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Writing "Song to my Father"

A Song of Regrets

“Song to my Father” is a song of true regret that I felt compelled to write—both for myself and to my Father. Sadly, my Mother and Father were divorced when I was four years old. There were many reasons why they split - and I’m sure there were two sides to the story - but basically, the marriage wasn’t working and after their split my two brothers and I ended up in a orphanage called Quarrier’s Holmes, in Scotland. The year was 1960.

Horse rides with my Father. Me in front. My brother Bill behind. Canada, circa 1959-ish.

Quarrier's Homes, Scotland, 1960

Upon entering the orphange at Quarrier's Homes, it was to be the last time we would ever see or hear from my Father again. 50 years later, and now married with two wonderful children of my own (and living in America), I hired a London-based Private Investigator to search for my father. Of course, my biggest fear was I’d find him and he would reject us. However, not long after engaging the services of the Private Investigator I received a call from him where he stated he had some good news and some bad news, for me.

Cottage 34 Image
Cottage 34, Quarrier's Homes, Scotland. This is the orphanage house I spent 6-years in - 1960-66. 30 boys lived in this house together. The house is now a private residence.

The Good and the Bad

First the bad news: my Father had died in 1985. The good news: I had a half-sister and brother living just north of London. As a side note, in 2011 my wife Janet and I took a trip to London and had a chance to meet my sister. She’s quite amazing!

Or course, it was very sad to hear my Father had died. I had so hoped that we would have a chance to meet and talk about the years we missed together, and to get to know him and hear his side of why my Mother and his relationship didn’t work out. If I learned anything here it's that life is fragile and short so don't wait to tell your loved ones how you feel. There’s rarely a second chance.

Gourock, Scotland. Circa 1960. Left to right: My brother Bill, my Mother, me and then my Father.

In Closing

I feel good about this song as it gave me a chance to express my feeling in the best way I know how: in a song. Each of the written lines in this song basically says it all for me:  feelings of regret about this whole sad episode and never getting the chance to say goodbye.

My Father's Last Words (1985)

My sister told me that one of my Dad's last words on his death bed, and while he was semi-conscious in the hospital, was "Bob, get your school clothes on. It's time for school." This last statement of my Dad's never made sense to my sister at the time as she wasn't sure of our names at that point (1985).

I find it a kind of a sad/happy ending. Still, it was nice to know he was thinking about us...even during his last moments. As you can see in the photo above, a picture my sister had never seen before 2011, my brother and I are in our school uniforms. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this tune. Please feel free to share the link and don’t forget to Subscribe. I welcome all comments so drop me a note. All the best. Bob McCarroll.


Song to My Father (B. McCarroll, 2012)

Verse 1

Father I’m so sorry we never said goodbye

Years just seemed to fly away, leaving us behind

I was oh so young when you had lost your way

Time created distance, memories they did fade

Verse 2

Maybe if I’d called you we could have set things straight

Could have told your story but now it’s all too late

Seems we missed that moment and time just slipped away

But I still have your picture to remind me everyday

Solo - Guitar & Violin

Verse 3

All the things we never said the things we never did

We both lived in different worlds but I was still your kid

Now you’re gone forever, it won’t help to cry

Father I regret so, we never said….(goodbye!)


Original song composition by Bob McCarroll Guitar and vocals: Bob McCarroll

Viola: Alan Aimes

Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered at OneStop.Studio, Phoenix, Arizona

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