S: A Father's Love ... and his words
BC: For Jayde Mayhew with love from Boo Mayhew - words courtesy of Cliff Mayhew
FC: A Father's love ... | ... and his words
1: There was a man who was many things to many people. But he was a Father to only one.
2: From the moment that his daughter wrapped her tiny fingers around one of his ... he loved her. He told me the feeling was so strong and that he knew at that moment, he would never stop loving her ... and would never let harm come to her.
3: Look how happy he is here | just because ... | she is with him | he was so sad that there were not more times like this. So sad, that sometimes he could not speak of her.
4: I know how much he loved her. I know this because he told me so. | I know this because I sometimes saw him cry with emotion when he spoke of her. | I know this because he told me that when she was little and hurt herself, he'd never felt such pain in his life, that he wanted to take the pain from her and bear it himself.
5: He treasured those moments that they stole. When they were alone. When his daughter visited him on a Sunday at a bar near the Harbour. Wearing her clogs. | He even wondered if he could have her live with him, but he knew in his heart that she needed to be with her mother. And he told me her happiness was more important than his own.
6: Wherever he was he carried her in his heart. He told me he worried that she would not know how much he loved her, and my heart broke as I watched his breaking. I remember printing and framing a large photo of him with his little girl - and giving it to him as a surprise. It was the only time I saw him speechless. He held it and looked at it for the longest time before telling me that I didn't understand how much this meant to him.
7: We had wanted to take his little girl, now grownup with children of her own, to this tropical place, and enjoy watching her play with her children in the sand and the sea. | I remember his face, showing such pride after we went for dinner with his daughter, grand-daughter and grand-son. I told him that she had grown into a beautiful woman. That she was a wonderful mother. I could see his heart bursting with love, pride and unspoken emotion ... and his smile said more than words ever could. I remember that he saw her before I did, the instant we turned onto her street. "There she is," he shouted with excitement, making me jump.
8: I remember his face. The colour draining out of it. The fear on his face. He couldn't move. When I told him that his teenage daughter had been round and that someone had tried to do her harm. I had to quickly tell him she was alright because I could see the panic on his face. I remember his face many years later. The relief when we found his daughter again. We had tried every avenue and eventually a friend found her. I remember how excited and nervous he was about seeing her again.
9: I remember him telling me what had happened when his daughter, who was still only a tiny baby in a pram, was threatened by somebody. That he made sure that that person never ever even thought about doing that again. "My little baby," he said, his voice shaking, as he told me. "No one will touch my little baby, not ever."
10: I remember him being overjoyed because his daughter had been with him for his fortieth birthday. I also remember his young daughter drinking everyone's drinks and feeling squiffy. I remember him taking off the ring she bought him weeks later, out of worry that he would break or lose it.
11: I also remember the Christmas when all we could afford to buy his daughter were some Enid Blyton books. When he was so angry and upset that he got drunk and rang all the friends he'd helped over the years. Friends he had helped financially at Christmas time. And asked them why they had forgotten his daughter. Asked them if she wasn't as important as their children ... When he was so full of regret that he couldn't afford something like the bicycle he had given her another year, even though he was living thousands of miles from her.
12: There once was a man who had no fear, save one. He ran across rooftops up high. | His only fear was of something hurting his daughter or his wife. Nothing else frightened him, ever.
13: I know this because he told me so.
14: There once was a man who remembered what it was to be a child, and who was so proud of his grandchildren. A man who could see the beauty that would bloom in his daughter's child ... and who could glimpse a taste of the man that his daughter's son would be.
15: I remember him laughing a great big belly laugh as he told me of the time that he was entertaining 20 Hell's Angels in his basement bar, and they were all passing his little girl around on their shoulders. How she squealed with laughter. How gentle they were with her. The memory made him smile a great big smile.
16: I remember a man who had a heart as huge as a house. And a daughter who will always reside there. | I remember him being so nervous because he had to ask me if I would agree to our home being used as security so that he could help his daughter live in a better place. We had always agreed that we would never risk our home for anything. But he worried that she had not been told of other things he'd done for her, or perhaps had forgotten. And when I saw how important it was to him ... a chance to demonstrate to his daughter just how much she meant to him ... I could not refuse.
17: I remember a man who lived a complicated life. So much so that he could not always see his daughter. Nor was it possible to explain why, except to say that he would never risk her safety. But this led to him having one regret. That his daughter might not know how he loved her. These were his words.