Dancing in His Grave


Dad’s safest where he is just now…

I wrote this entry, originally, in November 2012 last year, shortly after my father died. Of course, as you will see, it’s a ‘parochial’ piece, pertaining to specifics within my own life and family in the extended sense.

Looking back on this, as I approach the first anniversary of my father’s mortal death (don’t think there’s supposed to be another kind, but I felt like my father’s body survived his spirit by several months, really – he’d lost the will to live earlier in the year when he ‘failed’ yet another ‘tribunal’ held at St Andrew’s Hospital), it strikes almost an orchestral chord with me. This time last year I was a mental health patient (and had been one since 1997), I was ‘incapacitated’ beyond all expectations of sustainable recovery and I was alone, without a partner to share my life with. A year on I am an ex-patient; I am constructing the underpinnings of a successful business; and I am delighted to report that I have been reunited with the partner who appeared in my life, for the first time, back in 2006.

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 fewer still, 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 and my sense of humour. Oh – and in my insistence on personalising anything and everything that comes within my sphere.

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.

Father of Mine

Father of Mine (Photo credit: Just Us 3)

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.

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.

The corruption is coming from matters of estate. If you have ever been named in a ‘last will and testament’ or have ever read a novel by Jane Austen you’ll immediately know what I mean. At death the vultures appear and hover – where the body disappears they gather to feed on the living grieving.

Makes you shudder doesn’t it? I’d experienced it in Austen’s novels, and I’d seen it over a meal in Dover when my grandfather died when I was eighteen years old. At the time my Uncle Ivor tried to soothe me by sympathising with my feelings while assuring me that I would feel differently when I got older. But Jane Austen’s novels are about large estates, my grandfather was a millionaire over twenty years ago – it doesn’t make the hovering or the lip slapping or the blood dripping claws any nicer but at least you can see why the booty looks so appealing and unmissable to vultures. – Oh – and I am older now, and I haven’t changed my feelings one iota. Nice try Uncle Ivor (now also in the ether) – I love you for doing your best xx.

My Dad’s estate, after costs, will probably be worth £115,000-120,000, Maximum.

Yet, so far, three people have applied to my Dad’s solicitor to find out the contents of his will in advance of his funeral, have sat together and have left several abusive voice mails on my mobile phone and one has informed me that I am personally responsible for some terrible recent misfortune in their family, all on the grounds that I turned out to be named in my father’s will. Most of the abusive phone calls were made at around 11 O’clock at night on the day of my father’s funeral. A funeral to which these people failed to appear on the grounds that they feared they had not been named in my father’s will and needed to have hard evidence about the matter before deciding whether or not to attend.

Have we left earth and headed for terra-ghastly or what? I don’t know. I only know this: ‘there ain’t nout so strange as folk’.

Feel free to comment dear readers – I’m genuinely perplexed.

Empty Soul Smile: Vultures

Empty Soul Smile: Vultures

To vultures if hovering over my blog – my words are backed by evidence so please leave me alone now.

My Dad spent a lot of his life persuaded by the 18-20th Century obsession with Love as a reference to ‘romantic’ attachment. He was fully capable of loving beyond this – he loved his little dogs; he loved music with a passion; he loved photography and colour, pattern and arrangement; he loved ‘the high life’; he loved conversation; he loved fine food; he loved good people; he loved laughing; he loved cups of tea; he loved glasses of wine, sometimes bottles of the stuff. I could go on. My Dad was a loving guy.

My Dad also loved his children, his acquired (by marriage) children and his natural, ie blood, children. This last was a passion of love that showed in letters he wrote to my mother many years ago but which he was discrete about in his day to day existence. He largely accommodated his second wife’s wishes in where to live and what to do, and he did this for a range of reasons, not least that he loved her very much.

There was a strain in him that somehow connected money and possessions with love. I believe that isn’t uncommon although I tend to think that it’s a good idea at times to stand back, notice that the one doesn’t equate with the other, and then take actions in relation to money that make sense and actions in relation to love that make sense – and somehow or another the relationship between the two can stand in a form of conceptual and defensible harmony if not equability.

I think that this paragraph is relevant to my father’s last will and testament. It reflected the passion of his love and it reflected his customary tendency to equate money with feeling. Had he been like me he would have adjusted his will to bring a ‘better’ balance to a wider approach of his loving. But he was not me. He was more impassioned than I am, less ‘dispassionate’ than I’m inclined to be.

Who knows, however, that he didn’t also know in his very bones about this difference in our natures and entrust me – and/or my sister and I, with the responsibility to ensure that peace shall reign in our lifetime? 😉

If the vultures will just shut the f**k up for a while, behind my back as well as by diversionary routes, and turn back into human beings – I shall have some peace in which to think!!!!

English: Back View of Jane Austen, Watercolor

English: Back View of Jane Austen, Watercolor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1 Comment »

  1. 1

    Typing heals sometimes, too. Let your fingers do the squawking. Therapy comes in many disguises.
    2013 is therapy, unction and balm.


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