My Letter To My Father

Dear Father
It has been just over a month since you passed away and I am still feeling the after affects. Your death is in many ways much more difficult to deal with then that of my step mother because of the mixed feelings it evokes. My step mums death was tragic and unexpected which meant that it made me grief stricken for a short period but then I was at peace with the fact that she was in a better place however your death means that I have no parents left and that in many ways changes everything about my life. Not to mention that while you were a good person things were difficult between us in the end which has to affect things as well.

The first thing I felt was a wave of sadness which I suppose is only to be expected when someone passes. You had a great influence on my life when I was a kid you were a good father and you protected me, you were funny, intelligent, charming and taught me good values. We had allot of great times together. I remember singing with you at the piano and our various father and son duos playing Flanders and swan. I remember watching Dr Who marathons on a Sunday morning or you taking me to football games even though you didn’t like the sport at all. I know that you wanted me to enjoy higher end culture like the opera and the ballet and play the piano like you did but you never made me feel that I had disappointed you by being more into wrestling and rock music then I was opera and ballet or that I enjoyed a nice burger more then I enjoyed an expensive dinner in a fancy restaurant. I suppose in a way this is why I can feel proud of what I love and I can respect other peoples passions providing there is a glimmer of intelligent thought to why they like what they like. The important thing is that while I did not take your high end culture I did take your sense of values. Your sense of looking out for people who need you, your sense of honour and integrity, of treating people right and a common sense of decency and good manners. I think these things are kind of lacking today so I am proud that I was taught them in my childhood as these are values I hold very dear to me now. Ironically even though we had difficult times the last 10 years or so it feels like you died your old self and that’s what I have lost.

However on top of the wave of sadness I am feeling other quite different emotions scared, worried, anxious angry and annoyed. I am scared now as both you and Elizabeth have gone. I know I have a mother and I get on very well with her but she was never my parent. I moved into the house in Waltham when I was 6 years old I lived with you and Elizabeth you are the two people who raised me so you were my parents and the house in Waltham is my family home. Now the two of you are gone I feel that I am on my own the family house will be sold soon and I feel like I will have no safety net at all. I feel right now that I am to either Sink or Swim and if I don’t succeed I have nowhere to go. There are people who care of me and people who will look after me which makes this feeling a bit weird but I cannot help how I feel and all the empty platitudes and all the people around me doesn’t help. The fact is that I am 26 years old I have buried my parents and I feel alone because of it.

I had originally come to Canada to get away from the stress of caring for you but now im here I am for the most part quite enjoying it. I feel that I am finding somewhat of a home here and I want to build on my life here and make something of it. But your death has really gotten in the way of that, I feel like im finding it difficult to get my life together here. Things that were easy and simple I am now finding really difficult. Little things that in the past never seemed to bother me are now like a huge flashing red light in my brain. I am finding it difficult to spend even a few hours by myself. I need to keep TV on in the background just so I have some noise around. This side of things I don’t know how to deal with, I guess the only thing that can deal with this aspect of your death is time. I hope once I get back into work again and once this Christmas period is over I can start building on things. Unfortunately Christmas is not helping. This is usually a time of great happiness or people coming together but im finding it difficult this year as my social world goes off and does there own thing with there families which is difficult for me as it leaves me alone and remembering what I have lost. My hope is that once I get back into things again in the new year I will stop feeling as retched as I feel right now.

The other emotion I have been recently feeling is anger. I am feeling angry that you left me as allot of this is your own fault. I know that you had cancer and that it was difficult for you to deal with but you beat that. YOU developed your alcohol dependency YOU were the one who refused to get help and just deteriate your body when help was all around you. I never felt that you would ever tell me to get out of your life but you did and your apology the next day won’t erase that. As good as a father as you were in my childhood you abandoned me in my late teenage years and my early twenties and I needed you then as well and not only were you not there for me but the last 10 years have been so difficult for me and allot of that is your fault. I feel like I continually put my life on hold for you to look after you and Elizabeth. Not only that but I was doing things and dealing with things that someone of my age should not be having to deal with. A 17 year old should not be taking his dad upstairs and then undressing him and putting him into bed before going downstairs and watching his step mum get pissed and cry all over the place before letting her into bed. This is something ive had to deal with on and off for ten years and it’s not fair and its not right that I did have to deal with that.

