But something happened yesterday, that surprised me. My sister posted on her Facebook page that she was remembering my dad's birthday and that she missed him. That was it. I had forgotten it was his birthday. And that surprises me because I have been thinking so much about him, my mum and George since the year began. I think it could be because this year will mark the 20th anniversary of George's death. I can't believe it's been that long, it truly only feels like it happened only a couple of years ago.
So much has happened in those 20 years, Thomas finishing high school going off to University, then off to Korea to teach English. Shortly after his return to Canada he went back to college to hone his skills as a photographer. I have joined the local school board where I work as a special needs assistant, sometimes having fabulous years with the students, sometimes not, being treated badly by both students and administration. I have attempted to get back into the dating scene, only to decide it just isn't worth it. It seems that the men whom I'm interested in have no interest in friendship. I lost both my parents and endured heart wrenching funerals with my son and family by my side. Losing my parent's house was especially difficult. I have made and lost friendships, and now that I'm older and wiser, I realise that removing toxic people from my life is essential to happiness. Thomas has had a few girlfriends and heartbreaks, and also recently another heartbreak when he lost his job at the Toronto Star Newspaper. He did however, find a place to live that he loves, and that is giving him some joy.
My mum died in 2004. She was one of my best friends, and I talked to her almost daily, we were so so close. I miss her so very much. Being here in Canada alone with only Thomas as my family, she was very important to me, the voice on the phone that made me feel loved and encouraged. I wondered how I would manage without her. My younger sister Lorna stepped up, and she became my new best friend, doing for me what my mum used to. I love her dearly.
My dad died in 2014, not too long ago, and that is why I can't believe that I forgot his birthday. My sister was closer to him than I was. When I was young, he spent weeks away on assignments in the army. After he was discharged, he went to work before I got up, and came home shortly before I went to bed. Then I was away for 5 years at boarding school. I lived at home for about 2 years before leaving England for good in 1974. So our relationship was distant, not through disagreement, but because we hadn't really had the opportunity to get to know each other. The last 10 years of his life he struggled (actually it was me who struggled) with Alzheimers disease. My amazing sister Lorna, again stepped in and took on the often difficult role of being one of his caregivers. I only visited every other year for a couple of weeks, to give her a rest, and to catch up with my dad. Dad always introduced me to his friends as his Canadian daughter, which I often took offence to, but I'm sure he meant it as a term of endearment. He thought I didn't understand how things worked in England because I lived in Canada. Sometimes that could be true, but again it rubbed me the wrong way. He taught me to play the harmonica, he took me fishing, he tried to explain the inner workings of the car engine, he took me on his 3 am paper route around Essex, he gave me an appreciation, (although not at the time) of photography, he showed me what a loving husband and father looked like.
So how on earth could I forget that it was his birthday yesterday?
So now I want to wish you a very would be
HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY, Dad