Saturday, 17 January 2015

My Dad

"We are delighted to hear your news that you are expecting, we don't care what it is, as long as it is healthy and as long as it is a boy".

As my 1lb 7oz baby was confirmed as a boy I thought to myself "well I've done half the job".

At 3 in the morning when expressing as my baby learnt to live on his own in hospital, I would often ring dad. Dad was really bad at converting the time difference, so he would never panic just chat to me in his quiet way, telling me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. And how happy he was to finally have a grandson.

Despite the difficulties, my dad met Joseph 3 times. At 6 months, 21 months and for the final time at 5 years of age. My son knows his Aussie Grandad and loves him dearly.

Funnily enough, it was my dad who taught me about sick babies and losing babies. I was 7 and we were in church, St Edmunds in Mt Nelson that I think may no longer be there. It was almost a shed of a church, perched above Hobart. I loved it there. The minister was talking about a family who had lost a baby, and how we should be kind to them and care for them. I asked my dad why noone was looking for the baby. (who does that remind us of - I think I have given birth to the male version of myself sometimes)

He gently explained that babies sometimes die and we call it "lost". He explained that they can die before they are born, or after they are born. This conversation has stayed with me.

My dad loved babies. He did a lot of my baby care when I was growing up. He weaned me on lamb's brains. He took care of me, bathed me, washed my pandas, and always supported me. He wrapped me in love.

My beautiful friend Jenny said that my father was in heaven taking care of Hugo.  I can just imagine my dad bouncing Hugo on his knee, feeding him lamb's brains (do they have lamb's brains in heaven?) and singing him "Away in a Manger" as he sung to me every night even in July. I can still hear his voice "bless all the dear children in thy tender care, and them to heaven to live with thee there"

I have been asked to suggest a bible passage for dad's funeral. My dad was high Anglican and made his peace with God before he died (his words were The Church but hey) so I have chosen Matthew 18:1-5; 10-14

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

I will miss my father, and I am hurting like nothing on earth right at the moment. But I am safe in the knowledge that he loved me, that he gave me my compassionate heart, my belief in babies, and my fragmented, messy faith.

I am my father and he is me. 

And my beautiful son is the grandson of an amazing man.

Do not sleep my dear dad, stay awake and look after those babies til we can see them again.