I was raised a Christian by my mother but when I was about six, I started to think that heaven was a lie because, even at that tender age, I could figure out that heaven could never live up to my expectations if my dad, an atheist, wasn’t going to be there (or so the story goes). That was the moment that I changed sides…
Now, I am in my thirties and I am trying to get to grips with the fact that I probably don’t have that much longer with my dad. Our time together is almost up and I find myself imagining what it will be like not to have a dad anymore. I cannot help but wonder when it will happen and how it will make me feel; how I will cope and if I will recover.
Of course my dad is getting old, I get that, but he is not that old. I’m not that old! Not old enough to begin losing my parents. Although, I am not sure it ever gets any easier – or does it? Either way, it is still going to be tough; a tough pill to swallow.
My dad is definitely one-of-a-kind and I know I will miss him dearly. I will miss our conversations (but mostly debates) about music, politics and the state of the world. I will miss that familiar smell of metal shavings, beer and cigarettes, that always bring back childhood memories. I will miss his big bear hugs followed by a strange tap on the back. I will miss him dearly.
We have had a rocky relationship, me and my dad. We weren’t always together, on the same page or even the same continent. I wasn’t at his wedding, he wasn’t at mine. But somehow we have managed to salvage some sort of father-daughter relationship later in my life, albeit of the third kind. I understand now that parents aren’t perfect- as nor am I. They might be our advisors, our guides, our caretakers, but in the end of the day, they sometimes struggle, sometimes fall, even fail. They are not immune to failure nor mistakes- as nor are we. I think once you understand this you tend to avoid the disappointment of trying to make them live up to your superhero expectations. And, I guess you develop a more realistic understanding of your parents. “They are only human after all…”
So if heaven does exist in the way that they say it does, my atheist pops and I ain’t going (or so the story goes) but then to be entirely honest, if the guest list is that fickle, it hardly sounds like a party.
My dad’s name is Reginald, his favourite bands are: The Doors, The Smiths and Led Zeppelin. I am half of him and he is half of me. He lives as long as I do.