Fathers Day

Guest post

I have never really given much thought to this day, apart from those times when I the kids were young and I stayed in bed while they prepared burnt toast and the world’s worst cup of tea for my breakfast.

However, this year is different. Father’s Day falls a few days after my Dad’s birthday. It is also the first Father’s Day that I have not had my Dad. He died a few months back. So today is one of quiet reflection on his life for me.

He was a veteran of World War Two. He joined the army at sixteen and was fighting  in Italy when he was nineteen. By the time he was twenty-one he had experienced more trauma, carnage and excitement than most of us experience in a lifetime. He won the Military Medal for bravery – a medal he said he didn’t deserve because better men than him should have got it. Have you ever met a bravery award recipient who wasn’t at least somewhat embarrassed by being recognised. I have read his citation a thousand times and it brings tears to my eyes every time I do.

My dad was not the greatest Dad in the world. He couldn’t hold a job, he was not a particularly good provider and while not disinterested in what mischief I got up to as a lad, he wasn’t overly concerned either.  But in saying that he wasn’t the worst either. He didn’t drink, gamble or abuse anyone.  He liked to spend time alone.   In later years I realised that he was suffering from classic symptoms of PTSD. He died at ninety, but for seventy years had lived with faces of his dead mates and those of the men he had killed in battle haunting his dreams. I don’t believe he ever really left Italy.

I loved my Dad.

Happy Father’s Day.  Make the most of your day.

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