Thursday, 29 May 2008

Unforgettable Memories

My Dad. A man I find so easy to write about. I put my husband aside for a moment and confidently say that my dad was the only man who truly understood me; who could read me as he looked into my eyes. Today would have been a special day for him; his 65th birthday. 29th May 1943 was the day this incredible man began his short life, a life that was to last only 58 years.


Many years ago we walked the two and a half miles along Bamburgh beach. We hardly spoke to each other. Instead, we took it in turns to throw a stick into the sea for the two dogs. We laughed about the way Ben would always leave the stick for Cassie to retrieve. He was a true gentleman; he and my dad had much in common. Earlier in the year of my dad's passing I drove him to Manchester Airport. He was meeting friends to partake in a golfing trip, an annual holiday he took with three other men. On the half hour journey we spoke twice. The first time when dad directed me onto the correct motorway and the second time when we said goodbye at the drop off point. A hug, a kiss and "mind how you go" was all that was needed. Our silences were comfortable. Sometimes I wished we had spoken to each other, discussed politics even, but words never seemed important.


The last time my dad and I were alone together was during our last family holiday in Northumberland, weeks before his passing. We went to Edinburgh for the day. My mum stayed outside the castle walls with Amy and the dog, whilst my dad and I went inside the castle. Few words were once again spoken until it came to 1pm. Directing me to the "one-o'clock-gun" he placed his hand on my back and guided me to where a crowd of onlookers waited, each one looking eagerly at their watches. There may come a day when Amy will want to visit the castle but until that day I will never step foot inside those ancient walls. The memory that I hold so close to my heart will remain ours.


Each year, as most dads are no doubt the same, it was an uphill struggle as to what I should buy him for his birthday. Having two siblings, we all had to make sure we didn't buy duplicate presents. It was usually a jumper or a CD. But there was always something extra I bought him, a little treat if you like; a box of Liquorice Alsorts. They had to be Bassetts. And I had to buy them. I still buy them on his birthday today. And of course, I eat them for him.



He went to a gym three mornings a week. He enjoyed gentle exercise which he said helped him to stay fit and healthy. But his life was in the fast lane, if he slowed down it would have killed him. Holidays were important to him, work was addictive to him and his family were his life. And in the end, the fast lane was to be his enemy when his heart stopped on a treadmill. Fifty eight years was not enough. He deserved many more years to watch his family grow; enjoy those holidays in Northumberland and Florida; maybe even retiring although we could never have believed that would happen. But he is my dad. He will always be my dad. And I love him now more than I have ever loved him before.

Since my dad passed in July 2001, I have welcomed him into my home on many occasions. It is no secret that I feel his presence. He has inspired me every day for the past seven years; his guidance has led me along this new path that I have now become accustomed to. I have learnt things about him, began to understand his character. He held my hand once, not so long ago as I sat in devastation. He supported me during eighteen difficult months of assessing Amy for autism, his love was constant and invaluable. He stood in The King's Hall when I became the farmer's wife, his tearful smile etched in my heart. Even Amy saw him as his light shone on our future. He has further spiritual planes to venture and I know one day my soul will once more journey through another life with his. And as each day draws to a close, I smile, knowing I have felt his love and sensed his spirit beside me.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

32 comments:

  1. crystal, that was quite beautiful. As a dad myself, I'm not sure I measure up to yours, but he represents the qualities we should all be striving for. Some might even think you cared for him? ;-)

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  2. at least you can have no regrets with the quality of the time you spent with him. A nice blog this one, CJ. Funny, too, that today was my granny's birthday (b. 1915) and our poor neice (b. 1978, died shortly before her 13th birthday).

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  3. Happy Birthday to your Father sweetie!! Smile lots today!!hughugs

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  4. Beautiful post Crystal. You were lucky to have him - and he you.

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  5. Happy Birthday Crystal's Dad and Hugs to you Crystal.

