I don’t think much about my dad. I guess he has been in a box in my head. But since I am trying to open those boxes and getting things out, I should start with him.
In the past, when I have thought about my dad, I have felt sadness over him dying, anger at some of his actions, hurt over his bond with my brother and disappointment over how he would feel if he saw me now. So I have just kept him in a box and not thought about him.
My dad was a good man, but definitely not a perfect man. Having a dad with bipolar as interesting growing up, because it was hard to know what dad you were going to get – high as a kite dad, depressed dad, angry dad or quiet, reserved dad.
I can’t remember a heck of a lot do with growing up with my dad, but I do remember he coached my rugby team. I respect that because it took time and I was always proud that it was my dad who was our coach. The other boys in the team liked him and he was a good coach.
My most treasured memory of my dad was a week I spent with him up in Auckland. Thinking back now, it is hard to know how real it was, because it is clear looking back that he was off his medicine and on one of his highs. So who knows if it was “real” dad or what. But anyway, it was a great week. He had a dream to start a magazine so we drove around Auckland while he had meetings looking for sponsors. Whenever he went into a meeting, he asked for a business card for me, and he bought me a business card holder to keep them all in. That meant something to me because, as a kid, I loved collecting things, and for him to remember that was a big deal for me. The magazine never eventuated and that trip was actually the catalyst for a huge bout of depression for my dad, but for me, I will remember it as a special time where it was just dad and me.
I miss my dad. I wish he got to meet my wife and kids. I know he would have loved my wife, and would have really enjoyed being a grandfather.
When going through hard times, like I am right now, I do remember back to the hard times dad faced. He lost his reputation, he felt ashamed and embarrassed, and hit rock bottom many times, but he picked himself up, and dusted himself off. Perhaps instead of keeping my dad in a box, I need to bring him out and think about him more regularly – and this aspect of him in particular. I need to remember my dad as someone who stumbled but got back up, who didn’t let crap times beat him down, but who kept on keeping on. That is who I want to be, that is what I want to be known as.
So here we go. My dad was a good man, and I am proud of him. Life will hit me some curveballs sometimes, through my choices, and sometimes just because. But I need to get back up, dust myself off and hold my head up high – like my dad.
Good things from today:
- Time with my wife and daughter
- Skyping my mum and having a good chat
- Time with my aunty and uncle who came down to visit us