Daddy’s Little Secret


My father died in the summer of 1984.

At least, it was some time around then.

There was no funeral. No grave. It was like nobody really noticed.

My brother and I went to school that day, and the day after.

Our father died on a rainy night in Sydney, and took his own body, and his dressing gown away.

I remember that because I saw his car leave through my bedroom window. His tail lights flashed a circus through the warped mirrors of raindrops that streaked over the glass. I stayed there a very long time. It rained all night. The warped mirrors did not flash bright colours, but sobbed cold streaks of silver as the Australian darkness thundered in.

That night, swollen-faced and drunk on disbelief, I dreamt that he came back. He snuck into my room. And came into my bed. It was a disturbing dream. It pains me still. I do not want to write any more about it.

There was an empty place at the table ever after. And in the car, at picnics, parent-teacher nights, graduations, Sunday breakfasts… everywhere… since the night he went away. The space he left was not exactly vacant though, it was inhabited by a ghost. A dreadful ache set in. Dark matter took up residence in the rip he made in us.

My undead father became a phantom limb to us; my small brother, my beautiful young mother and me. The place where he wasn’t ached. Dreadfully. It itched and oozed and lumbered about, howling in pain.

A family is a living thing. Every one of them is a sort of living animal, intimately composed of all the parts that make it – and all the ancestors, histories and landscapes of those merging stories.


Ours was a sort of elephant, perhaps. Composed in Africa, cultured in England and butchered in Australia. I was conceived out of wedlock, created by parents in love. And I know now, that this is a very rare thing. I have a  father who had climbed the passionfruit vines outside her bedroom window to secretly lie with his beloved on AWOL from compulsory military service in Africa.

Years later, in counselling, the therapist had put down her pen and asked my parents; “Why are you here? What are you doing? Yours is the prefect love story!”

Our family was a gentle, matriarchal doe; with four limbs and a full hearted-torso, a head and gentle feet. When our father died, he ripped out one full leg at the hip. He wrenched the shoulder joint out of place. He kicked in several low vertebrae and punctured both lungs. His undeath was a brutal wound of flesh, bone, tender tissue and soul to the gentle animal of our family. And we carried that injury for him. We carried his wailing phantom, and his crimes in ways that tore and torture us, until this very day.


He left a vacuum that throbbed with pain and infection which would very much later flower in each of us as cancer, depression, broken bones, tumours, overwhelm, arthritis and fantasies that swung wildly from the ecstatic to the …

He left a ghost that howled across the Dreamscape we had inherited in this Australia – which could be a wicked, ruthless place. This land knew full well the evil business of the undead. Of secrets. And massacre.

His ghost we tended carefully, it was many years later we came to know it not as a lost soul that we were grieving, but as a vampire that did not mourn us, but fed off of our souls.

It ripped at our throats every Fathers’ Day, when we wondered where the grievers go. It ripped at my throat every time I saw a mug that shouted World’s Best Dad; when my own mates had kids, and I heard them telling proud stories about their daughters and their lives, when I read that a woman’s father would shape her fate in relationship, in success, in her career, and when girlfriends of mine whispered, “You know, Jade; yeah… she’s great, but she’s a bit of man’s girl, really – she prefers to hang with the guys over the girls….” as if that means…

Mostly, we were then, and still are now, encouraged to just ‘suck it up’.

Deaths like his are inevitable. Sometimes they are even a relief. Sudden early fatherhood deaths can be a boon, for example, to a wife who wants her freedom – or a woman who wants to get her hands on a family guy, but can’t find one of her own.

Early fatherhood deaths like his were a bonus to the economy, thriving on split homes; to the upwardly mobile who could shed their cumbersome dependents to pursue their dream lives; to adulterers; to the feminists who were claiming that men were nothing but trouble, and how we’d do better without them….   And to children who could ‘grow character’ in the special, quiet knowledge of what it is like to have their tender universe collide with entropic forces like guilt, poverty, shame, grief and despair while their daddys fought over maintenance payments and lined up with other forces.


