As my Dad walked away from the house, I can remember running to the window in the living room and watching him go. I turned to see my Mum incredibly upset as she sat down near the coffee table. I uncomfortably and slowly moved to the other end. I was 3 years old and had no idea what on earth was going on.
I literally can’t remember any days before that one, but remember every day after it.
I had no idea if my Dad was going to turn around and come back. My Sister was at school at the time and I didn’t know if he was walking away from my Mum, us or just me.
The feeling of loss at that moment was similar to the night I found out that my Dad had died. I just didn’t know what was going on, I just couldn’t feel. My Dad did eventually move out over the next few months and over the next few years my Mum, Sister and I moved to Newcastle from Cumbria, a good 80 miles away from my Dad and closer to my Mums family.
That Father/Son bond turned into a long-distance relationship which was managed over phone calls and seeing him on a weekly, then fortnightly and sometimes monthly basis and then perhaps during the school holidays. The Saturday’s that Dad came to see us were exciting, for me at least. I’d sit near a window listening for his car. We had a lot of fun but when my Mum and Dad were in the same vicinity as each other it was less fun, raging arguments would ensue. There was no love lost there. I’d try and protect my Sister first and whilst being 2 years older, she was my priority just as she has been over the last few months.
I’m not even sure why I’m telling you all of this, a warts and all view on my personal life that I’ve never really told anyone else. I guess in some weird way, I hope it’s helping me provide some context to you and I on how I felt at the time and how that manifested itself throughout my younger life and why it has had such an incredibly painful impact now.
You see, it’s strange. Even though my Dad left, I didn’t blame him or speak to him about it for many years. I internalised it all… one of my downfalls. I guess I blamed myself, for whatever reason as young children do. It would take me over ten years before I reached a point in time where I raised it with him and it wasn’t in the best of circumstances.
On a summer holiday in a static caravan in France, an argument had raged between my at the time step-brother and my Dad and where it came to a point where it hits a peak and people start to talk properly again, my Dad and I were in a room together and I blurted out something along the lines of “… but you left me, you left us.” For the first time that I can ever remember, my Dad reached forward, wrapped his arms around me and gave me a heartfelt hug as he emotionally whispered “I’m sorry…”
At that point, I can only describe the feeling that I felt like my soul was being ripped out. I finally said it, and even though we were together in that room the emptiness I felt was overwhelming.
As we sat holding each other, me not wanting to let go, I cried, we cried together. I never wanted to lose him again.
I’m going to continue this another time, soon.