Unfortunately, the washing machine broke down mid-wash - while my clothes were still in the machine. In a moment of panic I realized that Dad’s knitted sweater was stuck in the machine drowning in dirty water. I started to frantically press all the buttons on the machine in the hope that it would miraculously work but the machine was having a nervous shakedown.
I explained the situation to my landlady who came rushing into the kitchen, and threw a wobbly, switched off the machine and quickly left slamming the kitchen door hard behind her.
So, it was just Ell , me, a broken down washing machine - and Dads tatty old knitted sweater.
I sat down face to face with Ell and started to pour out my heart. The first step involved releasing the anger towards my landlady being rude to me, and ignoring my plea to save Dads sweater from the machine.
Suddenly, I fell through a trap door and started to cry like a small child.
I experienced a vivid flashback from my childhood. Me, aged 8, perched on the edge of the bath with Dad trying to console me after I had just watched Mij the otter killed by a ditch digger in the film Ring of Bright Water.
Dad joked with me about how one day he would grow old and die, just like Mij the otter. The mere thought of losing Dad terrified me. I was bereft with grief.
Back at Broomfield standing in the kitchen, I believed that if Dads sweater got wrecked then another piece of him would be erased from my life. In that moment I believed that my relationship with Dad was defined by the few simple possessions that I had inherited from him after his death.
Ell held me close, whilst the boy inside expressed deep sadness over the fear of losing Dad.
Whilst in the sadness I had a moment of clarity.
Maybe, Dad was trying to communicate something vital in that moment - straight from the heart. Perhaps he was attempting to prepare me for the inevitable. Maybe this moment in the bathroom , awkward as it was, was a right of passage.
As for the sweater, it survived the ordeal, but even if it hadn’t, it wouldn’t really have mattered, because my relationship with my Dad isn’t defined by some tatty old knitted sweater. Rather, it is defined by the Love that we shared in this lifetime, which I carry in the blood that runs through my veins, in every cell of my being, every breath, every heartbeat, every smile, every snowflake, every birdsong, every tear, every moment , every year… His spirit lives on in me. Xxx