The Milk Memoirs

One part chronicle, one part resource of all things breastfeeding and family life…with a good dose of fun,crafts & mommy realness

The void of Grandfather magic


Side note: This time of the year,it’s all about fathers, so about two weeks ago, I thought I’d write about the incredible fathers in my life. In fact, I thought it’d be about my hubby and what a damn fine man my children have in their dad. But when I sat down to write, that is not what came out. What came out instead was this piece about my dad, who passed in 2009. And whilst it may seem like things are a bit morbid on this blog of late, judging from this recent post here, this is a story that was in me, and found its way out. It probably needed out. So these are some of my raw and honest feelings about loss that I am sharing with you – and trust that you will appreciate that.

He had an instant connection with Sara poppie

He had an instant connection with Sara poppie

You would never know how much it kills me that my father will never meet my children.

Never ever. Not in this lifetime. Sometimes this deeply painful thought strikes me at the oddest of hours. It doesn’t matter that I could have had the best of days, filled with success and love and what not, all it takes is just that split second for thoughts of him to come pouring in…and I cannot stop it.

Conveniently it tends to hit me mostly at night as Im about to fall asleep..and I say only “conveniently”, as bedtime certainly beats the hell outta when Im walking home to my car in town without the cover of blankets. (this has happened, btw) Fortunately hubby is only the best in the world, and knows how to comfort me when he feels the bed shake a little with my muffled/silent crying. But it doesn’t stop it from happening again.

Smiles with Somerton and Maya poppie

Smiles with Somerton and Maya poppie

Thing is, they’ll never get see his famous magic tricks, and have sweeties magically appear out their ears over and over. They’ll never get to be dropped off or picked up from school by their Papa, while being forced to speak broken Spanish or revising their schoolwork in the car. They’ll never get horsie rides…Even with his atrophying muscles, he gave all his grandkids damn fine horsie rides! They will never get told “ah-dah mah-dah meide”, as he looks at them in admiration. They will never be teased by his corny and out of date humour. They will never hear his thunderous laugh at their silly jokes. They will never be given his scarily big green goo-goo eyes for when they are being naughty. They will never get his tender Papa kisses, or his warm touches from his ice cold hands. Never will he get to rub their small shoulders and be amazed at their tiny little perfectly formed shoulders and say “such schmall’re a whole small little person” . He really was amazed by their tiny and perfect form, even after having six kids of his own, and then meeting 10 of his 13 grandkids, the wonder of new life never ceased to be amazing to him. As it should be. But I’ll never see that wonder in his eye for our kids.

I loved it. I loved all of it. I loved it because I couldn’t wait till it was my children he’d be doing this with one day. I watched him with all his grandkids(my nieces and nephews), and it was just such a lovely site to behold. Especially if you knew the hard and stern man that was. Yes an incredible father, but he was quite strict and almost unbending in his ways. In fact, in his young days, I remember some of his men that worked for him telling me about how he would physically come kick down the brick wall that the brickies had just laid if it was not perfect in every way. Not massive in physical stature, and his health seemed to affect that even more, but somehow his spirit made that he took up a whole room. Ever notice how there are some people in this world who’s personalities are so substantial that they seem to be quite imposing in stature? In a good way. Its only when you try and physically describe my dad that you realise how much smaller he had grown. But point being, here’s this hard man, and here he is playing the fool with his grandsons, having a melting moment with his granddaughters, or reading stories, in full voice character, just like he did for me as a kid… it was a wonderful paradox to behold.

And then a sad one as well, because my kids wont get any of it. Not even a whisper of it. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

All there will be are photographs and stories of his incredible kindness and incomparable generosity – we never had much growing up, but he never turned a soul away, and always managed to help. And there’s endless tales of his relentless wisdom, his tenacity and courage.

But mostly his wisdom – I have never come across anyone as wise or even close to it as my father. And Im not just being biased about that…No matter how dramatic and emotional my dad could be – and he really could be(in fact , Mike believes we must have some Italian in our blood, because our entire family , save for my stoic mother and sister, can get a bit dramatic and passionate), yet somehow in the time of crisis, he always had the calmest, most appropriate and measured reaction. Always knowing what is needed just when.
I could blow my kids minds with tales of him…In fact, It was mind-blowing for me as I learnt just how many people’s lives he had touched. For weeks and months after his passing, I came to hear from random people, not just locally but all over the world, as to how my father had inspired and touched peoples lives. Even the one security guard at my work collapsed back in his chair when I gave the news of his passing to him; he then shared with me, that one day he was at first suprised when my father took the time out to chat to randomly him, simply because he noticed “this young man was looking troubled”. But that also it was also my father’s words of encouragement that actually got him through a recent divorce and back to his studies. This was so typical of my dad.

Don’t get me wrong, my dad was no freakin saint. At all!!! He had his fair share of foibles and weakness, and we knocked heads about a lot in life, but mostly there’ll be no shortage of these inspiring kind of stories for my children to hear. He left quite a legacy.

A legacy that makes you reflect on whether you’re even close to being anything like that, and can you ever be. All very inspirational, yes…

Making epic sandcastles on camp was typical of my dad

Making epic sandcastles on camp was typical of my dad

But my sweet little bambinos won’t get any of the loving and tender Papa moments. None of his hugs. None of any of it. Its something you can’t buy, and no amount of story- telling will ever replace it. So everytime I watch them play or do something amazing, or when they give me some of their steely or fiery nature, I cant help but wonder, what would your Papa not have thought about you? He’ll never get to see them grow into adults, and they wont have that steady hand and calming wisdom to call upon that the other grandkids had in my dad.

Deep down I know that death is an organic part of life – to be accepted. But somewhere deep down Im also still crushed by it. Crushed by its permanency. Crushed that my kids will never meet the man himself nor feel any of his love, or inspiration.

Crushed cause it still hurts all these years later. And there is nothing I can do to change any of it.


Author: mommabeartrax

Mother of two (and counting), pregnant with the third and have a sweet little angel in heaven. A very happy wifey, blogger, lover of life and laughter, a clumsy swimmer, loyal friend, Im funnier in my head than I actually am, I am a qualified HypnoBirthing Child Birth Educator, I get inexplicably excited about good food, baking & crafts. Although, I think baking and crafts are just trying to fill a void that my Kenpo and gym-rat days used to fill. Lastly, according to the rest of the world, I fix your printer. But I'm actually a Software Architect.

5 thoughts on “The void of Grandfather magic

  1. Wow, this post is so deeply moving and touching. So raw and honest. I admire your bravery for sharing this with the world. We’ve all suffered some sort of loss in our lives and this resonates with me especially, even though my dad is still living. Thank you for sharing a very private part of yourself Tracey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This brought back so many memories Tracey. Even though this is very painful for you, I am so glad you wrote this. I like to think that Dad is still around all of us. Even though he cannot physically interact with Morgan-Lee and Parker-Grace the way he did with the other grandchildren, I’m sure he sees them and knows who they are. I Love you my sister. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this piece! I’m sure it must’ve been therapeutic to get it all out…


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