Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thankful? You bet.

This month’s topic is being thankful and again I am inspired to write about my own experiences, rather than create a fictional character.

Nov 2014

Yesterday my new found birth father passed away.

The feeling of grief his death causes is deep. Strange since we only met, online, at Christmas time, less than twelve months ago.

 After swapping emails and texts and travelling to Melbourne to meet, I believe we both found a bond. Knowing he suffered from bone cancer, we knew there was limited time to share. Still, I found a warm welcome and acceptance.

My new found family have been extremely kind and supportive, welcoming and sharing. Now in this time of sadness I understand the strength of their family ties.
Nov 2015

So, how does grieving fit with the theme of thankfulness?

This time last year I was on a writers’ retreat. I am here again. So, there is one thing already to be thankful for.

 A week of writing, in a luxury apartment nestled in the state forest, so close to the ocean we hear the waves and get glimpses through the windows and from the verandah.

The weather is perfect, the ocean this morning was brilliant. Clear blue, calm, just the right temperature and absolutely invigorating for a two kilometre swim.

Right, so last year on our writers’ retreat we had a moment to relax and the challenge for the afternoon was to find my birth father. I had given up hope after going through the appropriate channels and getting a disappointing response.

Thankfully one of my writer friend’s father is into genealogy and within minutes had located a likely suspect. My friend's father had access to the electoral roll. So from there a Christmas card with a message seemed like a good way to continue the search.

The plan worked and its success meant that in May I was able to travel to Melbourne and meet my birth father. We swapped stories, family history, photos, mementoes, anecdotes and something deeper. The feeling of finding a bond with my father was incredible. We seemed to click, to share so many interests and ideas, we connected on many levels. From a love of cheesecake, to a passion for reading, writing and gathering experiences. Knowing he was ill made the timing all the more special.

After the visit we kept in touch, swapping emails, images and text on a regular basis. When he was hospitalised I tried to keep in touch, even though return messages were few. I probably bored him with the trivialities of everyday life, of grandchildren and great grandchildren, but he was now part of my life, in my thoughts and prayers.

I am so thankful my friends took the time to care, to search and to succeed. I am thankful for the few months I was able to get to know my birth father. I am thankful for the warmth and welcome his family have shown. I am thankful for the life I have had, being adopted.

There you go… just a short explanation of one small aspect of my life I am thankful for. There are so many more. Each day, each smile from family, each hug from grandchildren, each meal, night in a warm safe bed, each morning we wake without fear…
Happy Thanksgiving.  

At the time this post is published, Nov 23rd, my father's funeral will be held. I am not attending, it is in another state, but I will light a candle at 10 am and I am planting a tree in his memory. 

Rosalie Skinner resides on the east coast of Australia when not totally immersed in the fantasy world of her writing.
Rosalie’s love of the ocean, nature, history and horses has enabled her to give her books an authentic air. Her latest achievement has been to ride through the Australian Snowy mountains and see the wild brumbies run. When not watching the migrating whales pass her doorstep she has more humble pastimes.
Other than being a published author, her greatest thrill is being a grandmother. Born over fourteen weeks early her granddaughter’s perfect development and growth are a miracle and joy.

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