||MY DAD MATT
My first memories of my Dad must have been at about the age of 2 or 3. He owned and ran a large double-fronted DIY and Builders Supply Shop on the Fulham Road in South West London.
My Mum was ill at the time and in hospital and Dad rather than have some one else look after me at that particular time had me under the shop-counter in a little make-shift bed while he was working.
I remember being excited at the ringing of the cash register and in awe of all the golden pennies and shiny sixpences in the till when Dad showed me what was in it.
When I was born, Dad wanted to call me Jason (not sure where that came from - guess he just liked the name, perhaps it came from Jason and the Argonauts!) - he loved epic and biblical movies ! Mum objected saying it wasn`t a saint`s name. She then suggested calling me Thomas after Dad`s father (my grandfather) but Dad didn`t like the name much. It then was agreed to call me Michael after my mother`s father (Pop).
I am very glad Mum got her way here!
Some of his happiest times were in London and he would really enjoy talking about them. The people he met, the work he did and the stories he had about it all.
Dad was great fun and got on very well with people.
He was a people-person and a "favourite" and enjoyed a laugh and a joke always.
He once went to a Disco while in his 60`s. Everyone jokingly called him `the oldest swinger in town` - he just laughed and laughed and loved it all!
He was physically a strong man and was very protective towards Mum, Carmel and I and towards women and children in general.
He had a deep side to him too. Family were very important to him and they could easily hurt him - and his own, they certainly did !!
Dad was a critical man but extremely honest and had a strong sense of principle, loyalty and integrity. His critical and sometimes verging on the tendentious side - I believe he got from his own family (The Milletts) which many of them had in abundance much more than Dad did. A number of his brothers and sisters had that strong trait in them, and I have noticed that again in some in the next generation (my cousins) carried forward on the Milletts side today. Interesting ! LOL
Dad subsequently liked and got on much better generally with my mother`s brothers and sisters and her / my extended family, as in uncles, aunts and cousins on my mother`s side more than many of his own !
My mother`s people, are particularly impartial and easy-going, and kind and nice in how they act, carry themselves, express and live their lives.
I have always found them so non-judgemental, liberal and wholesome.
Matt loved my Mum deeply !
His favourite siblings were Uncle Anthony and Uncle Sean and Auntie Monica, I remember them fondly too.
He was fairly direct and said it generally as it was, which didn`t suit some of them ! LOL !
He was always open to help people and helped many members of his siblings of course, and the extended family too in various ways over the years, many of the events and situations I remember precisely myself !
By the way, I am instinctively more frank and plainspoken than Dad !
Surprise, surprise, perhaps!! Well, I did have a good teacher !
Dad always talked about `family stuff` open and freely to me since I was a small child, and I can understand and recall so much which is very interesting now on reflection.
He loved chatting about everything and was never ever slow to voice an opinion.
Dad loved Christmas too but didn`t like the New Year.
He would always put up the Christmas decorations and a tree and put holly everywhere even in some bizare places!
New Year was the time he was most sentimental and he`d always have a tear in his eye coming up to mid-night on New Years Eve.
I always felt for him on that day.
He was interested in current affairs, history, architecture and genealogy and loved reading.
He would read all and sundry just like his father before him.
I remember all the stories he read and told to Carmel and myself as children on a regular basis. He got as much pleasure out of it as we did.
He always wanted to be busy and he was - constantly doing something or making something. He was such a creative man.
He was always very well presented and always wanted to look smart and he did.
He loved good food too and nature, hunting, shooting and fishing and the outdoors and would chat `til the cows came home.
I learned later that he hardly spoke a word until he was 4 or 5 years old.
After that, he made up for it!
He played football a lot in his youth and played for a local team (Killenaule) at County Level. His interest in football was fully resurrected again in his later life through his grandsons (Luke and Benjamin).
His favourite films were: "The Quiet Man", "Sparticus", "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Sound of Music". He enjoyed most John Wayne Western movies and was always interested in watching `a good cowboy film` or an epic biblical movie.
