The Loss of My Father

Following the heart break of losing Sheryl, I immediately cut short my living in Israel and returned home to London. I had loved deeply, taken part in fascinating adventures, seen wonderful sights, including sitting on the edge of a mountain watching the desert sun rise over the Dead Sea to burn the sky. For two days I had lived as they did two thousand years before, in that holiest of cities, Jerusalem. But losing the girl I had shared most of it with left me empty and ready to go home.

Just under a year later, my father died. He had worked hard as a tailor in a clothes factory. We were a poor family, so he was only able to finally retire at the age of 71. A year later he succumbed to cancer and passed away.

He lived in a time of two world wars, in World War One he was part of the Royal Air Force. From the cockpit of a flimsy plan, he radioed back the positions of German guns. During World War Two he helped in the Home Guard. A man of few words but a strong personality nevertheless. My coming was not planned, and he was already in his fifties when I was born.

The way it seems to go is that parents take pleasure and strong interest in bringing up their children, whilst those same children’s eyes are firmly on growing up and living their expanding life, so there’s not many daughters and less so sons, who take a strong interest in knowing their parents further than as, “my mum and dad,” though they are certainly loved as such.

It was the same with me. There were occasional times I did ask him about his life, then he would talk and talk, and when he did I was fascinated about this other world I was so close to but never really knew.

I took his death hard but my mother was truly devastated. Seeing her in such pain was very tough to take. I felt somehow numb, although my grief was there, I couldn’t release my feelings. One night in my kitchen, I was sitting there trying to come to terms with the loss when my friend David arrived. He didn’t need to say anything, he was just there for me and it was at that moment I released all the pent-up grief and cried like a baby. I got a lot off my chest that evening and I am forever grateful to him for just being there for me.

I did what I could to move on with my life and not that long after I got together with my future wife!

No doubt like many others I have found the highs of love and the lows of loss to have been an emotional and involving part of my life. From a young age I have been fortunate enough to have been loved, and found loving back an easy thing to do.

I take this same approach in my writing, I never ignore or shy away from loss if it is needed in my story and do have plenty of poems with this theme. However, at the same time I do not dwell on the loss or the grief, but make sure to look past it, move forward through it and see if my characters can come out the other end ready to carry on with life.

I dedicate this following poem most deeply to my father:

Life’s Ecstasy

We are so much more

Than meat and blood,

And did not come

From bubbling mud.

 

We are life’s ecstasy,

Poems of the night,

A crazy blazing furnace,

The shadows and the light.

 

We are this world’s artists,

Creating each day afresh,

The truest, deepest feelings

Come from us, not our flesh.

 

We are each one unique,

Personality self-designed,

From the way we walk and talk,

To the pictures in our mind.

 

We are strength and reason,

With the power of choice,

And no machine can match,

The emotion in our voice.

 

We are the raging sea,

Or cooling summer breeze,

Following the strictest rules,

Or doing just as we please.

 

We are the laughter and tears,

It is you who wonders why,

The urge behind each moment,

And the calming pleasant sigh.

 

We are an eternal spark,

The burning in the eyes,

After our body is finished

It is us, who again will rise.

 

We are the hope of love,

And thoughts behind action,

Our élan is spiritual,

Not a physical contraption.