I never have anyone to call on Fathers Day

I never have anyone to call on fathers day. Instead I sit quietly and reflect on the beautiful father I had for the first eight years of my life. He left behind a legacy that will live until my last breath. John Slade was a man of beauty and inner strength. He could see into the heart of people and would say the right words to inspire and heal those present. His natural wisdom and compassion with a vibrant optimism shone and transformed even the darkest chapters to light. He was a pioneer and revolutionary who questioned convention and dogma. As a free thinker he challenged crusty thought processes that imprisoned many in his day. His blood overflowed with the milk of human kindness but his progressive thinking could not be contained by man made religion.

John Slade was a father of engagement and was deeply involved and present with his family and friends. A man of nurture and love, one of my earliest memories as a child was snuggled up on my father’s chest with his arms wrapped around me. Unconditionally loved and contained by him. He was kind and strong at the same time and vivid colour radiated from his charismatic smile. When he spoke and taught all those that saw him were taken to higher ground. He loved my mother completely. Her spirit, intelligence and beauty captivated him. They were true partners equal in intellect and passion.

As a child he encouraged me to speak my thoughts and ideas. He would stop and look at me paying attention to each word. My voice was strong as a child nurtured by the unconditional love of my father. My father was a role model of emotional health and ways of being in the world.

Yet this beautiful life, this beautiful man was taken so early. He was just 41 years old. His death was a shock and life changing experience. He left with no warning. The last night I saw him he kissed me good night and he was a happy healthy young man. I woke the next morning to hear that father had been rushed to hospital and was fighting for his life. He died that day. He had a cerebrale haemorrhage.

I still cry sometimes when I think of his passing. I was traumatised by his death and was the only one who could not watch his body being lowered into the ground with the dirt shovelled in. I ran from the grave with tears flooding my face not wanting to accept that he was gone. It took me over 20 years to go back and visit his grave and I sat on the ground for over an hour talking to him. This experience healed so much.

I was always told by my father’s closest friends and family that I was like my father. Smiling, I felt honoured and happy that they thought I was like him, but have spent much of my life up to 41 with this irrational fear that like him I would die at 41. Each year that I have lived beyond 41 I cherish and celebrate and rationally know I will be ok.

Each Father’s Day a feeling of melancholy and tender sadness soaks my heart and I long to speak to him to tell him I love and admire him and that he was beautiful father. That in those formative 8 years of life that he gave me so much. His unconditional love, his kindness, his intelligence taught me to have my own voice and ways of thinking and to have the confidence to speak my truth. His death made me an artist when I was a teenager. By looking for him in other men Vincent Van Gogh, T.S. Elliot, George Orwell I would sit for hours drawing their faces trying to connect back to his kindness through the expression of them.

So today, because it is Fathers Day I want to pay tribute and honour my father John Slade even though he is no longer here. And while I still live I will cherish and honour the gifts of beauty and life he has given to me.

I would also like to wish all the wonderful Redbubble fathers Happy Fathers Day. I hope you have a beautiful day and celebrate. I also hope you know you are loved and admired by your children.

© Anthea Slade 2011

19 June 2011

Currently unavailable for purchase

I never have anyone to call on Fathers Day by 

Featured in Nirvana on 5 July 2011
Featured in Imaginative Skulls on 24 June 2011

Thoughts and reflections on my late father on Fathers Day.

Also wishing all the RedBubble Fathers a very happy Fathers Day. Hope you have a beautiful day of celebration and love.

Father by Anthea Slade


autobiographical piece, thoughts, reflections, fathers day, tribute, love, memory, sadness, melancholy, acknowledgement, fathers, anthea slade

Creating art and writing is like breathing to me, it keeps me alive. If I stop creating my world shrinks and contracts. When I start to create again it expands and is filled with colour. I feel whole. To create is to be completely, unabashedly alive.

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  • BasantSoni
    BasantSoniabout 3 years ago

    Pathetic presentation of inner feelings ……. filled with such feelings ..speechless friend

  • BasantSoni thank you so much for such a sensitive response to my writing my friend.

    – Anthea Slade

  • msdebbie
    msdebbieabout 3 years ago

    Thinking of you dear Anth. So glad you shared this lovely tale with us xxx

  • Deb thank you for reading my story. It just flowed out amidst strong emotions and I felt I wanted to share with my special friends here on RedBubble.