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  6. Oh Crystal, that was a beautiful tribute to your wonderful Dad and brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful relationship. I lost my dad in the same year (2001). Like yours, he was my best friend and the most wonderful man in the whole world. I still miss him very much and wish I could talk to him. It is lovely that you sense your father with you at times. I have never been lucky enough to experience that, but I have a large photograph of him by my bedside and talk to it when I have problems.

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  7. A gorgeous post. You have such lovely memories of your father and your love shines with every word.

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  8. Crystal, your dad would be proud. Of your tribute, your strength, of the wife and mother you have become.

    My dad loves liquorice allsorts too. And they have to be Bassetts.

    Great post. Full of love.

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  9. It is so special that you had such a great relationship with your father. Happy Birthday to your Dad.

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  10. what a truly beautiful post, thank you for sharing those memories with us readers.

    It made me smile for you; early in my journal I posted sadness on my father's birthday, it was good to read of feelings as they should be, memories I envy. Thank you x

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  11. As usual, a beautifully written post. Bassetts Licorice Allsorts eh? Your dad was a man of expectionaly refined tastes, Chopper loves them too.

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  12. happy birthday your Dad. I still think of my dad on his birthday - 23rd September - and he died nearly 30 years ago.

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  13. What a wonderfully touching post. I have a lump in my throat. x

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  14. Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. You are so lucky to have had him in your life like that. Gorgeous post.

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  15. This is perfect Crystal. I'm sure your dad will agree.

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  16. That was a beautiful account of your love for your Dad & his love for you. I really enjoyed reading it & I agree with you that fifty eight years was not the right age to die. Not that there is any right age...... but he was too young!
    Do you know? It would have been my Mum's Birthday today & you have reminded me to get a little prezzie for her. I usually buy flowers. I don't put them on her memorial stone, there are silk ones there, but I buy a little potted plant or some cut flowers in our home!

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  17. ah, lovely. i love that you still buy the licorice.

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  18. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man, you were and are very lucky to have such a person in your life. I'm glad that he is still with you and able to guide and support you.

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  19. That's very beautiful, Crystal. You are very lucky to have had such a dad and still have him in a way.

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  20. Fathers are so very special. ``Comfortable silences'' are invaluable.

    And you just nail every writing task you approach.

    I salute you - and your father.

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  21. My dad was a man of few words too.
    Best wishes

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  22. Crystal,
    Such a beautiful post, such a special man. I am sorry his life ended far too early, but I believe he is with you now, every step of the way.
    Wonderful writing.
    XOXOXO

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  23. What beautiful memories you have. Writing them down and posting them for the world to see...what a gift you have given him, the respect of the world
    I came by way of David's
    Sandi

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  24. How wonderful you had such a close relationship with your dad, a relationship where few words were necessary.

    Very nice tribute.

    (Here due to Authorblog's Post of the Day. Glad I came!)

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  25. The 29th of May - the anniversarry of my mother's death, exactly a month after my father died. My father was so different to yours, my memories are complex and confusing.

    How I would have wished for a father like yours. What a treasure.

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  26. Sometimes when a relationship is so solid no words are needed. What a beautiful thing. And what a beautiful relationship you shared. I hope this day was a day of happy memories and enjoyed Liquorice Alsorts.
    This is such a wonderful tribute to your father. He sounds like a wonderful man.

    I came over from David's blog.

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  27. Lovely post, Crystal. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

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  28. You write so beautifully and your words are so touching. Your father would be proud of you, I'm sure.

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  29. A Happy Birthday to your father Crystal.

    He was very special to you, as you were to him, and to have those fond memories is something that no one can take away.

    You write beautifully Crystal, I am sure that your father would be sooo proud of you.

    Love Camilla.xx

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  30. Thank you for all your comments. Your kind words have meant a great deal to me as my dad looks on.

    Crystal xx

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  31. Fabulous post of unforgettable memories. A lovely tribute to your loving dad.:)

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