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Reform Magazine | November 29, 2023

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Editorial: Time to mend

This week we will bury my dad. He died aged 78, after a short illness, so it was neither a sudden loss nor a drawn-out ordeal. He was physically marked by his illness, but not in pain or mental decline. There was time for my family to visit together and for me to come back for a last conversation. He was cheerful and ready. And then he was gone. It’s my ambition to follow in those footsteps, in good time.

His marriage to my mum didn’t last, and as a child I didn’t see as much of him as I would have liked. He started a new family.

In my teens and 20s, we had a terrible relationship. We didn’t argue exactly – we didn’t communicate well enough – but neither were we at peace. I was bitter and sullen, felt disrespected, felt he had messed up my life and had no right to his opinions on it. What he felt about me I had no idea and less interest. His passions were business and football, mine were poetry and music, we had no point of contact at all.

In my later 20s, I, at least, was ready to walk away, but my partner wouldn’t stand for it. ‘He’s your dad,’ she’d say. I said: ‘You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.’ She said: ‘No, but he’s still your dad.’

As the years passed, the pair of us mellowed. We both sustained blows that unexpectedly gave us insight into each other’s lives. I started to realise he was ready to become friends, and I very slowly started to let him.

One day, I told him I’d been angry and I wasn’t anymore. He said I had every right. I hugged him for the first time I can remember.

And then we had six years to become better and better friends. There are other thoughts that give me as much joy as that, but not many. Six years may not sound like a lot, but it was enough and it was a gift. It made all the difference in the world, and though he has gone our friendship continues. It seems more things can be mended than we know.


This article was published in the June 2018 edition of  Reform

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