I have been looking at old photos recently. Partly to find some great photos of Dad to make a collage for Mum but also so I can keep all my memories alive.
It’s bittersweet looking at them. On the one hand I’ve loved having the chance to remember him as a vital, funny, politically incorrect scallywag – he really was a character. And of course, on the other hand, it’s cut deep to know that I won’t share any more memories with him again. That he is gone. Never to return.
I am determined to keep him alive in my heart and in the hearts of the kids. Gilbert took me aback the other week when he commented that the last time he had been to the cafe, he had four grandparents. Now he only has three. I reminded him that he will always have four grandparents, irrespective of whether they are still with us or not.
I want the kids to understand that Pop may be physically absent but that doesn’t mean he has completely left us. His spirit is definitely alive and well, somewhere.
You’ve probably guessed by some of my recent posts and musings that I need to talk about my loss. I can’t sweep it under the carpet or ignore it. I’m a talker and I need to talk through my thoughts and my feelings. It may be uncomfortable sometimes but I won’t apologise for that.
Just give me a few more weeks to remember and grieve and celebrate a life worth celebrating because there are so many memories of my Dad that I want to record and share and immerse myself in.
Like the time that Dad took me to the local bowling club the night before my first HSC exam and shouted me a Baileys & milk. I was a little hesitant as I felt I should have been at home studying, not drinking, but he knew me. He knew I needed to relax and let go. He knew that I needed time out. And he was right – I smashed that exam out of the park.
And there was the times he would answer the phone with one of my friends on the other end of the line. If they didn’t introduce themselves straight up, he would hang up on them. He had no time for people who were not straight up with him. Yes, my teenage years were rather interesting in his house!
We also enjoyed a Saturday night tradition of watching The Late Show on the ABC. We would sit there and crack ourselves up. We shared a sense of humour and a view on the world that was special. We always knew how to make each other laugh. God, I miss that now.
There were the times we headed up to northern NSW each January so Dad could undertake annual maintenance jobs. He would spend the day working. I would spend the day reading and watching tennis on TV and then we would check out the local bowlo. We certainly saw some sights in those visits to Gunnedah, Narrabri, Moree and Inverell…
I remember the mountain of tools in his shed and how he spent years working on building a boat from scratch. He then followed that up by building a house from scratch. He was a talented man.
I remember going to all sorts of places around NSW in the school holidays as he would find last minute deals for us. In the age before Wotif, it was a case of scouring the newspapers for accommodation cancellations and making lots of calls to chase them up. Thanks to his persistence we holidayed in Dubbo, Bathurst, North Haven, Harrington, Forster and many other places that I can’t recall right now.
We even went up to Brisbane for Expo ’88 and stayed in an apartment in Mermaid Waters. I still remember being terrified by my first and only encounter with a cane toad and how he sorted it out for me.
Because that’s what Dads do for their daughters.
There are so many wonderful memories of a wonderful man. But I guess I will always cherish most the memories of him spending time with his grandkids, whom he adored:
Indulging as part of these most excellent weekend linkups:
Flog Yo Blog Friday
Things I Know
The Ultimate Rabbit Hole