Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dad - Born and Died in the Same Month

There cannot possibly be a 'right' time to lose a parent. I suspect, in the case of an older parent with failing health, death may bring a sense of relief, as was the case with my Mother.  I was 12 years of age when my beloved Dad was killed in a triple tragedy on the morning of 17th October 1960. 50 years later, I am left reflecting on the circumstances of that accident, the father I was still getting to know and the grandfather my children never met.

According to the Coroner, the accident was one of the worst in the Wellington District. My father, in a panel van on his way to work on the Burrendong Dam, with Harry Brazier and accompanied by Cvitko Maksimovic was hit by train. It appears that the gates at the crossing had been left open and the vehicle in which my Dad was a passenger did not see the train, possibly due to the sun rising at that early hour of the day.

Mum said that as soon as she heard the news of the accident, she knew it was Dad. Therefore, she was not surprised to find, when answering the knock at the door first thing in the morning, that it was two policemen with the news that her husband, father to her five children, had been killed. Mum's reaction! 'I have no time for tears, I have a family to raise.' That is pretty much how it was! Mum simply 'toughed' it out.

There is a story [for another day] as to why Dad was the one that rocked the cradle, and my Aunty Pat mothered me. I was in good hands with both of them. It was a huge blow to find that Dad died just months after my Aunty Pat left our family home to marry Bruce Simpson. I have memories from that time; all previous memories eradicated by the trauma of the accident; or something else! I am fascinated to hear friends talk of childhood memories as I have none. I have asked myself on occasions if I may be concealing something?

So today I think lovingly of my precious Father Jack Frances Townsend who was born to this life on 4 October 1914 and entered Eternal Life on 17 October 1960. This is the first member of my family - that I know of - who died in the month in which they were born.

They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true.
We never wanted memories,
we only wanted you.
A million times we needed you,
a million times we cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly,
in death we love you still.
In our heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.
If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
We’d walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.
Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again
Author unknown


Alli said...

So very sad about your father Cheryl, that was a horrific accident to be sure.

My grandmother died August 3 1998, her birthday would have been August 22. The year she left us she would have been 94 years young. Longevity is quite the norm on her side of the family. Her brother lived to be 103.
I miss her everyday....I can still smell her freshly baked bread....

Love Alli .....xx

Unknown said...

Cheryl, so sorry to read that your Father died in such a gruelling accident! Sorry that you can't recall your childhood memories either... I lost my Daddy when I was 15 and I still miss him to this day at times. My Daddy died from a heart attack. I will never forget the feel that Saturday morning to awaken to my Mama crying and calling his name!
October holds many dates for me, including my Mama's birthday and death date.
I share with you the lovingly remembrance to your Father on this day and send you hugs across the miles my friend! XOXO

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, I am so sorry that you lost your dear Father way, way too soon. Clearly he was a very strong influence in your life, and he was very well loved, as were you.

Thinking of you as your memories of your loss are so raw.


diane b said...

Sad memories and it is even more sad that you cannot remember your childhood or any happy times.

Sami said...

Thank you for posting on my blog and sharing this story. I wasn't terribly close with my father when my mom passed away, but her death changed our relationship completely. I am so lucky that we were able to cry together and open up to one another. I am sorry to hear your mom chose to 'tough it out', but maybe that was what she needed to do. I have seen many women fall apart, and they never come out of it.

Regardless, I am thrilled to read your posts and all the insight and lessons you have to offer. I have many revolations as I write, and you appear to have the same. I'm so happy I can relate. Thank you!