75 Years, In Memoriam

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Dad was what Brett McKay calls, both a good man and good at being a man.

I could write reams about my father, but I wouldn’t know where to start.

He gave me life and then has been my sustenance ever since.
He’s the source of everything that’s good in me.

His deep baritone, echoed in our fledgling church as we sung hymns every Saturday.
When I close my eyes and remember my early years, it’s his voice that sings me rhymes and lullabies.
Our love for music and song flow from that voice.

He was an artiste and master craftsman.
While he plied his trade as a carpenter, he could build a beautifully functional anything.
Our home used to be filled with carvings of little animals he made.
Speakers, he built, filled our home with music and song.
School books used to be adorned with his sketches (as was my homework)

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There’s a Mickey on my bookshelf door that smiles at me, everyday.
I write these words on a table he built 25 years ago (as he did everything else at home.)
Mom never had to worry about knives or dressing tables.

If there was anything that needed doing, he’d do it.
A grassroots worker, he helped build up two little church congregations.
He helped people around in our little chawl.
“Uncle” was always helpful with time and money and chocolates for little ones who always seemed to find him, wherever he was.

He was a giver and a doer.
A Good Samaritan of the highest order, he’d give the shirt off his back if he could.
Be kind to those in need is something he lived and imbued in us.
Folks call me a sentimental fool at times.
And I’m proud! My father taught me that.

The more I live my life, the more I realise I’ve imbued so much of him.
The curiosity to always learn something new.
The strength to endure whatever life throws your way.
Valuing family over everything else.
Being kind.
Amor Fati.

And to paraphrase Brett again, as I think of the life my Dad led, as I think of the shade he sheltered me in, I’ve a painful yearning to return home.
The Greeks called this nostalgia.
And while my heart aches for that time, it’s a good ache.
I’m glad I have those memories and I’m indebted to Dad for giving them to me.

Mario Jason Braganza

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