The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

My Dad Is Probably Glad He Isn’t Still Around …
June 25, 2009, 6:22 am
Filed under: Comment

I know this is slightly late, but a couple of weeks ago I was walking through a building when I saw an ad for a Father’s Day promotion …

Basically the promo is that any Dad who takes his kids skating will get free entry.

Apart from the fact I bet the conniving sods put the kids prices up to basically equate to what Dad would have had to pay, I don’t know if a Dad looking a prat infront of his kids is the sort of thing that will really entice them.

And why the hell have they ‘characterised’ a Dad as someone who wears a tie? What decade is this? 1950?

OK … this is a nonsensical post … I know the promotion would give Dad’s a chance to spend some quality time with their kids doing something different, fun and exciting [at least for the little ankle biters] but it just seemed strange when I saw it.

Talking of strange …

Before I write this, I should say I have never tried drugs, I’m not a follower of religion and normally find the people who say what I’m about to say, a bit WEIRD.

Saying that, it made a massive impact on me and I want to write about it … and yet I am not sure why.

As many who read this blog regularly know, my Dad passed away over 10 years ago.

And as many of you also know, this event is the most painful thing that has ever happened to me.

I’ve written many, many times about how much I miss him … how I wish I could see him, talk to him and hug him again … well on June 11th 2009, I did.

I know this sounds ridiculous … it IS ridiculous … but it’s true.

At about 11pm on the 11th of June, I was about to go to bed.

I wasn’t very tired but because I had to travel in the morning – the trip that was to make my birthday a total horror – I thought I should try and get some sleep.

Anyway, just as I was about to pick up my book to read a few chapters, I literally felt my Dad come into the room.

I can’t explain it properly, but I just felt his presence.

Look I know this makes me sound like a total fruitcake, but that’s what happened and it’s something I’ve never felt in all of the 10 years he has been gone.

Anyway, for some reason I felt he was telling me to turn out the light, so I got into bed, switched off the bed side lamp and closed my eyes tight.

Then he came to me.

I can’t explain everything in detail … I know I told myself to take in as much as I could, but I was so desperate to see his face that everything else kind of just became background blur.

All I can tell you is that I felt the warmth of his arms calmly wrap around me, holding me like a man who has not seen his son for 10 years would … and then after a few seconds, I felt the side of my face sink gently into the comfort, warmth and smell of his favourite jumper as he stood over me.

We were like that for a few seconds before I peered up from his tender grip and saw his kind, warm, beautiful face …

I remember him planting a big kiss on my forehead … I remember him giving me a final big squeeze … and think I remember giving him a kiss in return … but then that was it, he had gone and not a word had been spoken.

I know this might be making some of you recall in horror or start thinking I’ve lost it, but it was one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened to me. EVER.

I wasn’t dreaming, I wasn’t even asleep … but when I scrunched down into the bed – keeping my eyes tightly shut the whole time – I felt incredibly happy, like 10 years of sadness, upset, frustration and longing had been taken away in an instant.

Look, I’m a cynical bugger … and I know how this makes me sound … however I honestly feel [and I’m bordering on saying ‘know’] I have seen, hugged and kissed my Dad again which is why it’s the best birthday present I’ve ever received.

You have to understand, where issues like this are concerned, I came from a pretty straight laced family.

It’s not that we didn’t ‘believe’, it’s just that because we never experienced anything like it, we had an inability to relate.

Saying that, I remember my Mum telling me I could not go to a séance a boy down the road was organising – and I didn’t – but that was more because I was a good boy than because I was worried of letting any potential bad spirits into the World. Besides, I didn’t even really know what a séance was, ha.

Mind you, there were a few events that occurred over the years that opened up some debate in the family.

First of all some family friends talked about how they had occasionally seen a woman dressed in Victorian clothes appear at the top of their stairs. Nothing bad happened, she just appeared … however when they looked into the history of the place they bought, they found it was an old school house and hundreds of years earlier, the headmistress had committed suicide at that very spot.

I also remember that when they moved – again to an old, old house [didn’t they learn the first time!] – they told us their son kept saying an old lady would come and sit on his bed and talk to him. Again, nothing bad ever happened and they never got to the bottom of it – but it ensured my family didn’t visit them nearly as much, ha!

And then there was Italy.

In 2003, I – with 12 friends – stayed in a 1200 year old house in Luca, Tuscany – once owned by film director David Lean.

One night I was in the bathroom washing my face when – for the first time in my life – I was struck with absolute fear.

I felt that if I stood up and looked in the mirror, I would see what I can only describe as ‘death’ standing behind me.

Yes … yes … my reflection can look pretty rough but this was something else entirely.

