I was meant to see my Dad yesterday, just to briefly pop in for a coffee, but I was heading off to Whitstable for the day and I just didn’t have time. He was also going to play golf so y’know, we’re all busy busy. But I wanted to take the time to talk about my Dad, for several reasons. I love him and don’t talk about him enough. Actually, I think that’s reason enough don’t you?

 

For those of you that have elderly parents, you’ll understand that our relationships change somewhat with them as we both get older. The balance of ‘power’ (not the right word, but you know what I mean) changes and I find I’m feeling and becoming much more nurturing and caring towards Dad as he moves into his twilight years. Our relationship was always one of Dad being the adventurous parent, Mum being the matriarchal carer, and I had the happiest of childhoods.

 

I talk about Dad a lot to other people. Dad would probably be quite surprised if he knew. In fact, I did it yesterday when I was walking along Whitstable beach with my new friend. I don’t know how we got onto the subject. Perhaps it was because we saw a lot of retired couples walking their dogs, or maybe I was just feeling guilty because I’d run out of time to see Dad yesterday. I explained to my friend that Dad used to be a builder for many years, and a great one at that. That he loves betting on the horses (and if the horses are your cup of tea, why not click and download here for the William Hill android & iOS apps), but greyhound racing was a big passion of his when we were growing up. He loves golf and I’m so happy that he’s now able to play again after becoming ill last year, and I even spoke about his beloved Corned Beef Hash that Mum would make every single Saturday without fail. It was a very long and random conversation!

 

Last year was tough, on all the family, but particularly on him. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and it took a good nine months to get the balance of medication right before we saw any improvement, and it was really hard seeing him so poorly. But *touch wood* he’s now a hundred times better than he was and my brother even managed to take him on holiday to Rhodes earlier this year, something he hasn’t done for the longest time. To see Dad swimming in the pool, enjoying a beer whilst reading the paper and just deservedly enjoying this holiday really made me smile.

 

This post is a great opportunity to share one of my all time favourite family photos! 

 

family

 

Dad was married to Mum for over forty years. I remember the surprise 40th anniversary party we threw for them in my back garden, just like it was yesterday. We filmed Mum’s reaction as she walked through the side gate to the garden to see a marquee full of all her favourite people, and I still hold onto that memory as if it’s the most precious jewel I could own. Because when you lose a parent, that’s all you have left … memories.

 

Which brings me onto this. Time. And guilt. I just always feel like I don’t have enough time. To do the things I want, the things that bring me happiness, and to spread myself (ouch) amongst the people I love the most, and I often feel like time is running out. That there is only a finite amount of time I have left on this earth and I need to cram in as much as possible. I wouldn’t say it’s a mid-life crisis, and my 47th birthday is impending, so it could be that, but it’s also a definite recognition that I’m halfway through my life.

 

And I feel guilty that I’m never quite doing enough for the people I love. Am I a good enough daughter, mother, auntie, sister, friend? Could I … should I be doing more for other people? I guess some days I find it hard enough to look after myself, like it requires a conscious effort to look after myself, but as yesterday showed, these special people are always on my mind, even if I don’t physically see them, and I guess I have to hope that, for the most part, that is enough.

 

I would love to hear from you if you’ve managed to find a great balance between having the life you want, and doing the things you like … and spending time with your family, because right now, I feel like I’m failing.

 

kate sutton

 

*  This is a collaborative post.

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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2 Comments

  1. Oh baby – I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your actual blog, but this came up just as I was about to talk about ‘mememe’ on my own on WordPress! How rude! But I think you know from our FB shares, that I lost my own father on the 8th December 2015 – it’s hard to be the perfect daughter, as it is to be the perfect parent. I think we all chose each other before we even got here, to teach each other lessons and learn from each other, whatever that is. I talk about Dad daily to my new colleagues and to folk who walk into the gallery, especially as there are so many works of art featuring country animals that remind me from growing up on Dad’s farm – so any clients who are farming fraternity hear me reminiscing whether they like it or not bless them! Our parents are so precious, it breaks my heart that mum is watching This Morning on her own while my sister and myself are working and being parents ourselves. But we can’t be sad over the times we don’t have time for each other – time is literally nothing in comparison to the memories and the people we are made from by our parents, who indulged, nurtured and created who we are today. We feel guilty because we ‘love’ them so much – love always breaks our hearts, but that’s a good thing, because love rules the day. Our parents are the world, we’re merely their satelites – lots of love my darling xxx

    1. Oh Lizzie, thanks for your lovely message. It really is hard to be the perfect anything isn’t it, but a perfect daughter … yeah, I never feel like I’m doing quite a good enough job. But I love your thoughts on why we feel that guilt … because we love them so much. And it is a wonderful thing, which I think has only grown because we understand loss. Much love to you too xxx

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