I know my dad loved me…now!

Apr 22, 2016

I know my dad loved me…now!

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Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #19
Rite of Passage Seven –A Fate Worse Than Death–
(1951-1953) Age 17-19 years old

Q: Distant Dads: Was your dad distant, without too much warmth or interest in you? Can you recall just one memory of how he might have revealed his love for you?

Photo of Graham Kerr and His Dad

Poor Dad, he tried so hard…I can see this now but not at the time and not before it was too late to let him know that I loved him too!

He travelled across England (not far) and stayed with me overnight at a pub in Honiton, Devonshire. It was my last night before reporting to the British Army for my two years of National Service.

He settled down, after supper, to ply me with alcohol so that he could see how it might affect me. After two beers I was no longer thirsty. We had an early, uneventful night.

Bright and early we set out for the training camp. At exactly 0900hrs, the time set to begin a full day of induction; he deposited me at the Guard House, “Good luck my boy,” he managed gruffly. He shook my hand and turned about smartly…marching off with a stiff back and arms swinging with precision. He never looked back…but I stood still, watching him go.

I was first in line…a good start made possible by a good man. He had showed me his love but couldn’t say it!

So…what about now?

Oh how I miss him. I have over the years uncovered several very dear examples when he showed his love. He even put his quite bristly face against mine, just once, and seemed to kiss me; I have so wanted that to be so but cannot be sure. We were thousands of miles apart when he died. The doctors said that he had simply turned his face to the wall and had given up.

Please, if your dad is still alive and you can recall just one brief moment of his love…do tell him and see what God might do with even a tiny slice of affection? With God, all things are possible!

P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Couple Power

 

11 Comments

  1. Charles Voigt Says: April 23, 2016 8:57 am

    Hi Graham,

    My father was similarly distant and never touched, hugged or said I love you as far back as I can remember. He shook my hands on only two occasions (first upon graduating from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Administration and a second time after completing a MBA degree from Wayne State University). He was never interested in anything I was interested in and never gave me any instruction on how to do the things he was fond of or good at. My father was well educated (Carleton, Harvard degrees), sports oriented (Tennis, swimming, hunting, fishing, golf, diving), hobbies (horse racing, investments) and held an important position as senior vice president of a large insurance company. He did not have or make time for his children and was very strict when you were around him while at home. I think part of the explanation for his rather cool attitude towards children may stem from the stereotypical german father and the fact that his father died at an early age when he was relatively young. I am still trying to understand this and I am 57 now and retired and he is long dead.

  2. karl guggenmos Says: April 23, 2016 9:01 am

    Well,how i can relate to this story.I grew up in post WW II Germany in the Bavarian city of Augsburg.My Dad worked at the MAN as a metal draftsman.He left home at 5 am rode his bike to work and returned at 6 pm
    On Saturday he worked half day.He had married my Mom who had lost her first husband, a Wehrmachts Officer,
    in the War.My mom had two kids already from her first husband, my sister and brother.
    I was born into the new family in 1950.My Mom adored her first husband and sad to say her marriage to my dad was troublesome because in her mind he never measured up.
    I developed a resentment to him as well and much later I learned it was misguided.My dad couldnt’ express emotions but I know now he deeply loved me and he also loved my brother and sister as if they where his own kids.He worked so hard fore us and always wanted the best,he just couldnt show it.
    His big problem was the bottle and I think it was an escape valve for him.
    Lately I have been thinking a lot about him and wish I could give him a big hug and tell him thank you for all you have done for me and I love you very much.

  3. shirlee lane Says: April 23, 2016 11:20 am

    My daddy was a good generous father. But he could and would establish what he would and would not but up with. He used words for correction.
    He was a farmer and a teacher by education. He sit at the dinner table for hours schooling his nine children. Three by my mothers first marriage and six more my his marriage to my mother. By this time he was 52 years young with twins daughters and four more children two daughter and two sons . He nurtured us through out are life, instilling in just the importance of education. His dedication to us children was the stability of our family.
    He taught me the love of gardening and the out doors.
    My father pasted away eighty,just a few weeks of seeing his last to children graduate from high school.His child all are educated with college degrees or own a business. So I can say his legacy lives in each one of us.

  4. Larry Says: April 23, 2016 12:47 pm

    Graham
    Having read your blog I realize how blessed I am that my father use to kiss me on the forehead every time I visited him in his final years. On my final visit (didn’t know it would be my last) something overcame me to go back to the front door of the house and kiss him and tell him I loved him (I was already already on the way to my car). He died five days later. So you can see I feel blessed.

  5. Lynn Severance Says: April 24, 2016 9:11 pm

    I do believe with God all things are possible. I also believe that God needs others to make a choice to cooperate when communication is needed. I can do all the loving actions and say all the loving words and they can be met with no response – or minimal response. I have written elsewhere about my distant father – distant geographically and also distant emotionally. He is presently 97 years old and a non-believer.

    He did see that my brothers and I were raised in our mother’s faith – something I thanked him for as an adult among other thank yous I put in a Father’s Day card some years ago. I have been a faithful daughter, a commitment I have made and he reads with every card or letter I have sent being sure to say I “love him”.

    He is a military man of some notoriety and on his birthday in 2015, I sent him a copy of Laura Hillendrand’s book on the life of Louis Zamaprini, not sure if he had read it or not. I loved the book and the true life story and felt that it might be of interest to my father and perhaps, even reach him on a spiritual level. He actually did write to me and thank me and said he had begun reading it. All else is in God’s hands who is the God of the impossible. My father knows I love him. He is skewed in how he is able to communicate but if asked, he’d say he loves me totally. It is not the connection a daughter wants with a father but I am grateful God used him to give me life. And I am grateful to know I have always reached out to him in loving ways and with love. Maybe those slices of affection mean something to him. That I can give them means a lot to me.

