Gone but not forgotten
I wish I had told her how much she meant to me. I wish I had. That’s the one thing that will haunt me for ever. I could have said something and I never did, I never did. I loved her so much and now it’s too late because she is gone, gone for ever, and I never told her. I can’t believe it.
Life seems impossible without you, Mum. It’s just not the same. It just isn’t. I keep hearing your voice, seeing your image. Sometimes I go to pick up the phone to ring you. I even go to dial your number. The truth is, I’m not coping very well at the moment. I know you wouldn’t want me to be like this but I can’t help it, I just feel like I’m in a thick fog and I can’t get out. I’ve got no energy to give David or the kids. I haven’t even got energy for myself. Of course, he doesn’t understand. He just tells me to pull myself together. He is so insensitive at times. I can’t speak to him about how I’m feeling because he thinks I should be okay by now. But it has only been twelve months. I need him more than ever right now and he’s just not here for me. The only time I’ve ever really needed him and I can’t count on him.
I’m just blown away with it all and it’s getting worse because it’s coming up to the anniversary of the day when we lost you. I know I’m going to cry buckets on that day, but I’ll try to think about the good memories, your sense of humour, and the happy times we shared. Like when our Amanda went outside to put the rubbish out and we locked the back door behind her and we were killing ourselves laughing at her being outside in front of that workman, Steve, whom she fancied, with that stupid shower cap on and those ridiculous looking pyjamas. Or, I’ll think about the time when we went to Alphie’s party and Bridget was so pissed she was on the dance floor doing robotics and we were doubled over in stitches. Or the simple things like Friday nights getting a takeaway from Mr Wan’s. That was your favourite and us watching an episode of Friends together.
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My dad never featured in my life. Other kids had their dad at home. I always wondered why my dad never came to see me. I know he was a bit of a ladies’ man and shit happens. He and my mum didn’t work out, for whatever reason. That’s life, but why he never wanted to see me hurt, to be honest. Everyone in the family knew he never gave a shit about his kids. There were three of us altogether, all with different women, but his three true loves were alcohol, gambling and more alcohol. His kids didn’t get a look in. Listen, if you want me to tell you a fairy tale, I will, but that’s how it actually was. After hitting the bottle for years and years and hardly eating, his lifestyle finally took its toll and he died at the age of fifty-six.
I remember my uncle, with whom I’d always got on very well, saying, “Now Martin, how are you going to pay for your dad’s funeral, because I don’t see why I should, given that he was your dad and he hasn’t left a penny to pay for anything!” I couldn’t believe it. He’d never been there for me all my life and now I was being told that it was my debt, mine, and my brother and sister’s whom he never saw either. No one had any money. I certainly didn’t. There were lots of family get-togethers to work out how it could be paid for and who should pay what proportion. Everyone was frantically trying to find out if he had a pension or not. No one wanted to be lumbered with the bill. Everybody sighed a breath of relief when it turned out he had paid into a pension at some point in his life. And there was enough to cover the cost of his funeral: it would have been a cruel joke if we’d have had to foot the bill considering he was never there for us. We all started to calm down a bit.
Then a lot of people started getting in touch, cousins, long-lost relatives, some I’d never heard of before. Everyone was keeping their distance though. But as soon as the funeral was paid for everything changed. They all wanted to know if my dad had left any substantial money and who stood to get it. There were loads of arguments about it and accusations about money being stolen and hidden and people not getting their rightful share. I don’t know what planet some of them were living on to think my dad was a secret millionaire. It was laughable. He was a hard core drinker and gambler. Nonetheless, all the vultures came swarming out of the woodwork looking for a pay-out.
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