Monday, February 16, 2009

Requiem For My Father

It's 6 years today my father died. Lying in a hospital bed, the life draining away from him and the doctors saying it was only the drugs keeping him alive now. So we let him go.

He was a wonderful man. Not particularly brave or courageous or even a 'manly' man but he was my father, made me feel safe and I respected him, for all his foibles and weaknesses.

In a way I understand him better now, how his life shaped him and how his shaped mine.

We worked together very closely in the family book business for years and our day couldn't start before we'd had our early morning coffee and finished the Daily Telegraph crossword puzzle.

He was both lenient and hard on me and I carried my fair share of heavy boxes down to the basement from huge trucks laden with palettes of overstocks. Pricing by hand, the smell of new books, papercuts from the pristine covers, often working in companionable silence, two people just doing what we loved.

I thought it would never end, the shop would always be there, but the recession took it away in the early 90s, after 100 years. It was a sad day and a huge hole was left but nothing compared to the huge hole my father's passing has left.

And so I sit here listening to the last album he loved, Eva Cassidy's Songbird, crying, lost in the painting I did for him soon after his death and reflecting on our life together.

Rest well. I love you Dad.

Peter Oppenheim
22.04.25 - 16.02.03