All of the children, and there were seven, had been denied access to their father. Not their choice, but one of an aging man, struggling with a painful past and complications of self-medication – alcohol! In fact his medical records declared, no family on record.
It was only in the last year, with a chance meeting at a local horse race that an RSL representative, the carer of this ailing gentleman, met one of the seven children and broke the agreement of children not knowing.
The declaration came, simply, “Did you know I am caring for your father?”
Larry, the son, shocked at first, gradually allowed the excitement of a possible reunion before his ‘old man’ passed away sink into his consciousness.
The gathering wasn’t easy, definitely didn’t reach the expectations of a Hollywood reunion, but the family did get to connect briefly before the digger’s guilt and shame closed the shutters on any possible healthy relationship.
With the veteran’s passing, the family could rally, gather at his farewell, and say their words of goodbye, allowing the rejection of their patriarch to dissipate with the playing of the Last Post.
Yes, Jack had his struggles, fought his demons, lived on his own for quite a few years and rejected any sense of connection with his family, but at his dying moment hints of relationship with his offspring allowed warmth to revive and encouraged love’s revival and a dignified farewell.
My suggestion: Let someone’s passing vanquish any pain and hurt of their connection with you. It’s a choice you can make, definitely now that they’ve gone!