It would have been my dad's 63rd birthday today. And I would have loved to celebrate it with him. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen, because he died 11 years ago. The reason I say this is because I've been thinking about him an awful lot of late, for reasons I am about to explain.
This year hasn't had the happiest or easiest of starts. My boiler finally gave up the ghost, leaving me without heating or hot water - and necessitating the expenditure of nearly £3000 to get the problem sorted out - I ended up (after laying out £500 in a desperate attempt to coax the old one back to life) getting a brand new one installed, which has been functioning perfectly.
Just after that was sorted out, my bathroom ceiling collapsed. There's a very long story attached, involving one of the stupidest people it's ever been my misfortune to meet, the previous owner of the flat upstairs who really couldn't give a damn and the new owners, who weren't told of the various failings of the previous tenant (aforementioned stupid person - who managed to burn a hole in the bath. Seriously.) That's still waiting to be fixed, so I currently have a big gap in the ceiling, through which I regularly get falls of rubble.
And then, just as I was getting my head round those two little 'problems', I ended up with a slipped disc and attendant sciatica. I have NEVER experienced pain like it and I never want to again. I was away from work for four and a half weeks, the longest I've ever been off sick. I have now been back three weeks and I am still snowed under. And my back/leg is not totally healead. It'll take a long time, these things generally do. And I am making pretty good progress, all things considered.
The one thing I tried not to think during all this year was 'Oh god, I want my dad.' Because it just makes it worse. I think today's brought it all out because my thoughts naturally drift his way at this particular time of the year. And because I know he'd have made it all feel better. He'd have dried my childish tears, given me one of his bearhugs and sorted it all out. He was always there. And frankly, I have sometimes have no idea how I have managed without him. I miss him every single day and for that there is no cure.
Time heals, or so the saying goes. Up to a point, that's true, but there are wounds that stubbornly refuse all efforts, scar tissue that remains resolutely painful. Things you learn to live with. You don't get over them, just accept that they are there. Some days are better than others, so you just have to steel yourself to get through the bad ones.
So there you have it. It's that day again. And I just want to say that I love you, Dad. More than I could ever hope to put into words. And I have to hope that you knew that.