I’m back! I’ve been on a quick road trip with my family to Adelaide to see my dad for his 80th birthday celebration.
It’s hard to understand that my dad is eighty. It sounds old. It makes me feel old, because if my dad is eighty, then I must be…oh, never mind. When I look at Dad, I don’t see an old man. I see the strong provider, the protector, the guide of my childhood. Like a lion he prowled, making sure my two brothers and I were safe. Like a lion he roared at times, too, especially if we stepped outside his clear rules and interfered with his short fuse.
The party itself was good, although there were a few issues beforehand. For a start my sister-in-law and her family put the wrong date on the invitations which meant a few relatives were unable to make it, having made other arrangements. Because one assumes the date on the invite is correct, doesn’t one? Secondly, on the day before the party my uncle (my mum’s brother) had a heart attack and was in hospital. He and his wife have lived in Perth for almost my whole life; I was looking forward to seeing them as the last time we met up was over ten years ago.
But the prognosis for my uncle was not great. The doctors did not expect that he would be discharged.
Therefore, a sombre mood hung like a dark cloud over us, juxtaposing the glorious winter sunshine. As the afternoon wore on though, cousins caught up on each others’ lives, all our kids played nicely together, we ate and drank and made the most of the day. The close proximity of the fragility of life peppered the speeches, and tears trickled down mostly everyone’s cheeks.
By late afternoon, everyone began to make their way home, all in agreement that despite the grave outlook for one loved member of our family, we made the most of celebrating the birthday of another fine man, and a good time had been had by all.
On Sunday morning, as Hubster, the kids and I were on the road back to Melbourne, I received a text from my mum. My uncle had passed away in the wee hours of the morning. I spent the remaining kilometres of our road trip thinking about life and how we get tricked by thoughts of immortality. We grow apathetic, we take our breaths and loved ones for granted.
Our time on earth is fleeting. Love and live fiercely.
Image: author’s own, taken from the passenger seat on the way home to Melbourne.