The man with many hats

So these past three weeks (indeed this whole year) have been life-changing, defining, difficult, enriching, surprising, sad, busy, purposeful, supportive and a privilege – for me.

We left our jobs. We sold our house and most of our stuff. And we moved into my father’s house to be with him as he battled Mesothelioma. My transition was from a full-time, employed, busy, professional, to a full-time carer giving medication around-the-clock and worrying as my father got weaker with each passing day.

Stanley Frederick Smith passed away this morning at about 5am in hospital. I had seen him yesterday, and he gave me a huge smile when he opened his eyes and saw me – a gift. But I felt his time was limited. It was so sad to see such a clever mind be limited by illness and drugs: so sad to witness your own father grow weak.

Of course I knew him as my father, but as I sorted through his files I got to see more of the person. He was a funny bloke who loved a joke. He loved to stir, rile and rouse others. His wit, puns, and jokes were a constant source of entertainment for others. But he was not a clown.

He cannot be defined by one label. He wore many hats. He was: a professional; a manager; a boss; a methods engineer; a car lover; an artist; a friend to many; a president; an organizer; a leader; a committee man; an active member; a foodie; a cook; a HAM radio nut; a Morse code practitioner; a photographer; a joke teller; a conversationalist; a talker; a geek; an intellectual; interested in physics and astronomy and mathematics; a life long learner; a language learner; a family man; constant companion to Margaret; a life participant; an independent thinker; and a kind person.

18 Stan xmas no mo 90s copy

His files were full of jokes, photos of classic cars, caravans and caravan trips, people gathered in groups eating together, and people enjoying each others company. He was a people person.

While his time has ended and he is probably reunited with my mother, my own life journey pauses between life chapters. We will mourn, pay tribute, share stories, then sort out the accumulated possessions and legalities. Then begin the next phase….I have some ideas.

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Fact or fiction

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The lines can blur when categorising literature into fiction or non-fiction. There are many books in the ‘non-fiction’ section that are questionable in terms of truth and validity. I am currently reading about the Teachings of Abraham in a book by Esther and Jerry Hicks. The practical advice for living offered in the book was apparently communicated to Esther by entities not residing in this physical world.

This week I saw the movie “The curious case of Benjamin Button” starring Brad Pitt as Benjamin. It is so satisfying to go to the cinema and be treated to a fulfilling movie experience, and this movie provided that. It was so uplifting despite the topic primarily being about death. It is an improbable tale about a man who is born old and lives his life backwards, and yet it is convincingly portrayed and beautifully crafted. The make-up artists certainly had a challenge making this movie, and did it so well.

Brad Pitt was brilliant as the quirky and challenged character of Benjamin. He was also typically gorgeous during the prime years of Benjamin’s life. I swooned as Benjamin (Brad) took off on his motorbike and again when he set sail in his yacht!

This story of fiction, apparently originally an unpublished story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and made into this film by David Fincher, is an improbable work of fiction, and yet again the philosophical advice for living is clear.

Life can sometimes be stranger than fiction. Public libraries are havens for everyone everywhere and so you will see a broad cross-section of society there on any given day, seeking a diverse range of information. There are even ‘wizards’ who visit. This is a fact, although perhaps by name only and not nature – not proven anyway.

Holidaymakers being fined $113 for parking their cars in a loading zone, outside the library when the car parks are choking; now that’s a fact.