My beloved “Daddy” died this week.
At first, I thought I couldn’t face writing a blog post, but as the Beatles said – “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.”
And come to think of it, The Leader’s Digest has always been like a dear friend to me, a way for me to make sense of the world.
So apologies in advance if today’s post is slightly self-indulgent.
My Dad – the archetypal bumbling professor – was a complex, kind and incredibly intelligent man.
This is what he believed:
He believed it was OK to be mischievous, as long as you were kind.
He believed in creativity – his PhD in the 70’s was testament to his ‘ahead of the times’ approach to divergent thinking. He knew that when we rejected black and white reasoning and instead, toyed with the concept of “no right answer” – creativity and brilliance was unleashed.
My father believed in art. He taught me how to look at a painting. How To REALLY look at a painting. He showed me how art can soothe the soul, lift our spirits and connect us to one another. He showed me how art can teach us so much, if we only allow it.
My father believed in the power of believing in others.
As a professor of education, he believed in his students.
He believed in my brothers.
And he believed in me.
One of my earliest memories was of him kneeling down beside me, holding my hand, looking earnestly into my eyes and saying with such conviction – “you can do anything you put your mind to Suzi!”
Now if that isn’t leadership right there, I don’t know what is.
My father was also delightfully flawed. He could be as stubborn as a tired toddler. He lied through his teeth. He thought vegetables were completely overrated and that a good whiskey and a block of chocolate were a far better choice-thank-you-very-much.
Dad was a dichotomy. He suffered from some form of low-level humming anxiety for much of his life. And yet, he could be totally fearless and adventuresome – traipsing mum, my two brothers and me around Europe in the 70’s in nothing but a pup tent, a Morris Marina and gung-ho spirit of adventure.
My Daddy was a good, kind man.
It strikes me that this, in all its simplicity, has become somewhat underrated?
There’s something that has softened in me since Dad died a few days ago.
Like the torrent-river waters that mould sharp rocks into soft polished stones, grief kisses the kinks out of our hearts.
As my sorrow catches my breath and brings me to my knees, this grief also gently, nudgingly, returns me to what matters.
Love is what matters.
Love is what matters.