You Could Have Parked There, Gary!

The overwhelming feelings of anger and frustration I felt between my father’s passing and his funeral thankfully abated last week. I’m unsure what the catalyst was for this new found tranquillity, but it feels like my old man is perched on my shoulder advocating “Calm down, Gary! Anger is a futile emotion…… Oh, and can you put the Irish Lottery on for me on Wednesday?”

Whatever the root cause of my uncharacteristic inner serenity, it’s more than welcome. I’ve found my recent negativity exhausting, probably not helped by my refusal to show grief, in particular weep over the loss of our clan head.

Some well-meaning people have admonished me for this approach, deeming it to be a flawed way of dealing with the loss of a loved one. Despite being aware what they advocate is a better coping strategy, I’m currently not in a place to embrace their advice and show overt emotion.

Some may argue that, by writing these narratives, I am overtly showing the emotions I try so hard to suppress in my everyday behaviour. To some extent that is true, however from a mental health perspective I think me outwardly weeping would be exhibiting weakness, whereas I find journaling my grief to be a cathartic experience.

It’s really weird, however, in these early days since my pater’s passing the things I miss most are the things that would irritate me the most when he was with us.

God how I miss taking my old man for his weekly consumable shop. An occasion where his OCD went into overdrive, causing him to without fail check the ‘use by date’ on every perishable purchase.

We’d always proceed the shop with an good-hearted argument at the till in Sainsburys café over who was going to pay the lunch bill. It wasn’t much of a disagreement mind you, as the old man would always insist it’s his turn to remunerate the cashier as I paid last time, and I agreed!……. I didn’t become this unpopular without good reason you know!

For lunch my dad would always have a Sainsburys café tea cake. A place where he’d always wax lyrical about the superior quality of this flavoursome comfort food; every week informing me “I wish they sold these in the store itself.” Despite his enthusiasm and unquestionable marketing skills, I don’t recall ever trying the tea cakes, but next time I’m in Sainsburys café I’ll have to sample them in honour of Mally.

Another thing I really miss from his weekly shopping trips was to be told “You could have parked over there, Gary!”, as he’d point at a car parking space 2 metres from the space I’d just parked in. As ‘his space’ was ordinarily only a few feet less of a walk, this quirk would annoy me, but what I’d give to hear him say it again.


I don’t know if where the old man is now. However, I’d like to think he is watching down on us from a utopian place that serves Sainsburys café tea cakes, has infinite ‘use by dates’ on it’s consumables and he has a driver that always utilise the parking space nearest the store.

Most of all, though, I hope where he is now soon possesses the wherewithal to allow my dad the ability to take part in the Irish Lottery every Wednesday and Saturday.

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