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Fatherhood Stories

This section of the Fatherhood Foundation website is currently under construction and will be completed as funds become available.

We enclose four fatherhood stories taken from the fathersonline newsletter.

When this section is completed, you will be able to upload your own fatherhood stories.

Our goal is to make the Fatherhood Foundation website one of the most comprehensive and interactive fatherhood and family friendly websites in the world. To do this we need your help. The Fatherhood Foundation is not government funded but all donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to your help and encouragement.
Please register your interest in helping us by emailing: info@fatherhood.org.au

My Father

by Roland Foster, February 2003

During the last few weeks I have neglected most of my duties and usual routines because of the need to help care for my father.

Many men of his generation, as they near the end of their lives, often regret having spent so much time pursuing material prosperity and career opportunities at the expense of family life. This was not the case with my father.

Last Friday I stood by his bedside as he took his last breath. He died at the age of 95 with no regrets over the way he carried out his role as a father and grandfather.

Afterwards, while filling out hospital forms, I hesitated at the heading ‘Occupation’, and then, after some reflection, left it blank. No single word seemed to fit. As a young child I remember his going off to work but I never knew what this work was. I only knew that he would work for just a short time and then leave his job so that he could enjoy his family. When the money ran out he would get another job. I have since learnt that he worked as a builder’s labourer, caretaker, painter, farm labourer and factory worker. During the 1930’s he drove a bullock team. He was also a farmer, orchardist, property investor and property developer. He once owned 80 building blocks and often sold them for whatever the buyers could afford to pay. On many occasions young families paid very little and on at least one occasion, they paid nothing. He was a giving man and when he had little left to give, he gave out of the little he had.

We lived a simple life and I don’t recall ever having any more than we needed. I also remember that we never wanted any more than we had.

My father knew what was worth having and provided us with an ideal lifestyle. Our old weatherboard house was no showplace but it was full of contentment, laughter and security. The location was perfect. From our cliff top position we had an uninterrupted view of the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Each morning at breakfast we would watch the waves, the dolphins and an occasional whale. To the south we had views of a headland, two lighthouses, a small fishing harbour and rock pools. All there were within a few minutes walk. To the north we looked over endless stretches of beaches with the best of them being the closest.

My father’s greatest pleasure was seeing his children enjoy themselves. This was his prosperity. He once delighted us when we discovered a young kangaroo in our backyard. We once surprised him with a penguin in our bathtub.

I should not have left the space blank on the form next to the heading ‘Occupation’. There is a word that well describes his job, his efforts, his role, his purpose, his motivation, his ambitions and hopes, his identity and his heart: that word is ‘Father’.

On the Loss of My Dad

Transcript of Alanna Siozos' Eulogy April 2003

This is the hardest thing I have ever done, most likely the hardest thing I will ever do. There are so many things I can tell you about my father but at times like these I find it hard to say anything at all.

Try to imagine a love so great, a love that makes you want to dance, a love that makes you want to cry, a love that grows stronger through the darkest nights, and a love you can feel even when your heart gives up and refuses to feel anymore.

This is the kind of love our family shares. I only just realised lately that God has a love 100 times more powerful for each and every single one of us. I know the kind of love that my family shares and to imagine any greater I can not understand.

But then that would also go without saying that at times like these when we lose one of the greatest things in our life and the pain is unbearable it feels like someone has just grabbed your heart and squeezed it so tight and aren’t letting go for anything, that would have to say that God would be hurting so much more for us and do you think God wants us to feel like that?

Everything happens for a reason and although I cannot see the reason for losing my father, I understand that there’s no escaping this pain and it’s something that everyone will go through. I thought I can either go through this and let it constantly hurt me like hell every second of every day or I can accept what has happened and choose to stand strong, remembering the great times we all shared with him and know we’ll all be together again in heaven. We just have to be patient. I know he is waiting for us. These last couple of days my mind hasn’t stopped and my daddy is all I’ve been thinking about. Two days before my father passed away, I had written him and mum a letter. I had been staying at a friend’s house for a while and hadn’t been home for a while. I was really missing them and thought I should write them a letter.