It was the eighties. Splitting up families was the new black. It was the eighties. Fatherhood was being stabbed in the liver by a bull economy luring men into six figure psychoses, and making them feel unwelcome at home… sometimes. Potent men, men like my dad, were contended over with ferocity by corporations and upwardly mobile women as well. If they were sons of Patriarch, the women who wanted them were often better at it. Feminist women, women who wanted charismatic, wealthy, ambitious partners to rope to the plough as they manifested their dream lives were in the market for men like dad… no matter what that might take. melissa

But first you had to kill them off as somebody else’s daddy. Somebody else’s husband. So you could take them for your own.

It was the era of Mad Men. The rise of Ruthless Bitches, undermining the dignity of stay at home mums, of the nurturing role of women as keepers of family values, nurture and virtues rapidly being trashed as suppressive. It was open season on families then; the survival of the sickest cult was sprouting its eye-teeth in Sydney.

My father died one night in the quaintly named suburb of Belrose. I was 14. My brother was 13 and our gentle, beautiful mother was only 34. She said she felt old. She said then, and for years after, that she just wanted to die.



He had seemed to be in the pique of health.

Dad was in advertising. His star had hit the Coca-Cola jackpot. He was going to be rich, influential, dazzling in Sydney. We were going to discover that ‘becoming Australian’ was a process much like it had always been through white settlement; much like butchery.

We had come from the gentle countryside of English Surry, with our two cats, who we would never have been prized away from.. not for all the wealth, nor weird animals nor exotics of Australia – or any other paradise.

It was not easy to become what they called a New Australian. You had to surrender your innocence for that prize. And if you would not give that up, it was wrenched from you forcefully, as we were all to discover.

Dad had set off for the sparkling new city to set up his Coca-Cola flag, and enjoy the spoils of the surging consumer delirium, the upwardly mobile frenzy of the times, the heady magic of the influence machinery, and the secret rites of passage there. He embraced the wild, wide land of Dreaming with a surge of health, a lust for adventure and nature that pulsed almost visibly through his African flesh – he knew how to be in big country. He grew large and tanned and beautiful. At first.


He was a very funny man. He loved sport, adventure, Sunday breakfast with fried mushrooms, and freshly squeezed orange juice, and bacon – on the bbq! He loved roasting prime cuts of meat to a tender perfection. He loved Steely Dan, Manhattan Transfer, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Pink Floyd and Sunday boxing on TV. He loved The Muppets, robust conversation, good wine, classy service, Webers, flowers and success.

He loved kites, and I have a memory of him, trapped in a gorgeous stillness, holding the string of our huge orange kite over the rolling green of English downs, between the bruised blue of a windy night and the red-cheeked joy of a Sunday together, connecting that great bird to the whole world through the palm of his hand. I thought he was the greatest man on Earth. He was our Atlas, our Hercules and Apollo as well.

He wore a rugged sheepskin jacket that I couldn’t lift by myself. That’s how big he was. Big as the world. And he could hold a phoenix in the palm of his hand.

Our dad hated litterbugs, racists, lies, zoos, Sunday drivers and sugary coffee.  He said, “Cowboys never put sugar in their tea,” once, when we were camping, and I have never sweetened a hot drink since that day.

He did not like young girls like me, draping themselves around the house doing what later was discovered to be yoga. He said it was unladylike. He did not like showy women, bullies or tailgaters. Once, he actually got out of our car in a traffic jam to demand that some young men driving ahead of us get up, walk to the ditch and collect the rubbish they had tossed there from their window. He was a heroic man. He could rescue cats stuck in huge snow-laden trees at Christmas. He could do magic tricks.

But soon he grew mean, and dark and moody too. He would come home in terrifying tempers. He would come home so wretched with rage and anger that we often begged our mother to let us go to bed before we had to face him. Something was very wrong with our dad, we all knew it, but something was very wrong for all us that first year in Australia – it was the pain of ‘assimilation’, the bruising caused by rough entry to Australia’s brute new kingdom of the ‘lucky’ and the ‘fair’.

I remember one night, alone in the house, dreading his return from work, there was a friendly priest who took calls from kids with troubles on the radio. His name was Father Jim. I don’t know why I did it now. I can’t recall exactly. But that night, alone in the house, I crept into the kitchen and picked up the old phone, and called the city station. They patched me through, my heart was pounding in my chest like a hooked marlin as I hung on the line, and miraculously, I heard him speak directly to me – “Hello Jade, this is Father Jim. How are you tonight? What would you like to tell me?”

