C.T.L

photo-1Two years ago.

I woke to the sound of my mobile phone vibrating by my bed. It was a little early but not too early. It was my youngest brother. It’s time, he said.

I was lethargic. Everything was in slow motion. The kids woke as usual at 7:00am and I helped get them breakfast. They were two; the same age I was when my grandpa died. They were messy eaters and it took a long time to feed them.

The four of us jumped in our car and headed off. Hoping we would be there in time, but dreading getting there.

The traffic was peak hour and progress was halting. I could feel simultaneously sweat gathering with frustration tempered by my tiredness at being woken early.

We drove past the place of our wedding with barely a glance. I’m glad he was there for that. I’m glad he outlived his mother. Thoughts raced. I wondered if my other brothers had got there yet.

The last part of the drive was quick. We got off the main roads and raced through northern suburb streets. My youngest brother was sitting on the front doorstep.

“He’s gone”, he said.

I felt like he was pranking because it sounded so melodramatic. Some finality. Some relief. Sympathy for my brother who was there to hear dad’s halting, slowing breaths.

I went to spend some time with his body and to forgive and release him as completely as I could through tears.

I remembered the good times. Walking through from the car to the ground at VFL Park, holding his hand with Rohan. Putting up the family tent every summer holiday. Him building our cubby house with Grandad. Hitting a tennis ball with him; his high backhand. His videography. His cask wine. His secret stash of muesli-flakes and scotch finger biscuits. The pained look on his face when we hurt ourselves. His bad dress sense. His complete, almost self-defeating modesty and humility. His frustration and his commitment.

I remember when him and mum were separating the first time. I was studying for year 12 and self-absorbed. He said he missed his dad. It was the only time he talked about his father to me. Typical Aussie bloke!

Well I miss you dad and I hope you are at peace.

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