His favourite actresses were Jean Simmons and Maureen O`Hara.
He regarded them as wonderfiul actresses and beautiful women.
He also enjoyed Hawaiian music in particular.
He was not religious at all, but I would certainly call him `Spiritual`.
Like me Dad believed that if one chooses a spiritual path or the path comes to us through religion and the heritage of our culture, we are living and working with a metaphor.
He was fascinated by the paranormal and loved stories of strange happenings. About 7 years ago, he had me facilitate a Past Life Regression session for him while he was in his 70`s.
This was a fascinating experience for him and the `life` that he accessed did not surprise him at all. In fact, it answered a lot of questions and made complete sense to him (the contents of that is our secret Dad!).
He always told me that I would know when he would die.
On Wednesday evening, June 22nd, 2005 at 6.20pm, I phoned Ireland from London at the exact time he died in the hospital in Clonmel with my mother and sister Carmel beside him. I knew it somewhere deep inside me and made that call with this inner knowing.
He loved the song by Judy Garland - it was his favourite, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" which is playing for you now and for Dad as well somewhere way up high.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There`s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?
There were actually three different Dads. I never really knew which one I would meet. "The Dreamer, the Realist and the Critic".
Each Dad had a specific role and only together did it become "Matt" - my Dad.
Being the Dreamer meant he let his imagination go wild.
He`d consider every possibility then think of a few more!
Being the Realist - he made things happen and come to life.
As the critic, he`d look for drawbacks and benefits and critically weigh the evidence and voice his opinion.
He was the most reliable human being I ever knew!
However, I have to say that it was hard at times throughout my childhood in being a "highly sensitive child" - HSP - one of the fifteen to twenty percent of equally male, and female children born with a nervous system that is highly aware, and quick to react to everything with a sharpened sense of intellectual, creative, and emotional awareness despite Matt being my Dad. (I believe he was a HSP too, but didn't understand it, and tried to control / suppress it in him as well as in me). This led to much childhood scarring for me, turbulent teenage years without sensitive parenting skills, and devoid of warmhearted, healthy support, and positive role models within our close, and extended (so-called) Irish Catholic family particularly on the Millett, and Tipperary side, and some of their marital connections which is to be deeply regretted - indeed much bigotry, exclusion, and discrimination has ensued !!
However, that is all well behind me now, and so are they, and I love my Dad.
My Dad with a special smile, a special face,
And in my heart a special place
No words I speak can ever say
How much I miss you everyday
To hear your voice and see you smile,
To sit and talk to you awhile
To be together in the same old way
Would be my dearest wish today
May Spirit put arms around him somewhere over the rainbow
Treat him with special care
Make up for all he suffered
And all that seemed unfair.
In later years I always greeted him by saying "Hello, young man" in an affectionate way as to me he was always young and twinkly-eyed.
The last time I seen him alive and spoke with him privately for some time was on Saturday, February 5th, 2005 (his 47th wedding anniversary). He was in the Nursing Home in Mockler`s Hill, County Tipperary.
He always wanted to write a book about his life. He started this some time ago and called it "Memories". Unfortunately he never got past the first chapter but that chapter is interesting reading and is presented here on Dad`s Memorial web site for you to read.
(please do not copy it and put it on other websites) !
The person that has done this already - did not ask nor have permission to do that !
My Personal Prayer For Dad:
From the dawn of your birth on Slievenamon
To the sunset of your death in Clonmel
I honour you.
From the missions you completed
To your duties left undone
I honour you.
From the things we spoke about
To the things we did not and left unsaid
I honour you.
From the seasons of your being
Through the cycle of your life
I honour you.
From your time beyond the veil
Lies your entrance back again
May Spirit and the Angels support you
May my healing love reach you
From this moment until the end of time.
For EVERYTHING I honour you.
I love you and miss you so much "young man".
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