Thursday, April 8, 2010


My father. The one I've written about a number of times before on this blog (and my old one).

He has made mistakes, sure. He lives quite an individual life, as he has always done. It smarts a bit more once you have kids. But he hasn't changed. At 67, he's not likely to now.

Recently, Lolly and I spent a lovely four uninterrupted hours with him. Living on the train line has many benefits for us, one of which is when Dad travels down to the city and needs to kill time. See, it wasn't a visit he would normally have made, had we not been conveniently near the dealership where he gets his car serviced. I giggle now. That's just Dad all over. But.... we got his precious time for those four hours.

It was not long after this that I was cleaning out the filing cabinet when I came across an envelope with his handwriting on the front. To Lolly, it said. Inside the envelope were two cards, which I remember receiving from him when we were in Lolly's newborn stage. One card was to the LGBB herself, from him. The other was to us, me and Steve.

I feel compelled to share the sentiments of my father here, a man unable to voice such poetic feelings verbally. But still, the bereaved grandparent of another, lost little cherub. Something I often forget and take for granted in those moments when I sigh and wonder why he doesn't call me more often or make arrangements to come and visit (basically, go out of his way) "just because" once in a while. And not just when he needs to visit the city on other business.

The reason why I will always, always cut Dad a break is thus - Exhibit A and B, below.

Exhibit A:
(and please know that he doesn't write "Lolly", he writes her name, but I don't use that here... you may have noticed by now!)

"A message for Lolly from her doting Grandpa on her 4 week milestone:

My dear little girl,
One day, when you are older, your Mummy and Daddy will tell you the story of how much they longed for you to come into their lives and how much joy there was as you were formed and grew. Then the day came for you to be born, to leave the Safe Place and to become a unique person, the only (Lolly Gobble Bliss Bomb) in the whole world.
And you are lovely. We watch you grow and learn your little ways and give thanks as you reach your milestone - four weeks old.
You are surrounded with love and the protection of your family.
Blessings and may peace be upon you for all your days.
Your loving Grandpa."

Now, anyone who knows our story will realise that we lost Ellanor at 4 weeks. That four week milestone was one that came and went unacknowledged by EVERYONE in the family. Except me and Steve. Then my Dad visited, almost to the day Lolly turned four weeks (he was out by just one or two days, I recall, but he came early which counts for a lot!), and handed us these cards and a gift for Lol that she went on to adore - it was a soft fabric Peter Rabbit book, the kind of perfect heirloom that you would never pass on to anyone else. It is now in Lolly's small but growing stash of keepsakes.

The fact that neither Steve nor I said anything about that sacred passing point for our tiny daughter, so obvious yet unspoken by anyone else, will forever mean the world to me.

And Exhibit B:

"My dear ones,
We dared not hope for the best, nor celebrate too soon. But now, after these weeks, we can say that the "best" has truly happened. As the weeks go by and Lolly becomes more and more a part of your "normal" lives, you will be able to enjoy all those moments of surprise and delight (and, yes, even the anxieties!) of being the parents of a tiny person.
I am so happy for you both and give thanks that your big dream has come true. She is a precious gift, "Renee" (her middle name) indeed, and we celebrate her arrival.
Enjoy watching Lolly change and grow day by day, and all the things that lie ahead of you. Be strong when things get difficult, as they will, and know that all shall be well. Feel blessed, as indeed you both are.
Your loving Dad and Grandpa."

Dad gave me an enormous gift in this piece of writing. It seemed, as I read it now, years later with the massive mix of emotions and hormones long passed (but not forgotten), that one of our parents was able to impart useful wisdom after all.

You see, when you become the bereaved parent of a baby nobody ever got to know, you shift into a world of experiences that not even your caring, guiding parents can give you a map or guidance on. They can try - and they do - they can be willing and they can be so very, very pained for you, their child. But until that card, I had not truly felt like there could ever be a "normal" for Steve and me as parents.

My Dad gifted me this. And I remain grateful, for the rest of my days.

Archived Posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails