Cause and effect

I’ve just sent an email to my dad. I’ve contemplated it the last few days when I realised how old he’s getting. Anything could happen; anything might have happened. I wouldn’t know.

I debated with myself whether to send an email or not. I actually asked the guys on Saturday night, a very un-H like thing to do. One said I should, the other said I shouldn’t bother, but my call.

In the end I have, a very simple email checking how he’s settled in and, most particularly, how his health is. I don’t want our most recent conversation to be our last, and if there’s anything I should know I want to know. I guess I’m just being safe.

I’m presuming he’ll take it as a glimmer of hope, but I reckon he’ll still respect my privacy – though in reality it’s been his choice to maintain the distance.

Walking Rigby before I pondered what I would write. I imagined what he might think and how he might respond. It was like opening a door that had been firmly shut.

This estrangement started after he told me that he blamed me for his separation from mum. I was aghast at that, then angry. I settled down, but nothing could be the same after that. After a while we began talking again before he tried, as he always has, to tell me all the things I was doing wrong. That’s his idea of advice. I shut him down and told him, literally, to fuck off.

Even after that, there came a time maybe a year later when I extended an olive branch to him. My only condition was that he own the things he’d said, and way he’d ever been. I didn’t need it for myself, but I knew that if we were to go back then it had to start again honestly. We couldn’t just take it up where it had been left before. I thought it would be good for him too – but he rejected it. That’s how it’s been ever since.

I remembered all that out walking Rigby and together with the remembrance of Easter the explanation I’ll never give came to me. It ties up nicely with what I wrote earlier.

My mother had died badly. My family as I knew it had split in half. I was unemployed, broke and ultimately homeless. I had little going for me. I didn’t need platitudes trying to rouse me. I didn’t need to be lectured to or hectored. I didn’t need to be told I could do better. When I had nothing at all what I needed to know was that I still had some value and worth; that there was someone who cared for and loved me. In the absence of that, I became hard. I had to do it all myself and had to find worth deep inside me. I managed, I survived, and perhaps soon I’ll flourish again, but it explains a lot about why I am the man I am today.

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