To my Dad

 

Dear Dad,

Saying goodbye to you has been difficult. You haven’t been aware, but I have been sharing my perspective on our shared journey in recent years. Talking and writing to  my friends and colleagues who inhabit my life, and shared me with you. Your journey has been difficult in recent years, but not without love, kindness and compassion at its core.

Dad, you had so much love, life and compassion for the world. I wanted you to know that. You loved every atom of the planet, and it’s natural state. The plants, animals and environment that you had such affinity for. I remember however how you often derided the only species that disgusted you (except Wasps); The human race.

IMG_0008
Rick working at Marwell Zoo

You brought your compassion for the natural world into every aspect of my life at home, as children and adults. Whether it was forcing me to watch wildlife documentaries, when I would rather be sat at my computer. Or bringing home an orphaned fox cub that followed you home, so it could be cared for. Or stories of your time working at Marwell, bringing up jaguars, leopards and lots of other wonderful animals.

So many people admired you, and loved you. Your quirky, and often abrasive brand of wisdom was frustrating to me, but refreshing to many other people. You often called me a wuss or sometimes a ‘pussy’ for being the way I am. Nerdy, bookish, and not at all athletic and sporty. I didn’t like being outdoors in all weathers, like you seemed to be able to do.

You’re final few years on this world were in pain, but your passing was, in the end, quiet and painless. We shared this moment, as it was important for us to say goodbye properly. We did this in the only way possible for us. A saturday afternoon of sport (the Rugby World Cup) and a nature documentary. I hope you enjoyed them.

I wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to since you left us.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Mum. These last few weeks have been a strain, but we have gotten through it, stronger together. Sorting out your affairs, and emptying the house has been a lengthy process, but it’s done now. We’ve sold or given away the things we could, and those we couldn’t, we had a massive bonfire. You would have been proud.

IMG_0007
At a party with Mum and Dad

I’ve also been job hunting, both in London, Bristol, and elsewhere. I’m sure that eventually I will make the decision that is right for me. I know that you would have supported me regardless of where I lived and worked. It’s going to be a tricky journey, but I’ll remember you as I make it. It’s now time for me to get off my arse and put my best foot forward.

Goodbye Dad, I love you x