I’ll never forget the day I received a phone call from the Innisfail police to inform me that my father had died. It had been his wish that I was to be contacted in the event of his death. It was 2008, and the last time we had laid eyes on each other had been more than 20 years before.

The lady on the other end of the phone informed me she was calling from the Innisfail police station, and that my brother was there with news about my father. I was a little confused at first as I didn’t have a brother named Jeremy (not his real name), but she was referring to my step-brother, who I hadn’t had contact with since I’d last seen my father. He was the son of a Filipinos woman my father had married after my departure.

As the news was delivered that Dad had died, I didn’t really feel much at all. He was 83, and he’d had a good inning, so I wasn’t shocked. I was surprised, though, that I’d received a call at all. I honestly didn’t think I would ever be informed. I suspected I would unexpectedly come across the news one day by accident. Perhaps through a chance meeting with an old acquaintance of my father’s.

Hanging up the phone I was overwhelmed with the need to cry. I wept for a very short time. Wiping my eyes dry, I felt relief that the man who was my father could never hurt me again. He had been a violent, mentally and physically abusive presence in my childhood.  Now his reign of tyranny was over…end scene, exit stage left. He was out of the picture forever.

 

 

My step-brother contacted me a few days later asking if I wanted to attend the funeral. I declined. We did meet up at his house for lunch one day weeks later where he gave me some old photos and a painting my father had done years before.

During our lunch Jeremy told me that my father had adopted him when he was a teenager. I had moved to my mother’s by that stage. He told me that he had taken my father’s surname and that his children also have the same name.

What Jeremy didn’t know was that my father’s surname was an alias he had invented for the purpose of hiding me from my mother. My father had his name changed to the alias via deed poll. He had tried to change my name via deed poll as well but was unable to (legally) for the need of my mother’s signature, which he couldn’t get. So he gave me an alias which I lived under for eight years.

I’m not sure how this news affected Jeremy. He didn’t react much at all. But it begs the question, how do you react when you’ve just been told your family name was manifested to perpetrate a lie?

It was around this time I embarked on the journey of writing about my abusive childhood. I changed the names of the people involved in my story to protect their identities. Most of them passed years ago now, but there are a few family members whose identity I wanted to protect for no other reason than they might not welcome an unsolicited appearance in my book.

When I spent some time in north Queensland in 2018, I visited my father’s resting place. Dad had always said he wanted to be buried above the ground for fear of being buried alive. He had gotten his wish. He had been laid in a tomb. I declared to his grave then and there that this would be the first and last time I would be by. I don’t intend to go back there.

My father paid the price for the things he did to me as a child. He died never knowing his grandchildren. He missed out on so many things. Birthdays, holidays, my wedding, the birth of my children…all took place without him. It wasn’t because I omitted him from these events. It was his own decision to not participate. He was cutting his nose off to spite his face, and I wasn’t invested in chasing him to mend our relationship. He had put me through the wringer so many times as a child that I was indifferent to him. My preference was to never see or hear from him again, but I had two children who had the right to know their grandfather. I knew, at my core, that there was nothing my children could gain from knowing him. So I gave him the chance to be in their life, but he declined.

The last communication I had with my father was via a phone call. I answered the phone one day to hear a husky, foreign voice asking for Mrs McRae. He had found me via the White Pages. He told me he was having eye surgery in a couple of weeks. It had been several years since our last contact so I was surprised to hear from him. Our previous call had been initiated by me. I had phoned him to tell him of the birth of my second child. It ended abruptly when he hung up in my ear after telling me that he would never forgive me for leaving him.

Following our latest call, we agreed that I would send him a letter with photos of my children. He didn’t acknowledge the letter or reply. Knowing my father as I do, my sign off would have displeased him. I signed the letter, your daughter, Elona. My father had called me by my alias since I was eight. He would not have been happy to see that I’d used my real name. I didn’t sign with ‘love’ either. I didn’t love him, so I didn’t see the point.

I never heard from him again.

