Monday, March 28, 2011


Never need I be afraid.
No matter how uncertain things may be.
Sometimes through me, sometimes in spite of me
You seem to find your purpose in my life.
I know failure in my life,
The central to my heart.
When I have strayed or fallen in my life,
You gently set me on my feet again.
(Eagles Wings)

Here we are again at the anniversary of my Dad's death. Three years, unbelievable. Bare with me while I reflect.

I'm wondering how Mum is feeling this morning and remembering all too well this morning three years ago when one of my brothers called from the pallative care unit (where Dad had been for only 5 days - he wasn't into "messing about") to say that he had passed away. My sisters and I were at the family home preparing to head back to the hospital where we'd been for most of the week, Elsa was crawling around in the loungeroom helping us to smile and, all of a sudden, we were devastated. The unbelivable had happened. And it had happened on his terms, as much as we're ever in control of death.

After his funeral, Mum told us that in this final days Dad told her not to worry about the funeral arrangements, it wouldn't be a huge event as the area had changed and no-one much remembered him, that "the boys" (meaning my seven brothers) would take care of it, she needn't worry. He truly believed that after making a contribution to public and community life for so long, he'd quietly disappeared from the minds and hearts of a wider community that had grown and changed significantly over the years. Apparently he was quite matter-of-fact about it, it was just the way it was, no big deal.

The reality was quite different and I wish we could point out to him just how wrong he was - we didn't often have an opportunity to correct him in life! In reality, hundreds and hundreds flocked to the church and wake to celebrate his life, offices were closed, streets blocked off in all directions, the police controlled parking and traffic and and ensured his whole, huge immediate and extended family got to the church safely and easily, police and local school children formed guards of honour along major nearby roads, the school choirs from the schools of both his daughters and sons sang throughout the mass (including his favourites, 'Amazing Grace', 'Hail Glorious St. Patrick' and the latin, 'sum tum') and the football club he had followed all his life (and sat on the Board of for years) hosted and completely organised the wake...I could go on and essence, contributions came from all over the community he had loved and devoted so much of his time and energy towards. So, though I'm sure he wouldn't have seen all this "fuss" as necessary, I'm sure he would've felt quite honoured and humbled.

We all remember you so very well Dad and thank you for your contribution to family and community. And three years on, we still miss you and know that we always will. The pain hasn't left us but it has changed shape as we've moved along the path without you. Thanks for all the lessons...I'm reminded of a Prayer of the Faithful from his funeral mass read by his eldest grandchild, Lachlan.

"For Poppa's joy in the simple things in life, may we learn to emulate him".

When I explained to Elsa why I've been sad this morning, she responded in a kind, empathetic way "I know Mama, he was my Poppa too so I'm sad too but it's okay, he's happy in heaven with Jedda". (Jedda was my dad's dog who died this past Christmas while we were at Mum's). So true Elsa, once he knew if was inevitable, he was looking forward to experiencing that heaven place for himself. It's been a tough morning, thanks for listening.

One of my nephews recently came across these photos at the National Library of Australia. Wikipedia has started something too... Parliament Doc. And...I just like this photo And this one that has always hung in his study And honoured at one of his favourite places

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