A Conversation for To honor one's father

My own experience

Post 1


My father was about the same age as my mother.
He was one of the sons of a rich farmer.
He studied law and became a famous lawyer, rather rich, but not overwhelming. Didn't fit in his calvinistic attidtude, and - that's one of is good qualities - also old and poor people, gypsies, etc. could come to his office, and were asked a very low price, or nothing at all. Gypsies used to give him live animals and they ended in my bird house. He very often said he wanted to live like a gypsy. I don't think he could hold on that after a week.

In my emotions I know him as a very mean man as a husband of my mother. He was full of virulence. But that's not what I want to describe in this posting.

Personally I don't have really bad, or really have good feelings about him.
He wanted me to take his place when he would stop. I was a bit flattered by that.

In his head he was a convinced protestant/calvinst, just like my mother was. Not in a depressing way, however. (His daily marriage was different than the convictions in his head)

Some positive things;
Not caring very much about money, and his status. He even had a negative reputation in local or provincial politics (chr. dem) because of his children. They often confronted him with that.
"Irrelevant" was always his reply. But for that reason he didn't want to be part of any national gouvernement.
With words he could not be defeated. Very fast and shrewd. (Judges were afraid of him and the older he became the more his impact.) My mothers weapon against him was old Dutch sayings. Very relevant.

We (8 children) went many times to Switzerland for summer holidays and he made notes, took pictures and made a holiday movie and after returning home he made a holiday book, including personal impressions.

In our familylife,we sometimes played football on the beach with him.
I also remember that he and me and my younger brother went with him into the "polder"(ground below sealevel) searching for bird eggs.
That was populair in the fiftees. I think my father was born about 1920.

The whole family also went once and a while on sunday walking in the dunes, close by the sea.

On sundays he liked to cook for all of us and sometimes he showed the holiday movies in our big living room in the afternoon.

He also made water colour paintings, in holidays, aswell as often on sundays, and sometimes one of us joined him and tried to do the same.
(Later on he used the sundays for visiting his maitresse, while I was standing on the road to look at his car fading away towards the horizon, showing him my disrespect. Me,a policeman in the family).

He liked the fact that I liked ice-skating in the winter, my fishing in sweet waters in the polders, and that I had my own canoe, and builded my own birdhouse with exotic ducks, parakeets, pheasants, etc.
I also was creative with doing fretwork.

When I suddenly left home when I was 19, he appeared to have taken care the rest of his life of the animals in my birdhouse. He liked it very much.

So, he was many sided and shared lot of it with his children.

He appeared to be múch to insecure to raise the boys in the family and covered his absence by the slogan; "I prefer a free parenting".
Of course we all misused that as much as we could with all the a-social consequences.(oldest brother in prison, other brother alcoholic,etc).

I was and remained the ónly one who did not say "you" and "hé old man" to him, but always said "thee" although in English that is far too formal for the Dutch word I would have choosen.

I think I did that because I wanted a "roof above my head" in stead of a man with red, drunken eyes on a sunday afternoon after church (every sunday 1 x)proclaiming my mother as being "madwoman".

I appearently was longing for a father who empathized - or sympathized- with me and who would suppórted me in finding and going my way into the future, into life as a grown up.
This is a very important detail in my life and it is often an important factor in many lifes, but not always understood

I felt absence and vulnerable in my back, so to speak.

It makes me think about a movie where a young actor discovered that being on stage discovered that his father did nót come to see and support him. It was asif he was hit by a knife in his back.

I ónce wanted to talk about it in therapy in the ninetees, because I started to realize that it appeared to be more important then I always thought.
"Well", said the therapist, "the subject is one big cliché, but if you want it, then lets talk about it".
My reply; "not thank you, I know now enough". It might have been a real positive change in my life.

Anyhow, the last fifteen years I've never seen him. He worked as a lawyer until he was 75 and after that he was just focussed on painting, which he did rather well. It was not kitschy at all.

He had a strong, healthy body, as we áll had, except my dear sister Astrid.
Besides that,I have néver seen anybody physical ill in my youth. But mentally....

My father suddenly became very sick (about 83 in 2000)and within six weeks he said that he did not want to eat any longer. He asked twice about me in these weeks.
He died.
I was not at his funeral.

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My own experience

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