Obituary: Robert John Kerrigan who has died on 17 June 2012


My father, Robert John Kerrigan, died early this morning following a long illness. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Matilda (Tilly) on 23 March 2004. They are together again in their grave and I am separated from them definitively. A double absence.

Rest

The memories and love they leave behind
Are mine to keep
They have found their rest; they have turned their faces
To the sun, and now they sleep.

Some people forget their parents were once children, toddlers, teenagers, young adults. Something other than a parent. A unique individual with dreams, fears, their own view of the world, with long vanished emotions. Nights of dancing, laughter; believing they, alone, knew life's secrets.

Perhaps they faced periods of uncertainty and insecurity and, conversely, the gentle wind of success and fulfillment. Most of all, they had an individual and unique relationship with their own parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, friends, and contemporaries.

They had their favourite hobbies, games and played pranks, of course. How can children ever know of their parents experience with life? The depth of the obstacles and trials they faced to comfort and protect them? To provide security, shelter and love? We can learn a lot from each other - both parent and child - but only if trust, honesty, understanding, reciprocation, and genuine love are present.

In a blink of an eye the baby becomes a child, goes to school, shouts and rebels, goes to work, goes out socially with friends, and on romantic dates, then announce they are leaving home.

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Reflection: They grow no older. It is I who have changed, grown strange to what I was. (Wendell Berry from A Meeting.)

In memory of my father and mother