October 9th. Not just another day.

Tomorrow it will be close to three decades since my Dad’s final curtain call. I suspect he will be my first thought tomorrow morning and my last tomorrow night. Almost thirty years may seem a lifetime, but it is, at times, just the blink of an eye as the calendar of grief moves to a different beat.

Each year I post a song here on this day in memory of my Dad. He died a long difficult death of motor neurone disease. Watching him lose the ability to walk, eat, swallow and especially talk, was heartbreaking and it would be easy to mainly remember him for that. However, as most of you who follow my blog will know, my memories of Dad are much more than the invalid he became in his early fifties.

So today I’d like to repost one of my favourite memories of my dad. One I treasure, and which I use as the marker for what I believe makes a real man.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************

Yesterday I was at a swimming gala looking after 42 young swimmers,
when a wonderful memory of my dad just rose to the surface.small_2348222238

I was an undersized 9 year old, swimming in my first gala. I had been entered to swim in the 100 metres butterfly. I can clearly remember the fear I felt.

For those who do not know, butterfly is physically a very challenging stroke.
Being young, undersized and in my first competition it was a lot to ask.Too much as far as I was concerned!

We lined up. I was distraught. No way out. The whistle blew and I put on my goggles. I can remember them misting  up quickly because I was crying.

“Take your marks”

As I “took my marks” I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked around and my dad was standing there. “Do you not want to swim?” he asked me. I sobbed, “No”. He held out his arms and I jumped in.

I can remember him carrying me away. It was the most wonderful feeling. Away from that pool. Away from that awful experience. I kept my head buried so I did not have to look at anyone. It was just me and my dad!

I have never, ever forgotten that moment.

My dad died in his early fifties. Leaving us all way too soon.He never got to walk me up the aisle,small_2970191269
or to see my children. He did however leave me many wonderful memories.

So to other dads I would say, You don’t have to be the greatest sports man,
or the best at DIY. You do not have to be a macho man, nor must you buy your children all they ask for.

To be a real dad, you just need to be there when you are needed, and show your children they are loved. Just as my dad did, and I will never forget him for it.

************************************************************************

I wrote that post on valentines day 2013. Tomorrow will mark another day without Dad at my side, but not a day without Dad close to my heart.

As has now become tradition, here’s my song for Dad, because ‘I still miss him my old man’.

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39 thoughts on “October 9th. Not just another day.

    1. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of laughs Joan, and as I’ll be at home I’ll feel even closer to him. Remembering after all these years is bitter sweet.
      Thank you.

  1. I wasn’t expecting that ending to your story, Tric. It is better than anything else you could have said. That your dad did what you needed right there and then says it all. It’s coming up on 28 years since I lost my own dad and it’s memories such as this that keep them and our love alive. I hope you have a lovely day tomorrow with your family.

    1. Thank you. We’d a lovely day. We both lost our dads the same year? My mum was saying she is almost as long without him as she was with him. Such a loss for her. A life she never got to live with him.

  2. Tric, I hope today is filled with love, togetherness and happy memories of your father. Fathers are often a lot more special than they ever realise and I think you’ve made this point really well. x

    1. Indeed they are often seriously under rated. If he was here today I’d probably not give him half the credit I give him since he’s gone, but then again maybe I would. 🙂
      He’s still very much missed.

      1. I guess you would as the foundations were very strong.
        Having had my father with me ’til he was 9o and me 52, I think that the father/daughter relationship goes through different phases. It was certainly very different in the 16 months between Mother’s death and his. We were probably never closer than then.

    1. Thanks colleen. I know you’ve read this story before. I was thinking of you when I posted the video. I hope you ‘enjoyed’ it as I know you have memories associated with it.

  3. Thinking of you all today Patricia, hold onto all those beautiful memories of a wonderful, gentle, & funny man that you are so proud to call..”Dad”

    1. It is a special memory. Especially as I’ve had children that age and yet still remember that moment when I was minded and protected from the big bad world.

  4. What a wonderful memory to have. He had exactly the right attitude too. There’s more than one father would have pushed you towards the pool saying, “Oh no you don’t! Don’t get me out of bed on a weekend for nothing!”

    1. As a swim teacher I have watched those parents and smiled remembering a man not afraid to be different. Many of the ways I deal with the young swimmers I coach were brought about by memories of the way my parents cared for me over sport.

      1. I’m sure the children you teach must end up being more secure in the water by the end of it. I can’t help thinking that pushing someone to the deep end before they’re ready is more likely to give them a phobia than to toughen them up.

        Personally, I’m an enthusiastic but poor swimmer. I can do the breast stroke pretty well, but if I ever attempt the crawl, lifeguards jumps in and try to rescue me.

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