just so I won’t forget him.

 There’s so much going on in the world, London’s in flames, there’s the Arab spring, and just so much art i’m creating at the moment that it feels like I should be focussing on those things instead of this.

Yet every night since i’ve been back in Melbourne I’ve thought about him. How ridiculously unfair it was that to have survived war, cancer and a divorce to die alone, without any of his family nearby.  His favourite band was Dire Straits, ok, so as a stupid teenager i’d roll my eyes every time he mentioned Mark Knoppfler or i’d ask for the hundredth time “dad, who the fuck is mark Knoppfler”? knowing full well he didn’t like swear words or the fact I didn’t know who the guitarist in his favourite band was. But today I found myself requesting dire straits on the radio.. yes you heard it, ringing up and requesting the music i rolled my eyes at just to piss him off.  Some how it’s like, through hearing music, i heard bits of him.

I want to take back all the times I ever fought with him, yelled at him, or wanted him out of my life. Because it feels like there’s a big fucking gaping hole in my chest that can’t be filled.  He won’t sit in the front row of my shows anymore, beaming with pride nudging the person next to him whispering (audibly, he was never a good whisperer in theatres) “that’s my daughter”   Nor will he be at my book launches or even on the other end of the phone line when I call.  He read every single poem i ever wrote and said I was the best writer he had ever read, disclaiming of course, that he was indeed, biased.  People describe my writing as “honest” “raw” “emotional” and “heartbreaking”  but the honesty and emotion I learned from him.  He was never afraid to cry, he said it was the hallmark of a strong man, not a weak one.  He was never afraid to tell the truth, even when it hurt because he knew in the long run people would be helped by it.  I watched him struggle to deal with my suffering,  and although he didn’t always understand he listened.   Unconditionally.  He said he wasn’t quite sure how he had come to raise someone like me, as he came from a totally different time, but he never realised how exactly alike we were.He said it was my struggle with PTSD that made him get help for his own. I cannot imagine, locked up in the chambers of his mind all those years what it must have been like. Thrust into a situation not of his making, not of his choice, but simply because of his year of birth.

My Dad had a massive heart. He loved everyone, and was compassionate even when there were situations when he should have been filled with resentment. He never once blamed my mother for their divorce. He never once blamed my brother for his problems with addiction. He just tried relentlessly to understand and make the best of things. Yet it was his heart that got him in the end.  It just stopped beating. just like that. I think it couldn’t take the loss he never expressed. His friends in vietnam, my brother, my uncle, my grandfather and grandmother whom he both watched slowly die before his eyes. He was always reluctant to discuss the things that bothered him. Yet there were times when his eyes told stories his voice didn’t have to. We would sit in our lounge room and not say a word to each other, he’d be reading i’d be watching tv and yet we knew exactly what the other was feeling. I am blogging about him so the internet has some record of the kind of man he was.  But most of all,  just so that I  won’t forget him.

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