I had a weird experience today.
It all began normal enough. I was playing with my daughter outside. The sun was shining, and there was a gentle breeze floating across our yard. All of a sudden, amidst all of the games and giggling, I suddenly was flooded by thoughts about my dad.
Time ground to a halt, and grief and emotion burst out of me in a torrent that I struggled to hold back. Memories of past games of Hero Quest, or trips to the library with my dad became very real again as I stood in the yard wiping my eyes and shaking with grief as my daughter watched me with concern.
You see, my dad was my hero, and the person who was ultimately responsible for fuelling my love for all things speculative fiction.
He was the one who read fairy tales to me at my bed side of a night.
He was the one who introduced me to D&D and played it with me.
He was the one who ultimately taught me about the amazing and simple pleasure that reading a book can bring.
And he was also the one who taught me to be the man and father I am today.
I have unconsciously carried on so many of his practices and mannerisms as a father to me with my own child now, or so my mum tells me. This makes me smile.
When I think about the past it is crazy that it has been eight long years since I lost my dad. At times, like today, it still feels very raw and sudden. I miss our conversations about books, or footy, or just anything in general. In fact I just miss him.
And it makes me very sad that my daughter, who is my greatest gift to this world, will never know the warmth of a cuddle from her granddad, or the wonder of a story told to her by someone who truly was a master at it. Roald Dahl, Narnia, and The Hobbit.. you name it.. he mastered it.
I honestly don't know where I would be today if it wasn't for my dad. And now, as my daughter snuggles up to me as I type this, I can only think about being the best dad I can be to her by doing all of the things he did for me when I was growing up.
My dad was, and still is, my hero.
Miss ya mate.