Home' Aurora : Aurora September 2011 Contents 15
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VE BEEN ON a quest to find my father
over the last year. Not the physical
presence of my father, because I know that
he had died in 1953 when I was a month
old, but his story -- who he was, why do
I know so little about him, why did I only
have one photo, what was he like, what did
together? --- and much more.
I knew the bare minimum. Ray was an
only child, had been married to Mum for
seven years, I was their firstborn, and then
he was accidentally killed at home when
I was a newborn. I grew up knowing his
parents, my grandparents, but there was
no extended family that I am aware of --
no cousins, aunts, uncles.
After his death, my mother went into deep
shock and moved home to her parents
where I grew up. Later she married and
had three other children. We were a close
knit family. I guess another parent whom I
had no memory of was unnecessary.
As part of her grief, and in a strategy to
move forward, my mother destroyed all
photos and possessions of my father.
My grandparents didn't seem to have
much either as when the dust settled and
I started to think about who I was in my
late teens, all I had was one photo and
not much else. By my mid twenties my
grandparents were dead and I knew no-one
else who had known him. Mum had never
talked about him and I guess I put it in the
too hard basket. I had a happy family so
why look for more?
Recently I began to think again. Last
Father's Day I gave a talk to a group of
men about getting to know their fathers,
mending broken bridges if they needed to,
or learning stories if they had died. I took
my own advice and started to search.
Luckily I ran into a cousin who was a few
years younger than Mum but was very close
to her, and, as it turns out, also my father.
He said that he had some photos still
and some stories that he would be happy
to share. My journey had started! We
arranged to meet shortly after.
The first photo that he showed me was so
symbolic it had to be meaningful. I saw my
father in the snowfields holding a pane of
ice in front of his face so all that could be
seen was a clear body but a very blurred,
distorted face. Through a glass darkly
indeed! But then he revealed others -- five
in all. There was my father with Mum, huge
smiles on their faces, standing in the
snow. My Mum and father having a snow
fight. A group photo with Mum and her
three siblings all with their spouses all in a
relaxed silly pose.
My cousin told me wonderful stories about
their good times together and how much
in love my parents were -- how devastated
she was on his death and how determined
she was to look after me at any cost. He
suggested I talk to Mum -- he felt she would
love to talk about him after all this time.
I rang Mum to warn her before my visit
and was happy to hear that she would love
to share some memories. I must say the
experience was surreal and amazing -- this
man who had been a ghost was becoming
flesh and blood. There were lots of stories
and sharing of who he was, but most of
all I learned three things from this sharing.
Mum and my father were very much in love,
they both were over the moon about my
birth, and my father was the type of person
I would have loved to have known. I now
have a framed photo
of my Mum and
father along with
one of my Mum
and Dad proudly
On Father's Day we tend to concentrate
on how we can be better fathers. But let's
not forget the other side of the coin -- how
we can be better sons. We tend to think of
our Dads as 'fathers' and lose sight of the
fact that they are men like us. This time
of the year is a great time to go in search
of your father. Hopefully he lives down the
road or in the next suburb, but maybe he
has died and it takes a little more digging.
This is particularly true if things aren't great
between you. Who's going to build that
bridge? Why can't it be you? Time is short
and you may not get the chance again. You
will be better for it, as will all around you.
There are no guarantees that it will work,
but you'll never know until you give it a go.
Make it a promise to yourself for this
PEOPLE AND EVENTS
Priest jubilarians clockwise from
Bishop Bill, Rev Alber t D Souza (25
years), Rev Michael Dargan (50 years),
Rev Mgr Paul Simms (60 years), Rev
John Woods (50 years). Rev Paul
Mulconry (50 years) and Rev Edmond
Nixon CSsR (40 years) were unable to
Rev Bill Burston baptises Adak
Pabek, witnessed by godmother
Chaplaincy and met
haplain Fr Dom
San Clemente High School
Choir was named "Most
Outstanding" at the Choral
Showcase held at St Joseph s
Lochinvar on the Feast of
St Mary MacKillop. Music
teacher Jessica Lopez is
pictured with the students.
participated in St Joseph s PS Denm
Mission Day. In a show of solidarity
water was carried from the river 2k
the school. A simple meal was cook
and Richard Cootes spoke about Catholic
Mission projects in South America.
By STEVE BRITT
People & events
Harriet Simon Yokwe.
Tym and his mother Kellie
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