“I’m sorry, Dad.” I’ve gone over those words over and over these past few months. There are so many ways to interpret them: I’m sorry, I did it; I’m sorry, it’s all a mistake; I’m sorry she’s dead.” at one point or another, I’ve believed each of these statements to be true. It’s hard to know what to think, though, isn’t it? When you’re a dad, you learn to love unconditionally, or rather, it comes naturally. It’s all part of the job description. From the second they are placed in your arms, until the day you die. It comes naturally; it’s easy. Of course, sometimes our patience is pushed to the limits. Whether it’s toddler tantrums, playing truant from school or questionable lifestyle choices in adulthood. Whatever they do, you love them regardless. What do you do though, when they do something worse? What if it’s worse than a meltdown in Tesco or a few detentions? What if your son beats his wife? What if he beats his wife to death. What do you do then? Carry on loving, or magically turn it off like a tap? That’s a question I’ve been pondering a lot, lately.
I’m not going to pretend I was the perfect dad when the boys were growing up. I worked a few too many hours; a few too many evenings in the pub; a few too many afternoons fishing. I was never one of those dads you see running around the park with a football. Looking after the boys was mainly, their mother’s job, so they didn’t get left out. Unlike me, she was made to have children. Nutritious home cooked meals every night, helping with homework, playing, babysitting the grandkids, she did it all. They wanted for nothing. That’s what makes it so confusing. He didn’t come from a broken home. I never raised my voice, let alone my fist to anyone, especially not his mother. What makes a boy turn out this way?
I can’t get my head around it. As the eldest, he was definitely the most sensible of the three of them. After sailing his way through University, he got a good, steady job in an accountancy company. He worked his way up the ladder, with sheer ambition and sweat. Then, came the wife and the perfect daughter. I always saw him as the families success story. He had everything, all the things, we are meant to strive for in life? Where did it all go wrong?
She was a lovely young woman. We all took to her the moment we first met her; she was like the daughter we never had. Sweet, warm and friendly, she was a more than welcome addition. The two of them always seemed so happy, especially once little Katy arrived. I’m not naïve enough to think that life was always perfect for them, but I always thought it was as close as it gets for us normal folk.
I know it must have hit him hard when the recession struck, and he was made redundant. Pride is one of his faults so relying on his wife’s wage until he took a minimum wage labouring job, must have been hard. He hid it well though; I remember commenting on how he had taken it on the chin. If only I had known.
When I first heard, I assumed his innocence. I fought his corner against all the gossips who insist on poking their noses in. Even when my own doubts came creeping in, I stuck by him. It’s not easy. As time passed by and the true horror of what he did became unavoidable. He raised his hand to his wife, time and again, before delivering that fatal blow. He killed his wife, the mother of his precious daughter. He is a cold-blooded killer, who truly deserves to live out the rest of his days in prison. He is manipulative, cowardly, nasty, cruel vindictive excuse for a man. But, he is my son and I love him.