Sometimes I wonder if the event which has impacted on my Dad’s life the most was one over which he had no influence at all. Being born a full fourteen years after the next youngest of his three brothers has left him with a character which still retains an innocence, and a baffling lack of insight into his own background, which speaks of how he was viewed within his family, and also of the times he lived in. He knows he had an older brother who was desperately ill as a young man. But he wasn’t told how or with what. As a boy, the relationship he enjoyed with his closest brother existed through a one sided correspondence, as a result of my Uncle’s incarceration by Japanese troops in Burma. The letters gently enquire of school work and sport. He also learnt of his mother’s death long after the event. It was thought best not to tell him whilst he was on his national service.
What kind of man is made by circumstances which exist solely to comfort and deny the worst of the world? A kind hearted one, quick to tear, although one also capable of making choices which have suited his own needs at the detriment of others. A human, essentially.
So here he is, in his old glory. It was so good to catch up, even for a short time last month when I was back in England for the funeral of my Mum’s husband, a man a handful of years younger than my Dad.