Ask me about my Dad.

It was my Dad’s 73rd birthday on Monday the 15th. I walked through the day in a haze, with the grief of losing my Dad fresh in my mind. I think when you lose someone you love, there will never be a day where you think “yes, I’m okay with this”. Never.

What I want to do is talk about my Dad. To ANYONE. I feel like if I talk about him, he’ll be preserved in my memory and if I get the chance enough times to talk about Dad, it will be easier to remember him, and the loss won’t feel as raw or as painful. I believe that if Dad’s stories keep getting told and his memory honoured, it will be as if Dad will live on for generations to come.

But no one wants to ask me and when I try to broach the subject, no one wants to hear about him. It’s not been said, but I definitely get the feeling that my friends think “Oh man, that was (almost) 2 years ago – get over it” and don’t want to hear about how much I miss my Dad or the stories I want to tell about him that bring so much joy and comfort to my heart.

Dad loved to dance. He was very cheeky. Dad was very noisy. Even in his sleep, he snored loudly or made little “boop” noises with his mouth. Dad had a deep, gruff voice and a grumbly, infectious laugh. Dad was very “tongue in cheek” and loved any opportunity to be facetious. Dad enjoyed reading spy novels, talking about anything and everything and making a new friend. He loved having a pint of beer with his mates and if there was no one around who was familiar, Dad would make a new friend; pulling up a bar stool by them with a friendly grin and his hand out in greeting “G’day, I’m Gerry! How are ya?”

Dad was the middle child of 3 boys, so I think he was overlooked a lot when he was growing up. His older brother Trevor had schizophrenia (but I don’t know if there was any/enough knowledge about it back in the 60’s and 70’s – I think he was just labelled “a loony” and constantly shifted about between horrid psych hospitals (can you imagine how awful and scary they’d be back in the day?) and home again. Dad’s younger brother Andrew is A LOT like my younger brother Jay. Entitled pricks. (sorry Jesus).

Dad loved swimming, watching UK comedies, quoting random lines from Spike Milligan or some great philosopher…and dogs. Dad loved dogs. I think Dad is one of the very few people that got adopted by a wild Dingo and not the other way around. A dingo kept showing up in Dad’s garden so Dad would talk to it and feed it scraps. The dingo’s stays got longer and longer – as did “their conversations”, until one day the Dingo – who Dad named “Ringo” (hahahha) just never left. He moved in and Dad had a bowl put aside for him as well as the front passenger seat reserved for Ringo’s keen observation of the world. Dad’s normal pet dog – “Black butt” (really “black ass” but Dad decided that was too rude and would tell people his dog’s name was “black butt” when asked) had a “brother” in Ringo and the 3 of them became quite the family unit.

A few of Dad’s favourite things to quote:

“Patience is a virtue – desired by many, given only to a few”

“You’re never too old and it’s never too late”

“There are holes in the sky where the rain comes in…the holes are very small, that’s why rain is thin”

“I went to the beautiful seaside. The wonderful sea and sky. I left my shoes and socks there – I wonder if they’re dry?” (no matter how many times Dad said this, he’d laugh heartily at the ‘shoes and socks’ part every, single, time).

Dad’s ultimate quote “Get things from here (He’d point to his chest) to here (point to his mouth) and out here (Dad would gesture to the room around him).” This was because Dad greatly advocated for talking about problems with someone who could help. He loved the quote “a problem shared is a problem halved” and although he didn’t say that one often, it was the foundation for many a “lecture” (Dad’s word) on “not stewing on things, Darl” (Dad would say this to me often, I like to hold things in) and on instead getting them out by talking openly about problems/worries.

Dad loved talking at length about healthy eating and exercise but was probably the most prolific supporter of McDonalds in the world. He loved it and thought no one else knew – but we all knew. Dad wasn’t that great at keeping the wrappers or receipts secret, bless him.

Dad was open and curious about everything. Anything you wanted to talk to Dad about, he’d listen with genuine interest. Dad loved ‘signs and wonders’ and would find magic in the ordinary. A billboard with a certain word on it, a piece of torn paper in his workbag with a number on it, a cartoon drawing (Dad loved the ‘Lunig’ cartoons very much) of something that inspired or made Dad laugh – or something no one else would think to look at would catch Dad’s attention and he’d burst into a story about something it reminded him of or how a word or number had been “just the encouragement I needed, Chook”.

I miss him, guys. So much. I walked around on Dad’s birthday with a knife through my heart and constant tears in my eyes. I so wanted someone to say “Tell me about him” so I could talk about Dad and hear his laugh in the hollow beneath my chest.

No matter how much time passes, grief doesn’t get any easier. Talking about our loved ones helps ease the pain so that it’s more manageable, somehow. If someone you know has lost someone they love – maybe ask them to tell you about them. You just might make their day.

24 responses to “Ask me about my Dad.”

