My father on his 80th birthday in December 2006
When I was born my parents were already in their 40s, which is perhaps not such a big deal these days but was quite unusual in the 60s. As I was growing up I always liked that they were older, despite the fact that they were neither hip nor cool. But they were chilled out, they were always around, and they always welcomed my friends to come over. I never had a reason to be embarrassed.
But now they are quite old and their bodies are starting to let them down. My father has always been a very active and fit man and still, despite his age, walks or cycles wherever he needs to go. But when I spoke to him last night there was an emptiness in his voice I have never heard before. More worrying his voice was slurred and he seemed to struggle to form words. He sounded so down and I heard how I became almost hysterically cheerful, desperately trying to make him believe I hadn't noticed a difference in him. I was too terrified to ask any questions, and in the end we spoke for a few more minutes more before hanging up.
Afterwards I recalled a conversation we had only a few weeks ago. That conversation had left me feeling so happy that I wrote it down.
16 January 2007
So happy when pappa called today. I must remember his voice, it sounded so light, so happy. At one point in the conversation I had a sensation of time slowing right down, almost to a complete standstill. Maybe to remind me to be mindful of him, of the conversations we have. These moments will one day be important memories.
And so last night, after a few tears, I made a promise to myself to open up a pappa account and deposit into it memories I have of him, past and future conversations (particularly the good ones) and anything else that comes to mind. I need to save for the future.