"Children Learn to smile from their parents" - Shinichi Suzuki
The universe works in strange ways and I for one am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. On the 15th November 2010 my uncle Marc Lawson Turnbull sadly passed away from a heart attack at 4am.He was one of three brothers from a incredible women with whom I am very close to, my Grandmother who I consider one of my best friends.
One of the other brothers was my father, yes my real dad who I haven’t spoken to or seen for over 10 years for reasons actually unbeknown to myself, as I believed he left me and that he was not my dad.
Anger, resentment is the feelings I felt and thoughts in my head which had been bestowed onto me and which I had created. Like the saying when it rains, its pours to me this was more like hurricane catrina, my world had been blown apart.
I was a mess, not only did my grandmother someone I love so much lose the one person that has taken care of her and loved her, her son Marc Lawson Turnbull, no parent wants to go before their children, someone who could always light up a gloomy day with a whimsical joke, speak his mind and create his own dreams but at the same time my father was being flown in from Down Under to support his mother and family.
To be honest I didn’t know what to feel, I cried about nothing and everything, lived on mild tranquiliser’s for 2 days and didn’t want to be with anyone but my sister as I believed she was the only one who knew what I was going through.
I have always been an incredibly strong individual because of what I have been through, but this is the one thing in my heart I had not dealt with and I had locked it away, we never realise how much our childhood affects us until the universe tells you its time.
I was fine, 22 with an incredible family, a step dad I consider my hero who I always felt that if I ever spoke to my real dad I would be betraying him. Amazing friends, the most incredible sister who has inspired me throughout my life, a strong mother who allowed me to become the women I wanted to be and a boyfriend who loves me for me.
Remember how I said the universe works in strange ways? Get this…
My dads name is Lloyd Lawson Turnbull, I have never met another Lloyd in my life and this year I have been with the most incredible man for 6 months, yes my longest relationship ever who I met on one random Wednesday evening his name. Lloyd, yes you heard me Lloyd, for the first 2 weeks of our relationship I couldn’t even say his name.
So Wednesday the 17th was the BIG day. I woke up thinking I was fine, but in actual fact, I was a shambles. I didn’t want to be alone for the thought of having a panic attack, now always being someone who is quite stable and not the type to ever feel anxious, I didn’t know what to do with myself, I wanted to run into a cave and hide or better yet got o sleep and never wake up.
Dinner was being held at my cousin’s house, which has always loved the man I once hated. It was going to be the whole family. My gran, her sister, my cousin, my dad’s brother from London and of course my father from Australia.
The afternoon was spent with some of my closest sitting on the veranda in the rain. I am one of the luckiest girls in the world; I have people who surround me with light and love. In dark times you realise how privileged you are to have such people around you, I was inundated with messages and phone calls from people who have known my situation for years. Friends who I hadn’t spoken to for years, who took the time out to phone me and tell me that they loved me and that I must be the women I have become today and be proud of myself.
My friends gave me strength and power to get through this. I arrived home to get dressed for the big date, it was my mother and step dads 7 year anniversary on the same night and they were about to head out on a date, my step dad called me and asked if I could walk somewhere to chat, I walked into the garden not knowing what to expect.
The words he spoke came straight from the heart, he told me that I must be strong and walk in with my head held high and that he loved me and that I was going to be okay, he said I must remember that I have done nothing wrong and that my father is my father and that I must love and forgive him to be at peace with myself because if anything happened to my real dad and I had not been at peace with the situation I would never forgive myself. He said the exact words I needed to hear, especially coming from someone who had become my dad and loved me for me, I burst into tears and my heart smiled, I felt a warmness inside that I had never felt before.
It took me about 20 minutes to decide what to wear, it was like a first date or seeing a friend you haven’t seen for years, but it wasn’t just a date or a friend, it was my father, someone with whom I had cut out of my life and I had let the memories fade.
As I stood staring Blankley into my closet I finally opted for comfy black tights, a body stocking, cowboy boots and a black blazer hair tied in a bun with minimal makeup, stop thinking so much and just be me.
My heart pounded during the 10 minutes car journey, which felt like an hr.
Finally we arrived, everyone was standing on the veranda as they watched us pull into the driveway. Do I shake his hand? Do I hug Him? What’s happens if I burst into tears? I kept talking myself through the moment, when I finally stopped and took a big breath in. I AM I, I am proud and I will let this moment be.
He hadn’t changed much; he still had my same blue eyes, big muscular build, dressed in cargo with his glasses at the end of his nose and the big smiling gap between his teeth.
He embraced me, took me into his arms and told me that he loved me and began to cry. My spirit was released, my hatred turned to love and not only did I forgive him; I forgave myself for the hatred and pain I had caused myself.
He hasn’t changed one bit, the memories began to come streaming back from when I was a little girl, the good memories, the ones I had let myself forget.
The things he said made more sense think and I its because as you get older you are open to new experiences and start to see the world in a different light.
He snuck around the corner for a cigarette and I decided to join him, people come into our lives to teach us things and even though he hasn’t been there for me and I hated him for it, he made me a better, stronger person and I saw that last night.
I finally understood his language, the words he spoke to me made more sense now than ever before. He told me to be the trawler of my own boat, watch out for the tides, the waves and sail my ship. He told me he had no regrets and the I shouldn’t either. I realised I had my father back, but he had always been there, I had let him go.
It was one of the best nights of my life and I had to share it with all my friends who had been there for me, I wouldn’t have got through it without them.
And for those who I wasn’t able to share the moment with, it went a little something like this.
“ So I had to share this moment with all my beautiful friends who have got me through these tough couple of days, just had a cigarette with my real dad who I haven’t seen for over 10 years…he gave me advice told me to take no shit and be my own master. I’m smiling now and I wanted to tell you all, I feel free and at peace. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and for all your support, you are my solid ground, my soil. Thank you for making me the women I am today.”
Last night made me realise its okay to forgive and its okay to have two fathers.
I love them both for different reasons and my father is my blood, after 22 years I am finally at peace and today it has made me a better person for it. Tomorrow I will know that I have given my love and done what I needed to do as a daughter.
He leaves in just over a week and I never thought I would say this, but I am going to miss him and take every opportunity to make up for lost years, I will listen, I will love, I will talk and I will be free.
Thank you to everyone, my mother, my step dad, my friends, and my big sister who told me its okay to love and forgive. My incredible boyfriend Lloyd for giving me the time and space to let me allow him into my life and finally accept a man and allow him to love me and of course my friends…
From the friends I haven’t spoken to in years, to the friends that love me everyday and to the new friends, thank you all.
Hayley Illing, Stephanie Leonsins, Megan Eloff, Romey Aspden, Sam Dalais, Leeroy Duke, Garreth Van Niekerk, Andrew Mons, Courtenay Carey, Jennifer Wilson, Nkuli Nhleko, Charlie Friedman, Toyah Morris, Bianca Davies,Morgan Evans, Shani Sayag, Adele Milana and Bailey Shneider.
You have no idea how much your love and support means to me.
I leave you with this.
We were made with the ability to love, to hate, to forgive and to hold onto judgment and hatred.
Life is simple.
LOVE AND FORGIVE.
Thanks for teaching me to smile Dad.