I like to keep this space as a happy place, filled with trivia, fun and creativity. But sometimes life must creep in.

My Darling Dad died last Wednesday, 12 August; he was known here as Pa Kettle (a moniker entitled to him by his children after the Ma and Pa Kettle films). Since April, Dad had been struggling with an inoperable heart condition; he was in no pain and died peacefully for which we are very thankful.

Mum had cared for Dad at home until the last six weeks, when we were able to get him into a high care nursing home. When he was admitted, the staff asked about Dad’s demeanour – I pre-empted him and answered “cheeky!” Dad thanked me in the following days as the staff knew Dad was up for a bit of cheek and fun and it helped to make light of the situation. All his life Dad strived to make people smile and laugh with his sense of humour and wit.

When we were children, we had great delight in asking Dad to “cut up our toast”, as instead of sedate squares or triangles we had trees, houses, boats, trains and cars. Whenever we travelled, be it a day trip or a caravan holiday, we marvelled at how clever our Dad was; he would set us equations from the number plates of passing vehicles (add the numbers; multiply the first and last number etc.). Invariably Dad was the first to answer and always with the right answer. It wasn’t until years later that Dad confessed that he cheated by looking in the rear vision mirror and only called out the equation once he’d worked out an answer. Apparently LittleBigBrother and I were too quick for him otherwise!

Dad always knew the answer to any question I asked of him; whether it was the right answer or not, I’ll probably never know, but gosh my Dad was smart! As I grew older I realised his answers were always measured and wise and he encouraged me to search for answers myself. Being a farmer’s son, Dad had the means to and could fix anything – it may not have looked pretty, but it was functional.

A passion for flight meant Dad had a love of birds and of aeroplanes, particularly those of the first and second World Wars. His favourite movie was “Reach For the Sky”, the story of Douglas Bader. One of his great joys, before his sight deteriorated, was watching the native birds from the lounge room window as they supped at the native plants in their garden. Unfortunately Dad never learnt to fly a plane himself, but was content with being a passenger whenever the opportunity arose. Instead he relished driving and reluctantly gave up his licence only when his eyesight was too poor for safety. I remember being picked up from boarding school one holiday by Dad when I was learning to drive. There is a long, straight stretch of road just outside Ararat which is the perfect place to pass. “Go on,” said Dad. “Plant your foot, Merridy”. Being an obedient child I did. Dad talked me through the procedure and as we zoomed past the “slow” car, Dad asked, “how fast are you going, love?”. I looked down at the speedo and with amazement replied, “120k’s Dad!”. Dad grinned and said, “Good, isn’t it?”!

20150818-191620.jpgMum and Dad have always eaten well, and instilled in us a need for healthy food and regular exercise………which we may, or may not follow! However! Dad was a chocolate fiend – something he passed on to me – and was a love we shared. One year a parishioner gave Dad a huge box of After Dinner Mints. To stop Dad eating them all at once, Mum hid them in various parts of the house. Now Dad didn’t have great sense of smell, but he sniffed that box out every time!

Dad and I also shared a love of British crime shows; “The Bill”, “New Tricks”, “Lewis”, “Foyle’s War”, “Frost” and “Morse” to name a few. We took to alternately phoning each other after the Tuesday and Saturday evening viewings of “The Bill”, and when the Tuesday viewing was cancelled (how dare they!), we continued with the calls. Then, horror of horrors, the whole show was cancelled (they didn’t get our permission!), but our calls still took place.

20150818-191659.jpgDad was a retired Minister in the Uniting Church and had a tremendous faith and a strong social conscience so The Golfer was more than a little aprehensive at meeting him. As we drove away from a lovely weekend with Mum and Dad, The Golfer commented “he’s a good bloke, your Dad”. And he was. I’ve been told many times over the last week by so many different people that Dad was “a good bloke”. The Golfer relished telling Dad risqué jokes; Dad would roar laughing, then complain that as “the Minister” he couldn’t repeat them.

Incongruously, Dad, as a Minister, barracked for a football team called “The Demons”! Ever ready to question convention, he wasn’t afraid of trying something new, or putting forward a different viewpoint though always mulled over and carefully thought through.

Dad had lovely hands; they weren’t big, but they were warm, strong and comforting. I always felt better when holding Dad’s hands; they guided, comforted, reassured and made me feel very loved. Whether physically present or there in spirit, Dad and his hands have always been there for me.