Alanna’s Letter

I just wanted to inform you both how much I love you both. So know this . . . I love you both more than my Fleetwood Mac DVD, more than all my friends all put together and probably more than you both love me. Thankyou so much for everything you have given me, except for my good looks, I have to give Pop all that credit. Don’t ever feel that I don’t appreciate things at times because I always have. And I have always loved you both and I will never stop loving you both too. Even if I’m not at home and it’s raining I pray that you drive carefully especially Nicole (no explanation needed) because I worry and I don’t ever want anything bad to happen to my family. When I’m at Emma’s we sometimes sit down and chat about our families. And we all say how great our families are and how much we love them. I thought I should let you know. Every night I go to sleep I pray to God and thank him for giving me a mum with such a beautiful heart, a dad who can fix anything, a sister I can get along with (most of the time) and a smart good looking brother. Even if we were to lose one of us, I would thank God for having put that person in my life and family at all. And I’m very thankful that we’re all still here together and will be for another 200 years.

So next time you think I don’t love you both, look in the mirror and realise how could I not love such beautiful people. How could I not love the people that care about me the most, the people who would do anything for me and the people who showed me how to love? Nothing could ever replace my family, so please don’t ever leave me, I will never leave you.

Love Always Alanna
24/03/2003

After I gave this to them I went upstairs and as I was on my way back down, I saw my dad and he had the biggest grin on his face I have ever seen. He gave me the longest hug. It felt so great that he knew how important he was to me. So the last memories of my dad was something so wonderful you cannot imagine and every time I picture him in my head I see that huge smile. God made me write that letter and I’m so happy I did.

So many memories we all share with such a fantastic man, he made our house such a warm place to live in, he gave everyone such a wonderful insight to life and he gave my family such an awesome passion for music.

To me, my dad was the only one in my life who was never afraid, the one and only person who could do anything and fix everything. He always told me nothing bad would ever happen because he was there to protect us. He still is and will be forever.

Up until I was 19 . . . when ever there was thunder and lightning I would always run to my parent’s room, jump in between them and snuggle up and hide underneath the blankets. My dad would always say everything’s going to be alright, and it always was! And it will always be okay.

Because I know he is still with us, he never left, he’s just waiting for us in heaven. Dad and Mum, thankyou so much for my life, and mum thankyou so much for sharing dad with everyone. If I had married him, I would have kept him all to myself.

Choose Your Friends Wisely - Even When Young

By Leo Talbot April 2004

When I was five years old I lived at 302 Dryburgh Street, North Melbourne, and on Saturday mornings my Grandfather, William (Bill) Coyle would look after me while my mother worked in the city. My grandfather was about 162cm (5’4”) tall, and about as wide. His grandfather, a lawyer, had migrated from Ireland to Australia in the 1800s. They were good Catholics; my grandfather had 14 children, of which my dear mother was one.

Well, to the story. The last thing my mother said to me as she went out the door at about 8am was: ‘Now Leo, don’t you play with that boy Bobby Stotten’.

Bobby Stotten was about twice my age, and if I remember correctly he lived with his grandmother just around the corner. As far as tough kids go (if a person can be tough at age 8), Bobby was the terror of the neighborhood.

Well, as bad luck would have it, just after mum left to catch the tram, Bobby came to the back gate: Our back gate was in a lane way. He stuck his face under the gate and called out ‘Leo!’ I was ready and waiting. Elegantly dressed in a pair of old green shorts and an athletic singlet; no underwear, no shoes, no socks, no money, and I might add…NO BRAINS.

Old grandad could not run very fast in those days (or probably any other days given his serious lack of an athletic build), so by the time he got to the corner, Bobby and I were halfway to ‘paradise’, or wherever Bobby had decided we should go, and on this particular Saturday in 1946, it was to the Melbourne Zoo.

We walked there. Not a long distance from where we lived; probably about 2 miles as the crows flies, and these two ‘crows’ were walking along the tram tracks.

How we got into the Zoo I will never know. Perhaps if Bobby is alive and reading this he might tell me these 57 years later? My belief is that we must have tagged onto a family somehow and just walked through the gate?

All day without food can be a long time for a 5 year old, and by lunch time I was yearning for a few sandwiches with some of mum’s lovely dripping. This was my first brush with ‘fasting’ and I was not going to become an avid fan of the process.

Come closing time, in those days 6 o’clock, Bobby and I were still in the Zoo. We were way down the back near the Bison enclosure, and it was getting dark. It was at this juncture in our day of adventure that Bobby showed his true colors. He looked at me and said , “Leo, at night they let the animals out!”

That did it for me! I screamed loud enough for the bloke at the front to find us and let us out the back gate.

