I still buy myself shoes throughout the year but March holds a special place in my heart. Tomorrow would have been my dad’s 64th birthday – St Patrick’s Day and he loved his green beer. Well, he just loved his alcohol. Tomorrow also marks 12 years since I last saw my dad.
My dad had a complicated life, most of it being that he was an alcoholic ultimately leading him to be diagnosed with Korsakoff Syndrome . In a nutshell, it’s a form of dementia that is caused by a severe deficiency in Vitamin B-1 aka Thiamine. This is something that happens when the main focus is drinking and you’re not so focused on taking care of your body by say…. eating…. (among many other things)
Of course, Korsakoff Syndrome isn’t just something that alcoholics can develop…but in my dad’s case there it was. And it ended up with him living in a nursing home. Something I am sure he didn’t think would happen in his 40’s or 50’s…
Most times when we would visit him he could either be found outside smoking, inside the smoke room or inside with his head on the table waiting for his hourly allocation of cigarettes…so it’s not surprising that when he died he was found in the smoke room…and his cause of death was a heart attack.
So where do the shoes come in? I promise we’re almost there!
When you’re a 16-year-old who’s father has been diagnosed with something so extreme and you’ve barely had a decent relationship with him, it’s hard. However, as a 22-year-old I started to see the importance of having a relationship with him.
He didn’t want much for his 52nd birthday but he did want some new shoes. We made a plan to go shopping on March 25th but unfortunately, he passed on March 23rd, 2005.
I can remember telling a good friend of mine about how I never got to take him shoe shopping. It was a weird mourning period because I had started to plan for playing a more active role in his life so I was mourning the things that I now couldn’t do instead of mourning the past. And her suggestion:
Why don’t you go any buy yourself some new shoes?
And that is what I have been doing for the past 12 years.