It’s coming up for two long years without my Dad. I think about him many times every single day. A song, a joke, fathers and daughters together, a man walking his little white dog all have the ability to make my heart skip a beat and a lump form in my throat. The pain of losing him will never go away but it is certainly less acute on a daily basis. I absolutely still have my days where the mere thought of him brings on floods of tears but I try really hard to remember the big love we shared with a smile.
Anyway, I was thinking about him one night and could hear myself saying, “I would give anything to see him again.”
Give anything. In a world where a lot of us are lucky to have “everything” in the way of material possessions I thought what wouldn’t I be able to give up if asked to? Give anything is thrown around easily. Would I really give anything to see my Dad again? Would I give up my children, my marriage, and my health to have my Dad back? No. Nor would he have wanted me to. I think the only thing we would give up “everything” for in a literal sense would be to ensure the well being of our children. So that made me think of my “things.” The “things”, (family, pets, friends, aside – I’m talking material things) that I am actually so attached to I couldn’t bear to part with them. I am incredibly sentimental. I have hat boxes full of “stuff.” Cards, the boy’s drawings from primary school, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, photos, you name it I probably have kept it. But what would be my top four most treasured possessions. I didn’t have to think too long at all. I will share with you what they are and why.
The Lady On A Bike.
I saw this in the little antique shop on Duthy Street. It was a cold winter’s day and the four of us had gone for a drive. We had stopped for a coffee and we decided to have a mooch in the shop. It was 2007 as we were living at Parkside so that would make the boys 11 and 7 years old respectively. We were all looking at different things and I spotted the lady on a bike. I just loved it straight away. It’s a wooden figurine – quite large. It’s a lady wearing a top hat on a bike that looks a lot like a penny-farthing. It’s a bit quirky; I liked the colour of it too. I continued to look around but kept going back to it. The boys were a bit bemused, “Mum, you love that don’t you?” I really did. I think it was about $20.00. Anyway we ended up leaving. I didn’t have the $20.00 on me and as we all got back in the car Andrew said that if it was there next week we could go back and get it. I just shrugged. It wasn’t that important.
When we got home the boys disappeared into Jesse’s room. The door was shut and I remember thinking how nice it was that they were playing together. Our move to Parkside saw them have their own rooms for the first time – they had shared a room since Matthew was born. Jesse likes to say that he loved his own space “finally!” but I know for a fact it took a lot of adjustment for each of them to sleep in a room without the other. So when they were in a bedroom together I just loved it.
After a while they both came out and Jesse said he was going for a ride on his bike. We had just started to let him do this on the side streets only; Unley Road was far too busy for my liking. I thought nothing of it as he put on his coat and rode off. He returned after only 15 minutes with a big grin and a big bulge under his jacket. Matthew joined him as they walked into the lounge, where Andrew and I were sitting, and Jesse pulled the lady on a bike out from underneath his jacket. They were both grinning from ear to ear. “We could tell you loved it so we put our money together and we bought it for you as a surprise.” I couldn’t believe it. What was fabulous was how happy they were at how happy I was. It was one of those perfect moments. It takes pride of place on my dresser and brings me such joy every single time I look at it. Probably brings joy to ONLY me though. Not many people like it but that’s ok. To me it is irreplaceable.
My Dad’s St Christopher.
My Dad used to wear a St Christopher for as long as I could remember. It was something I really associated with him from a very young age. He and Mum also bought one for Michael and I at different stages of our lives. I have no idea what happened to mine though.
I am not sure when Dad stopped wearing it but it wasn’t something as an adult that I noticed was missing either. Until the day he died. After we left him at the hospital that awful day we went back home to be together with Mum and Michael. I asked what had happened to his St Christopher. It’s funny how important things like that become when it feels like it is all that you have left to hang on to. To keep you close to him. Mum didn’t know and nor did Michael. So I became unhealthily attached to his medic alert bracelet. I know – ridiculous! But it was something he wore every day and I just needed to have it. I wore it every single day up until we took Dads ashes to the Isle of Wight. It was only after that that I managed to NOT put it on in the mornings. Took a lot of will power – it really did. Grief makes you do funny stuff.
Anyway as days went by and we were slowly sorting out Dad’s possessions I received a message from Michael on my phone. It said “Look what I found.” Then a photo of Dad’s St Christopher followed, a little tarnished but there it was. I was so happy. Unbelievably so. Michael was so thrilled for me. Dad had kept it in the back of his wallet for goodness knows how many years. I picked it up from Mum and I took it to a jeweller to have it cleaned and restored and bought a nice new chain for it. I have not taken it off since. I play with it often – it’s like my own security blanket around my neck. I feel Dad’s encouragement and love when I touch it. This is my most sentimental, treasured possession.
My Diamond Wedding Ring.
Not a lot of explanation needed for this one. Andrew and I were looking at wedding rings – plain bands – as they were the only ones that we could afford. My eyes strayed to a prettier band with a row of diamonds in it. The very astute sales woman was clearly following my gaze and that ring was on my finger before Andrew could say “What the hell??” I loved it but put it back and returned to the plain band. Andrew chose his ring and as we went to complete the paperwork to buy the rings he picked up the diamond band and said “We will take this one. She’s the one so this is the one.” I will never forget that he said that and did that – we seriously couldn’t afford it at that time.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. I am a lucky girl. I will wear his ring forever.
Now that may sound a little mad. But I have had my iPod for nearly 10 years. A dear friend spent hours setting up various play lists. All my favourite 80’s songs. All of Andrew’s favourite songs. A list for any type of party you could imagine. The time and thought that went into it was amazing. I grew up in a house where music was always playing. Someone was always singing. So in our home music is very important to us all. So to recreate these carefully constructed lists on my iPod would be near impossible for me. I love the music and I love that a friend loved me enough to spend that much time on something just for me.
What are your most treasured “things?” I would love to know xx