12 September 2011

a lot of pain in both of us

Dad's ey?
My brother rang me up on Sunday afternoon. I missed the call so rang him back around 6pm. He told me our father had died. Cancer.

I thanked him for the news and hung up. I was strangely stunned and disassociated from the news. I did not feel sad, or a loss or hurt. It was a kind of emptiness.

I’m 51 years old now and the last time I saw my father was when I was just turned 17 and he’d booted me out of the family home. Well, he didn’t exactly boot me out; I’m exaggerating a bit there. I was working in my first job after leaving 6th form and had been in it a few months. I paid around 20% of my income in ‘board’ but this day my father said he was going to put my board up. I objected, of course, I had my motor bike to pay for and I’d just discovered the joy of having your own wage packet to spend on whatever you wanted. He said ‘if you think you can live cheaper in the real world then do it’. i said ‘I don’t know if I can but I’m going to try it’. And so I left. I got a house with 5 bedrooms and 4 mates and we lived cheaper than cheap can live.

I never went back home ever again. Popped back a few times but it always ended badly. I worked for five years then went to University. Never needed to. Never sorted things out with him and now will never get the chance to.

How does one show grief for a man you haven’t known properly for 43 years? How do you remember a man from that long ago? I do remember watching wrestling with him on a Saturday afternoon; I remember the ‘belt’, administered for misdemeanours. I remember him drunk and angry or drunk and playful. I remember him working away for long periods and not seeing him. I don’t remember him. Not really. And that’s what sad about the whole sorry episode of death is that you think you know these people but you don’t really. You can try to know these people and that’s the most you can do.

I did try reconciliation a few times. I went on the long trip back to Newcastle to visit him. There was still a lot of pain in both of us and we ended up falling out again but even more deeply this time.
When he met his new partner she had a son and he kind of saw him and her as his new family and rejected me and my brother. We became a pain in his life and he never really accepted us after that; we were constant reminders of a woman he loved who left him for another man and abandoned her children.

I will remember his legacy of abandonment and my mother’s too. It’s affected me and my brother to this very day. We’re broken people in a way. Every time I feel as if I’m being abandoned I have this choking irreconcilable fear that I can’t contain.

This was the death notice in the Chronicle today.

Bill Anderson
8th September 2011
ANDERSON (Pelaw). Peacefully at home on 8th September 2011, aged 80 years, Bill, dearly loved husband of Sue, much loved dad of Peter and his partner Jan, devoted and much loved granda of Rowan and Tanith. Friends please meet for service at Saltwell Crematorium on Wednesday 14th September at 2.30pm. Family flowers only please, donations if desired for Barnardo's may be left in the donation box after the service. Bill was a loving husband, father, father-in-law and a much loved friend of Ann and Billy. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. All enquiries to Watson's Funeral Directors Ltd.

Didn't get a mention.