Our family has a bad track record with cars. My maternal grandfather died in a car accident on the way to visit my mum and me in hospital when I was born. He never looked in the rear vision mirror. A truck took him out. The cops said it was the worst smash they had ever witnessed.
Mum took valium to deal with the grief. She remarked to her friends that I was a calm baby and a wonderful sleeper. She was breastfeeding.
The phone call came in the middle of the night. It was just past midnight, which made it my birthday. It was my father’s ex. She said there has been a car accident. Head-on with a tree. Your father is dead. I had trouble finding your number. I didn’t believe her. My father was very well organised.
Later that day I got a birthday card from my father, posted just before the accident.
I delivered his eulogy holding my 18 month-old son, who my father only met once. We had been estranged for over 10 years. I said you might want to meet your grandson. Two weeks after my father died, I fell pregnant with my second son.
I had a nasty legal battle with my father’s ex over his meagre estate. In the end, she got the house and I got the superannuation. A few years later she sent me a friend request on Facebook. I didn’t accept.
This piece was originally published on Catherine Deveny’s website.