A week and a half ago my dad passed away. He wasn’t my dad by blood. Not even by marriage. My mum and he dated and lived together for a few years when I was very young and ever since then he’s been my dad. Even after they separated.
Because there’s no blood between us and I don’t have his name, I’ve often felt like something of a fake trying to claim him as my dad. Especially as he was a publican and brewer somewhat famous amongst other brewers and beer connoisseurs. I always felt like others would see me as someone trying to jump on his bandwagon, trying to claim some sort of fame or riches through his name.
The thing is, I’m an introvert. Sure, I like acknowledgment for things I’ve done, but the limelight scares the crap out of me. To me he was just dad. There with advice, stories and good food when we visited for lunch. He’d help me out if I needed it, but I never liked asking him for help. I’d feel like I was letting him down.
Last Friday we had a celebration of his life. He never liked funerals. Too depressing. In his last days he said, “I want 0 funerals and 0 people there.” The amount of people that turned up to celebrate his life would have amazed him. He lived life without regrets and that was how he died. He’d done everything he’d set out to, not one opportunity was missed.
I heard some stories from his brother, nephew and college friend that I hadn’t heard before and they put a smile on my face. They reminded me of the crazy things he’d get up to. Like the impulse to fly a plane and convincing his mate to let him fly his plane. Dad managed to fly it and land it. After they landed, his mate asked if he’d like to fly again, get his licence. “Nah, I’m done.”
The smile would slip shortly after because I would feel like they knew him more than I ever did. People I never knew he knew. Places I didn’t know he’d been. Things I never knew he did. They make me question whether I ever have the right to call him dad.
This is just something I needed to get out of my system. I'm not asking for condolences, reassurances or whatever. Just wanted it out there...