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

The Proximity Of Absence …
January 15, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Dad, Death, Love, Mum, Mum & Dad

Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of my Dad passing away.

It’s also the 1st anniversary of my Mum & Dad both being gone.

I suspect this will mean the day will have a different effect on me from previous years.

I’ve written previously how it took me 10 years to come to terms with my Dad passing.

And how an event on the 10th anniversary, changed everything for me.

But tomorrow will be different.

I don’t know if that will be in a good or bad way, but it will be different.

It’s strange, but my year is now split into 2 halves.

The half when my parents passed away [the first 6 months] and the half when my parents had their birthdays. [the second 6 months]

That isn’t meant to sound as depressing as it does, it’s just how I now work out where I am in any given year.

Of course there are many other ‘pointers’ … happy, positive, pointers … but that doesn’t take away the sense of utter loss I feel not being able to see or talk to my beloved, wonderful parents. Especially on these days of significance.

But they would not want me to feel depressed, even though it is a sign of how much they mean/meant to me.

Well, maybe my Dad would – but only because he could be a cheeky chap.

So to acknowledge tomorrow – the first time my parents will be together on the anniversary of my Dad’s death – I want to tell a little story of my Dad.

My Dad was a wonderful man, but he had ‘his ways’.

He was the slowest eater in the history of the universe.

He would literally cut his peas in half before eating them. PEAS!

He was also in possession of the most twisted ‘dessert’ creations ever known to man.

Some were tasty, but the fact is, he combined flavours that just sounded wrong together.

He was a kind, generous, intelligent man but there were definitely some ‘quirks’ to him that meant we occasionally clashed.

But despite that, I never wanted for love and support. He made sure I knew how much I meant to him and I will never forget the level of care, compassion and encouragement he – and Mum – gave me.

One day sums it up more than most.

Actually, there’s lots of ‘one days’, I could talk about, but I want to tell you about the time I crashed his car.

So I was 17 and my Dad had a Toyota Celica.

He was very generous in lending me his car, probably more generous than I deserved … though there was the time he rang Paul’s house at 11pm demanding I brought the car back immediately, which was made even more embarrassing by the fact Paul and I had a couple of ‘female friends’ with us, which meant we had to get them a taxi home rather than driving them back ourselves.

Anyway, one day he lent me his car and I drove down to Central Avenue … which was West Bridgford’s ‘high street’.

I can’t remember the reason why, but I do remember looking to my left at something before the terrible sound of crushing metal hit my ears. Yep, I’d hit another car.


Of course it was my fault, but what made it worse was the whole community seemed to come out and started shouting at me as if I’d just tried to murder the person in the other car.

Fortunately no one was hurt and even though I was in a daze, I was able to ‘swap details’ with the other driver before the slow drive home.

Dad’s car was in bad shape.

The whole front side was smashed in … which says more about the standard of Toyota’s manufacturing in the 80’s than my driving, as I wasn’t going very fast.

I was badly shaken.

Apart from the fact it was my first crash, it was in my Dad’s car.

I had ruined my Dad’s bloody car.

I slowly drove home and as I pulled into the drive, I could see my Dad was in the front room with a client.

I got out the car, went into the house and knocked on his door.

He obviously hadn’t seen the damage as he called me in to say hello and to meet his client.

I burst into tears. Massive, uncontrollable sobs.

He immediately got up to hug me and asked, “What’s wrong?”.

I told him.

“I’ve had a crash. I’ve smashed your car. I’m so sorry”.

He asked me if I was alright and how it happened, then said we should go see the car.

It was bad. Really bad.

And do you know what he said?

He said I should get back in it and go to Asda to buy some milk.

Instead of being angry, he was concerned that the smash would stop me from wanting to drive ever again.

He wanted me to ‘get back on the horse’ as quickly as possible so I would realise an accident doesn’t mean a disaster.

I still can’t believe his generosity and compassion.

Sure he was upset but he didn’t lose his temper, didn’t tell me I was an idiot [even though I was] … he just focused on ensuring I was OK both at that exact moment and for the future.

Sure, when things had calmed down we talked about what happened and what I had learnt from the experience, but even then, it wasn’t about ‘telling me off’ or limiting my use of the car … it was about ensuring I didn’t do it again because he loved me and didn’t want me to ever get hurt or feel that terrible again.

That was how special he was as a father.

How wonderful he was as a human.

