Eclectic Blue

Father’s Day

Comments Off on Father’s Day 18 June 2017

Father's Day

How do you celebrate Father’s Day when your father has been dead for over six years? I don’t buy all this “I’ll bet you’re having a great time up in heaven” malarkey because, like my dad, I have never believed that somehow we would survive our own deaths and meet again. When he died, I was pretty certain that it was the end. Since then, nothing has happened to make me change my mind.

My dad, Anthony Johansen, was an incredible man, although we weren’t close until his later life. This was because for much of my life he lived in Canada and I lived in England. Whatever anyone says, miles can separate you in more ways than just geography. I missed the daily, weekly, monthly and sometimes yearly contact and I never got to know him properly until he was in his seventies. I am very grateful that I did get to know him and to spend some quality time with him. When he died, the loss hit me, but not as much as the lost time.

Having never had a father figure in my life did not affect my upbringing. At least that was what I thought. What you have, you don’t miss. But having children of my own, I now know what I missed. I am in no doubt that having a father at home would have given me a better, more stable life, some decent scholastic and professional advice and maybe, just maybe, better mental health.

Of course at the time of growing up, you don’t realise what you are missing. Everyone else had a dad who played football with them, took them places, helped them with homework. I really didn’t give it a single thought that I was not the same as them. My mum and I were very poor but again at the time I didn’t realise it. I thought everyone’s mum hung around the butcher shop after work to try and pick up the off cuts before they were thrown away. I assumed that when the milk ran out midweek, everyone would have to go without until Friday and pay day. I thought I was the same as everyone else. I wasn’t.

Not that I blame anyone for that. What’s the point? My mum and dad made a mistake by getting married and soon got divorced, but not before I turned up. That happens to lots of people. After the thrill is gone in a relationship, the future is dependent upon what’s left. I’ve been there too. I was left to muddle through school, muddle my way into a lifetime of dead end jobs and any potential I had never came to fruition. That’s just the way it was. I do sometimes feel “what if?”, which are the saddest words known to man, because I do feel that so much of my life was a waste of time. Until my soul mate came along and two children came along after. I determined at the outset that they would never be like me. That they would have all the opportunities I never had and they would have better lives. Seeing them succeed has been the great achievement of my life, although I readily acknowledge my partner deserves the majority of the credit.

My dad wanted the best for me and I felt his love particularly at his 75th birthday in 2004 and at his 80th in 2009, when I flew to Ottawa to see him. A few days after I took him to see John Fogerty in concert, I said goodbye, flew home and never saw him again. The next time I flew to Canada was in 2011 for his funeral.

I am thinking of my dad today, as I do on many days. I am grateful that we were eventually like a “normal” father and son and I am sad that for most of life we were anything but normal.

My final memory of him, just before I flew home in 2009, was seeing him sitting in the lounge listening to George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass on vinyl. He adored that album and so do I. And whenever I hear a track from it, I am immediately transported to that happy day some eight years ago when we were together.

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