I miss him every day.
My Mam has five sisters, growing up there was always one of them around and even though three of them live in England, one was usually home. It wasn’t unusual for the dining room table to be surrounded by all six loudly chatting, drinking tea, laughing and sharing stories under a cloud of smoke, back then they all smoked.
They would break their hearts laughing telling stories about growing up and things they did, ribbing the other one to get a rise out of her and then break into loud crackles of laughter. Then, without fail they would they would chat about their “Mammy”.
You see their mammy, my granny died before I was even born, as my Mam would say, “you were still in Gods pocket”. So I never got to meet her but I know every inch of her. I’ve a beautiful picture of her in my mind. Things she did or didn’t do, how she sat, her favourite things, all because my mam and aunties sat around that table for so many years talking about their Mammy and as the stories flowed invariably so would the tears. Maybe just from one of them but sometimes all six girls would have a cry.
As I kid and teen this fascinated me. Thankfully, at those ages, I hadn’t experienced grief and to my young mind, I couldn’t understand why after all this time they were still crying over Granny.
My Granny died in 1979, so it could be fifteen years, even twenty and my aunties still held some heartache over their Mam’s absence. In my young mind I was like, “it’s been like fifteen years and they’re still whinging about Granny”. I was young and naive.
My dad passed away then I was 24. It was fast and furious. He went from being at home with a cough, to a cold, to a mad ambulance dash to Tallaght Hospital, to tests, blood counts and then a diagnosis of Leukaemia with the hope of treatment and a few years to savour every moment of him.
The ferociousness of his illness took over and two weeks later on the 15th of February 2005 I kissed my dad goodnight for the last time.
Twelve years – Still crying.
My daughter and son’s Granddad Gerard will probably be nearly twenty years gone before they might notice mammy and maybe her brother’s whinging about him and they will think in their young minds, it’s been like twenty years mam! My son who points at Granddad Gerard’s picture and cleans behinds his ears because granddad Gerard used to say “you could grow potatoes behind there” will probably look and think, Mammy’s talking about Granddad again. I hope they both have that naivety from grief for such a long, long time.
I miss him on Father’s Day, but I missed him the day I had Oisín and then Hannah. I miss him getting to enjoy all of his beautiful grand kids and knowing his son in law. I wished he held my hand the day I walked down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. I missed him the all the times I had the bad days in work, the day the Dubs lifted the Sam after fifteen years and at the side of a GAA pitch.
I still long for his daily phone call checking in just after 10am. I thought of him the day we signed for our home. All the big occasions but mostly I miss being able to sit and chat with him at the kitchen table and tell him all about my day.
I just miss him and no matter how many years have passed, that or the tears won’t change.
So now I think about my mam and aunties chatting about their Mammy, I have such a fondness and bond with my granny even though we never met. I feel like I know every bit of her, I always felt she was my guardian angel. I have such a bond with her. I named Hannah after her.
In turn, my kids will know everything there is to know about their Granddad Gerard even when internally they’re thinking she’s at it again about Granddad Gerard until someday they’re thankful they know their Granddad.
So Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s, thinking of everyone for whatever reason won’t get to spend it with their Dad.
Today I will celebrate Joey and his dad Popa Joe. I’m sure probably try and wrangle Oisín to tell him another story about Grandad Gerard.
Happy Father’s Day,