By Paul Murray
I had vivid recollections of my dad just now.
How he smelt: that fusion of cologne, cigarettes and – well just his own unique and comforting smell. How he looked at me when I’d said something sensible or surprising – like he really valued the times we spent together and the fact that my school years had not been entirely in vain.
Little did he know that so much of what I’d learned had been simply through observation and listening; listening to his conversations, his rarely expressed world views and those ubiquitous partially completed cryptic crossword puzzles over which I pored when they lay unattended about the house.
It wasn’t that he was an affectionate man or a gentle and giving soul but his energy was always around us in the way that a father’s presence should be, pervasive, omnipresent, securing.
Even when he was absent I could sense him near me and I could hear his voice if I closed my eyes in the darkness of my room.
We may well inherit parental attributes, awkwardness and all their retrospectively obvious frailties but we have the opportunity of building ourselves into the people that they wanted us to become knowing full well that that particular process would be a work in progress in perpetuity. And that’s just fine.
I miss my dad so much. And yet I still have him right here. I see him looking back at me from my mirror in a particular light, with a certain expressionistic nuance. And it makes me smile.
I pray that my own children might think of me in this way from time to time.
That would make everything about having attempted to be a parent worthwhile.
Love you dad.