  1. Good afternoon, Janet!

    I was in the neighborhood and thought I would stop by. I know I didn’t call first, but, you know how it is. Errands took me near here, it’s been a minute, and I’ve never let a moment to be annoying pass by unnoticed lol

    *Grabs a chair and pulls it closer to where you are* I’m just gonna plop right here for a while. I brought you this cookie, and I am not feeling particularly chatty this afternoon; I just feel more like listening.

    My memory has extra space, so to play off something I’ve heard you mention about your dad: a memory shared is a memory doubled.

    I’m listening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg Marla 🥹 thank you sooo much for popping in, bringing a cookie (I love this!) and asking about my Dad!!! You’ve made my absolute day!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad if I could make you feel better, I adore you and you deserve to smile. And you need to talk about your fond memories of your dad, and I’m happy to listen. You’ve heard all about my mom and so much more. I’m not kidding, or just being cute. I’m listening.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have such a good heart, Marla

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Mmkay. Or be all silent about it 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Lol. I’ve wanted to talk all day to you about Dad, you are just what I prayed for…but I’m working 9-10 hour days now and too exhausted to write anything of value. Please bear with me xx

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I take no offense to your silence. Several things were kind of clear to me., and I automatically decided they were all true, although I know some of them clearly wouldn’t be.
        1) you want to talk about him
        2) you don’t know where to start
        3) you are insanely busy
        4) you have something called a LIFE outside of the blog and it’s being demanding and pushy right now.
        5) all your fingernails are too long after your fabulous mani/pedi and you’re waiting until they chip on their own to type the long message
        6) you want to send me smoke messages instead of typing yet another thing
        7) you don’t wanna put it on the blog and are trying to figure out my email address
        And finally…
        8) it’s the first time in a long time that someone actually said “tell me” and the emotion of knowing they mean it has got you wanting to write, but at the same time, you’re just enjoying knowing there are ears available (I’ve been here, trust me). And have decided it’s hard to type with a happy lump in your throat

        I dunno if any of those are true, and they might all be true to some extent or another. But I can be quite patient, and it’s all good.

        And if it’s about the email, that’s probably the best way. You can compose it little by little, but the choice is yours.

        No matter what it is, I’m here, when you’re ready 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I loved all your creative options but it’s definitely a mixture of number 3 and number 8. It’s so weird when we get what we wish for then don’t quite know what to do with it – while getting slammed at work too. Ugh. Being a grown up sucks.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I hear you completely.

        The reason I came up with all of those is because they’ve ALL happened to me before. At various times. I’m here when you’re ready

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Morning Marla 🙂 not sure what the time difference is between Western Australia and the US, but my guess is that you’re sleeping. I hope you wake up to this and smile. I also hope you wake up to a good day 🙂

        One of my favourite memories of Dad was that every evening when he was putting my brother and I to bed, he’d tell us a story. I didn’t know it as a child but as an adult, I can tell Dad made them up on the spot. Dad, Jay (younger brother) and I would sit on Jay’s bed and Dad would weave these amazing tales of princesses, knights in armour, battles, adventures, mystical creatures – the whole thing.

        Once after me refusing to eat vegetables for about a fortnight (I’m very stubborn), Dad told Jay and I a story about Mr and Mrs Germ. He described them as little grey clouds with arms and legs. They didn’t eat vegetables and they only ate lollies. This was fun for a while until they got very sick and turned dark grey. Mr Germ’s body hurt and Mrs Germ’s tummy ached terribly. The Doctor said they had to eat at least ONE vegetable a day so they did. They then added to their intake – up to 5 vegetables a day at one point. Their skin “turned a very healthy bright green” and they went on to win the Wimbledon championships in London. I was so inspired by that and started to eat my vegetables. Well played, Dad. Bravo.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. As a random side note, I am exactly 12 hours off from Perth. So, it’s 10:05 am here and 10:05 pm there. At least, that’s what Siri tells me lol

        Ok. That’s brilliant! I’m so glad it worked. My father tried stuff like that but it didn’t work on my sisters or I. So his way of handling it was to make us take sides and argue the benefits of, say, eating vegetables. He would assign one of us pro veggies and one against and we would argue our points. Then he’d make us switch and we couldn’t use the same arguments as the other as it would be too repetitive. I’ll be honest, let you see that veggies weren’t so bad. Mommy did something else: she just straight up lied 😂 We ate our broccoli, not because it was healthy for us, but because they were Christmas trees and if we ate them, we’d have Christmas joy all the time. Brussels sprouts were cabbage patches and if we ate them, cabbage patch kids would grow in our tummies and we could have as many as we wanted. Asparagus was bean stalks and we’d have magic beans and golden harps if we at them. Honestly, as kids, we wanted magic beans, cabbage patch dolls and Christmas presents more than a logical reason to eat them 😂 to this day, I love veggies.

