Saturday, 25 May 2013


A sad week, the funeral of a family man, a man younger than me but like me the father of teenage daughters. Eighteen months ago the funeral of another family man, also the father of teenage daughters. My own father died in February. Yesterday Drummer Lee Rigby's wife Rebecca said he was a devoted father to his son Jack. The horror of his death here in our own country literally brings home the deaths of all those soldier fathers killed far away.

We notice mothers, celebrate motherhood, read and endlessly discuss how to be a mother. Even the generic word 'parent' in practice frequently means mother. But we only really notice fathers when they are bad; the rest of the time fathers are like the walls of the house, essential, constant, so obvious they are hardly noticed. When tragedy strikes and they are gone we are suddenly homeless. It is heartbreaking to witness all those daughters and sons lose their Daddy.

The funerals have celebrated the lives of each Dad with humour and affection. We want to keep our fathers close by remembering and speaking about them. They are so much a part of us for all our lives that they are never really gone; that is where the pain and I think eventually the comfort lies - my Dad, no longer here with me but always a part of me.

June 16th is Father's Day. Perhaps this year we should remember everyone who has lost their father as much as celebrate all Dads. Later this year I intend to remember my father by walking Hadrian's Wall from coast to coast - I don't know why, it just seems the right thing to do. And on Father's Day I will make a fuss of my daughters so they know how much they mean to me.

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