Yesterday we had a death in the family, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel. I shed a few tears last night and again while writing this but I can’t explain why. Was I crying for myself, for his children or for what might have been.
Richard Kelly, was my godfather, my dad’s best friend, ex husband of my cousin and father of 2.
We hadn’t spoken in years.
In 1985 when my Dad died, I didn’t just lose a father I lost an entire family. For reasons known only to them they chose to turn their backs on 2 little girls without a father. In my opinion some were just selfish, some were young with young families of their own and other priorities, others were too young to make the decision for themselves and took their lead from the adults.
I’ve never written about it much before because while of course my history has helped shape who I am today, it does not define me. I hold no bitterness or malice towards my family in fact when I got married last year some of my Dad’s side were there in the evening to celebrate with us, including Richard’s ex wife and daughter, because as an adult I have formed connections with them.
But, while Richard wasn’t there at the wedding or for milestones before, his presence was always a constant in my life. He was always in the background. He knew my entire family on both sides and and has always been a familiar name. Many, particularly the funny stories of my Dad start with his involvement. His children often spoke of him, and photos regularly appeared on facebook. In my early teens when I decided to try and connect with my paternal family, it was Richard I contacted and through him that I met my one aunt and a whole lot of other extended family members, we fell out of touch again, because as a teen I had other priorities and then life got in the way.
As an adult we reconnected briefly and made plans to meet once again but that fell through. Unfortunately it was while I was at a particularly low point myself andI thought that was because he didn’t care and didn’t really want to know. I made a decision to stop trying but as time went on I always secretly thought that one day we’d meet. But one day never came, and now it never will. I regret not trying now, and I understand us not meeting wasn’t because of him, or me, but because of circumstance, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
So who I am I crying for? The missed opportunities? Another connection to the Dad I barely knew disappearing? or through empathy for the terrible loss I know his children, family and friends are experiencing. Maybe it’s for all of these things, but through my tears I’ve made the decision to stop “not trying” – there’s a whole lot of other people out there I need to try harder with and I don’t want there to be another time where the day can never come.
I posted this previously on my (now much neglected) Moblog but after visiting my grandparents tonight I wanted to share it here too.
My Grandad is really poorly again, I live in fear of the day he will no longer be around – he was is and always will be one of the main men in my life and I love him lots.
A Family Photo
This photo was taken before I was born, we think around 1978/79. It has all the most important men from my childhoodÂ included in it, It’s like a capsule containing my whole life history!
This man is Pete. He’s my Dad….
….He died suddenly in 1985, IÂ was only 4. One day he was here, the next he was gone – I don’t miss him all the time – that sounds harsh but it’s true – I was too young to reallyÂ appreciateÂ what I had and then it was gone. Â I never had the chance to get to know the man my dad was growing up and only really started questioning my roots as I got older. I missed having a Dad and the paternal side to my family more than I missed the man that was Peter Jennings – I just wasn’t given theÂ opportunityÂ to know him and I think I grieve for that more than I do for him at times.
This man is Tony, my maternal Grandad….
..My sister and I went with my MomÂ and lived with my grandparents for a short while after my Dad passed away. Â My Mom needed the space and a chance to grieve and recover from the shock of becoming aÂ widow and single parent overnight. We were only there for a couple of months but the effects lasted a lifetime.
While everyone else was pushing their luck and hearing “You justÂ wait until you father gets home!!” This is the man I was I had to wait to get home, I adored him as a child, he was my Grandad, my stand in father figure and my friend, as a small girl I would often climb the tree by the bus stop and wait for him to get home from work when he’d scoop me up and carry me home on his shoulders, as a teen he had the best technique for help towel dry hair and as a young adult, pregnant andÂ sufferingÂ from morning sickness he made the only thing IÂ couldÂ stomache, the most divine poached egg on toast!
HeÂ was, and still is my rock and I know I couldÂ still go to him for anything! He’s been with me FOREVER!
Now this man is Dave, he was one of Dad’s very good friends before his death and now he isÂ now my Stepdad!
My Mom and Dave got together when I was 14 and married inÂ 2001 when I was 20. When he moved in we were going through my Dads vinyl record collection together and Dave pulled our a couple of records that had actually belonged to him.
I truly would not wish for her to be with anyone else! HeÂ is a fantastic Dad to me, my sister and brother and a devoted Grandad to Jordan. Â He’s supported my Mom through thick and thin and cared for us all for years and I’m glad itÂ was him my mom married!