My Dad - In Memory of Tam the Steelfixer - First posted 4nd Sept 2012
I wanted to say a few words about my Dad. How do you honour a man? and sum up his life?
Tam the steelfixer. I call him that here, because it was always written through him who he was, and what he was. He was someone who went out to work each day and grafted, come hell or high water, he'd go to work. I remember his hands, the skin was thick and hard, he often had splits in it from working with steel, my Mum would tend to him when he came home, removing bits of steel from them on numerous times. I remember his lunch bag, the flask, the rolled up newspaper. I can see him now hunched over the kitchen table doing his homework, working out steel calculations.
How many buildings have bits of his calculations in them? I don't know, yet the fact that there are buildings all around us in Edinburgh that he worked on means a lot. Recently I was sitting upstairs on a bus with my 4 year old (he loves sitting upstairs, so do I), and I said with pride as we went past the National Library in Causewayside...'Grandad built that, with a little help.' My son now refers to it as Grandad's building.
Was Tam perfect? well he was as perfect as anyone else, he had lots of great qualities, and some less great. However sitting here now thinking back on the man I knew and still love, I am so proud to be his son, and proud to have had him as my father. He was a good man.
He made me want to be the best I can be for my son.
My dad was a man of few words, but his actions spoke volumes. He loved his family, he spent time caring and looking after his Mother and other family members.
Did he play with us when we were young? well I certainly remember him play fighting, he knew a lot about fighting!...I can still feel the scratch of his stubble as he used to like nothing better than to rub it on our faces, as he held us in some contorted wrestling position.
Someone once said to me (I'm paraphrasing here), loss is the price we pay for the joy of being able to love. When I first heard that, I wanted to say no, I'm not having it, and that's been a pattern for me, not wanting to let go. I want to keep all those that I love close and nearby, but as I've realised over time you're never ready for the birth of a child, you're also never ready for the death of a parent.
Death is a stage of life, and we each have our own beliefs about what happens next. For me my Dad is still here, in my heart, forever loved and remembered. He is in my life, my family's and especially in my sons, and that is the greatest honour of all.