Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jan Duyn

Growing up in Holland I was blissfully unaware of the significance of the 14th February being Valentines Day elsewhere in the world. That (commercially taken over celebration) was not yet known in the 60's and 70's in my home country.
black and white photo of dad and little girl walking under canopy of trees. Artist and writer Corina Duyn
me and my dad - about 1966

I am grateful for that as forty years ago my heart broke on that day.
My beloved dad suddenly passed away. Which was just over two weeks after my granny passed away. The two people I held most dear in my life as a teenager (I was 14), moved on to other worlds.
Jan Duyn sitting in a field. black and white photo from the 1960's
my dad Jan Duyn 4-6-1917 / 14-2-1977
I remember the day of my dad's passing as if it was yesterday. I remember cycling to the hospital in the driving rain with my brother. I hit a parked car.
I remember being at the hospital and initially it looked like my dad was going to be ok. This changed within minutes. He was gone.
As I was young, and probably looked even younger than I actually was, the nurses did not allow me to see my dad. If there is regret in my life, that this is probably one of them. I did not ask.

Hours later. Home again. I remember being sent to the shops for tea, milk, biscuits and was looking at the other people walking the street. My life had so utterly changed, and they just went on with their own business as if nothing had happened. I found this a rather strange phenomenon.

There are many memories of that day, but also of the years before.
Like accompanying him to his favorite local football club on Sundays. Cycling there. Being given the freedom to go around the grounds.
Sharing a love of nature and photography.
And creativity.

a drawing by my dad
I remember his quiet nature.
The drumming of his fingers on the stove in the sitting room- beside his chair.
Coming home for lunch from his job, our cat Lookie coming to sit on the right of him and being given one slice of meet cut up in ten pieces. Lookie knew when the ten were up. "All gone". The cat waited on the gate before lunch every day.
His love for the choirs he was part of.

So many little memories.

Currently I am translating my dad's diary, see here about his time in the army during the Second World War. It brings me closer to him.
my dad and his friend. 1940's
As this year would be the centenary of his birth in June, we are all gathering for a reunion in Holland. My family lives in Canada, Chile, Holland, UK and Ireland. It is ten years since we were all together for our mother's funeral.
my parents
I am looking forward to re-connect with my family.
Although the practicalities of such a big event while living with the realities of ME has brought it's challenges already in my head... I am sorting them out one by one.

Today though, is for my dad.

Further reading

No comments: