And in the end it is not the years in your life that counts, it is the life in your years

My Dad

My dad died when I was 13 years old. And there is a line in a song that always sticks with me regarding him, “sure I miss him me old man”, and boy do I miss him. But even as I type this I have no true reason or logic as to why I do, so much.

My dad was a legend, he was this bolder than brass, larger than life character. He was an officer in the Irish army and just so looked, and acted, the part. A big moustache, a barrel of a chest, the stature of a real man. The stories of him live in my memory, but every day I question myself as to why and how. I do this because in reality I simply did not know him at all, we did nothing in the way of father and son things, I have not one single memory of anything like this.

My dad liked a beer, or ten, he loved the pub, and yes I know that should make him a true Irishman, to me, all it made him was absent. And so my love for him, and I do still love him dearly, is based on story, gossip, fairytale and fantasy. Because the fact was, I just did not know the man. So how can it be that I can love someone based on such evidence, is it just that I love the idea of him, the concept of having a great man for a father. I think now, at this point in my life journey, that there must be an element of that, but I do not believe it is only that.

The stories of my dad are like all Irish mythical stories, over the years they grow, they expand, and so knowing the real thing is very difficult. But each day I look at his photograph, I wonder to myself, I can see this man doing the things I have heard about, I can see the arrogance and confidence of the man and so I believe them even more, I convince myself they must be all true, but as I say I do wonder to myself, sometimes, am I just creating my own mythical person, my own hero. But whatever, I love my dad and always will.

When he died I cried, alone. The rest of my family did what they had to do, they were all that much older than me. They knew what was the right thing to do, they knew what was expected. But in truth, what did I know about how they were feeling, I was a kid and feelings to me were something weird and unexplainable. It is only now I can balance my anger towards them from the understanding that I really knew feck all. What I did know, and will always know, is that my dad’s funeral hurt me, scared me and that is something I do not think will ever leave me. An Irish funeral goes over a few days, and it was the situation with my family not allowing me to see my dad that has really hurt me. I was too young, I would not understand was the reasons given, but just as I could not appreciate how they felt, not one of them could possible understand how I was feeling, but the difference was I was not the one making the decision. And so I was left with a scar that will always cut into me.
It is funny how we each turn out in life, and I know that there is some theory, from more intelligent people than me, that either from our passed down genes, or parental influence and guidance that who we are is very much based on where we come from, who we come from. And sometimes when I think about it I say to myself, what tosh that must be. I do not believe I am my father’s son, I neither believe I would want to be, nor would I be able to be. I see in myself no connection, but then again that would be no connection with a persona, maybe even with just a myth. I love my dad, and I miss him me old man.

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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.