There’s a verse from a song that I keep playing on YouTube that I can’t get out of my head this morning. It goes something like this:
‘I never will forget him
For he made me what I am
I miss him
The Old Man’
It’s not surprising that this song is reverberating around my head this morning. I want to keep a promise that I made to my dad as he lay dying on a hospital bed. I whispered to him that: ‘I would look after my mum’. He would know that I would try to play my part in looking after mum following his passing. He would understand why I have not been able to see her for three months. He would also want me to look after Maureen.
Just taking the second line of the verse above: ‘He made me what I am’. Jack Collins, as he was fondly known at British Leyland, was a great dad to me, my brother and two sisters. He taught us all not to let anyone push us around. He was always challenging those who had sold him short. His letter writing to all sorts of vendors, who had not treated him fairly, would need to be seen to be believed.
I am also an ‘Old Man’ to four children – the youngest almost 30. I have not been able to be a dad to them for quite some time. They could quite legitimately view as me leaving them for a second time. I walked out on living with them over 20 years ago. It has not been simple to spend time with them in the last few years: I have allowed domestic matters to get in the way. They have been very understanding over immediate pressure in my own life: some of them more than others.
I am having my first meeting with our new social worker this morning. It isn’t surprising that Finbar Furey’s song is in my head. My priority has to be sorting out my promise to my dad, and becoming the Old Man to my own family once again.