Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Smile, though your heart is aching

This is the smile I craved as a child. The happy, relaxed, self-effacing and approving grin of my father.

I was enormously lucky to grow up in a family where the parents loved one another in a way that only people made for one another can, and that love was filtered down and magnified a hundred-fold to us kids.


True, we were no Enid Blyton picture-book idyll of family life, and we certainly had our problems, but we were a family in every sense.

Sadly that family is now missing one. Five years ago this month, Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. A few short months later, he left us. I mourned him at the time, but in time I have come to accept that he has gone. But I still miss him every day - especially when I stumble across some little gem that would have appealed to his love of music or his quirky, slightly anarchic sense of humour.



Dad was a complex man with simple needs. Though the joker of the pack, always the one ready to put on his Dame Edna glasses and fright wig for the local carnival or a fancy dress party, he had a very shy, melancholy, even dark side to his character. Perhaps it came from some of the darker times of his childhood - or perhaps that's just the way he was made.

That's what made his smiles all the more precious to us. And he was never sparing with them. His love and pride for his family was unconditional and, seemingly, unending. And when I think of him today, I remember him with a smile on his face - even if it is just a shy grin of pride in his prize tomatoes.



Of course, one of the main things that put that smile on his face was my Mum.
My amazing, admirable, resilient, soft but ever-so strong, optimistic Mum.
She has a smile of her very own. It's a smile from the heart, one that takes up every inch of her, beaming warmth and mischief. She's a real dynamo, full of energy, viv and verve. Hers is the smile of a winner, and she's the best role model a girl could ever wish for.

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This post was inspired by The Gallery, for which Tara at http://stickyfingers1.blogspot.com/ set up the theme 'A Smile' this week. It is in honour of the Mona Lisa Million Project which aims to raise money for charity and helping people to promote their (genuine!) websites. It is run by a former policeman and stay at home dad called Dave Fowler. Such a great idea.

Check out The Gallery to see a range of smiles - and reasons for them - from bloggers near and far. I bet it will put a grin on your face.

20 comments:

  1. Am new to your blog, what a lovely tribute xxx

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  2. A heartfelt, moving post. Really lovely. x

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  3. Really lovely pics - and perfect words to go with them :)

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  4. What a wonderful post, your parents look like lovely people

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  5. You always *always* make me cry, woman! Your dad was one in a million - and the first time I came to your parents' house, he was smiling. :)

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  6. Awww - they book look lovely. You were (are) very lucky.

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  7. That's so nice. You are indeed a very lucky lady to have such good memories.

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  8. Lovely post - and how nice to remember people by their smiles - I know the world can only be a better place when people smile.

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  9. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post! They are fabulous photos and your words just make them come alive. Thank you! x

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  10. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. I love how someone's smile can stay with us even when they have gone x

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  11. What a gorgeous tribute to your dad he sounds an amazing man xx

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  12. ahhh that is gorgeous. Were you Daddy's girl? Mich x

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  13. I don't think I was particuarly a Daddy's Girl -reckon my younger sister had that role.

    However, I was a bit of a Tomboy, so maybe there were things Dad and I did together that would have been with his son, if he'd had one.

    I am enormously priviledged to have had such a wonderful father, even though he could be hard work at times.
    Equally, however, I am so SO very lucky to have such an amazing mother, who is - thankfully - still very much an important part of our lives.

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  14. What a lovely post so glad I stopped by to read it. Lovely memories and your mum looks gorgeous.

    I lost my dad over 10 years ago, we weren't particularly close but I often write about my amazing mum in my blog. X

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  15. Miss him so much, he would have be all shy and proud of this post, you know the way he was! love you x x x lil sis

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  16. What a lovely, sweet post! Your folks both look like warm people. I lost my mother over 30 years ago and I still see things I wish I could share with her. I'm lucky to still have my Dad but at 86 he is becoming frail.

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  17. lovely blog, I lost my dad, also to cancer, just over 4 years ago, there's not many days that go by without at least one 'i want my daddy' moment but there's also not many days that go by without at least one really good memory of him or something we did popping into my mind. He would've been 80 next week, I just can't imagine him as an 80 year old

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