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< back to Sandra's blogDay 730 – Second anniversary

Tonight we went to Dad’s favourite pizza place and ordered his favourite – seafood pizza with double anchovies.

Mum and I walked to the restaurant along the beach. She is doing really well. She is settling into the house and is rebuilding her life. She can check the oil and water in her car now and pump up her own tyres. She should be and is really proud of all her achievements. She said that if she had known she could have coped this well on her own she would have left Dad years ago.

 

This didn’t really surprise me that much. I had been encouraging Mum to leave Dad since I was about 10 years old. I don’t really have the right to talk about anyone’s relationship with my Dad except for my own. But Dad was hard to live with and Mum and Dad fought a lot.

 

Dad was unpredictable and had a really short temper; there were no ‘safe’ topics. Even talking about the weather could end up getting you yelled at. Dad was easily frustrated. Mum lived with a lot of angst because of his frustration. It’s not much fun living on edge like that. I used to feel so riled at the injustice of it all, it wasn’t fair that he was so short tempered with Mum. It was as though she couldn’t win no matter what she did. I hated that.

If Dad was working in the garage and called for someone to help him, we would fight over who had to go because we knew that we would end up getting yelled at, no matter what we did.

 

Dad loved his job as a bookmaker and working at the track, however, it was very stressful. Dad would get home from work and Mum would say, “Did you win?” It was this constant win, lose, win, win, lose, lose, up, down stress. When I was about 12-years old I remember one weekend Dad lost $24,000 dollars. We had people coming over for dinner on the Sunday night so we turned off all the lights, lit candles and hung a ‘for sale’ sign out the front of the house as a joke. My sister and I thought it was really funny, we didn’t know how serious it was.

 

It’s hard to describe Dad because I didn’t really know him. When I was at school he used to pick me up from town every Wednesday night and drive the 25-minute ride home. It was the only time we ever spent alone together. I would dread it because we had absolutely nothing to say to each other and the silence hung uncomfortably in the air.

 

Like a lot of men, Dad found himself unemployed in his 50s when his industry fell apart with the introduction of casinos and poker machines. He had no qualifications so he became a courier driver. This is perhaps the only period of my father’s life that I understand. He felt demoralised; he had gone from being highly respected on the track and in the racing industry to being the “scum of the earth” as he once described it. He said the way people at reception desks sometimes treated him because he was “just a courier driver” was terrible. In the last year or so of Dad’s life he had started to deliver medical equipment and items that were required for urgent medical procedures. It made him feel as though his job was important.

It seems impossible for me to understand, but Dianne was actually ‘friends’ with Dad. When she was a teenager she worked for Dad at the races and got to know him in the work environment. She was more settled than me and followed a more conventional path in life .She got a normal job, got married and then had a child. She made Dad happy. Maybe Dad and I would have started to get along as I got older? I will never know.

 

Dad loved being a grandfather and he was a lovely grandfather. He was so accepting, proud and in awe of everything that David did. He was so ‘available’ to David. I know he was trying to make up for all the “mistakes” he had made with his kids. I cry now as I write this because sometimes I used to look at him with David and think, ‘Dad, I’m still here, it’s not to late to love me like that.’

 

Written on 11 Mar 2006
Over 15 years since incident
Tags: Dad, anniversary

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jes | 12 Nov 2010

It is also not too late NOW for him to love you like that.


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