Dancing in His Grave


Dad’s safest where he is just now…

This entry should be read to the song ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong.

My lovely Dad must be dancing in his grave. It’s what he did on top of the soil so presumably he’ll be doing it even more now. He won’t be feeling too hot or too cold, he won’t be feeling too happy or too sad, he won’t be feeling too amused or too enraged – he’ll be as serene as ever he could have felt in this life. That’s a good thought, a good feeling – he’s past pain and past pleasure – a state of utter peace.

Those of us with breath in our lungs and blood running through our veins can’t genuinely imagine this state. After all, our very capacity to experience ourselves as living is dependent on this constant state of flux between various potentially opposite extremes. I can’t offer to throw light onto the matter either, because I don’t remember anything until I was about two so I’m blind and deaf to the eternity I was in before I was conceived and presumably that’s the same space he’s returned to now.

Of course in another sense he hasn’t because a fair few people remember him and hold him in their minds eye and in their heart. I hold him in both, and let’s face it, I hold him in the length of my arms and legs; my addictive love of music; my temptation to hedonism and my sense of humour. Oh – and in my insistence on personalising anything and everything that comes within my sphere. Oh – and one more thing he gave me – a ‘bloody good brain’. He had a very high opinion of his own, so when about a year ago he conceded that I’d inherited one of my own – well, I knew I’d ‘arrived’ πŸ˜‰

I want to check with St Andrews if there are any audio or video recordings of my dad performing to his peers and carers. It would hardly assist me to show the world what a gifted man my father was but it would warm my heart to see anything to keep him alive to me.

For the time being I have his order of service card, young soulful photo at the front, heart warming image of his birthday party in July on the back. To me he’ll never die.

Which is why I’ve only sobbed about his concrete death a few times so far. I feel like he’s still with me somehow, so most of the time I feel he’s actually closer to hand than he’d been for some years. Particularly because during the last year for some reason I felt on and off that he was ‘coming back’ mentally, though of course physically he was getting frailer by the minute.

During my last seven hours with him, well, it was more special than I can say. I didn’t properly realise that he was approaching his last breath so rapidly, I thought I had a few months left with him. He, I think, had a different more accurate sense of matters. And so he was an unadulterated delight throughout and we smiled and laughed almost non stop for the whole time.

And there was a special moment when he looked into my eyes and said something that healed a thousand years of pain within me. What he said was ‘You look beautiful today Janie; I’ve never seen you look so beautiful’. It was a father’s flattery that you could discount but he and I knew just how profoundly it would get under my skin in a good way. I wasn’t ‘ugly duckling’ any more. And recently I’d stopped dying my hair dark and red so it was light and blonde like my sister’s, so I felt like he was looking into my eyes to see both of us. I hoped he was because I know how dearly he’d have treasured seeing both of us there. I’m sure he was.

Oh what a lovely outlet this is. To speak what’s in my heart in an environment stripped of people who intrude to corrupt it.

Clear the air again with a rendition of Louis Armstrong and ‘What a Wonderful World’.

1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Damian Says:

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