I miss my dad. It is odd how this feeling of loss sweeps out of nowhere, swamping me and drowning me with the suddenness of it's intensity. To this day I have yet to figure out what triggers it, and nothing comes to mind. Maybe it is nothing, maybe it is everything. Little snippets of inconsequential somethings that combine with my memory, that subtly drill into my emotional psyche. I honestly do not know.
I miss him, nonetheless. I miss him every day but sometimes I feel like I did when I standing at his bedside, watching the shell of him slowly die. I feel bereft and lost and some of the world's magic seems to have faded away into the night.
Because he was magical, my dad. He was full of life and vigour and could tell stories that would make you laugh until your sides ached. He was a person who had lived through the Second World War, serving as a submariner during the bulk of it, living through many of the incidents and times that fill up our modern history textbooks. He met many of the last of the pioneers, many unsung and unknown, who laid the foundations of Africa. He traveled the world, dragging us with him, seeing things and experiencing places and peoples most do not have the chance to see. He was the storyteller, the centre of attention, raconteur and bard.
He is the only person I know who has dived out of a moving car, despite being held at knife point. He has built airports and dams and played 'Scotland the Brave' in the far-off hills of New Guinea. He was temperamental, strong willed, stubborn, a drinker, a man who existed in another time but was somehow modern in much of his outlook. He was kind, considerate, dedicated, mercurial and loving. He was my dad.
And I miss him.
But every time I look at my brother I see my dad in him; he has that same love of life, that same consideration, the same temperament, the same strengths and weaknesses, although somehow different. He too is a storyteller, has the same wicked sense of humour, the same stubbornness.
I look at my nephews, and in them I see elements of my dad, the inklings of his being drifting down through into them. I see it in their smiles, in the fierceness of their love and their laughter, in the mischievous glint in their eyes.
I miss my dad, but I know he is here still, reflected from my memory, seen in my brother and his two boys.
And that, somehow, makes the missing not so bad.