Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Dad

ANZAC Day always reminds me of my dad.
I'm a first generation Australian. My mum is from Sri Lanka (Ceylon in those days) and my dad was from the United States (first gen) of French Canadian descent. Hence my very French sounding name (which I'm not revealing....well ok, my middle name is Yvette and the rest is French too).
Dad was a United States Marine..the best of the best of the best. He was enlisted from 1957 to 1961 when he was honourably discharged. He never saw combat (although he really wanted to). He spent the majority of his posting at the United States Embassy in Ceylon.

My mother was a typist at the embassy. They met, and it was pretty much love at first sight - A big strapping 6ft Marine and a tiny little 5'2" exotic beauty. They saw each other secretly for 3 years (my mum's father would NEVER approve). But, finally they decided to get married and had to 'fess up'. They couldn't decide whether to live in Ceylon or the States so they decided to settle for about half way, Australia.
Dad came first in 1961 to make a home for them. He worked as surveyor up north (he'd done drafting in the marines), got some money together, and then set up house down in Perth. It was a whole year before my mum arrived in 1962. They were married in December that year and the rest history.
He died on 20th February 1982 at the age of 43 (the same age I am now). Cause of death was multiple organ failure due to 25 years of alcoholism.
I didn't shed a tear at the time, nor for years after. I was expecting it, and it was a relief. At the age of 12 I'd overhead him telling my mum that the doctor said if he kept drinking the way he was, he'd only live another 5 years.....and that's all it was. I was 17 when he died. I'd had some miserable teenage years, embarrassing mostly. I missed out on a lot because I just didn't want to have friends over with my drunk dad stumbling round the place. By the end I hated him.
So...didn't cry for a long time. I was angry too. Angry at him for drinking himself to death knowingly. Angry at my mum for not doing SOMETHING to help him...just bloody angry.
Years later I cried. I cried because the last thing he saw of me was a rebellious high school drop out. I cried because he never got to see me a few years later, as a musician, then as a mother and as a university student. I cry on his birthday, I cry on ANZAC Day, I cry in December on their wedding anniversary. I cry when I think of how he will never see my two beautiful kids (my son looks SO much like him) and I cry as I write this.
Love you Dad xxx


Shar said...

Crying is good, got tears in my eyes for you.
Don't be angry anymore its an emotion that eats you up if you let it.
Stay strong, enjoy the life you have made for yourself and most of all you can treasure your kids even if your dad can't.
Thinking of you
Shar x

Kerry W said...

Hey Frankie

It's a shame today (ANZAC day), is a day you cry for a different reason. It's a damn shame you never really got closure.

I shed some tears reading this.

Maybe something positive is to think how your son reminds you of your father - the best part. :)

Frankie said...

Thanks Shar :)

Yeah...I don't think I'm that angry anymore (you're right, it's too tiring). I usually don't think about it but occasionally I have a little cry and then just get on with things.

Kerry, I can't help thinking of him with all the uniforms (we still have his). My mum gets comfort too from Ethan looking like dad. When I was pregnant with him she said "right, I've got my girl no can I please have a nice blue-eyed boy like your father" and I was happy to oblige. He looked just like him from the minute he popped out! We both have my dad's sleepy eyes.

Miss.Katie said...

That is a beautiful story:-)

Both of your parents are gorgeous! hence why you are just the same.

Thanks for sharing and I am sorry things journeyed in this life with your father as they did. I imagine if there is a thing such as heaven and he is looking down, he would be dead proud.

Frankie said...

Thanks Miss.Katie :)

I didn't intend sharing as much but it just came out. I hope he's watching from somewhere.

Nicole said...

Sending you hugs Frankie. Emotions are there to serve us. If you want to cry, then be in the emotion and be in that moment.

You don't need to feel guilty over hating him in the past. Your hate came from disappointment, and that was real. Forgive yourself first and then him.


judestone said...

I'm glad you were able to share this. I think it's important to have a place to get it all out - and wow, what a story!


Flea said...

And I cried with you. I'm so sorry!

Frankie said...

Jude. Yeah, my blog has evolved a lot, which I am enjoying. I'm happy to talk about most things :)'s ok. I'm fine now. Just had a few tears and then got back to business.

Frankie said...

Thanks Nicole. I'm fine with it now. I know everything I was/am feeling is just normal. It's just a damn shame, that's all.