Archive for October, 2015

Five years as an Australian citizen and still have questions about nationality…

October 28, 2015
At my citizenship ceremony

At my citizenship ceremony

Five years ago I became an Australian citizen, after having lived here for five years, at the time it made me questions, or at least reflect on what this meant to my sense of identity. As an expat with many friends who are in a similar situation the topic of one’s nationality is often a discussion that comes up and I still have a fairly fluid sense of who or what I am.

For example on Saint George’s Day I still wear my England football top in honour of the day, for those of you that don’t know this is the feast day of Saint George, patron saint of the English. Also I found myself incredibly engrossed by the debate around Scottish independence and I felt oddly engaged in a way that really surprised me. I felt like I ought to have some kind of a say, or at least a right to an opinion, but am I Scottish?  As mentioned in this blog before I was born in England, but spent some of my early years living in Africa, but I have a very Scottish surname, my grandfather on my father’s side was very much a Scott. My father died recently and in an odd way I felt more of a connection with my Scottish roots as a result, because I wanted to feel a closer link to my dad’s history and sense of belonging.

However, I now have two boys who are both Australian and British but primarily Australian really (their mother being Australian) and I feel more connection to Australia via them, and their extended family they have here.

So who should I cheer for in international sporting events like the Rugby World Cup? Well clearly it is Australia at this stage given they have made it to the finals, and for now I’ll worry about the conundrum of should it be England or Australia should they ever be going head-to-head in the final someday, till then my sense nationality shall remain in flux.

Dealing with my fathers death…..

October 1, 2015
Now you all know where my love of sweet things comes from

Now you all know where my love of sweet things comes from

I have felt the need to write this post for a little while now, but have had no idea where to start really or what to say so I thought I would just type away and see where I land up. The key thing that was blocking me is that I have had no idea how to process my thoughts.

It’s been a few weeks now since my father passed away and now that my life is starting to get back to what I suppose you would call normal, or at least my routine is back to normal, the calm that I had felt since his passing seems to be going away. I knew at the time when I was back home in the UK that I was not really going to even begin to process the magnitude of what happened and that certainly seems to be the case. However, an hour into my flight back home to Sydney the enormity of what just happened hit me like a brick. I had to call on all my available willpower not to just sit in my seat on the aircraft and blubber like a baby.

Since being back home and trying to get back into my routine it seems to just hit me out of nowhere at times. I don’t even think I’m aware of even thinking about what happened, and I find myself welling up. It is a strange feeling because I don’t feel like his death is present and at the front of my mind yet from nowhere waves of emotion just strike me. I know I should just let it happen and not fight those waves but the daft Englishman inside me says to be stoic and not let them carry me away. Out of the blue, the thought will just pop into my head that he’s gone, he is actually gone. I won’t speak to him again or see him again, we won’t share a beer, and I won’t unburden my worries on him. He is no longer there to guide me on the right path. I hadn’t realised how much guidance I taken from him over the last few years.

I am fortunate that I knew my time with him was limited, him having been diagnosed in November last year and we knew then that it was terminal. I know I should be grateful for the fact that we had time to say the things we need to say to each other, that I could express love to him in a way that I may not have done in the past.  I could tell him how proud I was of him and I was able to realise that he and I had got to a point in our relationship that I had so wanted to be. I am grateful but at the same time I’m angry that he just went to soon really. I thought that we would have had more time to talk, I thought I would’ve had time to bring him to Sydney to meet my boys. I think even though I knew that he was dying, the enormity of that, I just pocketed into someplace in my brain. It was simply too difficult to process or to comprehend and so although I was aware that I was about to lose him I didn’t really know what that actually means until it happens.

Losing a parent is different from losing a friend or some other loved one, a parent is part of you, they are fundamental to the person that you are, you’re being here, the life you have lived, is because they were part of a couple that made you. That connection you have with a parent, regardless if it was a good, bad or indifferent relationship you had, is a connection you have with no one else. I am feeling lost without it. I’m lucky because I’m surrounded by love, having an amazing partner, wonderful friends and I have two really beautiful sons that just fill me with love, but there is a shadow over all of that at the moment. I know it’s a shadow that over time will lift and pass but meanwhile it to seems like it covers everything.

I’ve dealt with grief before and I know that life moves on, as it should, but this grief is like no other I have experienced in the past. But at the same time, in the initial weeks of his passing I didn’t really feel anything, I was numb, and I feel guilty now that I didn’t feel this grief so raw before now, I feel the need to hold onto it as a way of demonstrating how much I love and miss him.

I am so very proud of my father, for much of my life the choices I made were to make my father proud of me. Moving forward the choices I make will be made in order that my sons will one day be proud of me and love me as much as I love my father.