Top 5 Scary Moments – #2

March 29, 2007 at 3:20 pm | Posted in family, Galway, scary, scary moments, tales of youth | 25 Comments

I bet you noticed that my top 5 scary moments went 5, 4, 3 and then stopped, and you’ve been eagerly waiting for more. No? Oh well, screw you, ya bastid. Anyway, I scratched down the last two on the train recently, so I’ll fire them up over the next while, whether you give a shite or not, heh.


Two years ago last month, I had to fly home because we thought my father was going to die. After he went deaf, doctors suspected a brain tumour; when they press on blood vessels as they grow, tumours can cut off the blood supply to the ear, leading to deafness.

He was 46. Far too young to be sick, never mind die.

I was sick too. No appetite, living trance-like. All the things unsaid between us gnawing at me, jackals at a carcass, sneering and hungry for guilt.

They couldn’t figure it out. MRI’s, CAT-scans, blood tests, X-rays – all came back negative. He had all the symptoms of a brain tumour, aside from the tumour itself. Diagnostically, he was in perfect health. Well, if you ignored the deafness and the high cholesterol levels.

They kept him in hospital for two weeks. He must have really pissed the other patients off, because he spoke like Dom Joly in Trigger Happy TV (HELLO?), roaring at everyone because he couldn’t hear properly. Two weeks in limbo. Halfway through the second week, I had to go back to Scotland wondering if that was the last time I’d see him.

Towards the end of the second week, his hearing began to return. A week after that, it was perfect again. After all their needles and imaging, their needling and images, they were stumped. They never did learn what was wrong with him. He left the hospital in perfect health, quite a feat in itself these days.

Two years on, and I still haven’t said the things I wanted to say since the oh-god-is-it-too-late panic kicked in. Short sentences with love in the middle. Pride is not a sin when it’s for someone else. Fucking up is okay. No need to temper achievements with guilt.

I’ll say it all some day.



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  1. Oh my. That is scary. Maybe is ears just needed a break.

  2. Kav, I think the fact that you were there spoke in volumes more than you could ever say (or maybe not since its you!).

  3. You were there thats what counts. Irish Dads and their sons! Meself and the auld fella are somewhat similar, when he retired they had a surprise party, and I flew home. First he got the surprise part, from all the family and friends. Then my brother gave him a new cell phone, I was in another room, called him on the new phone, pretended I was calling from the US, told him I had sent him a retirement present and it was on the other room. When he came in -there was m!. I was worried I would kill him with the shock, but I will never forget the look on his face. It’s the same look I know I have on my face when I pick up one of my little kids. I remembered that I was a baby to him once, and that surprise made up for all my teenage years in one fell swoop!
    I read somewhere that men don’t get to really understand their fathers until they have their own kids and they are nearing their 40’s. I think this is very true.

  4. My father died many years ago, and I never told him how much I loved and admired him. It is my one regret in life. I know he knew, but I would have liked to have told him. Just once even.

    I know my daughter loves me, but I get a special feeling when she says so.

    So go for it. And go for it now. It’s the things you don’t do in life that you’ll regret, not the things you do do.

  5. Some things don’t need to be spoken – you already said them by going home. Send your Dad a couple of funny (and of course manly-man) cards. He’ll get it.

  6. My father died a long time ago and I’m glad I told him endlessly how much I loved him. My mother -on the other hand -is still alive.

  7. Ohh boy, do you know how lucky you are? You have a nice dad and lots of reasons to tell him good things springing from your heart.
    Are you a man or a mouse? Get drunk and just do it!
    My father was an asshole all my life; he’s now 76 and very ill and now he turned sweet….I tried all my youth too tell him I loved him and tried asking him to love me back but he never got it…and now that he is old and Alzheimery has his moments of truth and I bet it hurts to realise that he got it all wrong but it’s way too late.
    Never leave (good) emotions unexpressed! Why postpone it on and on? Lemme say that again, you are lucky, man!
    Hugs no-matter-what

  8. That is scary.

    Say it now. Really. Someday it might be too late.

  9. You should say it, try a letter if you can’t get the words out, he probably knows anyway but its always nice to hear, who knows which of us will be here tomorrow?

    Now gurn up lad and make us laugh, dance monkey boy dance.

  10. Sorry for being so shallow, but Jesus!! Your FATHER is only 48 now?????

  11. I’m all teary from reading both that and John Mc’s comment; my “dad” died a couple of years back… he was my grandfather really (very Irish to be adopted by your grandparents coz yer mother was only a teenage harlot), and because he was about sixty years older than me and very conservative and silent, we never had anything close to a father-daughter relationship. Out of terrible burning jealousy, I have a soft spot for dads now, and make sure MiniMe tells the Swearing Gent every day that she loves him.

    But anyway, then I read fatmammycat’s comment and the tears turned to tears of mirth.

  12. My dad and I say I love you to each other, but it’s hard to broach the things that really matter: that he worked his ass off for the family and I recognize and appreciate that he may have wanted to spend his time otherwise; that he got on a rickety ladder and painted the house without letting on he had a fear of heights; that he’s the one I turn to with questions and never think that he won’t know the answer; that I like how he blushes (but keeps on with a smile) when he says something risque; that I wouldn’t trade a minute, good or bad; that I could fill this comment box without breaking a sweat.

