Monday, 2 January 2012

Smoke gets in my eyes

Had he not died 30yrs ago, today would have been my late father's 85th birthday. I often wonder why I remember his birthday so easily and my mother's simply passes each year unremembered. (She died two years earlier).

I guess it's the time of year. The melancholy that accompanies the dawning of a new year. The cold weather and a time when work takes second place to life, inevitably leads me to contemplate death.

My father was not a happy man. He struggled with his demons and as he grew older, the demons began to win. He'd shut himself away, play Bach sonatas on his piano and drink. I think at the end he was consuming at least a bottle of Bells whisky a day, but this did not seem to salve his pain.

Finally he had the death we all hope for. He got out of bed one morning, took five paces, had a heart attack and was dead when he hit the floor. A shock for him and a relief for me, my brother and sister.

As time passes, the memory of my parents inevitably fades. My helpful mother in law sometimes says; 'I wonder what your parents would make of your life now?' Rather than rekindle memories this simply reminds me of the distance I have travelled since they died.

I do benchmark the relationship I have with my kids with that I did not enjoy with my own parents. There is no comparison. We are all very different and thank goodness, far happier with each other. I have huge respect for my now adult children and all their achieve; I think that respect is mutual, although of course masked by the usual cheeky banter you get from your kids.

The photo, is of Ipswich Crematorium. It's where both parents and one grandparent were dispatched. I've never been there and doubt I ever will. I've always avoided committals and was not there when either parent slid from chapel to cremator. Perhaps that's why each new year I remember. Perhaps next time I go to a family funeral I need to let the smoke get in my eyes.

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