“I’m scared”, I said.

“What’s making you scared, Jade?” came his big, warm voice.

“I hate my dad,” I said.

And then I saw his headlights flash across the living room. And I slammed down the phone. And I raced to my bed. And the marlin lashed off the line and I wondered if I would die of terror. Father Jim was the only person I ever told. Live. On talkback radio!

Now, I wonder… what the hell was really going on?

My father died in April, maybe.

He was replaced by a vampire that has eaten all the sweetness out of all our lives, no matter how much goodness my brother, mother and I have poured in or out of ourselves since then.

He was replaced by poverty.

His body, never again to belong to us, nor ours to be of any real value to him, was re-occupied by another man. A man who drove a brand new Mercedes. The same one that Russel Crowe had. A new one every year or so. Custom ordered and shipped in direct from Europe. A man who wore cool clothes, lived waterfront, with tennis courts or chic landscaped pools and gazebos, antique furniture, cut crystal, gourmet dips, fancy crackers and the sassy, wealthy Jewish girlfriend who had been waiting in the wings, working in Marketing for Unilever, selling all that soap, and inventing the prototype for the new modern material women we were all fast becoming.

We went to visit them for awkward weekends, witnessing dads body in its glittery new life, with its cold, mysterious new woman, while ours was disintegrating into ashes.

This man, gradually, came to look less and less like our feared but beloved dad. He took  his body, his time, his stories, his barbecue, his history and every shard of what he meant to us away. And turned him first into a rich man who we tried to be ‘good’ for on occasional weekends at the mansion house, and then into a confusing sort of distant adult friend of our crippled family that we had to navigate without the help of our only grown up. And eventually, he became our enemy.

Our good dad was dead. But with no body to bury, no ritual to make, no end to the catastrophic decline in our lives, our economy, our mother’s health, our safety and security; we experienced the invisible horror caused by the murder of good fathers everywhere that was known as divorce, and would become quite the rage.

Our dad chose sudden death by divorce. He simply slipped out of his fatherhood, spent aIMG_1115 few weeks in a mysterious metamorphic swaddling provided by his eager adulteress in her luxury apartment, and was reborn in expensive suits, at all the best parties, Status: eligible!

He was just like he Buddha, really. He peeled off the life he had made, and tossed away all duty to it, so he could pursue the new spirituality of the era: cash dollar, influence and a dizzy new market in consumer products, fizzy drinks, self help and liquidity without the dreary fetters of his actual creations thus far.

The new man he became enjoyed this rebirth with great panache. Perhaps he even enjoyed the weird biblical glory of the wretches he left behind him… us… mourning and bewildered at the dangling never-quite-dead-corpse of our dad, which rotted, undead, on the cross of the family, and ruled our hearts without mercy for nearly four decades since then.

Perhaps he enjoyed that? It’s hard to imagine why else he allowed it.

Those first months of his resurrection, my brother and I staggered, ragged with anxiety, terrified our mother would go insane from grief and fear.

We went to school with dry mouths and white faces.

We were encouraged to ‘suck it up’.

We were immigrants. We were white. We were invisible. We had no family. No adult friends. We were completely lost and isolated. Our home was sold, our little catamaran was gone. So was the car. The family income. The furniture began to disappear. The music no longer played. Our mum was fragile, she cried a lot. We were shrinking and helpless.

When news got out at school, our previous status as daggy pomms was ripped out from under us. We became even easier targets; undefended aliens whose own dad would abandon them in an Aussie Lord of the Flies reality. We were bashed, pissed on, bullied and spat at. My brother was brutally beaten. I was dragged to the urinals.

In the years before I found my feet, boys from my school took to making obscene phone calls to my home, terrorising me on the evening streets, bashing on the windows of the house at night. Pommy kids with no dad were fair game. The man in our dad’s body told us, when we called him, that we should learn to fight our own battles.

This man took as much cash out of our dad’s widow as he could. He wanted to ruin her. And he used the most ferocious Sydney lawyers he could find to do it. Lawyers who had handled the affairs of his new girlfriend, as it turned out.

He screwed her to perfection. She said, “If you want to take everything: take it. I wont fight you. You can live with it.”

