Yesterday was a day pretty much devoted entirely to my Dad. He's the guy who most shaped me into the man I am today. We've disagreed a lot and fought over the years, but I love him very much. And he has cancer.
So yesterday, I went with him to the hospital, which is a bit of a journey away from where we live. He wanted to time the route as he had an actual appointment there today and he didn't want to be late.
After we had spent 90 minutes getting there, we went back to the pub for a few drinks and a talk. It's funny how most of the things I talk to him about now, are things I never knew we had in common as little as a year ago. Politics, history, our country, and so on. When I think about how much he's shaped me in other ways, I had to wonder. Did he shape me in such a way that I formed the same conclusions he did, because I'm just a mini version of him? Or did he just raise me to think independently for myself, not to shy away from uncomfortable truths, not to be a slave to authority?
I'd like to think the latter, but I can't say for certain.
The best indication might be in respect to religion. He never went to services when I was a child, and made no bones about it. As I got older, he always explained where his position on the "god" thing was. But being married to my mother, he also taught me to respect the beliefs of others.
Me, I was a devout believer from around age 12, because of an "experience" I had had. Even more so at 16 because of another.
Then, as I grew older again, I learned some things about the human mind and realised there was a far more prosaic explanation for my experiences.
I lost my faith in my twenties, around the same time as my Dad did (when he was growing up.)
And now with him reaching the end of his own life, I look at him and I wonder, is that me? Will I grow up to be that guy?
There are worse things in the world. I just hope if I ever have kids, I don't have one that was as much of a handful of trouble as me.