I’m so grateful that I was able to visit Dad, and Mum, so often over the last six or so weeks. It has been a special, precious time.
There are many, many more stories of Dad, and over the last week, we, his family, have laughed and cried over lots of these fabulous memories. He was a wonderful man, kind, compassionate, wise, witty, cheeky, a tease.

He will always be my wonderful Darling Dad.

Much love

(Normal postings will resume in a week or so)

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75 Responses to Dad

  1. Suz says:

    Oh Meredithe I am so sorry for your loss! But you have written a wonderful tribute to your dear Dad. May the memories of him and his love for you sustain you in the coming days. You and your family are in my prayers.

  2. Sue Whitburn says:

    Dear Meredithe, I admire your strength in being able to write such beautiful words- he will always be with you, just behind you. You will hear his encouraging words in your head and feel his supportive hand on your shoulder. Xxx

  3. Cécile says:

    Dear Meredithe, I am so sorry for this loss….you wrote a vibrant tribute to your wonderful dad and I was very touched, reading your post…..
    All my thoughts are with you and your Mum……good luck…..

  4. Vreni says:

    What a beautifully written tribute to your dad! It brought tears to my eyes. Please accept my deepest condolences. Are we every ready to let our parents go? No matter how old they are or we indeed, it’s just difficult. I know exactly how you feel as I’m going through the same with my own mum. She’s battled dementia for the last few years and has been in a home. Last week (when we were away for a couple of days) the home called to tell us that she’s not responding anymore and neither eats nor drinks. It’s been nearly a week and she’s still hanging on and it’s very hard to see her this way. Sending hugs and prayers.

  5. helen f says:

    Still wiping away the tears M – beautiful!! Bug hugs xxx

  6. Barbara says:

    So sorry for your loss Meredithe, and a beautiful tribute to a wonderful Dad.

  7. Carolyn Scriven says:

    A fitting tribute for someone that you lioved so much .
    I did not know your dad but certainly heard much about he and your mum – special people . My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time . Take care -,always take tine to smell the roses ? Your dad will be forever in your heart . Much love and hugs . Cazxx

  8. Andrea says:

    Dear Meredithe, thank you for sharing your lovely moments you shared with your Dad. He does sound cheeky and fun and these memories will hold you strong. My thoughts are with you at this time.

  9. Richelle says:

    Sorry to hear of the sad passing of your dad. They are beautiful words that you have written. Treasure the wonderful memories that you hold within you. Dads are special xx Richelle

  10. Ann says:

    Dear Meredithe, I am so sorry to read your news of your Dad, I lost my mother just before Christmas. Treasure the wonderful memories you have of him. My thoughts are with you at this time. Ann xx

  11. Marian says:

    Dear Meredithe, I was moved to tears as I read your beautiful, loving tribute to a wonderful man, your dad. I know what it is to lose a dad and I feel your pain, I lost my dear dad when I was 18. No matter what age, it is never easy to say farewell to a parent. So, keep a firm hold onto those beautiful memories you have and share them often, with your family. Your dad will always be there, in your heart. Much love and hugs, Marian xxx

  12. Jenny says:

    Dear Meredith, I am so sorry or the loss of your Dad. Such Beautiful thoughts of him. My thoughts are with you at this very sad time x

  13. Ann says:

    Oh Meredithe, I am so sorry for your loss, but pleased that your dad didn’t suffer too much. What a beautiful tribute to him. Big hugs to you and your family. Xxx

  14. Natalie Spilsbury says:

    Deepest sympathy to you and yours what lovely memories you have…Natalie

  15. Deb I Anson says:

    Meredithe I’m feeling your pain …im so sorry for your lose ,he must have been a beautiful man

  16. Anne Andrews says:

    Dear Meredithe, what an absolutely wonderful orbit on your dad, you lucky lucky girl to have had such a joyous time with such a wonderful man, those memories will be with you always, but a really sad time for you all, and the tears will come at the strangest of times, Love and thoughts are with you Annie

    Sent from my iPad


  17. Leigh says:

    Thinking of you Meredithe. A very touching tribute to your Dad. xx

  18. Marty Miller says:

    That is a beautiful tribute to your wonderful dad. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Kerry says:

    How beautifully you share your precious memories of your Dad. He will always be in your heart.
    X Kerry

  20. Bymargy says:

    Meredithe, your dad’s wonderful work continues as he has given you the strength to share, sadly without him. XXX

  21. Meredithe, I’m so very sorry for your loss. That was a wonderful tribute to your dad. Very touching.

  22. Kyle says:

    Your beautiful tribute and special memories of your dad touched my heart. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  23. Ann says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. ❤

  24. Valerie Hare says:

    Dear meredithe,

    I have just read your post. I nearly didn’t read it because I knew I would cry, I didn’t though, I am in fact smiling. Dads are special, I lost mine a few years ago and as I read your post it’s as if I’m reading about me and my dad. Thanks for sharing your memories and my thoughts are with you and your family xx

    Sent from my iPad


  25. Lona says:

    Although, I didn’t know your dad, I do know what it is like to lose someone you hold dear. What wonderful memories you have and thank you for sharing them. Helps me to remember what is truly important. Blessings to you and your family at this difficult time.