        Also, to this day, I have to call my now ex almost weekly because I want a specific veggie and can’t remember what it’s called. “Hey, I want Christmas trees and cabbage patches with the caterpillar seat. HELP!” And he says “broccoli, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.” So I can tell the waiter/waitress 😂 my sisters get it, and he learned over 20 years. There’s a reason I rarely order veggies on dates 😂 can you imagine? “Hold that thought, I have to call my ex because I don’t know what my veggies are called.” She did that with a lot of things. Gnocchi is bathtubs, ravioli is pocket books, spaghetti is Max (abbreviation of macaroni, but macaroni is just macaroni, only spaghetti is max). It’s an entire language that no one else outside of our extended family could ever comprehend.

        So I get it. Those moments that are just you and your brother; nights where Mr and Mrs Germ helped out you to sleep. By the way, the image I got when I was reading your tale made me think of Little House on the Prairie, the television show. So innocent, hanging on every word, and a solid good hearted man telling his kids that they needed to eat their veggies without guilting them into it. So creative!!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. omg I love that your Mom fooled you in such beautiful ways. It made me smile too that your ex knows “the code” for all the veggies and will help out whenever you need the reminder. The “caterpillar seats” for mushrooms especially touched my heart. I wonder how many cabbage patch kids are in your tummy then, Marla? You must have a whole city of them by now, no?

        My brother and I hung on my Dad’s every word for those bedtime stories. I wish now I had written them down and made them into a book for Dad. All I can remember are Mr and Mrs Germ! Haha. I think your Mom’s err…little codes (lies makes it sound awful when really they are so sweet) would also make for a great children’s book on eating vegetables 🙂 I can see that doing very well in daycare centers and kindergartens. Just saying Copyright Marla. Hahaha.


      11. You and your brother can reminisce together and then you can turn it into a story for you two.

        They were hold faced lies. Not codes. LIES! I never once got an extra cabbage patch doll, my sisters never once pooped Christmas trees (yeah, I’ve asked!). Lies, stories, fibs and tall tales!!!!! But clever as can be so I forgive her 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      12. If I wasn’t estranged from my brother (his choice) I would love to re-hash Dad’s stories with him.

        Hahahah oh well. At least you both can have a giggle over your Mom convincing you to eat your vegetables 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. The 3 of us certainly do. My father loathes brussel sprouts and refuses to eat them. Even if we call them cabbage patches. He tells us that cabbage patch dolls were ugly and he already has three ugly daughters, why would he eat something gross to have more. He really doesn’t like them lol. My ex thinks they taste like “farts made solid.”

        I have found that there is a distinct gender discrepancy regarding them specifically. Not all women like them, but almost all of the people that do like them are women. I’ve met one man that likes them. The rest hate them. Some will eat them because they have to (someone made them), but they would prefer if it were glass 😂

        If you have any connection with your brother at all, maybe you could write up the story of the Germs, and send him a copy. Expect nothing, but send it along anyway. He might appreciate it, he might not. But you’ll have it too

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This made my day, thanks for sharing. I love discovering people 😁. I am grateful that both of my parents lent their acting talent to some short films I made so if i needed to remember a voice I can. Memories are vague these days with Mom being gone 21 years and Dad 5 years (but there was decades of him causing emotionsl abuse)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi there Matt, thank you for writing to me, I love hearing from you. How fortunate that you have videos of your parents so you can “visit” when you need a reminder of them and get to hear their voices. My Mom took a lot of little 1-2 minute clips of my Dad on her Facebook so I visit Dad regularly to hear his laugh and gruff voice.

      I’m sorry your Dad caused so much pain 😔 that must have been beyond awful for you.

      I’d love to hear about your Mom, though? What was she like?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mom used to love to laugh especially with a glass of wine, intensely played the lottery and was passionate about horse races, was open minded and compassionate and had friends of all types, loved Shemp Howard of the three stooges, always wanted to visit Egypt but never really got to travel abroad (she passed young at 60), made the best damn Turkey bread stuffing, loved horror films, had a creative streak for awhile was into learning to become a childrens author, was my biggest fan/support/collaborator, was quite sports minded indulged in walking/handball/golf/racketball/swimming/bowling (even became team captain for a female league and was top league champions for 5 years), wasn’t just my Mom. She was my best friend. 😔💔😇

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Woah 60 is very young indeed to pass away. I’m sorry, Matt 😞 you sound a lot like your Mom – open minded and creative. I also suspect you like horror, too – and sports. Your loss is huge because as you said, you lost your best friend, too. Your Mom sounds like someone super cool. Like you xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Naw the only difference tween her and i were the sports..can’t play em, dont watch em

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks too sound super cool 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I found your share fascinating, and enjoyed every word of it ~ great write!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ana!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Definitely feel you on this! Hugs!!!💜


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