So he did. We lost our home, the remaining car, my bike was sold; everything. We went to live in a migrant slum. It was an hour’s ride to school by bus, each way. Our mum took a job in a newsagent, working six and sometimes 7 days a week. She would not take welfare. She said she wouldn’t take hand outs. The landlord didn’t want pets. She took our treasured cats, Honey and Zulu, to the vet. Who killed them both by lethal injection.

We all cry about that. 34 years later.

The undad and his adulteress meanwhile, showed us how the other half lived. When it was their turn to ‘have us’ they took us on fancy picnics, in fancy parks, which got fancier and fancier as the years rolled on, while my family moved from rental to rental, from crisis to crisis, and one-by-one became ill, or ran into exactly the kind of trouble that vulnerable, struggling single-parent families haunted by undead, traitorous father gods do. It was all predictable. But we didn’t know that. Yet.

Our mother did such an excellent job, once she recovered from her fits of agony, her loneliness and humiliation. She built a life for us so snug and regular it was the envy of all of our wealthy friends, in their lonely houses, with parents who didn’t ‘get them’.

She did such an incredible job of rebuilding our world that we thought that we were img_2082.jpgnormal.

But we were very, very far from that.

I shared a room with my 16-year-old brother for almost the whole of high school. Twin beds. Small space. Shared toilet for all of us. Mum worked slave hours for crap pay for a local millionaire who was ‘helping her out’. My brother and I worked jobs the minute we were legal. Delivering newspapers on bikes at 5.30am in cruel Australian sun, and driving Australian rain, making $38 a month each. We needed it.

I studied, some nights, by candle. Some nights, when I walked home from the bus stop after late shifts at a bakery, those boys from school would catch sight of me and storm after me to hunt me down, howling and snarling as I tore into sidestreets, desperate for escape behind a wall or on the dank dirt and shadow of somebody’s neat hedge. I would crouch there, holding my breath and feeling that brilliant vivid terror which does not cry or simper, but hears the tiniest movement of leaf, grassblade. Hears the ghosts of every undead thing weaving in and out of the Australian night.

My brother quit school to work for his trade and help pay our rent. The undad said he was “a loser”, and that he “would never make a life for himself “ if he left.  He didn’t know about the violence. He didn’t seem to ‘get it’. I worked every Thursday night, sometimes Fridays, most Saturdays and every holiday. We bought our mum the gifts we thought our dad would have, if he was still alive: nice towels, a microwave, perfume, scarves, washing up gloves, dressing gowns.

My brother and I loved our mum more than most people I know, even today, ever realise they do… until its too late to live it. We had this great blessing: we knew we were in the presence, every day, of a living goddess – the miracle of a good mother – even when we were being hideous, belligerent, wayward teens, we knew we were the children of a living miracle on Earth.


I studied by candlelight and was supported by several male teachers at school. With the slightest glow of their attention I thrived, duxing the top five percentile of our State in Biology, English, and Ancient History. I started the school newspaper, I chaired the school assemblies. I was a captain, a counsellor and awarded Citizenship prizes three years in a row. I was voted Most Likely to Succeed through senior high, and on those Awards nights, I MCd the parents and teachers, looking out across the field of faces to find my mum, who sat alone, with an empty chair to her left. Because the undad never turned up.

As the years rolled by my brother, unusually for him, being the soft, shy, gentle one, became so overwhelmed by his antics that he boycotted the undad completely. He just refused to see him. Ever! He said it was because he was an asshole. Because he left him sitting in his fancy mansion alone sometimes, playing computer games and listening to Sade while the adulteress and the undad went out without him.  He said it was because he treated us like shit.

I felt sorry for this man. I thought that I could still see fractions of our dad, trying to reach out through him, so I went alone. I said I was building a bridge so one day we would all have something to walk across, to find each other. But sometimes he forgot I was coming, and he wasnt even there. Sometimes he was so busy in his office those occasional Saturdays that I just sat there feeling awkward in a strange house and tried not to let the hollow feeling grow. Sometimes he was late, busy with the adultresses’ family, from whom we were always meticulously separated, and left me on the doorstep for hours. Other times there were picnics, barbecues and fancy wine. On those lovely days we would sip on our glasses and he would tell me; “your mother is the love of my life. I want you to know that.”