  26. Cheryl Serafini says:

    Meredithe, I’m truly sorry for the loss of your Dad and what a wonderful tribute you have written. Take the time to grieve and remember the good times. Sending you hugs xx

  27. nancy neal says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a special man .

  28. sandi says:

    I am so sorry about the passing of your dad. This is a wonderful post you have written to honor him. Hugs,

  29. MelodyA says:

    I am so sorry for your loss but you added to my life today in such a visceral way with all the charming and loving stories of your “Darling Dad”. Such beautiful love and connection you have to this wonderful man, such a blessing and a gift. Grief is insidious though, so do take time, it tends to arrive when you weren’t expecting it. Hugs to you dear and May you have much kindness for your heart and all your loved ones.

  30. My sympathies, Meredithe. A dreadful time, but so many wonderful memories!
    My elder niece barracks for the Demons, much to the disgust of her sister, who barracks for the Saints…

  31. I will always treasure my memories of meeting your Darling Dad (and your Darling Mum) last year. It was a visit filled with fun and laughter.
    Love and Hugs, Anne xoxo

  32. Elaine Nixon says:

    So sorry for your loss. You paid a wonderful tribute to your Dad with your writing, very well done. May he live in your heart.

  33. Susan says:

    What a beautiful post about your dear Dad. It’s such a sad time, but lots of happy memories will help ease the pain. Thinking of you. X

  34. Amanda Blyth says:

    Dear Meredithe, such a lovely tribute to your much loved and loving Dad. My sympathies. x Amanda

  35. Carole Minihan says:

    Dear Meredithe what a beautiful tribute to your Dad, so sorry he has passed but what beautiful memories.

  36. Lesley Coleman says:

    Dear Meredithe, A wonderful tribute to your Dad. As the years go on you will always have beautiful memories of time spent with him.

  37. Julie says:

    Such a sad time for you, but you have some beautiful memories. Thanks for being brave enough to share them with us. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  38. Katharine says:

    Dear Meredithe, I’m so sorry for your loss, but thank you for writing such a moving tribute to him.

  39. audrey says:

    I know these times come to all of us, but it’s still very difficult I’m sure. So glad you have the wonderful memories.

  40. Lorraine Stevens says:

    Sending my condolences to you Meredith. Your story of your Dad was so beautiful. My tears flowed for you at your loss but what wonderful memories you have and can share. Thank you. X x x x

  41. Kelly Callaghan says:

    Oh darling that is very sad news. The pain never really goes away, but you do learn to live with it. Take care of yourself.

  42. Dear Meridethe that was a beautiful tribute to read from a loving daughter. What special memories you now have of time with your dad. What peace to know that he is now free from pain and an ailing body and heaven is his home. Peace be with you as you go through this grieving time.

  43. Reading this beautiful post makes me wish I knew him in life. I’m sure he’ll stay close to you and your family. Much love Meredith xxx

  44. Carolyn says:

    Meredithe, my thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing such beautiful and treasured memories. Take care.

  45. Sandy B says:

    I am sorry for your loss, Meredithe. What a wonderful Dad you were blessed to have for so long…he would have been proud of of you and your kind and loving remembrances of him. Love to you and your family…especially your Mum. Love, hugs and more hugs…xxooxxooxx

  46. Fiona Lazenby says:

    Meredithe, I am so sorry about the passing of your dad. Your tribute to him is wonderful. You are in my thoughts. hugs, Fiona xxx

  47. lyn lindsay says:

    So sorry Meredithe to hear of your Dads passing, a big wrench and it all takes time to process and go through, lost my Mum last year and miss her muchly, thinking of you all and praying for you as you all say your goodbyes to your special Dad, my thoughts are with your Mum as well, all of your family…thank you for sharing your loss in such a lovely way.

  48. Mary says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. I know you have many, many memories of him and his spunkiness. You can just close your eyes and remember the touch of his hand and it will be like giving you a little hug. You and your family are in my prayers.

