Haiku Heights ~ Script

The prompt for Haiku Heights this week is the word ‘script’.  I knew immediately what I wanted to write about but it is a painful memory.  When my father was very ill with cancer I would sit by his bed for hours on end whenever I was not at work.  He was a self taught man who left school at the age of 13 to work in the shipyards in the North of England where he lived.  He spent his whole life working with steel, eventually owning his own business.  He was in great demand as a consultant on huge projects from bridges to buildings like Canary Wharf in London and Terminal 4 at Heathrow.  He was also recognised as a bit of an expert on safety in Nuclear Power Stations which he used to inspect.  I absolutely adored him and shared his passion for bridges, buildings and anything of beauty.

Now my father kept a diary all his life and his last sentence on every entry was a prayer of thanks for his day. He always used a propelling pencil and wrote with a beautiful script.  As he got weaker his diary became really important to him.  However hard it was to write he would still insist on filling in the days news.  He recorded every visit by doctors, nurses, priests and friends.  The day before he died he was quite distressed that he could not hold his pencil and he insisted that I should write what he dictated, which I did.  When he fell asleep with the exhaustion of it I took a peek at his diary and I was totally shocked by what i found.  For the worst months of his illness he had ended every entry with a prayer to St Jude ~ patron Saint of Lost causes!  This was a bit upsetting.  But the really upsetting thing was that for the last two weeks his entries were in mirror writing.  Every word and line was written backwards.  It was still legible although the writing was getting rather spidery.

I found this deeply moving as it seemed to me that his life was going into reverse.  After he died I mentioned the mirror writing to the doctor and he said it sometimes happens as a result of neurological disturbance.  I suppose this would make sense as he was so ill and on strong pain relief.  But I still found it very unsettling.

I have heard since that some people like Leonardo Da Vinci used to do mirror writing.  It is a strange phenomenon still not fully understood.

As in a mirror

His writing flowed in reverse

His Life rewinding

Man of steel, my Angel of the North

Man of steel, my Angel of the North

16 thoughts on “Haiku Heights ~ Script

  1. Dads are special! very moving! Im curious to know more! How did he manage to write in mirror style, when he was not even keeping well! I always wonder how it feels nearing death and what all it can inspire to do! your post gave me some answers and more questions!


    • Let me know when you find the answers Meenakshi! It was all my dad managed to do in a day, write his diary! It was obviously very important to him. i think it was his way of hanging on to his routine and keeping his mind focused and organised. he was thinking quite clearly right up to the end. But writing backwards!


  2. This is so touching … a personal glimpse in your shared life with your beloved dad at a tender time. This month marks the 5th year since my dad passed, so on another layer, this brings up bittersweet memories. I was a Daddy’s girl … and I so very much miss him. Mirror writing is fascinating, and I want to learn more about it. Keeping you in thought during this month.


  3. I have read your post twice, ensuring I breathed in all the feelings! Such a very beautiful tribute to your father! The reverse writing comments particularly interested me! A sweet haiku closes the moments!


    • Thanks gemma x It is a fascinating phenomenon which I had put to the back of my mind until this prompt came up! It is so strange how the mind works. Apparently in order to mirror write we use a totally different and much quieter part of the brain. Maybe as we near death our brains rare preparing us. I like to think his spirit has lived on, but I know his memory will. He was a wonderful man, loved by everyone, generous to a fault. It will be 20 years this month since he died but his memory is still strong in me. Yesterday when baby Stanley smiled I saw my dad’s dimples and was ecstatic. Maybe my grandson has some of my dad in him. He will be truly blessed then x


    • Ah, would that it were so Grace. My mum found dad’s diaries so upsetting to look at that she destroyed them all after his death. I guess it was her way of coping but it is something that deeply grieves me to this day.


    • Yes, as I mentioned above, it is 20 years this month since my dad died and although I remember him every day when I see his photo on my shelf I had not thought of his diaries recently until the prompt came up. This is what I enjoy about Haiku Heights. It brings up all sorts of memories from just a one word prompt! Thanks for the comment x


      • Isn’t it amazing that just one word can trigger a waterfall of memories? I try to value my dad (and the rest of my family) every day and I know I will feel the void deeply once he’s gone. It was hard enough watching him go through the loss of his parents. Many blessings to you! 🙂


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