MEMORY OF A FATHER
He died 36 years ago on the April 20th. He lived life fast and furious,
running from his demons, running to his hell. He was my father, and I
only knew him for 11 years of my life. He died of a heart attack at the
age of 46. I believe that he could have lived longer if he was strong
enough to fight for life.
During WW2 my father was a fighter pilot in the R.A.F. in England. Squadron
Leader of a Mosquito Squadron fighting in the Italian theatre and Southern
Europe as the war progressed. It must have been very stressful , but he
did it well. He was a mans man, and like the company of other men
at the bar, drinking the pain away of yet another friend shot down and
lost to all. My father did not like to talk about the war, nor the scars
it must have left on him. But what war leaves any of our heroes without
pain and bad memories, and perhaps a little fear of tomorrow.
After the war myy dad, Robert (Bob for short), was an importer and exporter
of timber. He worked in the family business along with his brother Cyril,
whom he hated with a passion. Cyril was a complete fool in business and
ultra conservative, never wanting to expand or spend money, which put
extra pressure on my dad, who could see the post-war possibilities. Although
the business did well, with father running it, he had many conflicts with
his brother, and I do believe that this is one of the things that contributed
to his early death.
My mother and father had an opportunity to come to Canada some years before
I was born, but my dad chickened out at the last minute, I really do feel
that if he had come, he would have had a much longer life and a much more
rewarding one. I now live here in Canada, in Vancouver B.C a place that
I call home and a place that he would have loved.
I remember taking our dog Candy for walks when I was home from boarding
school. We would talk and teach Candy new tricks. One time, when we where
on one of our walks, the moon was so beautiful that it felt that you could
see many countries on it. I saw the romantic side of my dad that night,
and as I thought to myself that I would like to spend more time getting
to know this man, little did I know that it was possibly the last walk
we would take together forever.
I feel and have been told that I am a lot like my dad, and an awful lot
like my grandmother Daisy. I feel Daisys presence a lot, and do
believe that she is my guardian angle watching over me. Who knows what
would have happened if he had lived, we might have got to know each other
better, or he may have retreated into himself more.
My dad, Bob, did not feel comfortable with emotions or illness. Unfortunately
I was a sickly child, and needed more attention than the others, I have
a half sister Jane and a whole brother Sam. I have always loved to hug
and be hugged, I never really place a high value on myself and my illness
tiresome for everyone. I needed love and hugs to reassure me to help me
breathe again and to feel wanted. I used to leave my radio on at night
deliberately, so that my father would have to come in and switch it off.
When I heard him open the door, I would close my eyes and pretend to be
asleep. If he thought that I was awake he would chastise me, but if he
thought that I was asleep he would kiss my brow. I would wait for hours
for him to come and kiss my brow. I longed for the love that I needed
It is not that he was a hard man, but only that he did not know how to
show his emotions as it was not allowed when he grew up. Nannies and servants
bought children up where they were seen and not heard, this is the way
it was in those days.
My father loved sailing, he had a sailboat that we kept at the summer
home. Every weekend that we could we would be down there watching him
sail, my mother and I were to scared to get in the boat with him, as he
sailed it like he raced his cars. (He was once a racing driver). After
a sail, he would go down to the pub for a drink with the mates. He felt
more comfortable in the company of men; he talked their talk and felt
important in their company. This put a huge gap between himself and my
mother, who was left alone far to often, only to receive a drunken husband
at her door late at night.
I do think that if my dad was here today, I would be able to help him
confront his emotions and understand the person he really was. I feel
he was a victim of the war, like many of his generation. His pride and
the lack of emotional care that is needed to bring up a child was probably
not his fault.
He showed his love in little ways. He was a victim of the times, the
stiff upper lip Englishman. It takes more courage to look in and
to face up to ones shortcoming than it does to lie to someone else.
Maybe my dad did not know where to find this courage, maybe it was not
allowed in those days, but whatever the reason it shortened his life.
I still miss him. I have three children, a cat and another dog, just like
Candy. A Border collie. As I train the dog I try to remember how he and
I trained Candy together, trying to hold to the few memories that I still
have. I was very angry with him for years, dying on us like that, and
not having the courage to fight harder for us to live for us. Now years
later as I have fought my own demons I realize how hard it was for him.
In understanding I learn to forgive, now I just miss him.
You will always be with me dad, and I see you in my son Tyler. You would
be proud of them dad, I only hope that you have watched them grow up over
the years and shared in their lives with me.
Be at peace and when you live again may it be a joyous life filled with
love and joy and positive emotions.
With much love
of the winter skin.
Sara Towe escapes to the sun
we went, all aware of this last trip and that we do not spend a lot of
time together as a family anymore.
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