On those visits I could see our real dad shining through him. I did not long for our reunion, but was filled with a golden joy and hope for life that makes me sad, when I think about it now.

The undad married the adulteress eventually. I was the only one from the discarded family who went. Late. Because I was alone and I didn’t know the way. I was stressed and overwhelmed with being unaccompanied at a grown up event. It was a Jewish wedding. I felt lonely and anxious and unwelcome.

From that day on the adulteress became the step-dragon, and a dark, unnerving power in our lives. She made new rules. She made the undad a Jew. She made babies. I came to cradle them at the hospital.

She banned me from seeing what remained of my dad without her in the room. Yes, strange new darknesses began.

I went to university and watched shabby lectures, was force-fed feminist propaganda, and dreadful canteen food in a horribly expensive selective course that claimed to be producing the best journalists and writers in Australia. My photography lecturer, one Ivan Fox, was feeling me up in the dark room. He offered Distinctions for sexual favours. Our Dean of Law was outed as a sex predator. All of this rolled on and hardly anybody said a thing.

Stupid, vain girls in the course became famous news readers and Sydney icons. The writers became famous editors and authors. Most of them, offspring of a nation that was built on the secret massacres of its noble indigenous, protested wildly about South African apartheid while writhing about in drugs, debauchery and rural poverty – as everybody knows are the rites of university, when the kids are far from home.

Australia was busy inflicting its own brutal past of violence and opportunism onto its future, claiming to be lucky, and Fair Go, and easily herding its educated youth toward causes that elegantly overlooked the nation’s bloody hands. I saw that. I was an outsider with African heritage and European class awareness. I understand with 20/20 the weird sickness of the betrayed. It was a horror of wilful ignorance, but I had grown up through horror, so I wrote controversial essays and listened to Kate Bush and moody rock, and read books.

I fantasized about knives.

I fantasized about a magical academia of wise teachers and wizards… somewhere…

I fantasized about handsome princes. And about my dad, holding out his palm to me, with a giant kite dancing overhead.

I dove headlong into depression. I got drunk at parties and cried. I was famous for academic brilliance. I was famous for wet, snotty, hysterical boozy breakdowns. I sucked it up. But it tended to overflow. My life was cut at  a most vital root, and the bigger I grew, the worse the pain of it. I had a mortal wound, but it was too small a war; divorce did not earn anybody the right to this much pain. It’s not as if he died, or something!

I did not do drugs. I did books. I did hours and hours and hours of books, and the miraculous men who wrote them; Jung, Campbell, Nietzsche, Freud, Levi Strauss, Dostoyevsky, Camus, Hunter S Thompson, Wilde, Wolf, Steinbeck, Van der Post.

I was a glorious volcano, with a concrete slab at the solar plexus. I was a brilliant student, my freedom was writing, my consolation was nature, music and the kind hands I manged to find.


But I was perfectly set up for very big trouble. I smelt of vulnerability, a scent that attracts the lust of predators and the suspicion, or cruelty of women. I was trained, through this story, with an extremely fatal flaw. I attracted villains like flies. And I was too ready to forgive. I was sure that all acts of cruelty were based on misunderstanding. That everything would work out in the end. I cared for dangerous people, and the good men in my life – I just couldn’t ‘get them’… I abandoned them all.

The man in my dad’s body grew more impatient with me as those years went by. I was failing to thrive and complaining about it. I begged for his advice. He said, “You’re young, you’re beautiful; what the hell is wrong with you?” He said, “fight your own battles.”

We went to a therapist. He said I seemed angry, in a disgusted sort of way. I said, “of course I’m fucking angry!” And was never taken back.

And the undad began to tell stories about me.

He said I was evil.

He said I was a witch.

He said that I was trouble. That there was probably a curse about me.

By then he knew all sorts of special stuff. He was one of the first, one of the greatest new creations of the upwardly mobile phenomenon; an executive life coach! He knew NLP, hypnotherapy, everything about Antony Robbins. He was leading Landmark Forum. He was earning the big bucks, baby, and he was the man behind the men and women who lead some of the world’s largest corporations into levels of ….

Into levels of behaviour that we are all reflecting on today, may not have been exactly safe – or ethical – or sane.