Whilst I have Italian blood so can be quite emotional, I also have a healthy rational streak, and yet this feeling of fear had such a hold on me, I literally ran from the bathroom to my bedroom and lay there in total panic. The feeling stayed with me [no one else experienced it] for a couple of days – and came back on one occasion as I was opening the door to my house in Australia – but they were nothing like that first experience, where I was genuinely, and totally petrified. Not scared … I mean the true definition of fear.

And then – up until the experience I’ve just written about – my Mum told me that after a few months of Dad dying, she had felt he had visited her as well, this time in the morning as she awoke.

I remember when she told me, she said it with such certainty and happiness in her voice that I could not doubt her, even though maybe in my cynical subconscious, I could justify it as part of the grieving process.

What I’m am trying to say is these things aren’t the sort of experiences or conversations my family ‘have’. It’s simply not us … which is why I think we’d still say we’d find it hard to give these sorts of things real credibility, even though there have been a few situations where whether we like it or not, they have made themselves credible to us.

Given I found it hard to tell my Mum I once got 2% in a maths exam, it’s amazing just how easy I found it to tell her I had been visited by her husband who has been dead for over 10 years.

And the reaction was magical.

I’ve always had a ridiculously close relationship with my wonderful Mum, but when I told her what had happened, it felt it was no longer just her and me, but the 3 of us again with Dad still around, watching over us.

I know it sounds mad – it IS mad – and I could easily of kept all this between my Mum and Jill … but something made me write about it because after 10 years, I can tell you that for the first time in all that time, I believe I can start moving forward and I’m a happier more confident man because of it.

PS: Jackets without sleeves should be sent to the usual address.

PPS: Don’t feel you have to comment, its fine to think “nutter”, I know I would.

PPPS: The planning/advertising reference I’m going to use in a desperate attempt to try and justify this post is that life is made up of more than just rational interactions and viewpoints, so never underestimate the power and influence of emotion, even if it making people say/think/do things you find hard to believe. Don’t let your personal opinions corrupt the insights – but by all means let your values influence the solution. [That’s a private ‘joke’ aimed at 3 people, they know who they are]

38 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Real or not, I can tell how much it meant to you and I think its wonderful and beautiful.

I’m really glad you wrote this and still would be glad without your 3rd “PS”.

Comment by Pete

hate you, hate this post.

Comment by niko

This is beautiful Robert. So happy you feel happier and stronger.


Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

Brave post Rob… I’m really happy for you.

Personally, I had a vivid dream about my nonno after he died. I will never know whether it was just my brain helping me cope or something else but I will never ever ever forget every minute detail about it and what that meant to me. I’m glad you got to experience something even better.

PS. Short ghost story. The mother of a girl I was once seeing told me a creepy story about a family home they once lived in where during cold mornings, the name “Roger” would be written on the frost of the bedroom window (from the inside like when you write on misty car windows). Even better was that the window was on the second story and not accessible from outside at all and it stopped after they got a pet dog. Spooky!

Comment by Age

this makes me happy and fucking proud.

doesnt matter what any other bastard thinks, if you found some peace out of the experience its at the very least true for you and thats all that fucking counts.

were having a drink or 12 for you and your dad.

@ age. did you know robs dad was called roger?

Comment by andy@cynic

These are all very nice comments, thanks. To be honest I was tempted to turn the comments off because I don’t want anyone to feel ‘obliged’ to say anything – but then I just thought that highlighted I knew I was entering nutterdom so just kept it on.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words – and Andy, what the hell are you doing up? [I can guess!]

Comment by Rob

Age has written to me in absolute mortification because my Dad’s name – as Andy quite correctly said – was Roger.

For some reason he thinks I’ll be upset given the story he recalls has a character in it with the same name as my old man. Well I don’t … infact I find it quite amusing, which is more than my Dad would say because he’d find it positively hillarious.

So stop being alarmed Age and start doing whatever it is you do to keep sane in your agency.


Comment by Rob

This comment is not being made through obligation, but compulsion.

What you have written is heart warming and shows underneath all the bravado and swearing, lies a man of great warmth, sensitivity and genuineness.

I’m extremely happy you shared this and can assure you it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable, more jealous. Onwards and upwards Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

I’m very happy for you Rob, as well as for your Mum. What a beautiful experience you’ve both had. Lee hit the nail on the head with his comment.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Told you they live forever. And if you look into quantum and space physics the algebra of the universe makes it possible for everything that ever or will happen to be happening at the same time in an infinite number of parallel universes. Nietzche also wrote about it in his philosophy. Which is pretty fucking amazing because he figured it out without math. Although they tell me the math is beautiful.

