conversation I have or will ever have. We spoke about Dad for the hour long drive. I asked what happened that day....
Mum and Dad were pretty much split up and were living apart, Dad had called her early in the day complaining of feeling sick and needing to be taken to hospital. Mum told him to catch a tram. Although they were separated Dad was very dependant on Mum and she had had enough. They were separated yet he couldn't live without her. That night she received a phone call from someone letting her know that he had died from an overdose of heroin. She doesn't remember anything from that time until after the funeral. Obviously it played on her mind for a very long time, but I think she realises now that it wasn't her fault.
When someone I know tells me that someone close to them is dying, the first thing I say is "find out everything you can about them, ask every question that comes to mind" because that's exactly what I would do if I could share 10 more minutes with my Dad. Luckily this drive to the Necropolis with Mum answered a lot of those questions for me! Dad was one of those people that are just so fucking intelligent that they border crazy, every one knows someone like that! He was an amazing chef, making delectable concoctions - but using every pot and utensil in the place! and also leaving Mum to clean the mess up after him! Despite his amazing skills, he couldn't hold down a job, the main reason being that he had a tendency to punch his bosses in the face! He was so creative and loved writting. If he got an idea in his head, no matter where he was he had to write it down. Apparently our walls when I was little were filled with his scribblings. This thought makes me so happy, Ive always felt like I have an artist trapped inside me, trying to get out - I think its Dads influence (or lack there of) that keeps it from coming out. He also loved Bob Marley and The Eagles and Mum thinks his favorite song was "Heartache Tonight" (mine too!)
I'm not in any way scared of dying, well of being dead, not such a fan of the whole dying thing, and I don't want to die today or anything, but when I do die I know I'll get to meet my Dad and get to know him. I'm looking forward to that.
I don't really know the right words to wrap this blog up, I guess just find out everything you can about those you love and enjoy the time with them. Also don't for a second take your Dad for granted, yeah, you can get by with out one, but life is so much more enriched if you can share it, even for only a few years, with people that you love and respect, and who do the same for you.