The adulteress and he were pioneering the new wave. Brand development. Motivational speaking. Spiritual leadership. Internet-Melissa-Richardson-2012-150x150based coaching. Community networking… who knows what else… and they still are.

She had her two sons; a Jew’s great satisfaction. She fed them gourmet salmon sandwiches, packed up by house keepers and nannies for their days of privilege at elite schools, and used to gloat and glow to me about their various successes…  until she double-crossed me so obviously that I amputated her from my life. It was what she had been hoping for all along. These patriarchal women are shrewd, make no mistake on that. She cuckooed my own brother out of ‘the family’, and slid the new boys in as eldest, and eventually only children of our dad.

Oh, well, it’s a Jewish Mother thing…” she would say. And I would stare at her, not sure what it meant. She, who had utterly shirked off anything like ever acknowledging that her husband, my undad, had ever brought other children into her life! I just could never ‘get it’. She, who claimed to be a mentor and a life coach, guiding the gifted women of Australia to success. I figured it must have been because we were not Alex-Richardson-150x150Jewish. Because probably Jewish Mothers only loved Jewish children.? The rest could, apparently, go to hell.

And she did everything in her power to send us there. By withering us slowly, from behind.

Once, her parents, at a rare Friday night Jewish supper to which my brother and his wife were invited, asked, with disdain, why the staff were at the table!

“The family’ became quite the tour de force in Australian leadership and influence. Of course they did. They worked the Unilever/ Coca Cola network, the Landmark and Jewish aristocracy, the advertising industry, the PR animal, and surfed the heady wave that was setting up Sydney’s who’s who as one of the world’s most privileged elite, in a city curdling whatever was left of its fair go myth into a split milk of have’s and never will.

They were experts at that. They had already perfectly executed a living example of crucifixion and resurrection in our secret story. They had activated a sort of holy light for their elevation, and made the sacrifice of first borns.

And anti-depressants buoyed the step-dragon, and she guarded her undad bounty, and her sons exiled me as an evil witch, while my cool, surfer brother was filled with lies and stories that almost tore us apart.

She beautifully executed the theatre that made our undad the perfect son on Sydney – and of every city that loses its soul. He was the Cain of Australia. He had fulfilled his lifelong dream of wealth by agreeing to scatter the ashes of his one true love’s dignity, and his daughter’s destiny, to the desert winds – and he scrubbed his hands with money.

Still… all was not lost. In the perfect magick of life’s great beauty, the big waves I was surfing eventually washed me up on the shores of Australia’s oldest and most secret of national treasures. I moved to a remote cottage in a National Park, and began to do my laundry. It was tough, dark rowing. The seas inside me were writhing with untold stories, were gargoyled with unspoken pain.

I walked. I walked ancient trails I did not know were working their old magic, well alive beneath my feet. I swam. I swam ancient waters I did not know were ceremonial tides for grieving. I climbed. I climbed weathered granite, sandstone, waterfalls and plateaus that I did not know were healing places of grand, old Aboriginal sacredness that not only heard my tales, but knew the medicine in them, and the great privilege of baring that.

I lived alone there for five years. I worked the dirty laundry in my story. I did the long slow labour of rubbing against sorrow, depression, shame, outrage and longing that the sparkling new culture – muddled with by self helpers, motivators and life coaches – had no language for at all.

I sat under stars. I sat under bent old she oak. I sat under angophra. Cumulus. Sandstone caves and fig. One day, an Aboriginal man drove down my drive in a battered black Valiant and knocked on my door. He had stained trackie pants, food in his beard and a dark mouth with holes knocked in it.

He was Uncle Max Harrison, the last surviving elder of the Yuin people – massacred off this land, hunted to extinction and stolen from their parents in the terrible rites of Australian story. He had come to move in. He had come to teach country.


He had come to give secrets. About the making of earthlings, and the secret wisdom of this great living library, his mother; Australia.

He had been waiting for me, he said. He had been wondering what the fuck I was doing, alone in big country, with no one to make me.

And so it began.

The story that I had been made fit for – the one I teach now, and which carries the antidote to all the cruel rites of a culture that makes heroes of villains, and silences all of its tenderest souls.

