Losing my Dad
When I was 28, the love of my life, the gentlest man alive, died.
My Dad was an incredible artist and art teacher but most of all he was the best dad my sister and I could have asked for. With one foot in reality and one in his creative wonderland, he was any kids dream Dad. Like any true artist Dad was broke, he had no money, ever. But that never stopped the adventures, when the sun would go down he would dress us in black and take us flower “shopping” which was basically just flower stealing from various rich people’s gardens around St Kilda. Then we would sit in a park watching the possums and dad would make up stories to tell us about the secret lives of the possums, how “Barry” was upset because “Pursey” had been caught cheating with “Big Lenny” (the fat possum) I would be in hysterics all night and at the mercy of my Dad’s hilarity. My Dad loved everybody and everyone loved him, we would cruise Fitzroy St and stop to chat with a homeless guy for half an hour, a mentally challenged women would walk past asking for money of which dad had none but did take her to a coffee shop and told the owners who knew him to give her a coffee and lunch, he would pay for it when he got paid and then a limo stopped and some rich dude that dad had taught how to paint unwound his window with a huge smile and insisted we hopped in to get a lift home. He cleaned brothels while finishing his Fine Arts Masters degree, I was 7 and would stay with him on my school holidays and when going to work with him at the brothel I would lie on the velvet bed, looking at myself in the mirror on the ceiling while my dad would clean the room. I remember telling him that when I grow up I want to be rich enough to stay in this ‘glamorous’ hotel with all of these beautiful women. Looking back Im sure dad would have pissed himself laughing. What a fine example he was for parents without cash flow, all spectacular parenthood requires is an endless amount of love and a sense of humour. Just like my early days, my dad’s were full of wildness and boundary pushing. Unfortunately a contributing factor to his death, he contracted Hepatitis C in his early 20s. My Dad’s liver finally packed it in 3 years ago, when I was 28, living in Perth I was told to fly over, he didn’t have long. Seeing his sweet old body lying there all broken tortured us all. He managed a smile when I walked through the door, said the words “my baby” Dads face had a way of lighting up every time he saw my sister or I. Even while suffering through his final days, his eyes were bright and full of love. Over the next few days Stella (my sister), myself and my aunty would sit on his hospital bed with him, tell funny stories, share a head phone with him and listen to the Rolling Stones, kiss his beautiful face and cry. But no amount of goodbyes and hugs will ever prepare you for the moment death finally steals them. Somehow losing a loving parent reverts you back to that little girl, the one who always knew she would be ok because she has her Dad, only she doesn’t now and she’s not ok. A deep down emptiness washed over us all, the world lost its magic, I knew I would never be loved that much again, my one advocate, gone. I never felt satisfied by a the love of a lover, never felt like it was enough, because it never came close to the purity that I felt from my Dad. There is no time to grieve when you have a sister to look after, saving her would save me. Stella is the one who has her shit together, her house is always clean, bills always paid, but deep down she is also the vulnerable one, I knew I needed to look after her, I wasn’t graced with much organisation or direction, but I was graced with resilience and a sense of humour. My Dad’s favourite sound ever was my sister and I laughing so being the ‘funny’ sister I took it upon myself to create a place that Stella and I could be safe and close to Dad. Welcome to the egg My sister and I moved into an imaginary egg that only us and Dad were allowed in. I would send her this photo every day because I knew it would make her laugh and remind her that there will always be a place that only us and Dad live. We would climb back into the egg whenever we felt like we were suffocated by our grief, egg dwellers are allowed to be depressed little sobsters. It’s a safe place to not feel that constant pressure to “get over it” Nothing is above humour, after a good cry there is a void that only a good laugh can fill. Your allowed to fall apart when you lose someone you love, one day I was having a fucked day, got a speeding fine, had a fight with Bill and was lining up at the bottle shop to drown myself in red wine, the guy who worked there asked me how I was, I burst into tears and replied “my Dad’s dead, he’s never coming back and I can’t even call him to tell him about my fight with Bill”. My wine should have been free, it wasn’t. I miss him, God I miss him, every day. When something terrible happens, I miss being able to call him and winge, when something great happens like babies being born, I miss being able to share it with him. Even the other day, when Ellen shared a story on me I wasn’t expecting to burst into tears over not be able to call him and tell him, I know how proud my Dad would have been. He believed in me from day one. You never get over losing someone, you learn to live with the loss and eventually accept the transition of going from having them beside you to inside you, but you never get over it. ❤️ Con