Losing my mom meant finding my dad

To catch up on the series, read Love, sex, drama and self-discovery: The escapades of Violet Online.

My Dad called me late last night.  He’s eight seven and it was close to midnight. I panicked when I saw his name on my phone.

‘What’s wrong Dad?’

'Violet, I need your help.’

Immediately I saw myself, next to his bedside, saying goodbye. 

‘I’m on my way’ I said.  I jumped into my car and was at his home in about three minutes flat.  Usually it takes twenty minutes.

When I walked in he was sitting in his pajamas at the dining room table, a glass of whisky by his side, holding a pen and paper.  He looked perfectly healthy.

‘Not a great time to do your will Dad.  Come, sit down, let’s see how I can help you’.

‘I am sitting down Violet.  Pull up a chair.  Help me write this thing’.

It turns out he was writing a birthday card.  He was going to a ninetieth birthday party the next day and didn’t know what to say.

Usually my Mom would’ve done these things.  She died a few years ago.

I helped him write the card. And I thought what an absolute blessing it was that he had asked me for help.

Growing up we were never that close. My Mom was the decision maker in the family. She took control and ran the household. She shopped with me, encouraged me to do homework and listened to me talk about boys. My dad went to work every day, played a bit of golf, watched television and mostly, left child-rearing to my mother. 

My Dad was gentle but uninvolved.  As so many men were, of that generation.

My Mother’s death was huge. They’d been together for close to fifty years, a lifetime.  It wasn’t all bliss. I think there were some really terrible times, but they’d stayed together, had mostly loved each other and were pretty dependent on one another.   

Yet what my Mother’s death did was open up a gap for me and my dad.  

We started to talk. Really talk. And spend time together. And shop. And still talk about boys. And drink whisky.  And do all the things that we hadn’t done when we were both younger.

Asking me to help with the card is the first time he has ever asked me for help. He didn’t much like what I suggested he wrote and landed up doing his own thing anyway. He can be stubborn, that way, my Dad.

But I love him.  I love that we’ve grown close.  I love that we have this time together. 

I’m grateful too for my Mom, for giving us this time. I miss her. I never got close to writing her ninetieth birthday card.  But I really hope I get to write my Fathers’.

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