This is my father. He died when I was 23. I loved him very much.
(52 years old. At my sister’s wedding in 1988, with one of his nieces.)
(13 years old. Back row, second boy from left.)
(18 years old. Just entered the Royal Navy)
(32 years old. With my brother & sister.)
(58 years old. At my wedding.)
(55 years old. I cropped the whiskey glass out of this one. He’s kissing my cheek, don’t worry!)
(41 years old. I am 2 years old in the second photo.)
My dad was a good man. He was flawed, aren’t we all? But he was fundamentally good. He was incredibly kind and loving, and surprisingly wise. Everyone I knew came to him with their problems. He always knew what to say to make you feel better, to help you unravel a problem. You felt safe with him.
We were very close. I was the baby of the family, and my brother & sister left home when I was very young, so I was, in effect, an only child. I would sit on the sofa in my father’s study and read or write, while he drew architectural plans (a sideline that he was very talented in – the days before AutoCAD). We listened to Frank Sinatra. It was a very peaceful place to be. He was very proud of me. He would be even prouder if he knew what I’ve achieved in the years since his death. He would have got a real kick out of my book. He would have been fascinated by the internet businesses.
I have many of my father’s characteristics. Personality traits, appearance, and little quirks. He always sat with his toes pointing in. So do I. We have the same smile, the same thumbs. I can be a snob. I am overly conscious of what others think of me. I hate noise. I am solitary by nature.
One of the saddest things about my father’s death is the fact that I never got to know him as an adult. At 23 you may look like an adult, but you aren’t really grown up. Mature. So many of life’s experiences since then have revealed my father to me. I think we would have connected even deeper, if he’d lived until now. I can sympathise now with the weaknesses that angered me back then.
Keith Neil Dyer, 1936-1998.
You would have liked him. A lot.