My dad's moving to France on Tuesday.
he's actually going. Leaving the country. Only coming back for occasional holidays etc.
He and Fay came over yesterday and took me and Yorkie fishing for the day. We had a lovely day too... 62 fish between us (I only caught a shameful 6, but my mind was else where and my hands were covered in insect-repelants sun screen which the fish don't like). The sun was scortching and I have discovered that there is one bit up my upper arm that i always seem to miss with the sun lotion (wont be doing that again - OUCH!)
Dad is feeling bad about going, and bad about looking forward to it. He managed not to ask what he has asked in the past; do i feel like he is abandoning me "again", but did say often that he will be only a phone call and a plane ride away if I need him, if there is some emergancy etc.
He was close to tears a lot through out the day.
I'm not sure how I am dealing with it. I think, in my own head, I am denying that it is happening. I'm not thinking about it often, and when I do I find myself reminding myself that I don't normally see him a great deal anyway through out the course of a year. Maybe 4 or 5 times at the most. This last 12 months has been the exception and i have seen him quite a lot, especially since he retired last October.
But I am upset. I'm not showing it a lot, but I am. not in the way he's worried that I might be, I don't feel abandoned or anything like that... but it is sinking in that i can't just go and see him if the whim takes me. Not that it does. At the most I think "Hummm, might call dad tonight and have a natter" and I can still do that. That hasn't changed. It's just the thought that I can't just jump in the car and drive over if I want to. I feel a little guilt over that too, like maybe I should have gone over more often. I didn't because we rub each other up the wrong way and we get on better - in my opinion - when we talk on the phone regularly rather than spend days or weeks in each others company.
Horrible thoughts enter my head now too... like, one day he's going to die. Hell die in France, and I wont be there with him. Morbid I know, but I know now that I am very likely to miss my opprtunity to say good bye. Hopefully, though, that will be many many many years in the future. He's only 60. There are easily another 20 years in him at least if he looks after himself.
I feel guilty for being so cross with him for so long too. He hurt me badly when I was younger - as I've said before the devorce etc was hard on me - and he hasn't always been brilliant with me since. All the money in the world (though greatly appriciated) doesn't make up for only having a part time dad when I was a child. I still get mad about it, and with him. And I feel guilt for that, because I know that in his own way he has tried so hard to make up for it (once he admitted to him self that he HAD hurt me).
After the fishing he took us to a very posh, expensive pub (in our fish slime covered clothing) for dinner, and desided that they wouldn't come back home with us for a coffee, they were just going to leave. So I had to say good bye to my dad in a pub car park. I could see he was very close to tears, and I couldn't bring my self to let go and cry too. I didn't want him to think I was going to suffer for him going. I want him to go happy, not sad for making his little girl cry.
I assured him that once the house was built and they were in we would come over and visit. The estimated completion is mid November, so I said we'd come over in early December. This gives them time to get in and settled, for me to reach the end of seaon sales and postage dates for the christmas orders, and is just before the Christmas rush at Yorkie's garden centre. An ideal time to fly down, mid week, and stay for a few days. So I will see him before the end of the year... assuming the house is actually finished then.
I tried to stay up beat and cheerful, reminding him that thanks to the wonder that is the internet it wont feel like he's in a different country, and that we would be seeing him again in a few (6) months, and that with all the work he'll be doing out there he wont notice the time going by.
But as we got into our cars and drove away in opposite directions, I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a few tears.