You know how when you’re reading a book, you’re really into it, the main characters are pretty much as close as your best friends and family. You have your favourite, then suddenly the writer writes them off? You know that feeling of total disgust, anger, frustration, sadness? You’re mad at the writer: “How could they do this!”; “I’m not reading this anymore”;”If they write off my other favourite charater I’m not even going to bother to read the rest!” You see no point to it, why does the plot need this?
Well that happened for our family today, for real, as we said goodbye to our father who passed away in his sleep.
I sat down at my piano a few moments ago and started playing. In F#! I never play anything in F#! I started playing about with a little theme that came to me and it soon became a little piece of music which I will be developing in honour of my dad. When I was thinking about it more and played a few variations and thought about another section or two, I decided I would finish the piece on an Imperfect Cadence.
Now those of you who may not be musical will not understand this terminology. Basically an Imperfect cadence doesn’t sound finished, it feels like the music should continue on. I felt that was the best way to finish a piece of music in memory of my dad. When someone passes who has sons and daughters and family around them, or even people they were close to and touched in some way, it is never the end of their story. The music will continue on in the lives they have touched.
As a family our dad has passed on so much to us. So much love, so much wisdom, so much perseverance and grace. So I thought what better a way to show the kind of man he was by what he taught me. So here I go.
He showed the value of gentleness. He was one of a rare breed, a Gentleman, as they were once known. Yes my dad was no saint, and he would admit it, but he taught me you dont have to be big and strong and feared to gain respect. Infact, the most valued respect is one that is earned from gentleness. I have yet to meet anyone to say a word a miss about my dad. Mind you, that may be because they know my crazy sisters …
He taught me so much about faithfullness. He could always be relied upon to be there. I remember fights him and my mum would have. I should point out my dad never lifted a finger to my mum, though my mum may have lifted a TV among other objects. I loved my mum but she was one you didn’t want to cross! Complete opposite in character to my dad, their commonality was their love for each other and for us. Well my dad would be the one to get chucked out or to leave the house. But it never mattered how long that was my dad was always there, and he was always back making things better trying to fix what went wrong, even though he was probably oblivious to half of the reasons at times. It taught me faithfullness is hard but it is worth it. 25 years my parents were married before my mum passed. I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong.
My dad is the main reason I have faith. Why I believe in a creator God, a Father God. He was the one who made sure we got up and went to Mass on Sundays. Now even though I would no longer consider myself a Catholic because of where my journey of faith has brought me to, my dad played a pivotal role in the initial part of my searching, in taking me to mass I learned about Christ and belief in God and that got me questioning. My dad also displayed so many charateristics that reminded me of God’s love and God’s grace which is a part of the reason why I continued in my pursuit of God.
Just to illustrate a point I’ll share this story. One night my dad had one too many whisky’s. But on his way to bed he chapped on my door and I think my brothers after. He was brandishing a £20 note and said “This is for you” so I responded “It’s ok dad, just go to your bed” then he replied “Just take it man, it’s just because I love you.” So after some toing and froing I took it. To get some sleep more than anything and it helped with my plans for the following day! But when I refelcted on it, it taught me so much about love. And my dad is the person I have learned most from about love, particularly after my mum passed. And that is what I’ll talk about now.
That little transaction which took place over the course of 5 mins between my dad and I taught me so much about love when I reflected back on it, and thinking on my dads actions as whole taught me so much more.
Firstly, love is persistent. It never gives up. If I had continued to refuse that £20 I do not know how long I would be discussing the matter at my room door with my dad. Secondly, love is generous. Love nurtures a giving heart. How much easier is it to give someone something when you love them? Thats why giving me that £20 was so easy for my dad. He had such a generous heart. You could make the argument he was maybe too generous.
Thirdly, love is worthless if it is not shown. There is no point in simply feeling love for someone, it needs to be displayed otherwise you are lying to yourself. And my dad showed his love in so many ways. Every week more or less since my Aunt moved into sheltered housing he would go get her new audio books, and go round to see her. He was always the one who handed us that little bit of money because he knew if we were struggling with stuff.
Fourthly, love is selfless. Thinking on it now my dad probably had that £20 set aside in his wallet for something else he needed it for. But I remember asking my dad if he remembered giving me it and he said that he did. So I offered it back if he wanted it and he refused. My dad would always put himself out for us, when it came to his needs or ours it wasn’t even a choice for him. He always had that kind of heart.
Lastly love can hurt. I think on my initial refusal of that gift he was trying to give me. How much that might have hurt him had I persisted because I was refusing a token of his love for me. I think on the many tears he has shed in the past years thinking on my mum, talking about her. It was talking with my dad over these past years I really got that insight on how much he loved my mum because I saw how much missing her hurt him.
So my dad’s time in the story has ended. I have voiced my frustrations to the Writer, but at the same time thankful for the beautiful story He has written thus far. I wont put the book down yet. It may be hard to see just now, but maybe the best is yet to come.
Here is the piece of music I am working on…