Tomorrow is Father’s Day in England. I know that it is a modern concept, born of the marketing whizz kids keen to make a bit of money; but for those of us who have lost our Father’s it is a bittersweet day. It is hard to lose anyone important in your life.
Speaking as a daughter, the loss of my Father is really tough. My Father was a huge character; he was complex and for those of you who have read Love in a Cold Climate, he was a lot like Fa. He loved with a passion and hated in equal measure. If you were one of his tribe, you felt cherished and secure. He was preposterous in many ways but he was real; he had fierce opinions, some of them a little dicey; he did not suffer fools at all and he had a deep rooted and practical love of the countryside, animals and his family.
I regret that in the 10 years since he died, he has missed so many good things in my family. He has missed his grandchildren growing from children to adults and making such a success of their lives. He has missed my brother turning things around and making the farm what it is today. He has missed Mum surviving widowhood; he was really worried about her and she has cracked on with it, she is game for anything and she wears her grief with great grace.
I am really proud of the journey that I have made from those stumbling beginnings at his graveside, knowing what I wanted to do for him and now being able to do it for others. I love my work as a Doula,
I appreciate seeing the relief on the faces of those who are caught up in the minutiae of death when I arrive and they can go for a bath, walk, sleep, whatever knowing that I will hold the space and keep the home fires burning until they return a little refreshed.
There is nothing we can do to stop those we love from dying, we can make their death a little less agonising by listening to what they want and acting accordingly. People worry about things, that to you and I when we are young (ish) and well, may seem trivial – they become all encompassing and it is right that we hear this and offer support in resolving them.
It seems to me that the mind has a way of contracting so that the man who was once a captain of industry, a big player ceases to perceive the enormity of the world and is focussed on his own slice of reality. He takes pleasure in sorting the small stuff and seems to forget that once these little goals would have been but nothing in his busy life. It is for us to bolster his sense of pride and achievement and to back up his efforts not take over and diminish him still further.
Tomorrow I will walk my dog, a dog Father never knew, on the farm that he loved. I will walk up to the wood where he is buried and I will sit a while and tell him our news. I wish that I could do this face to face but there it is.