Sunday, 22 September 2013
The Working Man
It has occurred to me that while I have made many references to the loss of my dad to cancer, I have not shared much about the man who took the brave leap to actually take on the role of father to my sister and I. In fact just referring to him as my step-father is something I find almost impossible to do - because if the job of a parent is to always be there - worry constantly about your well-being - support you in all your mad-cap schemes - comfort you when things go awry...then he is simply my dad. Period. He has moved my not-so meagre belongings more times than I can count, built me furniture when I had none, taught me to drive (particularly painful!), supported me financially and has always been there to listen when times are tough. It can't have been easy for him - ever - filling the shoes of a ghost - knowing that he was competing in a race he might never win as it is so easy to subscribe perfection to someone you have loved and lost. Learning how to be a family can be painful and there were times when I am sure he felt it would be easier to call the whole thing off - and yet he never walked away from it - something I suspect must have occurred to him in moments where tensions were high. He worked (and still does) harder than anyone I know - has a miraculous aptitude to fix or build anything and everything - a 'do-it-yourselfer' where everything turns out beautifully and ten times better than had you hired someone to pull the load. When I was about ten - and fond of skating - he actually flooded the back-yard to create my own personal skating rink - a magical gesture that I will never forget. He just wanted to make me happy...and gliding along on the icy surface - round and round in the bitter cold - I'm sure I was oblivious to how much work he had invested, the toil and sacrifice on a rare day off from his very demanding and stressful job, all to make me smile.