  6. Jean N Sozio Says: April 27, 2016 1:21 am

    It’s the proverbial “hindsight is 20/20”. One of my older brothers once commented, “you can only make decisions with what you know at the time – with what knowledge you have”. Often what is good for us is not understood by us – i.e.: getting shipped off to boarding school, etc. The virtue is that we do come to an understanding of what is good for us and what good has been done for us – to be thankful – to give back. Teach your children to let you know if they feel unloved and to ask you directly, “do you love me”? and let them hear you say “yes – of course I do” and then give that hug and kiss of reassurance – showing them what love is – warmth, peace, and gentleness – not things, places, or activities. Reassure them that their development is your priority and to be proud as they blossom into the creation God has intended. Celebrate together. Every year when I passed a grade in school my mother treated me to a banana split at our local sweet shop. That little gesture motivated me all year long – to be a success and make her proud. It worked – we both benefited.

  7. Gary Gillman Says: April 27, 2016 3:26 pm

    Hello from Toronto. Very interesting posting, as all have been. I would say my father was not of the type mentioned, but due to requirements of his business and, later, other developments, I didn’t see him that much. My mother more than made up for it though, so it all worked out.

    I wonder how much of what you described was a cultural trait of the time. The requirements of many to serve in the army or other forces put a strain on family life I think, indeed on everyone. The need to be firm and strong and defeat Britain’s enemies, which was a valid cause, inevitably caused other dislocations. But even those exempt from the military side or connected to people who were had a tough row to hoe I think, life was harder then, even for those privileged, which most were not.

    So not to excuse it, but viewed in context I think we can come at least to an understanding why men were like that. I’d think too most were brought up the same way, so knew no other way.

    We live in a different time, for good and ill (mostly good though)…

    Was a big fan of your early shows and have been watching them on youtube recently. I like the world travel series from 1970, the beef recipe with beer from the English seaside town is my favourite, but they are all good.

    Would like to see more reminiscences of the early years, not just the Galloping Gourmet years but the time in Australia and New Zealand before, e.g. what it was like to live there then before the “global village” became a reality.

  8. Kerryn Says: May 12, 2016 11:15 am

    I’m so very thankful to be able to say that my Dad wasn’t distant to me or my brothers. Interestingly I can’t recall him ever telling me he loved me, BUT he was always interested in whatever I was doing & smiled enthusiastically & encouragingly & would hug me at times. When he walked me down the aisle his proud smile & teary eyes spoke volumes to me. Oh how I loved him! He suffered with a lot of illness from the age of 49. First it was a nervous breakdown, then chronic fatigue, but wasn’t named that at the time. Eventually he had 2 types of MND (motor neuron disease) simultaneously that killed him within 9 months of diagnosis, as it was rampant. During those months I vowed to myself that I didn’t want to have any regrets when he died. I don’t! I spent the last months of his life helping my Mum to nurse him until we could no longer manage & he went to a Palliative Care Hospice just 1 week before he died on 29th December 2007. I had the great privilege of sleeping in the Hospice on Christmas Eve & waking up on Christmas morning to give him my gift of reading him a Christmas letter telling him how much I loved him & how much he’d given to me & my family that will live on through us. Tears flowing with the memory of my beloved father.

  9. Patti Jean Meehan Says: May 25, 2016 1:18 am

    Yes he was. He did not want s child like me. We were never close. However I was very close with my mom. He could have just tried to understand what it was like to be me. When I was about 10 or 11(1969/1970) he called me a sissy for watching your show. You see I was born biologically male but XXY. I am transgender and new I was really female from a very early age. I was very interested in cooking and always helped my mom in the kitchen. You and her are responsible for my life long passion for cooking. My father never tried to understand what was going on with me the or ever up to the time he died in 2013.

  10. Graham Says: May 25, 2016 5:04 pm

    Patti Jean, I have just caught up with this early post, having enjoyed your more recent enthusiasm for “food with love”.
    So…you have jumped into your River and are moving ‘upstream’ against some pretty white water going in the opposite direction, such as that you experienced from your Dad?
    I do hope that you may have found a way to forgive him, it’s so important for us all to get rid of the ‘dams’ put in place by man thinking that somehow they are doing God a favor with their disapproval.
    The way I read my treasured Bible is that we are COMMANDED to love and COMMANDED not to judge. If we choose to judge others we are warned that we will be judged by the same measure that we use.
    Just recently we Christians have been moved about like pawns in our unseemly political arena by pressing such ‘social issue’ buttons which prompt us to venture beyond our commandments and set ourselves up as both judge and jury when we have neither the right or the spiritual wisdom and mercy and goodness to ‘play at being God”.
    So, I, for one, am so very glad that you want to be known for who you believe you are…there is much humility in that choice and God values that gift much higher than pride or being a ‘people pleaser’…
    Our world continues to wrestle with these matters and some dams are so hard to remove and allow the river of life to provide resilience for all creation but I truly believe that it’s what God prefers for us and that we leave the eventual judgement to him and get on with loving each other and by doing so to at least partially reveal his love for every element of his wonderful creation.
    Use your culinary gift with equal wisdom, to nourish and to do so with a little less harm…such is love?
    Graham

  11. Patti Jean Meehan Says: May 26, 2016 11:30 am

    Thank you so much for this heart felt response. I will work on that forgiveness you mention in relation to my Father. If everyone could feel the way you feel. People like me would have a much easier time of it. If God created me he created my loving heart and everything that goes along with it. Life is full of beauty and love if people would just open their hearts and learn to love not hate.

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