Today is and should have been my Dad’s 65th birthday.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to deal with it in the nice way. I’ll be able to look back fondly at past memories and be sad but happy at the thoughts. I don’t know. All I do know right now is that this isn’t the case this year. All I can do is feel overwhelmingly sad and angry.
There’s many a time these days where I want to get angry. Never really used to do it but things frustrate me more now. It’s the little things like when I’m working on a Saturday night and customers are being miserable with their families or shouting at their kids. I just want to tell them to get a grip and lighten up, how it could be worse and at least they’ve got each other and the money to rent an overpriced DVD for the night. Cliched yup, but doesn’t make it any less true.
It’s the same when I see friends get irritated over the smallest of issues but act like it’s the biggest problem in the world. Not that I’m perfect of course, far from it and I’m sure it’s hypocritical of me to feel that way sometimes!
Days like this though. I just want my normal life back. The unfortunate truth is that this is normality now. It doesn’t stop me wanting to go back to how things used to be though. When life was easier, and most importantly happier.
My Dad was brilliant. He was actually everything you could want in a Dad. He was also an excellent inspiration.
He was born just before the end of the Second World War in London. His Mum a single parent until she married when my Dad was 10. It was a messy childhood for him so at the age of 15 he joined the Army like his Grandfather before him. He was in the Army for most of the 1960s which was quite an uncertain time in Europe what with the Berlin Wall and everything. He also got posted to a few less pleasant places as well but that’s another story.
When he came out of the Army he went from job to job meaning he did mostly everything you could possibly imagine from insurance sales to taxi driving in London. He then fortunately went to work for Southern Electricity Board where he met my Mum. Again, quite a complicated little story of how that came about but luckily it ended in them moving in together and having me.
Again a little complicated as I nearly died when I was born then when I was only a baby, my Mum had a serious car accident which left her disabled.
But anyway, while I was a baby and toddler my Dad was a lorry driver but when I was 3 my parents decided to ‘escape’ the rat race. They moved from the South East of England to South Wales. A huge change but one that worked out extremely well.
My Dad finally got to do something he’d always wanted to do. Something that he never thought he’d get the opportunity as he was most likely dyslexic and had very few educational qualifications. He went to University as a mature student. He studied History and loved it. He always had a huge love for the subject and he thrived in the environment.
Over the years he went on to gain an M.Phil qualification in History (he focused on 1920s Weimar Germany) and taught History to first years at the University. The students loved him and he loved the job. It was a huge success and made life a lot happier.
We were perpetually rather poor admittedly. He worked part time there and while the pay per hour was good, it was inconsistent and he had no holiday pay for the summer break. But it was worth it because it made the household so happy. Plus it gave us other opportunities, even if it wasn’t in the form of expensive foreign holidays or the latest technology. I had some serious problems at school when I was 6 so thanks to my parents’ situation (my Dad a student at the time, my Mum unable to work) I was home educated until I was 16. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Looking back though I realise just how much my Dad accomplished in his life. He was treated as one of the idiots at school because no one appreciated his dyslexia. Yet he ended his life as a successful University tutor and one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. His knowledge of so many things was ridiculously vast. Not bad eh?
Amazing what can be done when you’re determined to succeed. Even when everything’s against you.