Uncle Max Harrison brought the whole world alive. He taught me to be grateful, not for those things I dreamed of, but for that which had dreamed me to life. He ordered pizza. He drank diet Pepsi. He summoned whales from the water, legends from trees, apparitions from rocks and codes from the strangled streams and middens he knew how to sing up.

He introduced me to a world unseen. To gods in plain sight. He kindled little fires, and wrapped red ribbons about me. He sang in language – the medicine of ancient walkers. He applauded my grief, and my outrage – he ate all my food.

He made me an Australian, in ways I had longed for. He said; this land is alive. This land it is waiting. He said; child of mine, you have earned the real passage of coming – you have walked the weeping way; the way of the land. You are come here to teach it, so stand up girlchild! and know this forever: you are the daughter of country, there’s no gift more noble.

So, go! Find the keepers of this, and walk steady with pride, for you are not made of only this story, but of all the living things – tree, ant, willy wagtail and water… your father is everywhere, and your Mother, rockfast behind you.













29 thoughts on “Daddy’s Little Secret

  1. I’ve only just started to read this and have read other things you’ve wrote. Come and visit us, if only for kindred souls to meet. Ask Seagull how to find us.

  2. Jade – always intrigued to see what you you have to say. and how you say it! this one feels pretty foundational and, to me, a sense of illumination on the tone of other pieces I’ve read from you. I hope that putting it out like this conjures some goodness & relief into the part of you (and your family) that still experiences this pain.

    thank you!

  3. You Ms Jade

    Are the most amazing writer I know.
    Thankyou so much for sharing that of the Undad

    I too have an undad who my miraculous mother stayed with for 34 years before the sizzling big D came along

    I was 4 when I looked at mother thinking what the hell are you doing with thia man

    He is a misogynist and not so unlike Donald Trump with his mannerisms

    I had compassion because I believe he may have been tampered with by illustrious housemasters when sent to boarding school at 5

    Made him a power freak deriving pleasure from women and power

    His last words to me
    2 cm from my face were who the hell wpuld want you

    So yeah a few father and mother sounds

    I feel better if I can love my undad
    But I don’t think i can
    And he knows it

    I opened floodgates on his affairs and adultery and condoms left in my house

    Which of course were all lies

    It nearly costly my life

    I became unwell

    And eve today

    In this moment it almost has

    Yet anyway

    Your writing is so miraculously beautiful and wise

    Thank God books were your refuge

    And not cutting or drugs or heroine or stealing or being a c…t like you may well have been

    Your sapiosexual intelligence
    Is honestly one of my reasons to stay in this fucked up at times selfish world


    Just wanted to say thanks

    Your writing is the best I know

    All I have
    Anna x

  4. Jade I find your story unbelievable amazing writing. We were here plodding along with our lives and your mum you and Lane were going through the horror of a most terrifying time for years and years with a lost childhood and your poor mum made to feel like she was nothing while your dad was with his monster of a women being henpecked and taking everything he could to live in his materialistic new world well life works in a way we will never understand but Kalmar has a way of happening when you turn your back on your responsibility and hurt people for your own bread. I have seen it many many times. Even people who have caused unhappiness who have not meant to do so it cannot escape the cause and effect of universal law. I am so glad you came through it all and made a life for yourself. Lane as well. Your mum moved away from Sydney and is a successful happy women inspite of everything that has happened. My love to you all. Sharon Napolitano xxx

  5. Thanks for sending me a connection to this Jade. I had no idea. Its  transforming to know your story in a way I could not have imagined previously.

    x Linzi

  6. Jade, like Linzi, I had no idea – of the scope of your story. You’d given me little hints, in the too few chats that we’ve had, and I had surmised some, but nothing like this. Wow! xx

  7. Thank you,
    You’re an amazing writer.
    This story came at a good time, my own story is somewhat similar, both past and present.
    I have two children of my own, but my ex has turned into your undads Jewish wife. It’s tough but I’m trying. I’ve inherited my father’s use of alcohol and that kept me afloat for years but also kept me stuck.
    Two nights with mother Aya 2,5 years ago and my habit was miraculously gone. The rest of the habits, thought patterns, those forced upon us at an early age to be able to cope and survive, are no easy thing to un-do and change..

