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My Dad

My dad who was born in 1896 in the year of Queen Victoria's reign,
the eldest and only son of three siblings.
Their father died when Dad was three,
straining his heart pulling a cattle beast out of a bog.
Leaving my father's mother a widow with 3 young
children to raise on her own, without widows benefit as
it had not been thought of back then.

My Dad was a hard man, a sign of his time
as an adult I was able to understand why,
he had no male parent or relative's guidence
with his mother's work day of taking in washing and ironing
and no state help she was too tired to teach him gentler ways

My Dad was out working by the time he was thirteen
to make a living for his mother and sisters
I often wondered as I was growing up
why my Dad could not convey his love verbally to me
But, alas this was just not his way
His act of love was to work hard and provide
this being the only way he knew how.
It would seem that many parents still do this today,
and just don't know how important it is to us to hear these three words

I guess it wasn't easy for him, me being the youngest
of seven children and Dad being nearly sixty when I was born,
he had grandchildren from his first marriage much older than me.
He was a widower with three sons when he married my mother,
they had one daughter and two sons when I was born.
Dad being so old could not have been an easy task for him,
because he never played with me, we never played ball
or anything although I remember ocassionally sitting on his knee.
I did not see him very often from six years until sixteen,
he had a small farmlet forty miles away and would only come
home at weekends, or some weekends we would all stay with him.

Perhaps had there been more conversation and explainations
of why instead I got "because I said so, or do as you are told'
there might have been more understanding from me
even though I obeyed unquestionably, he was too scary
to do otherwise but with resentment,
mutterings under my breath and misunderstandings.

I loved my Dad unconditionally, I placed him on a pedestal,
when he died I was still young with stars still in my eyes
but years later that pedestal broke
I realised that Dad was human after all.

I was hurt for quite a number of years,
because Dad was a law unto himself
an extremely dogmatic and arrogant man.
He would never ever admit that he was wrong
admit he was sorry that he made a mistake and apologise,
and to praise you for a job well done
was not in his vocabulary.

I probably will never really understand why he was so
and even though I have let it go, my Dad was pretty special to me.
A child always loves their parents.
I did ask myself a time or two, did I love him because
I had too or because he was loveable,
and now I know I loved him for himself
not just because I had too.

Dad's belief in God was how I started seeking too
Although his thoughts on God differ from mine
I realise that his beliefs came from the lack
of teachings back then, there is far more
teachings and minstries around today
Dad lives in my memories and I still think of him often
even though he has been gone from my sight for twenty four years
His guidence and my upbringing are a part
of what makes me today I know there are some things
that I disagree with Dad about but they really are a
very small portion I look from the prospective that I
made it well into adulthood and have been able to let
myself go forward and not keep going back

April 2000

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Amanda Martin-Shaver