My Dad was born today 10 December 1918, to an unwed School Mistress in Yorkshire.
To my Grandmother for being the strong woman of her time, for her parents who supported her when she lost her job, for having a babe out of wedlock. I did not get to know you, but thank you.
To my Dad, a World War Two Veteran – thank you for your service.
Thank you for being there to dig the children out of the collapsed movie theatre during World War Two. For sailing far from home, to protect home and country. For getting back on the ships after being sunk on them. Thank you also for being part of Dunkirk, though you only spoke of it once, and to my sibling, I know you would have thought of it as doing your duty.
Thanks for being there throughout my childhood. We argued whenI became a teenager, and fought more than once. But you were a man of your times, and that you became in your own words “A feminist” helped me grow into one too.
We may have disagreed more often than agreed, and we were too alike to see eye to eye for long; you were still there after Mum died. You held her through the long fight with cancer, cared for her, and finally told her that you loved her. We held you as you cried that night after she died, the loss of the one constant in our lives.
Before the cancer and the madness, you met the one I would wed. You knew then, that they were a keeper. That they would provide the comfort and protection when your own cancer would take you. Thank you for welcoming them into our lives.
You didn’t get to meet our child, or see the grandkids you had then go on and have children of their own. I wonder, as does my child, what you would have thought of them. Whether your true colours would have shown through, or whether you would have been just glad that I had finally “caught” up with my siblings……
Your birthday is today, I’ve baked a cake to celebrate and honour you. I’ve lit a candle for you as well. I will gather my little family around, and we’ll sing you a Happy Birthday, for without you, there would be no us.
I miss you Dad.