I understood yours and Jorge’s decision to move to Melbourne. It was a work opportunity for Jorge and you had always liked Melbourne, anyway.
I tried to get down to see you as often as possible, but this was a poor substitute for having you close by.
Annie had left for England just after your wedding. By the end of 2003, I had lost two of my daughters from my immediate orbit. Kayla was still here at the time, but she had her own life. She was finishing Uni and about to start her career as a young single businesswoman. She certainly had more to interest her, than a demanding, grumpy, old father.
I missed your honesty and your fierce defemination to not, let me sink into any sort of self-pitying morass.
I had been off HIV drugs for almost two years, but the fear still lingered to some extent.
Towards the end of 2004 after one sad miscarriage, you and Jorge happily announced you were pregnant again and were due in May 2005.
Your first grandchild is a milestone for anyone. Some see it as a sign of their advancing years, some look forward to it with unreserved, eager anticipation and some also see it as the opportunity to atone for all the sins we have committed as parents.
I fell into the latter camp. This family had come so far and I was looking forward to having another little person I could love honestly and without any fear of the past.
I am of course; writing to the most forthright of my daughters! The daughter who in a moment of pure candour, casually told me one day.
“You know, you used to be a terrible father, but you became a wonderful one, when you finally woke up to yourself”
The blow of these words was softened by a cuddle and a smile, but there was a sad truth in what you had said.
The thought had crossed my mind, that day, that we had come a long way. If my daughter felt free enough, to say something like this without any fear or trepidation, there was absolutely nothing wrong with our relationship now .
Of all the things, I have admired about my eldest daughter, your forthright honesty would be the one thing that stands out as exceptional.
Horatio was born 19 May 2005, a beautiful little boy had now joined our family and our cup overflowed with joy.
I flew to Melbourne at the weekend, Sas and Douglas were there, Ken and Jean were there and the love you and Jorge had for this tiny bundle was immediately apparent.
It was hard to leave when It was time for me to come home, but I could look forward to getting to know this wonderful new addition, over the next years.
The good news kept on coming, Horrie was less than two years old when we were told, you were pregnant again.
Things were going well for Billy and I, business was improving and soon we would have another grandchild to indulge and love.
On 19 October 2007 after a very long and hard labor, Estelle entered our world and it has never been the same since.
Even today, when I look at the two of them, I marvel at the differences, Horrie; sensitive, caring and instinctively loving , Esty; intense and brooding with boundless love BUT only after you have earned it.
These differences only highlight the breadth and depth of love a man can have for his grandchildren. It is a different love to anything that has preceded it, it is cheeky and irreverent, it encourages subversion but it is built on absolute faith which must flow both ways.
You had hurt your back during delivery and the intense pain from this, would haunt you for the next few years and lingers even today.
I have never been prouder of you and Jorge as you dealt with your pain and the discovery of Esty’s autism over the next few years.
Life has had its arrows for you both. but over time you have dealt with whatever has been thrown at you. As I write this now, I am full of admiration and love for you both.
It goes without saying, that for this “Grumpy” the love for your children simply knows no bounds.
I love you all So much