It’s Father’s Day today and your birthday tomorrow, so thoughts of you float through my consciousness on this particular day, in this juicy month of June.
Not that you were ever bothered with all the commercial trappings of this modern fad of a Hallmark day; but still, this is my absolute favourite time of year, since June really is MY month. My birthday is only 3 days after yours after all, the sun is high and hot and the evenings are lusciously long and light.
And after a long and difficult Spring this year, it’s time for me to be reborn; delivered into the summer, with a new number for my age along with fresh dreams and schemes to be hatched then fledged – to take flight to only my heart knows where.
And today I dream of you Dad. I was 23 when you died, so now, as a middle aged maiden, I’ve lived my life far longer without than ever with you. But if I count the years, those numbers are somehow unimportant to me, because of course, you are always with me.
I have decided to linger on your legacy to me today and it comes to me in many ways…
The older I get, the more I seem to look like you and sometimes your words fly out of my mouth – passed along the line of time, from who knows who, before us.
Memories are composed of thoughts and feelings, so when I think of you Dad, I feel love and I always think of that as your greatest gift to me. I was so fortunate to be planned and wanted and appreciated, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that love and like go hand in hand. Yet we did genuinely like each other and were easy in each other’s company – so I can see how this shaped the way I still like to gently debate the world and then laugh uproariously at it – usually with words twisted into a perfect pun or a clever curve of connected thought.
You left school at 14 to learn a trade, but still you were an avid reader. You read to me every night at bedtime and so I know my love of words and literature, ignited by my imagination, most definitely came from you.
And there are the practicalities too: as a plasterer, you taught me to be fearless about DIY – I have wall papered, tiled, sanded, sawed, chipped and hammered, whilst many of my female friends looked on in awe. I have to say that in these middle aged days I don’t really want to do any of these things any more; but when I delegate those tasks out, I like to smugly think that I actually know what I’m talking about.
You told me once that I was a country girl, not a ‘townie’ like my mother; following instead in your rural (size 12) footsteps from your native corner of Cambridgeshire; even though, as I smartly pointed out, I grew up in a city. “It’s not about that” you said with certainty. I certainly know that I now live happily in a village, as does my brother and I don’t think this is down to serendipitous chance. We both had the nurture of spending time with our beloved grandmother and Aunts, chasing geese, collecting eggs and milking goats; all freely idyllic occupations compared to the strictured squareness of our other concrete childhood urban world.
And I love the countryside – whether to sit, wander or be walking through it or trying to constrain it in my garden; so much so in fact, that I simply feel that I have just a natural, easy affinity with it.
Along with the easy comes the harsh too… Despite being recklessly gung ho so often in my youth, I find more and more that I can so easily now be defined by fear too – a constant preoccupation of yours, to a degree that would often make you cry out with terror in the darkness of the night.
In body I’ve inherited your flat feet, though this means that as therapy, I went to dance classes for many years as a child and am now, when I set my muscle memory to it, very graceful and light on my own ‘plates of meat’ (as you always called them). When I don’t think about it though, I clash, crash and am extremely clumsy – but that’s me, a constant dichotomy of characteristics; some which I get from you and your family before you, some from my mother and still, some more – all my own.
You not being here is a physical fact of long standing, but over 30 years since your passing, I can still miss you, and yet still feel that in my head I can talk to you, and that somehow, you will always understand and be on my side. It goes without saying that I feel, deep down, that I can take your pride in the things I have achieved in my life for granted.
I’m sure I could write another 20 letters about the traits, lessons and DNA you passed on to me, but ultimately you told me that you wanted me to be happy and true to myself… In this, I’ve both succeeded and failed; but pondering on it now, I know that for a very long time now I have been fearful and miserable, yet now it’s time to come back into the summer light of our birth month of June, so to smile and start again.
And already Dad, I feel the quickening of our (re)beginnings in joyful June.
As a fitting end to my latest letter to you, I’ll recount the joke, you told, ad infinitum, all throughout our life together…
“Why did the owl ‘owl? Because the Woodpecker would pecker.”
Oh dad, you’re so punny…
Bye then and bless you.
I currently have a special Father’s Day offer: You can buy the paperback of my Love Letters to Life on Amazon for £11.99 or you can get an author signed copy on my website for just £7.99 including P&P. You will also find my book on all good book selling websites around the world.
Featured on the BBC, as well as local and national media (including Psychologies Magazine and The Lady), the book was also honoured as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.
‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ takes the best posts from this blog, adds new content and wraps it all together in a sweet bookish structure.
It’s an easy yet satisfying read, which sees love in everything we do in life, from the big themes to the tiny, trivial minutiae of it too.
- Buy the paperback on my website – here for just £7.99 including P&P
- Or get it from Amazon for £11.99 and from all great book websites anywhere in the world.
- You can also buy it in Kindle format
My external plaudits include the following – being:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor.
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* Being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.