    – Anthea Slade

  • limerick
    limerickabout 3 years ago

    Dear Anthea, Thank you for this moving piece of writing. I lost my Father a few years ago, he was only 56 which seemed very young to me. My Dad gave me my love for photography – which I am so grateful for. I hope you have a lovely day this Fathers Day. Much Love, Limerick. xxxxxxxxx

  • Oh dear Limerick so sorry to hear that you lost your father a few years ago at only 56. That is very young. It is wonderful that he gave you photography and his spirit lives on in your beautiful spirit. Losing my father when he was 41 was a big shock and was terribly sad. But in just 8 years he gave to me so much. Thank you for your sensitive engagement with my story. I truly appreciate your wonderful words here my friend.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Rhinovangogh
    Rhinovangoghabout 3 years ago

    Bless you. Hugs and all that. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, J

  • Rhino thank you so much for support and lovely response here to this chapter in my life story.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Ken Eccles
    Ken Ecclesabout 3 years ago

    Oh, dear Anthea, what a beautifully touching insight. Thank you for your candour, openness and bravery in sharing this very close part of who you are with us all.

  • Ken thank you my friend for reading this chapter of my life I have shared and for engaging with the emotion and the openness of its content. It just flowed out. I wanted to share it here with my good friends on RedBubble. I appreciate your beautiful feedback very much.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Roz McQuillan
    Roz McQuillanabout 3 years ago

    A wonderful tribute, Anthea, my friend! I can see where your inspiration, creativity and strength comes from! xx

  • Oh thank you Roz, he was an amazing man, my father and was a great inspiration and influence on my life when he was alive and also in his death. Thank you for reading and your sensitive response my dear friend.

    – Anthea Slade

  • ArtLacoque
    ArtLacoqueabout 3 years ago

    Oh dear Anthea, your writing and story brings tears into my eyes. The love you have for your father is so jumping out of my computer all is full of that emotion around me. John Slade has been a wonderful human and you are lucky to have been sat on your way by him. Dead people always go with us and he certainly helped and influenced you all the years after his passing . You became this sensible artist with the ability to feel art and to express deepest truth in your paintings and writings. How wonderful of you to give your beautiful father this memory and let him live again in our mind. I am honored to have heard from him…..John Slade.
    Hugs for you Anthea

  • Oh dearest Ruth thank you for this most compassionate response to this chapter in the memory of my father. Thank you for reading this story, he was a wondeful human and I feel fortunate that he was my father because he was such a great man and role model. Yes I think by honouring him, remembering him I am letting him live again. I love what you said in these words they truly touch my heart How wonderful of you to give your beautiful father this memory and let him live again in our mind. I am honoured to have heard of him…..John Slade. I cried when I wrote this piece and tears fill my eye now as I read your words. Thank you so much my beautiful friend for this most beautiful comment that I treasure so much. Love to you dear Ruth and you are right dead people always go with us. So true so true.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Farfarm
    Farfarmabout 3 years ago

    Yes…wishing I could call too ! Really strong heartfelt writing !

  • Yes I know that feeling. Sorry to hear that you have lost your father too. Thank you for reading and this so wonderful response.

    – Anthea Slade

  • helene ruiz
    helene ruizabout 3 years ago

    sdg u giant hugs…..i miss my father so much too…i can really feel your emotions here … tears in my eyes…and sighs…xox

  • Thank you so much Helene for this empathetic response. It was very emotional for me to write this and to share but I felt that I wanted to share with my lovely friends here on RedBubble. So sorry to hear that you lost your dad too. I can understand you missing him. Hugs to you too dear Helene.

    – Anthea Slade

  • RosaCobos
    RosaCobosabout 3 years ago

    Fathers that were gone…
    Fathers that never were there…
    Fathers that were celebrated by their Silence.
    Silence fathering our pain for being lost.
    Pain that is in there, longing and loving…the longing gone.
    Longing pressed upon heart like a scented rose.
    Rose that had the most piercing thorns.
    Thorns that make us feel and go….along.
    Tears flooding for what is left is eternally flooding.
    And the flooding is our arms like rivers to embrace.
    That river is outlined in your portraits…blue look…creases of Fate.
    Father´s Day is any day…the Seed…encrypted in our Flesh and Soul.
    But as this has been written honoring a memmory…
    I can state…yours is not a memmory…but a living breath of Slade….
    Rosa (moving ….moving ….moving…Anthea)

  • Oh my dear friend this is truly a breathtaking and beautifully written poem in response to my writing about my father. Rosa your writing moves straight to my soul. You have such beautiful compassionate insight that sees into the heart of the matter. It was very emotional writing this and I feel emotional reading your so beautiful response. I love all your words here. So tender, yet so powerful and intuitive. Your words I can state…yours is not a memory…but a living breath of Slade are just beautiful and words I will never forget. Thank you so much my lovely friend. Your words move me very deeply.

    – Anthea Slade

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