  49. Miss E says:

    I was so sorry to hear about your Dad. You have written a truly beautiful post in memory of him, which I read through a mist of tears. I know from experience that having a loving Dad is a real blessing, and that losing him is very hard. Give yourself all the time you need to grieve – there is no set timeline for this. You and your family are in my prayers. With love.

  50. Meran Taylor says:

    Sincere condolences to you and your family. My thoughts are with you at this difficult and sad time. It is nice that he had a peaceful passing. Meran xx


  51. Jenny Cowell says:

    Dear Meredithe, thinking of you at this very sad time. It was lovely to read how special your dad was to you and I hope your memories bring you and your mum comfort in the coming days.


  52. Judy says:

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. All of the loving memories your father left you are evident in the beautiful tribute you wrote. You are in my prayers, Judy

  53. Debbie says:

    So sad for your loss of one so lovely. the world does not have enough “good blokes”

  54. Karen says:

    My sincere condolences on the passing of your Dad. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute to him.

  55. robin harper says:

    sorry to hear of your loss.
    Robin xx

  56. Paula says:

    Thinking of you at this sad time.Paula

  57. lisa says:

    Dear Meredithe, so sorry for your loss. thinking of you at this sad time. Your story is just beautiful and what special memories you will have forever. Lisa xxx

  58. mrsfoxfinery says:

    I am so sorry to hear your news and my thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time.
    It is so lovely you have so many happy memories of him. Thinking of you x

  59. Marilyn Wilks says:

    Dear Meredithe,

    What a beautiful tribute to your dear Dad.

    Just want you to know you are in my thoughts and sincere prayers – now, and in the days and weeks ahead……



    Sent from my iPad


  60. Jean Stevenson says:

    Meredithe what a wonderful tribute to your darling Dad, our Dad’s are very special to us aren’t they. Lovely memories to treasure. My deepest sympathy to you and your family at this sad time.

  61. Helen Yann says:

    Sending hugs xx

  62. Becky says:

    What a lovely tribute to your father. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  63. janine says:

    Lovely sentiment. Pa Kettle will always be in your heart.

  64. Eileen McNeilly says:

    my deepest and most sincere sympathy to you and your family. Your ability to put into words such intimate emotions, share some very special memories and give us such an insight to this wonderful man is much appreciated. May he rest on peace. A life well lived.

  65. Barb Vedder says:

    what a beautiful tribute of love to your dear Dad. May God Bless Him and your Family.

  66. Carole says:

    Dear Meredithe so sorry for your loss of a loving father. You have written a beautiful and very moving tribute post that is full of loving memories. Give yourself plenty of time to grieve, my sincere condolences to you and your family.

  67. Susan says:

    Your words about your Dad are so heartfelt and well expressed.

  68. Lyn Shortland says:

    Dear Meredithe , I was saddened to hear of your Dads passing . You have written a beautiful story and could not help but feel the emotions written. My heartfelt sympathy and my love and compassion are being sent your way to and your family at this precious time. May God give you strength when you feel like you are running empty. My Dad had a saying (I lost him some 37 yrs ago) ” If God brings you to it , he will help you through it.” and I really believe that . Take time for yourself for the mothers are the heart of all the good families. Yours in friendship lynniib

  69. Suzanne says:

    So sorry to hear this Meredithe. Sounds like a lovely chap. How very fortunate to be able to have many visits in the past few weeks. My sympathies to you and yours.

  70. Linda says:

    I have just discovered your blog through Linda’s koka quilts blog. I was so touched by your beautiful piece about your Dad. What a lovely man he was and your tribute to him was beautifully written. I felt I could see him from your word picture. My best wishes to you, your Mum and the rest of your family as you begin to come to terms with the loss of such a lovely man.

  71. So sorry to hear this. Your post is such a lovely tribute, thank you for sharing your memories. Thinking of you and your family at this sad time. xx

  72. Callista Garman says:

    Sad news my thoughts are with you and your family. Your father would be very proud of your wonderful eulogy

  73. thimbleanna says:

    A www MReedit he, you have me sitting in the airport crying as I embark on OUR adventure. I’m so sorry about your Dad – I know he was very special to you – there’s nothing like the father/daughter bond. I hope you’re enjoying all of the wonderful memories and that they will give you a lot of peace. And there WILL be another trip! XOXOXO

  74. thimbleanna says:

    SRory for the typos – my iPad is acting up!

  75. Love and hugs to you, Meredithe, and your family. You are lucky to have such loving and wonderful memories of your father. May he rest in peace……..💌

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