Monday, 20 February 2017

Seven Answers XI: An Experience

(These aren't my words; they're part of Seven Answers).

2. Describe a pivotal experience in your life.

That'll be the death of my father's partner of 20 years.  I'm gay, Dad is too, but we've never got on.  There's a history there - I'm his brother's son (my mum had an affair).  So Dad heaped love on my brother and I was the one that did wrong all the time.

Anyways, Dad left Mum ages back and met E - his partner.  They lived together in a caravan park and, while relations between us improved, they weren't as good as they were with my brother.

Dad and E went to Spain on holiday.  E collapsed from an aortic aneurysm and was put in hospital.  My brother was on holiday and Dad could not get through to him.  He rang me and I let it go to answerphone.  He rang again and I picked it up.

I flew out to meet him.  E died and I, with my dad, organised the funeral (Dad can barely say yes in Spanish).  He really appreciated that.  The really strange bit was that Dad had - up to that point - never talked about E as his partner - they were always friends - I think he thought it meant he was less of a man by being gay and so he didn't want his sons to know.

That time in Spain though, he talked about how E would stroke his back in bed until Dad fell asleep, how they loved each other, their pet names, etc - I saw a side to Dad I had never seen - one that showed he was capable of love.

The time in Spain was terrible - we had to take E's passport to the British Consulate and watch it be stamped with 'Deceased' or some such (as if E was over - finished with), we had to carry E's ashes back to England and had issues at customs - and most of the time Dad just cried.  I was pleased to be able to step up to the mark and support him.

And that changed everything.  My relationship with Dad is now on an equal footing as that which he has with my brother (although they are very different) and Dad for me is a friend - not a distant father - someone I can talk to about anything.

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