I was going to write about my painting of Cullen discolor, but Dads have been on my mind over the last few days.

I know of 4 women whose Dads have died over the last few weeks. It is so sad to lose those special people, men who have had such an impact on their lives. My thoughts are with you.

My Dad died 7 years ago. I find myself missing him more in the quiet moments. I thought that family gatherings would be difficult, but, as they are times of pleasure in each other’s company, I know that Dad’s memory is there with us.

I had one of those quiet moments recently that have made me reflect on memories and remembering and where to look for my Dad. My birthday is usually a family affair. This year though my Mum and other family members are overseas and celebrations are put on hold. However, my gorgeous Mum left me presents and a card. I always have a tinge of sadness when I read the cards from Mum, because in the past Dad would always sign them too. Now there is only ‘Mum’ and not ‘Mum and Dad’. This year lack of dad brought tears to my eyes.

But while I was feeling that I was also musing about remembering Dad, thinking about how others are remembering their Dads. And then I put two things together. (Like many profound thoughts, I know I am not the first to think it. In fact I suspect I am quite slow in getting around to making the connection.  🙂  )

I understood the idea of holding someone in your heart to mean that you store the memories of that person. You bring them out, like a photo album, to look at them, to remember how he answered the phone or where he sat to watch the birds in the bird bath or how he would always come out to wave goodbye. Some things trigger them off — “My Dad used to do that too!” Memories are so important.

I understood too, in a separate part of my knowing, that I am so much like my Dad, just as I am so much like my Mum. I grew up with people telling me I looked just like him. Mum says I have his lovely brown eyes. (While she is biased about both of us, I take the compliment!) There are a myriad of things that come from his gene pool.

I also knew so much of my personality comes from Dad, just as so much comes from Mum. I have a love of birds and the environment from him, my creativity too. I am slow to anger and love to allow things to unfold around me.

And then I had my profound thought. That dad is in my heart, not just through memories, but also because he was so influential in shaping who I am, and who I am still to be. And I don’t think it is only the genetic component. Every interaction had a subtle influence on me. Some of those were very conscious, obvious, others not even registering. But they were there.

It moved me on to think about looking for my Dad in the others in my family.  I want to catch glimpses of him now in my sister and brothers, their partners, the grandchildren. I would love to know how Dad has affected their lives. I would like to make a memory box. (As I have just thought of this as I write, I don’t know what I mean, beyond talking to the others about Dad and leaving some of his legacy in a concrete form for Mum.)

My musing went on to think about people who have no DNA in me, but have still influenced who I have become and who I am still to be. Obviously in all our lives there are key people who are not relatives. But again, I think that who we are is shaped by all our interactions, not just the big ones that encourage us to examine ourselves in a different light. Just think about our blogging world. Each time I read what you want to tell me, there is a thought, a book, a photo that makes me see the world in a slightly different way.

If this is true, then so is the opposite ~ we influence others too.

I like the idea that we are all stardust. I also like the idea that we are all connected and related, and that what we do influences others. The aim, it seems to me is to make those connections, interactions and relations as positive as possible.

And now I will be looking for my Dad, and remembering him in more unlikely places.

By anne54

Botanic artist

22 replies on “Dads”

Thank you Anne that was lovely. Ivo was special person to so many people and your words moved me to remember my Dad too, even though he died 25 years ago. Life is about the interactions we have with others and you play your part too with your fantastic blog. Missing you xxx


Denise, it is so lovely to hear from you. Aren’t memories interesting things? I am curious to know what memories people keep (or maybe choose to remember) about those in their lives. I will chat to you some more when you get back! (I am heading up the street for a coffee, and would love you to be joining me. Oh well, in a few more weeks. 🙂 0


A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
For as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
For as long as we ourselves live,
Holding memories in common, a man lives.
(Brian Patten)

This was one of the lovely quotes that the celebrant at my dad’s humanist funeral last week used…oh dear, and now I’m crying again! Smiling too, really 🙂


That is a brilliant quote, and sums up some of what I was trying to say. I will keep that.

And tears….they come up at unexpected times, don’t they? I hope all is going well with you. Your Dad must have been very proud of what you are achieving on your land, and in your life.


What a beautiful, thoughtful post. I remember my dad most when I’m in the garden. He taught me everything I know, before I knew I was really learning. He died when I was 9, so far too many years without him.

Sending love and light to you and all your friends with recent losses.


9 is way too young! How wonderful that you were able to soak up all that knowledge. I have this delightful picture of you trailing around with your Dad, digging holes and planting seeds! (My Dad was no gardener. Mum didn’t dare let him into the garden with any pruning equipment, as everything would be cut to shreds.)


I love that you’ve created that imagine, Anne. That’s lovely. Dad was a horticulturist by trade and an artist, too. He painted with oils. He lived in England, then moved to Darjeeling, India to work on a tea plantation. He served as a translator during the second war. He moved to Canada after that where he met and married my mother. We moved to the Bay Area in 1966, but he contracted lung cancer and died three years later.


I’ve been slow getting to this post, through busyness I thought, but I saved it knowing I’d want to read it. And I think now is the right time, not just because I have a moment but because I also have been reflecting on blogger influence with a post to follow in due course, and my Dad. And to read your words, and the commenters helped gather my thoughts. I’m very fortunate to have had my Dad for so long, and I’m still learning, too, how much he influences me.
You’ve written wonderful thoughts and truly demonstrated the tenet of blogger influence 🙂


I’ve lost both Mum and Dad now, so this post really resonates with me. I have always been a Daddy’s Girl, and it was always acknowledged that I was very much like him. But…it’s only now that they’re both gone that I can start to see the huge effect my Mum had on me. Not in the big things, but in the little things, like my love of good, fresh food or the need to express my love by feeding everyone and everything around me. She also taught me to cook, and to laugh at the ridiculousness of life.
I’m now seeing some of their joint traits coming out in the Offspring. Our beginnings are so important.
I’m so glad your Father is still such an important part of your life. -huge hugs-


It’s wonderful how we are not just a mix of genetic material from both sides, but also how other things influenced us as people. (The old nature/nurture debate!) I love those ways that you are like your Mum, especially the need to feed everyone! And it must be comforting to see their traits in your daughter. We have the fourth generation in our family now ~ my great-nephews ~ so it will be interesting to see what is influencing them. xx


Just thinking about my Dad again recently as it would have been his birthday this month. He died in November 2013 and my Mum just last November – they were both ‘a good age’ but it still feels strange to be an orphan.
I enjoyed reading your thoughtful post although it brought a tear to my eye too.


I am sorry that your parents are no longer in your life, you must feel those missing pieces. Even though our parents live to be ‘a good age’ ~ and aren’t we fortunate that they have ~ there is still a big part of us that has gone. There is never a good age to loose someone you love. Warm hugs to you. xxx


It’s so good to read this again, Anne. I can feel warm tears brimming as I write this, both happy tears and sad. You come from a remarkable family, and in turn are a remarkable soul. Thank you for sharing these precious thoughts. xo


I know how special your Dad was in your life, Alys, and what an influence he had on you. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to have my Mum and Dad in my life for such a long time. Big hugs to you. xx


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