    Kav, if you find a way to say the unsaid someday, let me know. I could use a little help myself.

  13. My father died at 38 so do it now!

    *kicks Kav up the arse*

  14. Hi Kav, your post and the comments have made me cry this morning (and de-lurk) and I’m at work! Years ago when my mother was dying I would sit and hold her hand while she slept, but when she woke up she would switch the hand-holding so that she was holding mine. Even when she was dying she was looking after me. I didn’t tell her I loved her but she knew, I don’t have those sort of regrets but I have others, just that she didn’t live to be really old. If you think you need to let him know you love him but you can’t say it, maybe you have your own way of letting him know, through the relationship with your own kids maybe? (Although I like the suggestion by Golden Ripples to get drunk and just say it!)
    Your Dad is so young! Mine was 50 when I was born!

  15. Debbie: Could be – I often wondered if it was psychological myself. I gave myself asthma as a kid from stress.

    Is it just me?: Yeah, we both know it, but we just don’t say some stuff.

    John: that’s a fantastic thing you did – we did that to my grandparents last year, so I know just what a reaction you must have gotten. And could not agree more about the understanding thing – ok, I’m not close to 40 yet, but there’s no doubt that since I’ve had kids I have grown to understand so much about him.

    Grandad: Thanks, you’re right of course. I think I’d need to write it down rather than say it – writing always comes easier to me.

    jali: Cards? He’d think I’d gone gay. I could maybe get Linzi to make him a card and then stick a post-it in it with my bit…

    FMC: Apparently it gets easier the more you do it. And heh.

    Golden Ripples: I do know how lucky I am to have a fairly good relationship and all that. And of course I should just come right out and say it – when I wrote this post I couldn’t figure out if what was scary was him possibly dying or my inability to communicate with him. Sometimes even though we know we should, and can, do something, we can’t bring ourselves to.

    Sassy: I’m working up to it…

    knudsen: Heh, it’s weird when you’re being serious. I’m glad you put the monkey-boy bit in.

    Mairéad: Yeah, he’s 49 next week. I’m 28 in May…he’s a very young Grandad. His parents (my grandparents) are the same age as Linzi’s parents.

    Sweary: I kept you a tissue. Is’t it odd the things families did back then. My family forced my parents to get married against their will. And we’re not even Muslims!

    Melissa: I know how you feel. Skirting things is a bit of an art form in itself.

    MJ: Holy shit, that’s young. I really oughtta.

    Aquaasho: Welcome to you, and thanks for delurking – lots of people seem to visit here and never say a word, so I appreciate when it happens. What you’re saying about living it through my own kids is true – I tell them I love them ten times a day. I don’t ever want them to have that awkwardness.

    Yeah, my dad’s pretty young, so he’s kind of like a mate too. We go for pints together and I’ve taken him on nights out with the lads sometimes too. He fits in no bother.

  16. I only really started to appreciate my parents when I moved to the other side of the world. Think the letter / card idea is the best. Good luck with it!

  17. Cheers flirty. Absinthe makes the heart and all that. I know what you mean, even though I’m only 400 miles away from mine.

  18. No you wont becasue your Irish and like most of us we have a congenital problem showing feelings to others. Especially the same sex or our fathers. Only by having pints with the old man could I ever come close to telling him how much I hated him at times.

    So ring him up tonight and tell him you love him or else accept that you will never say it.

  19. Ah MacDara will ya stop making me feel so guilty! Ha, the amount of times one of the lads has said “I fuckin love you man” when we’re pissed is beyond measure. (Always have to have that “fuckin” in there, to emphasise that it’s non-gay love.)

    Maybe I’ll send him an email…

  20. You should tell him, even though he probably knows already. It scares me to think of a time my Dad won’t be around, seeing him with my 2 month old niece nearly makes me well up cause I am thinking “I hope that when I get around to having kids that Dad is still here” and he’s only 55. I am a big sappy sap though and tell my parents I love them and that I miss them even though I see them at least once a week, but it’s the truth. There is nothing more lovely than two grown men saying I love you to each other, and meaning it (in a non drunk, non gay way.

  21. Hello Babs, welcome. I didn’t get around to it this weekend, but it’s his birthday today, so maybe. I don’t know about this non drunk thing though – I was planning on getting absolutely fluthered before I called.

  22. Maybe get a little bit drunk…Do it today on his birthday, best birthday present ever I think. It’s my Dad’s birthday today as well. Wierd? We got him a card that is supposed to be from a child as far as I can see and a meal out for him and my Mam with taxis each way so that he can get drunk if he wants to. Do it …. do it … do it!!!!

  23. What a coincidence. Does your Dad get to hear over and over again how lucky he was not to have been born on the 1st of April? Because that would make him a fool, you see! Genius!

    Ah, I dunno. I’ll see. I might say it, but I wouldn’t want him to die of shock on his birthday.

  24. He did years ago, but not so much any more, unless he meets a new person on his birthday! Tell him…

  25. I quoted this entry in my college application essay.

    “Pride is not a sin when it’s for someone else.
    No need to temper achievements with guilt.
    I’ll say it all some day”
    – Kav

    I can send you the rest of it if you’d like. I got in. And I’m sitting in freshman english right now.

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