I’ll never forget the day I received a phone call from the Innisfail police to inform me that my father had died. It had been his wish that I was to be contacted in the event of his death. It was 2008, and the last time we had laid eyes on each other had been more than 20 years before.

The lady on the other end of the phone informed me she was calling from the Innisfail police station, and that my brother was there with news about my father. I was a little confused at first as I didn’t have a brother named Jeremy (not his real name), but she was referring to my step-brother, who I hadn’t had contact with since I’d last seen my father. He was the son of a Filipinos woman my father had married after my departure.

As the news was delivered that Dad had died, I didn’t really feel much at all. He was 83, and he’d had a good inning, so I wasn’t shocked. I was surprised, though, that I’d received a call at all. I honestly didn’t think I would ever be informed. I suspected I would unexpectedly come across the news one day by accident. Perhaps through a chance meeting with an old acquaintance of my father’s.

Hanging up the phone I was overwhelmed with the need to cry. I wept for a very short time. Wiping my eyes dry, I felt relief that the man who was my father could never hurt me again. He had been a violent, mentally and physically abusive presence in my childhood.  Now his reign of tyranny was over…end scene, exit stage left. He was out of the picture forever.

 

 

 

My step-brother contacted me a few days later asking if I wanted to attend the funeral. I declined. We did meet up at his house for lunch one day weeks later where he gave me some old photos and a painting my father had done years before.

During our lunch Jeremy told me that my father had adopted him when he was a teenager. I had moved to my mother’s by that stage. He told me that he had taken my father’s surname and that his children also have the same name.

What Jeremy didn’t know was that my father’s surname was an alias he had invented for the purpose of hiding me from my mother. My father had his name changed to the alias via deed poll. He had tried to change my name via deed poll as well but was unable to (legally) for the need of my mother’s signature, which he couldn’t get. So he gave me an alias which I lived under for eight years.

I’m not sure how this news affected Jeremy. He didn’t react much at all. But it begs the question, how do you react when you’ve just been told your family name was manifested to perpetrate a lie?

It was around this time I embarked on the journey of writing about my abusive childhood. I changed the names of the people involved in my story to protect their identities. Most of them passed years ago now, but there are a few family members whose identity I wanted to protect for no other reason than they might not welcome an unsolicited appearance in my book.

When I spent some time in north Queensland in 2018, I visited my father’s resting place. Dad had always said he wanted to be buried above the ground for fear of being buried alive. He had gotten his wish. He had been laid in a tomb. I declared to his grave then and there that this would be the first and last time I would be by. I don’t intend to go back there.

My father paid the price for the things he did to me as a child. He died never knowing his grandchildren. He missed out on so many things. Birthdays, holidays, my wedding, the birth of my children…all took place without him. It wasn’t because I omitted him from these events. It was his own decision to not participate. He was cutting his nose off to spite his face, and I wasn’t invested in chasing him to mend our relationship. He had put me through the wringer so many times as a child that I was indifferent to him. My preference was to never see or hear from him again, but I had two children who had the right to know their grandfather. I knew, at my core, that there was nothing my children could gain from knowing him. So I gave him the chance to be in their life, but he declined.

The last communication I had with my father was via a phone call. I answered the phone one day to hear a husky, foreign voice asking for Mrs McRae. He had found me via the White Pages. He told me he was having eye surgery in a couple of weeks. It had been several years since our last contact so I was surprised to hear from him. Our previous call had been initiated by me. I had phoned him to tell him of the birth of my second child. It ended abruptly when he hung up in my ear after telling me that he would never forgive me for leaving him.

Following our latest call, we agreed that I would send him a letter with photos of my children. He didn’t acknowledge the letter or reply. Knowing my father as I do, my sign off would have displeased him. I signed the letter, your daughter, Elona. My father had called me by my alias since I was eight. He would not have been happy to see that I’d used my real name. I didn’t sign with ‘love’ either. I didn’t love him, so I didn’t see the point.

I never heard from him again.

