Monday, June 14, 2010

Papa's death

Papa died last week. I knew when Mum started talking to me, and it hit like a big fat punch in the guts. It still amazes me how visceral grief is in the acute phase.
It's been a strange few days. The news came during a time when homesickness was tapping me fairly gently but fairly annoyingly on the shoulder.
At times I can completely switch off. There are some really special people who are helping me feel pretty good. And the fact that Phnom Penh is the almost-polar opposite of Adelaide in a lot of ways has probably assisted in being able to be here and only here at times.
But when the thoughts of what's happening back home wriggle their way into my Cambodia-fied brain, they remind me that home ties aren't easily broken. And it hurts quite a bit.
In some morbid way, not being there for the funeral tomorrow is sort of like missing out on the party that all the kids will be talking about at school the next day because you piked out and went home early. But coming back home just didn't feel right. And I can't quite explain that entirely.
I am overwhelmed by the astounding web of information- and thought-sharing that the O'Callaghan Family has exhibited over not just the past few days, but the past few weeks. I am reminded of the strangely beautiful feeling I had around Nanna's death. That sense of solidarity in shared sadness, a figurative constant hand-squeeze.
And it's what Papa deserves, because he was a pretty amazing man. Sometimes we argued (well, mainly I argued, he was often just pot-stirring), but he was so good. And so interested in everything and everyone.
It's difficult to find the write words to get these feeling out, and I don't think I've done it particularly well; but I asked Damo to put a cardboard cut-out of me in his pocket at the funeral, and I just want the family to know that I'll be holding you in my thoughts and heart all day tomorrow....

Love Claire


  1. Dearest Claire,

    You have my condolences. Stay strong hun.

    Missing you heaps! Youre so amazing. I think of our food adventures everytime I have an amazing meal.

    xx, M

  2. Oh Claire, I'm thinking of you. He would know you loved him and would want you to continue your journey. Maybe sit in that quiet, peacful monestry you spoke of with the calm breeze, and have some good thoughts and memories of him running through your head.

    love always Leesh xxx