It's 3.45am local time here in Australia. Jet lagged and unable to sleep, I'm staying at my parent's house in the Blue Mountains. Outside, crickets and frogs are singing in the night. I'm in the dining room, trying to be quiet, working on the remembrance speech I've been asked to write and read for my father's funeral on Friday.
My dad passed away peacefully on the 28th February after a very long illness. He never complained although sometimes he could be pretty frank, in a dry Australian way, about just how crap things were. I was lucky enough to travel back to see him, most recently last July and then finally last November, when I spent my birthday with him. We didn't talk much but it was enough to be together.
So now it's my job to say a few words at his funeral. It's been worrying me . What do you say and how do you say it? How do you encapsulate a man's life in five minutes. I've had a go with some help from my mum and brothers. Friday looms. I'll be returning to Newcastle, N.S.W. the town I grew up in. The service is being held in the church I attended as a kid. I'll be seeing friends and extended family for the first time in years. It might be the last time we all come together like this. I hope I've chosen the best of Dad to remember and the right words to do the job.