I am still angry at the way that you treated Elizabeth. She loved you with all her heart, she did everything to make it work and all she wanted was for you to be happy. I have never known that kind of love in my life and I doubt I ever will. But you had that and you stomped all over it. You never offered a kind word and you took her biggest insecurities and shinned the world’s biggest spotlight on it. You accused her of infidelity and you didn’t trust any of her male friends even though she would never ever have cheated on you. And you can’t blame the cancer for this one because it started before you got that. I later learned that allot of my childhood memories are somewhat tainted because of the way you treated Elizabeth. I think by the end you realised your mistakes but it was very difficult when Elizabeth died for me to hold my tongue because I believed and still do to this day that you didn’t treat her right.

I am angry at that fact that you died. I know that the last few years were difficult between us and I know that for the last few years you had become more of a burden then a help to me. But at the same time 26 is way too early to be burying my parents. I feel angry with the world and I feel like I got royally screwed over. I was expecting when I grew up to be burring my parents in my 60’s or at least my late 50’s my uncle is 55 years old now and his parents are still doing well. He brings his kids to see his grandparents and share a drink with his dad and talk about rugby while they draw pictures. I wanted that for me and I don’t think it was to much to ask. I don’t think that its right that I wont be able to bring my future kids to see either you or Elizabeth. That my kids wont be able to come hear stories about salamanders or hear you play the piano. You wont be able to teach piano to my children. Not only that But I wanted to hear you play piano, I wanted us to watch the new Dr who’s together or watch the six nations again on tv like we used to. I had hoped we could go watch some live rugby, play pool, go to the movies together. Not only have I missed this stuff during the last 10 year but im going to miss it now forever. Hell dad people in there 30’s and 40’s get annoyed and depressed when people sell there family homes so how do you think this is making me feel. Not only that but having parents gives a sense of security somewhere you can always come home to a house where you can bring your laundry and sleep in your old room. I know I will always have bens parents place and I will always have friends that will let me crash with them but its not the same. The symbolism of what I have lost now is really getting to me and im struggling to find comfort in my current surroundings.

Finally I am annoyed at the fact that the nest egg that should have been mine has been chipped away at so much that I might not get anything or if I do get something what I will get is really quite minimal. The alcoholism took so much of it away, but other things chipped away at it as well. You were never really good with money and the stupid things that you brought not only with your nest egg but with Elizabeth’s money as well. Not only that but your stubbornness and pride in refusing to take benefit money that you were entitled to. You were disabled and couldn’t work you should have taken the money. What should have been at least a few hundred thousand I am now lucky if I will get a hundred thousand from it. I know I have never been someone who cared allot about money but I feel if I have to bury my parents at 26 I should at least have enough for a decent life. I should have been able to get my own place to finish my travelling and have enough left over to do a little bit of saving. If we were a poor family I would understand that. But we were quite a well off family, we had a big house which is now pretty much worth jack we had antiques which we had to sell and a nest egg which is now pretty much worth as much as a packet of crisps.

Well I guess that pretty much it for the moment. I guess things just suck for now and they probably will for a couple of months, ive been having difficulty sleeping and I keep having dreams with you in them sometimes your around and it was like it was when I was a kid. Sometimes you’re around and it’s like it was when I was an adult and sometimes im achieving things when you’re around or sometimes your gone but I can still see you. I guess I just needed to tell you how im feeling right now and what im going through. Il probably update this letter in time and change things around. I guess the finally thing for me to say is that despite all of this confusion all of this chaos I do love you and I do miss you and I will remember you forever.