I hope I can be half as considerate to Otis when he does something like that to me.

Dad … I hope you’re holding hands with Mum and laughing.

I love you.

I miss you.


21 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you swapped details after you had a crash? even billy wouldnt do that. pervert.
nice post campbell. better than your fucking driving. take it easy tomorrow, mr and mrs c would want that. theyd also be proud of how you express yourself. maybe not your choice of career, but definitely how you express yourself.

Comment by andy@cynic

He might have been Nottingham’s player back in his day, but he wasn’t very smooth making some “lady friends” get a cab home when his dad rang him for his car back. Class move by Mr C to keep his son real.

Comment by DH

You know perfectly well what ‘swap details’ means. Besides, the car I hit was driven by an old lady … so as much as I liked the idea of the ‘older woman’ in my youth, I didn’t like them that old, thank you very much.

Comment by Rob

My daughter did a similar thing to you Robert. I am ashamed to say I didn’t respond in the calm manner of your father. This is a lovely story, thank you for sharing and I hope tomorrow is one spent remembering other lovely stories rather than sad.

Comment by Lee Hill

Your parents were saints Robert. Fortunately you made their parenting headaches better by being a loving and devoted son. Just like Otis will be to you and Jill.

Comment by George

That’s nice. I do have a feeling that my parents would like it if Otis was a bit of a nightmare so they could simply think to themselves, “karma”. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Your parents were class Rob. I miss them so I can only imagine how big the loss is for you. Take care this weekend.

Comment by DH

Hugs and kisses. (extra ones to Otis, he’s adorable)

Jemma xxxx

Comment by Jemma King

Oh this is so lovely Robert. A big hug to you and your little boy from all of us.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Nice story Rob. They’d be very proud of you. Also, judging by the amount of photos and words you dedicate to Otis, you’re following in their footsteps in being an awesome parent.

Comment by Pete

Thank you for the nice words and thoughts folks. I know I can get a bit ‘heavy’ on this subject, but this blog is – contrary to popular opinion – for me, not you … and I like the fact that one day, Otis will be able to see it and see how much his Dad loved his grandparents, his grandparents loved his Dad and everyone loved him.

Of course, I am concerned he might read the other posts that will make him question everything, but that’s a risk I am just going to have to take.

Comment by Rob

if otis ever sees what you wrote about your best friends cock, hes in for the biggest surprise of his fucking life.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

I haven’t thought this through have I. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

Your comment will make your clients so confident to be working with you.

Comment by DH

See comment above for my response.

Double bugger. [Which sounds totally wrong to write]

Comment by Rob

What a great story.
Lost my mum two years ago and I found writing about her and dad in my blog was a great and well received outlet. Your Dad sounded like a real character a lot like mine except I got a real bollocking when I smashed the car !

Comment by plantphoto

They would be very proud of you, everything except your choice of music

Comment by northern

He sent you to Asda and you say you weren’t punished?! Sorry. That’s a lovely story Rob. And poignant. I lost my dad over Christmas. I don’t know you – we’ve exchanged some emails a few times during one of your planning courses a few years back – but I do admire the way you talk about your folks on Linkedin and your blog. There is perhaps a feeling that sentimental recollections of important moments shouldn’t be blended with the cut and thrust of ‘professional life’. I’m glad you remind us that’s not the case. Like your dad mine had his ways – he could be a moody git to say the least – but he was loving, compassionate and forgiving. The one and only time we came to blows he ended up falling back into a glass door. I was ashamed – and utterly terrified. In my panic I ran away, cycling ten miles to a friend’s place. When I was made to phone home he just told me it was OK and to come home. All he was worried about was that I was OK. His understanding taught me a great deal. I still shudder to think of that night and the shards of glass hanging off the door frame. I was 17 too. Not my finest hour. But he never mentioned it again. In his last year he wasn’t just my dad, he was my best friend – and although he’s in that cliched town they call ‘a better place’, I miss him terribly. Oh blimey. I’ve written an essay and got myself into a state. And I haven’t even been to Asda yet. Wishing you strength Rob.

Comment by Sid

nice words but never call campbell professional again.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s a good point Andy.

Sid, of course I remember you and I’m very sorry for your loss. I’m very grateful for you sharing your story on here – that means a lot to me and I hope, in some way, it helped you feel a bit better in expressing how you feel.

Look after yourself mate.

Comment by Rob

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