So, Bobby and I commenced the trek home along the tram lines in the dark. This route took us through a place known in those days as Camp Hell (a story for another time), not a place where mothers wanted their five year old sons to be in broad daylight, let alone at night.

It was about ten o’clock when we turned right in Haines Street just at the bottom of Abbotsford Street. I could see four figures silhouetted by the dim street lights of 1940s, walking towards me and Bobby. I could tell that one of them was my mother, she was the one sobbing and saying, ‘Don’t hit him Perce (my father’s name was Percy); don’t hit him!’

Perce was a great dad. To this point in my ‘travelling’ life, he had never hit me; but all that was about to change. My father had been rejected from enlisting in the Second World War with his two brothers, on account of his being deaf in one ear. There will be no prizes for guessing into which ear my mother was making her impassioned plea.

As the four figures emerged out of the darkness into the dim light, within about ten yards from Bobby and I, I looked to my left in search of my travelling companion, who I was hoping, would take the blame for the days ‘zoological excursion’, but Bobby was nowhere to be found. If nothing else, Bobby proved that he could be elusive…..I never saw him again in my life!

That Saturday ranks as one of the great days of adventure in my life. Bobby and I did it all on that day back in 1946. My backside was a little sore the next day. It would be another 10 years before my father would get upset with me again. My grandfather lost his job as babysitter, and best of all, my mother gave up her Saturday morning job.

Thanks Bobby!

Leo Talbot has 4 daughters and 10 grandchildren and has been happily married for 40 years. He has a background in Strategic Sales and IT.

A Tribute to You Dad

Dear Fatherhood Foundation

My father died last Sunday 4/3/07 of prostate cancer aged 69. I helped nurse him in last 5 days of his life, staying overnight in hospital with him one night. The pain and agony he suffered must have been excruciating.

I am writing this article for 2 reasons.

The first is to urge all men to get themselves regularly checked for prostate cancer (my Dad's cancer was only detected 18 months before his death).

The second is that we all should take the time to write a tribute to our parents. Don't leave it too long!! Mine took 2 weeks from the time I heard the idea until I put pen to paper because I had to let go of a lot of past hurts. I hope the following encourages others to act now on both fronts.

A TRIBUTE TO YOU DAD

18/12/06

This will probably come as a surprise to you, it will probably seem disjointed and you will probably need help reading it. But know this for certain, every word of it comes from my heart.

The first thing I want to say is that I love you so much!! I might not always show it, but I do. I am sorry for all the things I did wrong as a son and I wish that things could have been different, but maybe if they had, God wouldn’t have moulded us in to the men of God we are today.

Thank you for taking me to all the cricket matches and all the BMX races I raced when I was younger.

Thank you for taking us fishing and swimming to the beaches in WA. Thank you for the great holidays you gave us growing up in WA.

I will always remember your corny jokes, your gardening and mechanical skills, your famous rock cakes, watching The Bill, and your Boney M and Nana Maskouri albums.

Your love for general knowledge is something that you have passed on to me and for that I am thankful.

You are a fantastic grandfather to Jasmine, Joshua, Keona, Iolana, Callum and Myah. The kids love you very much and admire your strength and courage through battling your illness.

I am glad that we made amends and put the past behind us before you found out that you had cancer. I enjoy giving you great big hugs each time I see you!!

There are a lot of memories that come to my mind of the time that we spent together:
Christmas’s and New Years, Picnic’s and BBQ’s, Watching basketball on TV together, Listening to your “When I was a boy..” and Army (i.e. climbing Mt Royal) and police stories.

Thank you for staying married and riding through the storms that marriage brings.

It’s easy for me to be critical of you as a father, but as time has passed and I too have found out how difficult that role of being a father/provider/lover is, my respect and admiration for you has grown immensely. I know that you didn’t have the best of upbringings and that as a father you did the best with what you knew how to. For that I am very grateful!!

As I finish writing this tribute to you I am sure that I have left out thank yous and other things that I wanted to say, memories that I wanted to revisit and many more words of appreciation.
I thank God for the time we had together as father and son. I thank you for moulding me into the man I am today. I hate seeing you in pain and suffering and wish I could do more. I love you with every part of my soul and always will.

You are a great dad in my eyes and I’m thankful to God that he gave you to me as a father.

Love your eldest son
Matthew xxxx00000

 

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