02.03.13

Kings Park

When I was in Perth a month ago, I went to Kings Park one morning. Despite having lived in Perth for about a decade when I was younger, I don’t think I’ve been to Kings Park more than a handful of times. Seems odd now that I think about it. Besides being a beautiful place, it also boasts some stunning views of Perth. It’s one of those places that fills me with that Good to be Alive! feeling. I think a lot of that is related to the trees. The ones you see above, on Fraser Avenue, stand tall and majestic, having been planted in 1929. (Yes, I am a nerd who reads plaques. I also like to wait until the credits have finished rolling before I depart a cinema.)

I walked past the woman sitting in the shade (bottom left corner of the photo) a couple of times. Was it the headscarf over the bald head, her thinness, or her frail demeanour as she balanced somewhat precariously on her stationary walking frame, that gave her away? Further along was the white hospital van, with the driver/attendant waiting patiently.

I couldn’t help but think back to this time last year.

Yes, it’s almost a year since the cancer claimed my dad.

16.01.13

sunset on 27 year anniversary

Twenty-seven years ago today, my family saw its first Australian sunset.

My mother is on holiday in Malaysia right now. My dad, what remains of him, in an urn at Karrakatta Cemetery. If it hadn’t been for my parents wanting more for their family, we would probably still be in Malaysia. The air felt so dry that day we arrived, compared to the humidity of the tropics we’d just left behind. I’m spoilt for sunsets these days. I don’t remember ever seeing so many when I lived in London.

Funny how thoughts like these just park themselves in the head, in no particular order.

22.12.12

the day afterI’m very glad the world didn’t end yesterday. It was the last day of work for the year… and no, I’m not excited about Christmas or New Year’s Eve or even the new year. I’m just thrilled to be having two weeks off!

Now I’m listening to Bing Crosby singing White Christmas and Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! and it’s not that I’m trying to get myself into the seasonal mood; it never feels quite like Christmas now in Australia after spending almost a decade in England. My father always used to put on a bit o’ Bing at this time of year. That’s all.

05.10.12

Missed posting last night because I was out Doing Stuff. Specifically, catching Sydney band Dappled Cities at The Metro Theatre. Go me! And on a school night, too.

I have a soft spot for these guys. They got me through the time I spent in Perth earlier this year, at my parents’ place, with my dad in the final stages of his cancer. Now when I listen to albums, A Smile and Grandance, I am transported back to those hot nights in the ‘burbs, wondering how much longer my dad had in him. (Not long at all, as it turned out.)

Dappled Cities’ latest album, Lake Air, was released a few months ago, and of course I’ve listened to it – countless times. It was a joyous experience to see them perform songs from this album, of course, including The Leopard, The Weekend, Work In The Mould. Also, one of the night’s highlights (for me) was the inclusion of Wooden Ships from the Zounds album. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that track.

Well worth the late night and that ‘dusty’ feeling this morning.

18.09.12

Need to get back on the treadmill good and proper soon. Not soon, actually, more like yesterday. I fear I may now be the same weight I was when I was 15, which was not good – I was a tub[by].

Speaking of 15, there’s lots that’s going on in my life now that harks back to when I was that age. Honestly, it’s like all the chooks have decided to come home to roost this year. I honestly thought I could get through life without dealing with all that crap from when I was that age, but life has a way of getting its way. I was not close to my dad, who died in March, but who he was obviously had a significant effect on me. (And I don’t mean that in a good way.)

What’s that Philip Larkin poem about parents… Oh, that’s right, this:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra just for you.

That’s life, innit!

13.09.12

The photo was taken, from my balcony, one Saturday evening in August…

I was thinking about the days, the dates, and how the year is flying by (like a cartoon superhero all caped and colourfully suited) because I went to buy some birthday cards a couple of days ago, and I almost bought a card for my dad – then remembered that he’s not here anymore.

I will be seeing my mother in a couple of weeks when she visits Sydney en route to the US. I’m really looking forward to that.

188 | RIP, DAD

On Saturday afternoon, I got the call I’d been dreading. It was my older sister, Flexnib, calling from Perth to let me know that our mum had rung to say that the time was close, and that she [my sister] was on her way to my parents’ house.

Despite the fact that it was in the middle of the day, I had been dozing – very unusual for me, I’m not a napper – and having received the call, I stayed right where I was. In fact, I scrunched myself into a ball and burrowed myself under the quilt. And I waited.

A short time later, a text message arrived. My father was gone.

First thoughts: I was glad I had gone to Perth when I did, and spent that week with my folks, and got to say goodbye to my dad – as hard as it had been; how was my mother coping? – I hoped she was alright; what about my siblings? And although I had been expecting this day for a while, I was struck by how sad I felt. At the same time, I was relieved that my dad was no longer suffering – because he had been – and my mum, too, caring for him, watching his decline, all this time. My tall, strong father reduced to a shell of himself. I won’t remember him that way.

I’ll remember him as someone who brought his family to Australia to have a better life than the one offered by Malaysia. (Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the country of my birth, but life was difficult there.) I’ll remember him as the dad who was quiet and sometimes moody – I suppose it’s inevitable sometimes, especially when you’ve got five occasionally-rambunctious kids running around the house -, but also as a man who was devoted to his wife. I’ll remember my dad as someone who loved music, able to play the guitar and the harmonica by ear; how he loved Elvis; my dad was also a member of a barbershop [singers] group; the time he bought my siblings and I our first cassette tapes and how we listened to them over and over and over and over again. I will always remember my dad when I watch nature/wild life documentaries because he loved them, too. My dad was pretty tough on us when we were growing up, and I didn’t always agree with his decisions or opinions, but I know that he was only doing what he thought was best. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for.

In later years, the happiest I saw my dad was when he was spending time with his grandchildren. I’ll remember him that way the most, I think.

Rest in peace now, Dad.

_____________________

Two of my three sisters have posted here and here.