Dad and Me

This is the short story of me and the relationship I had with my dad. It details the moment everything changed when he died when I was just 12. I describe the emotions felt and how it nearly destroyed our family.

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1. Crying Shame

10th July 2001. 19:30pm. Dad had just returned from walking our dog Ben and sat down to read the paper. He exhaled loudly as he flicked through it, shaking his head dismissively. I rolled my eyes as he sat sulking about something. I sloped off upstairs to go on the computer. As I chatted with my sister Julie, we hear an almighty shriek from mam.

We darted downstairs. In the living room, we encounter dad as white as a sheet, his mouth wide open and his eyes bulging. A cacophony of noise ensues and the paper clings to his lifeless body. Julie dashes over to check for a pulse and I’m just standing, rooted to the spot.

I’m told to leave the room. I ignore the order and mam pleads for an ambulance “to get here now, he’s not breathing.” I saw dad exhale one last time, his lips turned blue and my heart stopped beating with fear. He suffered his second major heart attack. As mine began beating seconds later, his faltered. Mam called and told Julie the news, but we already knew. The world came crashing down around us. 12 years old and my dad was no more.

They said it could happen but you never think it will, do you? Well we didn’t. A problem then occurred for me. I didn’t feel anything. Absolutely nothing. A huge void was now in my life but the tears weren’t flowing. As my sister hit the bottle, I knew I had to be the man of the house. I had to look after her and guide her through the hardest time of her life.

It was the summer holidays so I had plenty of time to grieve but still nothing. It didn’t feel like a part of me was missing. I talked about him freely and Julie became angry with me. I understand now because she was upset and I looked like I’d just lost my football rather than my dad. We were fairly close, although our personalities, polar opposites.

He was very competitive and blew hot and cold. We had many laughs playing football and cards. We’d often play fight and he’d never let me win. He wasn’t the kind to put his arm around you and his old fashioned attitudes weren’t endearing. I often wonder how our relationship would’ve progressed.

My personality traits hadn’t really developed by 12 as I was very withdrawn. It would be good to have the chance to know and have a beer with him. If truth be told though, all of it is wishful thinking. Had he made it through this second attack, he would’ve had massive brain damage. This would’ve required round the clock care so I think I’d naturally have grown closer to him. I also wonder just what he thinks of my writing exploits. I know he’d be happy for me that I’m following a passion of mine.

Maybe he is watching over me. I don’t know if they have they a TV in heaven. If they do, I hope he’s enjoying how well his team Sunderland are doing. I’ve never been to visit his grave but thought about it many times. I’d like to go one day, soon. I don’t really know what’s stopping me. I hope to meet his expectations and dad, we’ll have that long awaited pint when we reunite.

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