MY eldest sister was stillborn.
I have known this for as long as I can remember.
My mother would talk about her from time to time.
Not often _ perhaps once or twice a year.
Just enough that as a child I knew of her.
My father? Not so much.
Even as a kid I could tell the loss hurt them both.
She dealt with it with the occasional moment of grief; he with silence.
As a child, the loss of my sister was something that happened to my parents _ an incident in their lives pre-me and thus inaccessible to me.
As an adult and a father I feel that loss more keenly now.
Through the joy that my own daughters bring I see what my parents have missed.
I have gained a better understanding of their grief, but not a complete one.
That I hope never to know.
This week I found out even if fate, chance, chaos, God, whatever, hadn’t intervened and ended her life before it began, it remains likely I would never have had the chance to know my sister.
My parents were unwed when she was born. They never saw her.
Had she lived she would have been adopted out, such were the callous ways of those days.
It was my father who told me.
I’m not sure he realised I didn’t know.
He was angry at a comment left on a story about Premier Lara Giddings’ announcement that her government would issue an apology to the victims of forced adoption.
Some dingbat named Ray had raised his hackles with one of those typically morose, thoughtless and hurtful comments the internet is too commonly throwing forth.
“In 50 years time it looks like we will be judging the people of nowadays. And they will want some sort of compensation too as this is what this issue is all about . . . people wanting a free ride,” wrote Ray.
“All generations do things that later generations don’t necessarily approve of but this generation have no right to judge.
“I suspect that most people do not want governments apologising on their behalf for something they had nothing to do with it.
“To those who have purported to be carrying this hurt around for 50 years . . . find something else to occupy your mind.”
Dad rang me at little after 10pm. He’d obviously been stewing on this man’s bile.
“I want to respond to this bloke,” he said, after telling me about my sister. “Can you help me?”
“Are you going to put your name on it?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said bluntly. “Why, don’t you want me to?”
“I don’t mind, Dad, but lots of people will be reading it.”
“Don’t care who reads it,” he said.
So I asked him what he wanted to say. He didn’t need my help.
I hope Ray read what he had to say.
If not here it is:
“Well Ray I would suggest you were never in this position.
“My wife and I were.
“I get extremely upset when people immediately assume that compensation is the main issue.
“The main issue is for the Government to make it easy for people to reconnect.
“P.S. our child was stillborn.
“Neither my wife nor I were able to see our child.
“We have had plenty to occupy our minds for the last forty years.
“But we will never forget our daughter.”
Well said Dad.
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