Blood Is Thicker Than Water (And Some Blood Is Just Thick)



fathers and sons

One-and-a-half-year-old Alice unearthed a photo album and left it lying on the floor. I stooped to peruse and felt the old heart heave when I looked at Dad, trying to put some food into his mouth. He was 93. Why do we do it? Keep on feeding ourselves to the last syllable of our recorded time? Ah, but we do, and if we don’t, then a hospital (in the “developed” world) takes care of us till we can’t even find the strength to eat.

      finding the strength to eat

      And that’s it.

      I also thought of the old man sending mum to hospital but him staying at home and thought why couldn’t he have been kinder – to all those around him? To me, especially, of course! Am I the same as him? I hope not even though I find it as difficult as hell to write positively about, for example, my sister, or even old Dad.

      same same but different?

      I looked at the photos again, and tried to imagine him a warmer, nicer, kinder guy who wanted to be with his children even when he didn’t, but I couldn’t. In the photo he was putting the food into his mouth in the frailest of ways but in his heyday he had been a trade-union leader, a Stalinist, a die-hard Communist, a political I-know-what-is-righter (not writer), and indeed he had often been as impatient as a bull in a cowless field. Was the old man dangerous? I don’t want to think it but I’m sure he was. He came from a generation of survivors and that meant surviving fascist London, a second-world war, the hardening of the world, and all sorts.

      Patience, kindness, forgiveness were not his. Am I patient? Am I kind? Am I forgiving? I like to think I am but despite patience with children and some kindness, I can’t forgive…..him!

      What a fucking problem!

What a fucking problem!

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