I came across this picture when I was in one of my very rare tidying out frenzies and I stopped and pondered. My dad and me, 29 years ago, shortly after I had been diagnosed with upper stage 3 malignant melanoma. It was taken at my son’s first birthday party ..
Within the space of days after the biopsy was taken, I was in an operating theatre with my headphones on (then it was a walkman with clumsy foam head phones, but they did the trick) under local anaesthetic having a long clean chunk of flesh removed to ensure the mole with the cancer was gone forever. And it was!
I did not know it then, but it was never to come back. My mindset saw to that. I was not going to let my son grow up without his mum. But my husband saw to it too. Whenever I had any doubts or worries, usually before my 3 or 6 month check up, he would not entertain any negativity, acting completely normal and make me think that I was making a big deal over nothing. And, really, I was, because it was gone, forever.
Back to the picture of me and my dad. I have been thinking of him a lot lately, as it is coming fairly close to the 2 year anniversary of his death. We have always been close, we were alike in many ways, both liking swimming, history, nature, we both stammered, were shy, never put on weight (except me during Covid – 20 pounds?!), we love to eat (ice cream and chocolate could be our main course), read and listen to the news, and we love looking at family photos.
I miss hanging out with him, just sitting next to him, not having to say a word. He preferred it that way, I think. He had 3 other daughters and lots of voices around him, and I think he liked the quietness of our one on one time together.
Yet I know he is in the best place ever, with the person who loves him the most and is taking care of everything. He is with us too, God our Father, that is, taking care of things, but I do not always feel that he is and I try to handle things without him. He is patient and kind, and never overbearing, gentle …
I wish I could do more with him, feel him, touch him .. But then, no, there would be no mystery, the same desire would not be there… Yes, there are times I feel his presence, but I have to deeply want it. It is hard to explain. When I want to physically feel him, I reach for my grandmother’s Bible, the one that she left to me when she died. It was her mother’s. She knew that I would have this complicated relationship with God and that I would need his word. I often just hug it to my chest, and that is enough. But it is fun to open it, see the yellowing pages, and the pencil marks showing where Granny or great granny had read to each night. I think they read through the whole Bible, more than once, perhaps, as there are pencil marks at the end of each chapter, or thereabouts. I wonder, what would be their take on the world right now.