The one I can’t forget

Posted: November 23, 2015 in Family, Writing
Tags: ,
Ted 1954

Ted 1954

The date hit like a fist to the heart. I’d forgotten his anniversary. And it took me two weeks to even remember that I’d missed it.

Thirteen years since my Dad died. And I didn’t ring my Mum. Or speak to my brothers. Or even register the date until two weeks after it had passed.

What kind of daughter does that?

Then I imagine him, looking up from his newspaper (the Catholic Leader or Queensland Graingrower, for sure), eyes huge through the lens of his reading glasses.

The half snort, half laugh. That’d be right. Then the sly look. You still miss me?

Yes, you old stirrer, I do. You’d be thrilled to know how much… And you’ll also be pleased to know that I took your advice –097_97

You became a nun? Good. I told you: it’s never too late; Mary Magdalene became a saint-

Uh, no, but-

You got married? Before you  lost your looks completely?

Well, yes – but you already knew that. You were there, remember?

2015-11-23 16.09.48I imagine him then, losing interest in the conversation. Going back to his newspaper. I was safely married, he could relax. And maybe one day, I might still become a nun and make him proud…

I wonder then if he remembers the other piece of advice. The one I can’t forget because it was delivered from a hospital bed just before he died:

…be what you were meant to be, do what you were meant to do

Thanks Dad, I took your advice – and became a writer instead.

Someone with only one foot on the ground, and a head in the clouds.

Someone who feels her father’s presence more deeply since he died. But forgets to ring her Mum on the anniversary of his death.

Someone who goes back through her diary to see what kind of daughter does that, and finds this entry: ‘How to Destroy Earth (Part One) 13,419 words – it’s getting there!’

Someone who takes time out today, when the word count stands at 20,064, to spend an hour just thinking of her dad.

And so we beat on, words against the page, a middle-aged woman, unsuited to the cloistered life, still trying to make her dad proud.



  1. mgbauer says:

    Well that made me tear up. Too beautiful.

  2. Dimity Powell says:

    Me too, No words save for I don’t think you have to try to make him proud. You already have.

    • chrisbongers says:

      Thanks Dimity, he would have hated my first novel (in the same way he loved to hate that irreverent Irish wag Dave Allen, but rarely missed an episode of his show). But he would have been secretly chuffed that he’d inspired it.I hope so, anyway. 🙂

      • Dimity Powell says:

        Beautiful. Hey, Dave Allen with half a missing finger and cigar? Used to watch him as a kid. What parents do and say, hey. So much of it resurfaces in us, through us. Such is the beautiful circle of life. I wonder if they get that we get it, eventually. Thanks for sharing a fraction of your circle.

      • chrisbongers says:

        Yes, that Dave Allen! Dad used to turn off the TV when the Catholic humour struck too close to the bone!

      • Dimity Powell says:

        LOL. My dad turned it up.But then we were the Kingswood Country types, too. 😛

  3. Karen Brooks says:

    Simply beautiful, Chris. xxx

  4. Netty XXX says:

    Chris you continue to make him proud – & your Mum, too – he knows where you are & what your doing, each & every day. I have had similar feelings to yours, but now while I sometimes forget the anniversary of their deaths, I usually remember their birthdays, & I make sure I tell anyone in my presence that it’s Mum/Dad’s birth/day. Like yesterday, my Mum would have had her 96th birthday had she lived. You wrote here a lovely conversation here above. I could hear him & see him as you described him, so he lives in those moments. Welldone ! You done him proud!

  5. Tracey Sorensen says:

    What kind of daughter does that? Well me for starters. Sadly I’m guilty of this too – no excuses about life being too busy etc, it’s just a date that I choose not to dwell on as it was like being robbed of something precious with no opportunity to make amends or recover any historical artifacts and with no legal justice as an outcome. Unfortunately now with Mum also gone (and the feeling of guilt for not remembering), it is too easy to forget to remember and to reflect. Great piece Chris, he would be so proud.

    • chrisbongers says:

      Thanks Tracey, it’s hard getting older and seeing those huge influences in our life become a memory. As Dimity said, but such is the beautiful circle of life. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂

  6. Jacky Atkinson says:

    Tears streaming down my face right now Chris. We miss him too and all his ‘funny’ jokes.

    • chrisbongers says:

      Jacky, his exact words in at the hospital were ‘Don’t die without being what you were meant to be, without doing what you were meant to do… like me – I always wanted to be funny.’ We both laughed at that. But I always found him genuinely funny, despite his terrible jokes! Thanks for stopping by. Cxx

  7. It’s almost midnight and I’m reading a few favourite blogs and feeling a lot sad. This week I lost a friend in a truly awful way. Your post made me feel a little better. Reminded me about the importance of memories.Thank you.

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