I’ll never forget the day I received a phone call from the Innisfail police to inform me that my father had died. It had been his wish that I was to be contacted in the event of his death. It was 2008, and the last time we had laid eyes on each other had been more than 20 years before.

The lady on the other end of the phone informed me she was calling from the Innisfail police station, and that my brother was there with news about my father. I was a little confused at first as I didn’t have a brother named Jeremy (not his real name), but she was referring to my step-brother, who I hadn’t had contact with since I’d last seen my father. He was the son of a Filipinos woman my father had married after my departure.

As the news was delivered that Dad had died, I didn’t really feel much at all. He was 83, and he’d had a good inning, so I wasn’t shocked. I was surprised, though, that I’d received a call at all. I honestly didn’t think I would ever be informed. I suspected I would unexpectedly come across the news one day by accident. Perhaps through a chance meeting with an old acquaintance of my father’s.

Hanging up the phone I was overwhelmed with the need to cry. I wept for a very short time. Wiping my eyes dry, I

felt relief that the man who was my father could never hurt me again. He had been a violent, mentally and physically abusive presence in my childhood.  Now his reign of tyranny was over…end scene, exit stage left. He was out of the picture forever.

My step-brother contacted me a few days later asking if I wanted to attend the funeral. I declined. We did meet up at his house for lunch one day weeks later where he gave me some old photos and a painting my father had done years before.

During our lunch Jeremy told me that my father had adopted him when he was a teenager. I had moved to my mother’s by that stage. He told me that he had taken my father’s surname and that his children also have the same name.

What Jeremy didn’t know was that my father’s surname was an alias he had invented for the purpose of hiding me from my mother. My father had his name changed to the alias via deed poll. He had tried to change my name via deed poll as well but was unable to (legally) for the need of my mother’s signature, which he couldn’t get. So he gave me an alias which I lived under for eight years.

I’m not sure how this news affected Jeremy. He didn’t react much at all. But it begs the question, how do you react when you’ve just been told your family name was manifested to perpetrate a lie?

It was around this time I embarked on the journey of writing about my abusive childhood. I changed the names of the people involved in my story to protect their identities. Most of them passed years ago now, but there are a few family members whose identity I wanted to protect for no other reason than they might not welcome an unsolicited appearance in my book.

When I spent some time in north Queensland in 2018, I visited my father’s resting place. Dad had always said he wanted to be buried above the ground for fear of being buried alive. He had gotten his wish. He had been laid in a tomb. I declared to his grave then and there that this would be the first and last time I would be by. I don’t intend to go back there.

My father paid the price for the things he did to me as a child. He died never knowing his grandchildren. He missed out on so many things. Birthdays, holidays, my wedding, the birth of my children…all took place without him. It wasn’t because I omitted him from these events. It was his own decision to not participate. He was cutting his nose off to spite his face, and I wasn’t invested in chasing him to mend our relationship. He had put me through the wringer so many times as a child that I was indifferent to him. My preference was to never see or hear from him again, but I had two children who had the right to know their grandfather. I knew, at my core, that there was nothing my children could gain from knowing him. So I gave him the chance to be in their life, but he declined.

The last communication I had with my father was via a phone call. I answered the phone one day to hear a husky, foreign voice asking for Mrs McRae. He had found me via the White Pages. He told me he was having eye surgery in a couple of weeks. It had been several years since our last contact so I was surprised to hear from him. Our previous call had been initiated by me. I had phoned him to tell him of the birth of my second child. It ended abruptly when he hung up in my ear after telling me that he would never forgive me for leaving him.

Following our latest call, we agreed that I would send him a letter with photos of my children. He didn’t acknowledge the letter or reply. Knowing my father as I do, my sign off would have displeased him. I signed the letter, your daughter, Elona. My father had called me by my alias since I was eight. He would not have been happy to see that I’d used my real name. I didn’t sign with ‘love’ either. I didn’t love him, so I didn’t see the point.

I never heard from him again.