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A sad farewell – my Poppa

March 12, 2020

It’s been a really tough week for me this week. My beloved Poppa passed away on Tuesday and everything hurts.

He and my Nana taught me to love reading.

It is a simple sentence but it is full of magic.

He was the reason why I got into writing fantasy and science fiction. He was the one who read to little tiny me about witches and giant worms and ghosts and elves and magic, and told me stories about the Hob Yahs that will come and steal you away in the night if you don’t stay in bed! (Or get you when you take the bins out!) Imagine that! A man of his generation reading to me – a girl – about heroes and monsters and powerful women witches and elves and troll mothers and sword fights and the beheading of the above said giant worm, magic potions and silly witches making mistakes and having to fix them!

And I know I always tell this story but it clearly stays with me. He would read to me and change the ending of familiar stories which apparently little me would tell him off for doing. “Read it right, Poppa!”

Both he and my Nana carried mountains of books home from the library every week. Took ME to the library whenever I wanted. Sat around reading in the evenings when I had “sleep overs” at Nana and Poppa’s house and never complained if all I wanted to do was read too. (Along with a cut up, peeled apple to eat before bedtime). Their home is still full of books (and now mine is too – which is hardly surprising really.)

My every thought now is of my Nana missing her best friend, husband and companion of over 70 years of married life. And of my Dad and Auntie missing their dad – it seemed like he would live forever. Poppa’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago. He was 95. He saw so much of life. Imagine the changes he had witnessed happening to the world over the past 95 years?

He and my Nana were at my book launch two years ago. I am so glad he got to hold my book in his hands with my name on the cover.

What not many people outside of the family know is that he was a hell of an artist. He taught himself how to paint – oils – and my god he had a bloody good eye for detail. Australian landscapes were his specialty. He was a tiler, a plasterer, made outdoor knickknacks (painted bloody magpies!), loved clocks, survived World War II and was so incredibly talented. A generous soul who had a wickedly fabulous sense of humor. It is his laugh that stays with me.

Nine great-grandchilden, five grandchildren, two children and a LOT of memories.

I have so many stories – like climbing the “magic faraway tree” in their backyard. Raking up the fallen leaves in their backyard in Autumn and then scattering them everywhere, chasing my brother and sister around the yard with a makeshift bow and arrows he made (yeah that was probably a disaster waiting to happen!) The pom pom tree that we would get into trouble for tugging the pom poms off and scattering the petals everywhere. Sitting beside him as he gave me painting lessons (never could manage the magic he could – not patient enough to wait for the paint to dry!) The chocy tin that was NEVER empty. Snowballs (marshmallow, chocolate and coconut), him teaching me and my sister to play cricket with playing cards… jigsaw puzzle races, the stories go on. And more will come to me as I think about them.

He was a one of a kind… and I got two – one in my Poppa and one in my Nana. I’m so lucky.

He is so very missed.

9 Comments
  1. I’m so sorry, Laurie. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man, and how fortunate you were to have him with you for your whole life to now. Words are useless at a time like this, but I’m going to leave you with some I read in a book of Asian proverbs. Nothing will help until the raw, searing pain dulls, but when that day comes, take it out and look at it. I’ve found it surprisingly healing:

    “Who mourns the cocoon when the butterfly has flown?”

    Grieve, grow, and never lose the love you have for this man.

    All the best,
    ~ Jack Tyler

    • Oh my gosh
      That is beautiful.
      Thank you for your lovely words and sentiment. You have me quite emotional.

  2. My condolences.

  3. You can tell by his face he had a blessed life. I’m sorry for your loss Laurie. You have some lovely memories. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You are truly blessed to have had so many years with him, and countless memories that will undoubtedly color your writing 🙂

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