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Learning to love my late father

(33 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 21-Mar-13 09:34:52

In our second guest post this week Rupert Christiansen talks movingly about growing up apart from his father - and only properly getting to know him after his death.

We have ten copies of Rupert's book - I Know You're Going To Be Happy: A Story of Love and Betrayal - to give away to people who post on the thread. The draw will be made straight after Easter weekend.

Jadey Thu 21-Mar-13 09:42:28

I think this book sounds very interesting and think that people will be able to relate to it. I personally was very lucky and had a good loving caring Father but not so good a relationship with My Mother.

A true story too, so for me that adds more interest. I wish him the best with the book smile

LullyDully Thu 21-Mar-13 09:50:59

I found your post very moving. It is always hard to understand and get in touch after a death; suddenly it is too late. I presume this is why so many people try mediums!!

It easy to falsely judge a person from another's perspective. If my brother and I were to describe our late father you would not think it was the same man.

You must have gained so much for getting to know your father for yourself albeit through secondary sources. Well done, you must feel complete now with two parents to cherish.

Faye Thu 21-Mar-13 10:10:32

The book sounds really interesting, but I can't imagine leaving a four year old son and a baby daughter to start a new life and a new family. What must he had been thinking to be so close yet so far. I wonder what his daughter from his second marriage thought of him.

Gorki Thu 21-Mar-13 10:14:48

What a heart-warming story.It proves there is good in everybody even though it may not be visible from some perspectives.It makes us more of a whole person if we are willing to look for the good rather than the bad in others.

I love true stories and this seems rather different from the current glut of "misery lit ".I would really like to read this book.

Mishap Thu 21-Mar-13 13:56:11

An intriguing post. The idea of creating a relationship with someone you basically never knew is interesting. Having the letters to get inside his personality is a great asset.

Maybe we all have a greater ability to forgive our parents as we reach middle age. I know that I understand my mother better now - too late to tell her so - but it does not change the difficulties that she caused for us all at the time.

harrigran Thu 21-Mar-13 14:51:19

I congratulate Rupert on making the decision to write this book, it must have been difficult to come to terms with the abandonment and then to put this aside and meet people his father knew.

kittylester Thu 21-Mar-13 16:34:36

I'd love to meet people who knew my father and get their 'take' on him. Since Mum succumbed to dementia, my brothers and I have had a few introspective sessions about our childhood and I sometimes think they had a different father from mine or he had a different attitude to his boys! We definitely all had the same mother. sad

j08 Thu 21-Mar-13 16:38:43

Sounds to me like he read some letters written by his father and realised that he has inherited his father's selfishness. #genepool

j08 Thu 21-Mar-13 16:39:47

And if, by any chance, I was "lucky" in the draw, give it to someone else.

Thank you. smile

Enviousamerican Thu 21-Mar-13 16:41:09

I never new my grandfather. My mother never new her dad.He left 4 children,my mom being the youngest and started a new family.She even went to school with one of them. I had the greatest mom and dad who were determined to give their kids a great life. I would like to read his story and see how he handled his life.

j08 Thu 21-Mar-13 17:08:30

It's one thing to walk out on a wife. But a four year old son?! And a baby?

No excuse whatsoever for that.

Bags Thu 21-Mar-13 17:49:41

It happens though.

kitty, my sister's view of my father was very different from how the rest of us (three brothers and me) saw him.

Greatnan Thu 21-Mar-13 20:58:27

I knew my father, in the sense that I lived with him, (apart from the five years during the war when he was in the RAF), until he died when I was 18. However, he never revealed himself to us in any real fashion and never showed the slightest interest in our welfare, schooling, partnerships, careers, etc.
I didn't like him and I am pretty sure he didn't like me.
Fortunately, we had a really loving and warm mother so I didn't feel any great need of a father.

MiceElf Thu 21-Mar-13 21:32:40

I do wonder how it can be possible to construct a father from a set of letters and a collection of secondary sources. I don't understand either how it can be possible to really understand the motivations and inner feelings of a man who abandoned his family. Perhaps it's just a wish to construct a father who might have been but never was.

My father was a lovely man, kind, wise, calm and understanding. The biggest shock of my life was the first time I heard a man lose his temper and shout. I was 18 and had never seen a man behave like this before!

nancy22 Fri 22-Mar-13 12:01:13

This sounds a great book, sometimes you do find out some very interesting facts about people after they have sadly departed that you didnt know before especially in the family tree.

Diny Fri 22-Mar-13 13:56:43

Sounds like a brilliant book to read. This unfortunately seems to be happening more and more these days and it is great to be able to read the experience of how the 'children' view this.

audnay Fri 22-Mar-13 14:09:47

I was brought up in a childrens home from a very young age, and finally went to live with my dad when I was 12/13 so again another book thats a story that I am interested in. I would also like to read this book.

Gagagran Fri 22-Mar-13 14:17:51

My Father was in the army when I was born in 1943 and as he stayed on after the war, he played no part in my childhood. He eventually came back home when I was 10 and it was like a stranger moving in and spoiling the family dynamic and souring the atmosphere. He treated us as if we were under his command in the army and expected deference and instant obedience. He bullied me and my Mum.

I was scared of him and we never had a close relationship although he mellowed into a nicer old man and I was able to recognise his good points in later life. It has always been a sadness to me knowing that he did not love me and I certainly did not love him.

MargaretX Fri 22-Mar-13 14:54:20

It sounds like rubbish to me. I knew my father and didn't like him! Generations of women have brought up children very successfully (after 2 world wars) on their own and their children really don't have to go searching for fathers they never really knew, nor those that left them.
Probably the author thought the book would sell well these days when fathering is modern. I do see that some of my GCs have a lovely father and it must be plus, but I grew up very happily with my mother and was not sorry when my father who always upset the harmony in the home, died.

nonnanna Fri 22-Mar-13 18:11:22

How brave to get to know your father through letters and people he knew. It could have opened a proverbial can of worms.

celebgran Fri 22-Mar-13 18:41:55

Well my father died at only 60 and I Was just 16.

I loved him but can see he was not a good dad but it feels disloyal to say that!

He could be very kind but basically drank his wages away leaving my poor mum to go out cleaning to feed us!

He was ambitious for me tho and forked out for my uniform when passed 11+ to be fair.

Lot of bad memories also hated it when he got drunk I was scared.

Sounds like interesting book.

We had reasonably happy childhood despite that but my older sister has worse view of it.

dorsetpennt Sat 23-Mar-13 09:48:13

A friend of mine [born in 1944] is of mixed race. Her mother British and father was black and a member of the USAF. She was subsequently brought up in a childrens' home, happily, and saw her mother twice during that time. She eventually was fostered out to a British family when she was eleven years old. About 10 years ago she was able to access her records from Social Services and found out where her mother and aunt lived.She had some correspondence with her aunt and found out some information. However, when she asked the name of her father there was a crashing silence - we had hoped to rtace him through the USAF. I know she woulld have loved to but without a name she can't.

fatfairy Sat 23-Mar-13 12:54:08

Interesting how many people say they disliked (or worse) one or other of their parents. My father died only a few years ago, my mother is still around. I never did properly work out who was the driver in terms of prudishness and control (although I suspect my mother, exerting control "from the back seat").
Well done, Rupert, for at least attempting to get a handle on your father.

Elegran Sat 23-Mar-13 13:44:04

dorsetpennt Was his name not even on her birth certificate? But of course you checked that first thing. You might be able to trace which unit was in the neighbourhood at the vital date, which narrows it a little, and her mother may have given her a name with a clue in it.