Your Son- Always

Alex Windos
awindos awindos
26-30, M
1 Response Dec 12, 2010

Dear Alex,<br />
I am not sure if you will remember me, my name is Henry Vigne, I was a good friend of you father and Elizabeth at one time - as I say, you may not remember me as you were quite young at the time.<br />
Before I explain more, let me just say how sorry I was to read via your letter which I have just read, that both your Dad and Elizabeth have passed away, they were both such good, kind people, and showed me much kindness at a difficult time in my life.<br />
I happened to drive through Waltham yesterday – the first time for a couple of years, and I noticed that the garden had been cut back at your Dad and Elizabeth’s house. When I arrived home I Goggled and saw the house was for sale. This made me wonder about Steven and Elizabeth. I know your Dad had been ill, so I guess feared the worst. I don’t know why, but I ended up Googling your name, and came up straight away with your terribly moving and sad letter to your Dad. I had no idea until then that they had both died – I am so sorry Alex.<br />
I last saw your Dad about five years ago. I happened to call into The Granby one Sunday lunch time and saw Steven then. I had not seen him for over ten years at that stage, and was sorry to see how ill he was then, walking with a stick and not on best form – we shared a couple of pints and caught up a bit, but he wasn’t the Steven I knew from before.<br />
I guess I got to know your parents in the late 80’s, when I was in my late teens. I was living in Zimbabwe at the time (my parents had divorced when I was a child and my mother moved to Zimbabwe – Dad lived in Waltham, next to The Horseshoes). Anyway, having returned to UK to go to university I arrived back in Waltham not really knowing anyone, and Steven and Elizabeth really took me under their wing. I went to university for a while to study law, but it didn’t work out. My real love was food and cooking, and I can’t begin to tell you how encouraging your parents were, particularly your Dad. As you know, he was a superb cook, and we used to spend hours talking about food and he was always so generous with his wonderful library of cook books, he really inspired me.<br />
The first thing I found relating to you when I googled your name was your membership of the ‘Pot Luck’ club, and I knew it must be you. That was one of your Dad’s often used ex<x>pressions, ‘Come and take pot luck with us’, sometimes followed by Elizabeth looking a little worried and saying something like, ‘Oh well, we can always fall back on eggs!’. I went off to train as a chef in London in the early 90’s, and often met up with your Dad at the home of Robert Fellows in Kennington, where again, we took pot luck in the ba<x>sement kitchen, often cooking up a storm for whoever was around. These evenings were always such fun, without exception involved far too much to drink, lots of good food, laughter and a very late night. I think my memory of your Dad and Elizabeth will probably always most closely be connected with good food, stimulating conversation around a dining table either in Waltham or London – more often Waltham. I remember Rose House as a slightly chaotic place, stuffed with dogs and cats; let me see, Boris, Binns, Bungle, Rostoff…, the inevitable cloud of Marlboro’ smoke coming from Elizabeth’s direction, and often, probably after too much wine, your Dad playing the piano – beautifully and always with such feeling. There are certain pieces of piano music which I still can’t hear without thinking of your Dad, he was so talented.<br />
I also remember you figuring quite highly! I can recall may occasions when I came over for supper and you were ready for bed in your pyjamas, but were definitely up for a game of Lego or Transformers with me before bed; you were a happy boy then, despite the difficult start you had in life. I also remember you had a huge fondness for Cheese Whotsit crisps, and used to be bribed to be a good boy in the pub with them!!<br />
I am sorry, I am going on a bit, I guess I just wanted to share with you a few of the happy memories I have of Steven and Elizabeth; as you can see, they were incredibly good and kind to me, it is to my shame that when I moved away from Waltham I let our friendship dwindle. Having read the letter you posted on the website, perhaps it is just as well that I knew them in their prime, before they became ill and life became too difficult for them both. All I can say, having gleaned some of the details of their final years from your letter, is that I am so sorry that it ended the way it did for them both, and I am so sorry that as such a young man you had such a lot to deal with, it must have been terribly hard for you to manage. As you said in your letter, they are at peace now. <br />
You might think this rather an odd letter, but I guess I wanted to let you know how happily I remember your Dad and Elizabeth, but particularly your Dad, as a highly amusing, incredibly generous and warm man, who was bloody good company, and helped to show me that there was life beyond a rather parochial Leicestershire village.<br />
I hope this finds you well Alex, your new life in Canada sounds exciting and is no doubt a good move. Just one more thing to say, you Dad was always incredibly proud of you, even when I last saw him, he was full of pride for how well you had done – I seem to think you were in Australia at the time, but I may have that wrong.<br />
With my very best wishes, and again, let me say how sorry I was to learn about your Dad and Elizabeth.<br />
Yours,<br />