This man was my father.
When I was born, he was 65 years old. My mother was 45. He had been married for more than 30 years to a woman who was institutionalised for most of those years, because of mental health problems. They never had children. Finally, her death liberated both of them.
A few years later he met my mother, a widow with four daughters, the youngest of whom was about 9 years old. They married, and he was a wonderful stepfather to her girls – but he always spoke with regret of never having had a child of his own. So, although she must have previously felt that her days of having kids were finished, and although it must have been scary to become pregnant at her age, she allowed that to happen.
He doted on me. Everyone said that they had never seen a man adore a child as he did me.
When I was 3 years old, and he was 68, he died, suddenly, of a heart attack. Apparently, I became sick with grief when he “disappeared”.
I wish I had known him. Because of his age he was probably never going to see me become an adult, but I wish I had known him long enough to have some memories of him. What memories there are, are buried deep in my psyche, and are more like scars.
I know little of him, sadly – my mother spoke of him very little, and the few things I do know came from the two eldest of my half-sisters. He was a farmer. His parents were born in Scotland, and emigrated to New Zealand for a better life. He was very tall – 6 feet 4 inches. He loved me.
I have my father's colouring, his bone structure, his chin. My son has his height, and we both have his enquiring mind and his intellect.