A Letter to my Dad x

Dear Dad (Dav),

I am writing this letter to tell you how much I love and miss you.

I should have wrote this letter a long time ago.

Some people say this type of stuff at the funeral.

We were so immature and cut up that I don’t think any of us spoke. It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest.

You posing on a pier on Derwentwater on one of our last holidays, in Keswick.

After you died in 1996, when you were early 40s and me early 20s I guess that the natural reaction for me as the oldest son was to “be the man” and be strong for our Mam. 

Anyway, I kinda think that this type of reaction stopped the proper grieving process.

And stopped me from remembering the good times we shared. After all its not cool or macho to talk about your feelings when you’re a bloke is it? You just have to “man up” and “suck it up buttercup!”

But all I can remember are good times with you.

No bad.

So I’m writing this letter to you to thank you for the massive part you played in my life.

And reading it back again I kinda forgot about a lot of it.

I recall when I was young and we lived on Stanhope Road!

We didn’t have much in the way of material possessions but they were really happy times.

I remember looking forward to you meeting my mam and I in the West Park after your work and buzzing when I saw you coming over, then playing football with me and pushing me on the swings and generally having a laugh. And having fun fights with me and our Ian.

You worked hard and did work between your proper job at the hospital for extra cash, and then later worked away from home for many years in harder times to better our lives; move us to a bigger house and later supported me through university.

I appreciate all of that, it’s played a big part in giving me the work ethic I have today and trying to better things for myself and for my own kids, Sonny and Lola.

Maybe because of this, when you worked away and we only spent time with you during weekends and holidays, I cherished our time together even more and always looked up to you. 

You and mam seemed so in love so you were a great role model in that respect also, as a husband. 

For the area we were from it felt unusual that you, as a working class man, never swore in front of us or my Mam. 

I think in my late teens I was on a job with you and you were nailing some floorboards back on after lifting them and hit you thumb with a hammer and shouted “Bastard!” Haha. And that was the first swear word I heard from your lips! 

Although I was never a talented footballer I was keen! 

And you encouraged me and I looked up to you from hearing stories of you winning the Weaver to Wearer cup with the Biddick Hall school team.

Then you playing on as an adult until you had a bad injury that resulted you in not working and so not earning and that was the end of your playing career! 

And I did the same until my 30s but have always and will always be very active.

Thanks for kicking me out of the house to play out so often! This is also something I encourage Sonny and Lola to do.

But I will never forgive you for taking me to Roker Park from an early age so I now have that cross to bear for the rest of my life. Haha! They were great times and on the terraces I realised that you really did know how to swear! 🙂

Thanks for taking the effort to book and taking us on holidays. 

Normally to the Lake District and specifically Keswick were we enjoyed many (wet!) hill walks and pub lunches. 

They all helped mould me as a person. 

I guess these holidays played a massive part in me developing my love for nature, hillwalking and the outdoors generally. 

Again, this is something I have passed onto Sonny and Lola. 

Although they protest at first they love being outside and are always at their happiest when on a beach, rockpooling and exploring, out walking or jumping in the sea or river! And they love South Shields!

You’d be mega proud of them both. They’re growing to be decent, kind and considerate human beings.

You were a really popular bloke, and had a great way with people; there were hundreds of folk at your funeral. 

And I’d like to think I’ve got some of your characteristics and learned how to hold myself and act in certain situations to be strong, adventurous, honest, maybe even stubborn and sticking to your guns when required from you. You always made me feel safe.

You were also a good son. 

I think you were our Nana’s favourite and she never really was the same after losing you. 

It hit her hard. 

But our regular visits to see her gave me the understanding of the huge importance of family ties. 

I always saw her we came back to South Shields. After moving to Aberdeen part of my reason to move back to South Shields, as well as to get my own base back there, was to be closer to my Mam. 

I’m not sure if it was for me or for her in truth but now I’ve got that out of my system an built my own business up I have moved back to Aberdeen to settle back there to be there for Sonny and Lola. And it feels great being closer to them again.

So that’s if for now dad, I’m off to my pit!

Early start tomorrow morning, taking your “Key Worker” grandson off to his paper round!

Thanks a million.

Colin x

12 thoughts on “A Letter to my Dad x

  1. I was brought up on Biddick Hall Colin and have fantastic memories playing football and hanging around the burn and the dump (as we called it). Don’t remember your dad although we may have been of similar age and our paths would have definitely crossed at some stage. I worked for the NHS (therapist) and was the bereavement specialist for the service and wanted to say how fitting a tribute you have penned for your dad. We would have used the phrase “letters i’ve written never meaning to send” as a way of saying goodbye to a loved one…………brilliant and well done. You may well know the phrase from a memorable song from the late sixties and a band that were of measurable fame “The Moody Blues”
    Love your blog and will look forward to more.

    John Ward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, thats great! No-one really spoke to us after he died in terms of therapist support as didn’t have any stuff like there is nowadays I don’t think. Love the analogy to the Moody Blues! They were one of his favourite bands actually. I remember it that very song being blasted out in the old Datsun Sunny speakers tape deck whilst breaking down in various beauty spots around the Lake District. Haha 🙂 Cheers for the comment John and really pleased that it brought back some memories for you! It certainly did for me when I wrote it. Have a great night wherever in the world you are now. Colin Atkinson.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful. My mum grew up on Stanhope road but she’s in her 70s now. I just said goodbye to my dad. His funeral was on Friday. I didn’t lose him as young as you, I’m 42, so I managed to write his eulogy – all about growing up in New Zealand and South Shields. It was therapeutic. Not sure what I do with the void opening up now though. Dads are a huge part of our lives and who we are. Thanks for writing 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sarah, thank you. My mam is the same age but she is originally from Horsely Hill area of Shields. I’m really sorry to hear about your dad, especially so close after your auntie when you were up recently. That’s lovely about the eulogy though. I think with my dad, although he had cancer it was a very sudden thing so were probably very much in shock and just wanted the funeral to go away to be honest. Yes it must be hard. If you ever fancy a chat you have my number. No problem at all and hope we can see you in South Shields again sometime. Do you still have and ties to the area? Colin Atkinson. PS – it’s so nice we are still in contact after what happened when you first stated with us! Haha. Maybe best keep that one off the www 🙂


      1. Gosh I didn’t think you’d know who I was and remember my aunt just died too! It’s been a difficult two months that’s for sure, I’m a bit blindsided by it. Dad had been ill for a very long time but the end was sudden, heart attack….five days after I got back from my aunt’s funeral. I still have links yes, mainly my cousin – my son’s godfather. The older generation have all gone now, nan, grandma and the aunts. Time ticks on…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Sarah! How could I remember after you were so lovely and understanding when you stayed with us. Yes, I would have helped you with accommodation for your aunts funeral but think you already had something sorted. Thats a real shame about your Dad. I lost the same in similar times (almost to the day). Very sad times. That’s great that you still have a reason to return to Shields. Why would you even stop? 🙂 Let’s all vow to make the most of our lives in all of their memories.


  3. Colin that is a lovely and very fitting letter and a great Photo of your Dad He was a joy to be brought up with and yes your Nana adored him even though he could at times get into mischief He was always smiling and everyone loved him He will be watching you and be ever so proud of you all

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Madge, thanks for this lovely feedback. Aye, I’ve heard a few tales of mischief over the years from some of his mates. So nice to have connected with you as you were always fondly spoken of within our family. Colin.

      Liked by 1 person

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