People talk about the mystical as if it’s a dirty word and yet it’s the quantum physicists who are the most mystical practitioners on the planet. Stuff comes into existence and goes out of existence. Even in a perfect vacuum manic activity is going on.

Comment by Charles

when I say ever in the third line, I mean “ever happened”. Now then I assume this means you’re back in HK. Have you chipped into my Prada fund yet?

Comment by Charles

I’m so glad you feel as though you can start moving forward Rob – thanks for sharing what you experienced.

And I’m glad (hopeful) that last PPPS was indeed a joke.

Comment by Angus

Is anything on this blog ever serious.

Except when I’m talking about my folks.

Comment by Rob


Comment by northern

And thanks for writing the post.
Charles is very right, there is so much we don’t and never will understand.

Comment by northern

I don’t think we will ever know the full extent of what is around us. I know most of my family believe they have seen relatives around the house long after they died.

If such things are true I’m sure it meant as much to him, and I’m sure he’s proud of you mate.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Nothing much to add. It’s all been said above. I’m happy for you.

Comment by John

That’s a great thing mate. Happy for you and thanks for sharing.

Comment by Tim Gregory

Rent boy rates on the Island are shocking. I’m being exploited while I’m lonely hungry and vulnerable. Now can you all just chip into the pot please.

Comment by Charles

Charles I understand you are in a distressing predicament and this blog is not well known for its sensitivity, but I don’t think your comment is appropriate given Robert is talking so beautifully about his father. I sincerely hope your situation turns around but a little more gentleness please.

Robert this is a great testimony to your father and a great testimony to you as a man and a son. A big hug from me and the little ladies.

Comment by Mary Bryant

hello lovely. i have so much to say in response to this, but am having trouble not sounding like a twat at the moment, so i’ll just keep it brief and thank you for sharing. andy’s right – if it’s true for you and has given you an opportunity to let go, what an amazing gift. in whatever form that takes.

Comment by lauren

What you say of me – applies to yourself (and you bloody well know what I mean).

This is your best post ever. And I love you for it.

Comment by Marcus

It might apply to me as well Marcus, but I still say it’s still more appropriate aimed at you. As I said, you’re the one who has to recieve rather than give. 🙂

Thanks Lauren – I would love to hear what you have to say, because twat or not, it would be wonderful and heart-felt and just great.

And Mary … thank you for your words and I hope you know Charles wasn’t trying to cause offence to you, me or anyone – so I appreciate the guardianship, but it’s OK, your hubbie needs it more. But a big kiss to you and the ‘little ladies’.

Comment by Rob

this is truly beautiful rob. i am really happy you had this wonderful experience. and what a lovely coincidence the name in age’s story is roger 🙂

Comment by peggy

mary makes that north korean fucker look like bambi. frith doesnt know how lucky he is to get out alive. just ask george, lol.

Comment by andy@cynic

Beautifully written. And I’m so very glad you shared it with us all.

It also gives me hope that one day, I too will be able to hold my son again – he’s not dead, it’s just my greatest fear with death is that I will never again be in his life. Well, you’ve give me the hope that that may never happen. Thanks, big man

Comment by simon

That’s a good point Simon and it scares the hell of me too.

And Andy, stop kicking Frith while he’s down (leave that to Mary).

Comment by Marcus

Mary. Why don’t you do something constructive with your parsimonious mindset and chip into my fighting fund?

Once you’ve stopped kissing ass.

Comment by charles

Your response speaks volumes Charles.

Comment by Mary Bryant

settle down charlie boy, youre in danger of looking a total twat

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by charles

As Rob points out I wasn’t trying to cause offence because we’ve been emailing each other through this. The most notable of which was one that explained I thought this was a beautiful post and my comment was to elevate the mood a little. It’s the sort of thing I feel I can do after not only writing my own blog inspired by this one but a couple of years of leaving comments over here.

Mary and Andy are both welcome to come and say what they wish over at mine but maybe the subject of homelessness (which Im still facing) is a bit much for you.

Comment by charles

OK … lets stop this because I can see where this is heading and its not useful for anyone.

Mary wasn’t trying to be rude and neither was Charles [though Andy probably was, ha] and yet that is how people have read it which shows that communication without the ability to convey emotion is fraught with possible dangers.

Comment by Rob

That’s about four people who said I was wrong privately just then so please accept my apologies Mary. It was rude and while I can be very rude I treasure women. So sorry about that.

Comment by charles

I am speaking on behalf of Mary, but given she’s had to put up with Andy and me for years AND the infamous ‘cake episode’ that her husband sickeningly organised, I think she’s had more exposure to offensive things than you could ever hope to achieve Charles so lets all move on …


Comment by Rob

Awesome awesome story…. You are really blessed!

Comment by Linda

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