I found your post really inspirational, and thank you for writing it – your strength and courage for taking over and doing what was needed at this time is something you should be proud of.
What particularly resonated for me was your insights into your mum and her love for you. When I was young I thought my dad hated me – he only ever seemed to either be telling me off or sending me away, he seemed so distant and cold. I never recall ever hearing him say he loved me or was proud of me, and I left home as soon as I could and went to the other side of the world. I would ring home, but if he answered he would simply say “Oh, it’s you – here’s your mother” and pass the phone right over. I thought to myself “he can’t even bear to hear my voice.”
And then, one day, he was gone. A sudden heart attack and he was gone for good. I travelled home to the funeral, and then life continued.
It was only after that I learned, bit by bit. I learned that he had been told that he was the ‘man of the house’ at aged 9, when his father died. His mother took him out of school and sent him to work and told him never to act like a child again as she needed him to run the family now. I learned that he was never given time or the tools to learn how to cope for himself, let alone others – and that he understood being a boy/man only in very narrow terms. I was outside those terms, and he thought he was doing the right thing by trying to cajole me back into them.
Most of all, I learned how proud he was of me. How proud he was of the person I became, how close he’d sit to my mum whilst she’d talk to me, so he could hear everything – and why he would get off the phone within seconds or else he’d burst into uncontrollable tears. Uncontrollable, because he loved me and missed me, but lacked the words and the ability to tell me. I learned that he was desperate for me to come home, for us to be closer. And that his study was plastered in my photos.
I do regret that I learned all this too late to share better times with him; but I am grateful that I did learn, and I’m grateful for my dad and his love. I am thankful for the few good times we did share, and I feel sorrow for what stopped him from being able to share more.
I am sharing this today only because your message, justme, really hit home just how powerful it can be to discover we are loved and held close – even when we don’t see it, in their lifetime.
I hope you take comfort from what you found, and find ways to maintain a relationship with your mum going forward.
And thank you once more, for sharing.