It is not often that some external influence inspires me to write a post but today is one of those days. I watched a video on social media from the excellent Aaron Lambo, it came up on my feed and I figured it was worth a view. The video in question was aimed at ‘those who think I have everything’ and in it Aaron toured his home and noted the absence of a family and, most critically, his children. He went on to explain that he still eats with his youngest child’s baby spoon, that touched a nerve.
The thing that struck me in this is how many ‘successful’ and ‘happy’ guys that I know, have worked with and serve on a daily basis. How does this balance with the horrific level of male suicide in this country? If we are all so happy and successful then why the loss of life? After all society knows how tough it is for a single mother and how men just shrug it all off, after all a guy is a guy right?
So I think that this view is fundamentally wrong, not just from my perspective but from observing the fathers and grandfathers around me. Some of us are a different breed, we were bred not to show weakness and to ‘soldier’ on and as society continues to soften men they look on their peers as success, wrongly so. If all of us take the time to use whatever media we inhabit, be that speech, text, blog or print to tell the world how it is we could save one young man from taking his life because he feels like he is a failure its got to be worth a go…
So here is mine, I hope it helps/counsels/inspires somebody I guess.
I am Gav, I am a ‘successful’ Engineer and I own a pub. I have my ‘dream’ a lovely happy pub on the Isle of Wight. This is what I have worked my life for and it is here, it’s a great life and it is where I always wanted to be. I am also a father to two wonderful children, I know that I didn’t give birth to them but I would see every ounce of my blood spilled before a hair on their heads was harmed. I was not the cause of the break up of my marriage, as much as I don’t believe that has any relevance here I still feel the need to make it clear because society views guys harshly.
So when you leave my pub and I retire upstairs let me tell you what I do. I look, longingly, into each of the bedrooms (which normally have made up beds) and wonder what my children are doing. I still look at a pictures of my children daily, I stalk their social media for the chance of a conversation. Every birthday and Christmas it breaks my heart that we are at the ‘send me some money’ stage.
I adore my children and I live every day in hope that some sort of mysterious ‘karma’ will reward the sacrifices, the pain and the effort with a relationship with the two most important people ‘in’ my life. I would not just give ‘everything’ I would give every limb and every last breath to cuddle the angels that are my children they are a love beyond love. But the beds are as empty as life, that is how it is and it is not in my power to change it.
So the happy bloke you see, he misses his kids. The fella enjoying life, he wonders where his kids are right now. The happy-go-lucky fella, he hates the solitude of ‘home’.
This is not shared for sympathy, I don’t need it, don’t want it and frankly despise it. I share this so that you may think that of the half-dozen pals that you were in the pub with probably 4 wished that they were at home with their kids. We are not what you see by choice but, rather, by a series of choices we are not always responsible for. We were bred to work, to push, to ‘succeed’, it’s what we do. Would you rather we sat and wept for hours on end? would that change anything? of course not we are guys we lose its what we do but we will fight on with what we have because…… well because that’s what we do.
If every ‘absent’* father shares his life this week then this pub alone can save lives.
*I detest this phrase