Finding Dad

There’s something missing. 

I went to look for it and it wasn’t there. 

All I found was a gap (and all the bad memories). 

 

Where is the pile of missing memories? 

Where is he? Where is Dad when I was young?

Film Text Transcript:

 

I collect memories. 

I store them in jars, bottles and boxes. 

I fold them up neatly and put them in books for safe keeping. 

 

Each memory tells a story.

 

I do this because there’s something missing. 

I have a gap where memories should be.  

 

Where are the memories of Dad when I was young?

I wandered around the first house we lived in looking for him. I went from room to room and couldn’t find him anywhere. Not in my room, the bathroom, the kitchen. Not downstairs, not in the front room or his office. I walked outside, down the steps into the yard and to the warehouse…

 

That’s where I found him. With the cardboard boxes piled high, brown tape, brown paper. With the taste and smell of cardboard and dust. 

 

Finding Dad in the sounds of his voice. 

Smell - Biscuits and tea. Sounds - Your voice.  

Tea box with miniature teapot and digestive biscuits. 

Secret Garden box with key and flowers bottle. 

Bark from the Bonsai tree you made which I couldn't keep alive. 

Bright spring blossom that reminded me of you. 

Quince blossom like we had in the back garden. 

Our Secret Garden. 

This is all a very long overdue love letter to Dad celebrating in all those brilliant and best bits (that I can only just remember).

Yvonne J Foster

Finding Dad

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My father attempted suicide when I was 14. The subsequent years were filled with periods of deep depression. He took his own life when I was 18. The trauma of these years wiped away the good memories of him. Working with the support of The Museum Of Ordinary People I went in search for the memories that were lost. 

'Finding Dad' was part of The Museum Of Ordinary People's immersive exhibition 'Home' at the Phoenix Gallery in May 2021.

 

"HOME presents fascinating, heartbreaking and uplifting stories of ordinary people. MOOP and Mnemoscene have collaborated with members of the public to explore how their collections of everyday objects, photos and documents can be curated to represent our emotional connection with the home and showcase untold narratives that chronicle real people’s lives."

Rummage through the website Harriet's House; created alongside the exhibition to showcase the work in an alternative form.

In the Living Room you can interact with the memory box I created and hear the audio collage I put together of my father's voice. Alternatively you can hear the full audio piece on Soundcloud

 

I created this film for those who could not visit the exhibition in person. 

If you need suicide support for yourself or others contact Samaritans call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or try the self-help app.