Dan the man

As Stella, the nursing home care assistant buttoned up Dan’s shirt she mused over his lovely collection of family photos on the dressing table.

He remained silently tight lipped as usual throughout this process as he did every morning. Stella wondered why Dan’s daughter had suddenly stopped visiting him. Was it just the regular family feud over property, finances or siblings? There was only one other sibling that Stella knew of, a stepbrother who called his Dad “Dan the man”, as Dan was well known for helping others and had always supported his son. Stella knew that Dan had kindly taken on his step son with his new wife. Dan had always explained the reason that he did not have any photos of his daughter, was that she was kept away from him by her mother. Even though Dan had pursued this through the court he had an order preventing him from seeing her or having access. Stella also knew of his joy in having found his daughter through a Salvation Army family tracing service twenty five years later.

It never once had crossed Stella’s mind that it could be anything else than the daughters cruel treatment to her father. Leaving him sitting by the window in his wheelchair she sensed a feeling of loss for him.

Two hundred miles away Janey finally felt at peace. This was the first time in the last couple of years that she had not sent a Father’s Day card. Janey could still picture the images of her childhood, sitting on the top step as her father pushed her mother to one side slamming the front door; her mother trying to cut the small patch of grass with household scissors as tears rolled down her cheeks; bare cupboards, the house repossession and being homeless.

After counselling and her own life experience she realised it was not worth feeling the loss of a father who walked out of her life at the age of four and who never looked back.

As if that initial loss was not enough, he came back into her life twenty five years later to do the same thing once again. Janeys mother had warned her what he was like. Naively Janey had trusted her father and had been taken in by his web of lies. Janey had to know the truth for herself and had written to the court that dealt with her mother and fathers divorce all those years ago. As she held the letter in her hand she re read the words in the officially embossed and embellished document.

‘The court has been advised by the child’s father that he wishes to have no contact with his daughter’

This time it was his loss