Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

I must have loved my dad

WEDNESDAY, April 21 – My father would have been 87 today.  He’s been dead for almost 32 years.  I was thirteen when he died.

It had been his second heart attack in a row. He was manic-depressive and he’d been sitting at home for years and had not been able to go back to the Dutch Royal Leatherworks factory in Oisterwijk.  He loved music, especially jazz as well as walking in the woods with his field glasses around his neck, spotting birds.

He was married twice, lost his first wife to cancer. They had had three children. With his second wife he’d had two children: my younger brother and me.  Five boys.  Three plus two half-brothers.  I didn’t have that much of a brotherly connection with them because we were often played off against each other.

He was crazy in a good way because of his illness.  We did fun things together, but he could get really angry and then I was afraid of him. Actually, a wave of relief came over me when he died and I didn’t even feel guilty.  At least we were freed from his blind rages.

Back then he had seemed huge, but looking at the photos I realize that I would have towered over him if he had lived until I was an adult. I remember his enormous shoes, but of course my feet would have been small back then.  He usually wore the same kind of clothes:  sports jackets  and turtleneck sweaters.  And orange swimming trunks. He was thin as a rail with hollow eyes and rotton-looking row of lower teeth..

I never told him so, but I must have loved him. That puts me ahead of him, in any case. My children often tell me they love me and I do the same.

Congrats, old man.

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