    I really appreciate your writing,
    Thank you from Sweden

  8. such a heroic tale! I think I see wings growing behind you :0 !! ❤

    On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 10:10 AM Passionfruitcowgirl wrote:

    > passionfruitcowgirl posted: ” My father died in the summer of 1984. At > least, it was some time around then. There was no funeral. No grave. It was > like nobody really noticed. My brother and I went to school that day, and > the day after. Our father died on a rainy night in Sydney,” >

  9. Thank you so much for writing this message to me.
    I totally ‘get’ whatIt you’re saying,
    Interesting, perhaps, I did truly find that when I deliberately let go of a few very minor little habits that had kept me cycling back toward misery, anguish and overwhelm about all of this, the hooks of the story really did loosen their grip, and I was able to sort of hiccup it out.
    It was a lot less trauamtic than I thought it was going to be, and even though it did get me up at 3am to ‘deliver’ it, it was a very easy birth, and I feel a lot better now its out… and I am very lucky that my close family as so patient and wide-hearted about the process…. I guess they’ve had a few decades living with me to practice handling ‘big stories’.
    I wish you joy!

  10. Thank you.
    That’s probably a very good take on the whole thing.
    And yes.. I actually feel a whole lot more skippety now that’s out and free to do what it wants in the blue sky, and not in the delicate places inside me, which are never equipped to handle Big Stories of granite and knifeblade in silence.
    I do appreciate your comments here, thank you.

  11. Wow. Todavia estoy llorando. There are a few people I know for who this story will be pura medicina! I awoke this morning thinking of a certain teaching; I contemplated what triggered it so strongly. I realized a longing to empower the downtrodden noble hearts all too willing to forgive the oppressors, and the cruel. Upon reading this tale, and seeing the recentness of its publication, I understood; the time of Justice is truly at hand.

    “The foundation of the Kingdom of God is laid upon justice, fairness, mercy, sympathy and kindness to every soul. Then strive ye with heart and soul to practice love and kindness to the world of humanity at large, except to those souls who are selfish and insincere. It is not advisable to show kindness to a person who is a tyrant, a traitor or a thief because kindness encourages him to become worse and does not awaken him. The more kindness you show to a liar the more he is apt to lie, for he thinks that you know not, while you do know, but extreme kindness keeps you from revealing your knowledge.” -Abdu’l-Baha (Baha’i World Faith p. 413)

  12. Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful reply also… I hope this story does do something toward supporting others who wrestle with ‘invisible’ violence and the horror of indifference. I am fascinated with your post here – is this the actual quote from the Bible? Probably not. Perhaps it was at one time? It seems to me, that deleting the caveat here, EXCEPT … is such a cunning and clever way to cause good people to collapse their boundaries and also set up scenarios where unacceptable or cruel or negligent behaviour is normalised. Society has been ramming it at us that we must forgive, always, in order to heal. But this is simply not true. We need much more conversation on this, and the spectrum of ways to deal with abuse. I think the entire culture needs to deal with this, on a variety of levels. Best wishes to you.

  13. Hola. Muchas Gracias ha usted por su valor, y aqui estoy para servir.

    Just in the little I have read, you are a serious warrior and champion for truth. All too rare in this hyper “politically correct”, feel good New Age paradigm of “love, unity, and peace”, at the expense of bold truth and accountability.

    The quote is from a compilation of the Holy Writings known as “Baha’i World Faith”. This particular fragment is by Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’u’llah.

    What you say about society “ramming it at us that we must forgive, always, in order to heal” is, in my sincere assessment, as a spiritual guide and medicine man, a half-truth invented by the forces of oppression.

    How can a blind forgiveness and mercy be in accord with a heavenly and divine Justice, most especially where innocence are implicated?! Untenable. And God, the Creator of life, who for love created humans, is the most Just.

    In my personal experience, and what I teach to others, is that ONLY the Creator of life can truly forgive, and it is to that Great Spirit we must each individually appeal for pardon and forgiveness. At the human level, forgiveness is for our own sake; to not carry the burden of a cross (anger, resentment, cynicism, victim consciousness) that would warp our humanity into something less noble and dignified, and prevent us from realizing our highest divine potential.

    In every case that I can attest to, the *noble* heart much more readily ‘forgives’ others, than it forgives itself.

    By and far the most difficult circumstances around forgiveness and healing that I know of through personal experience and through observation in patients, is the relationship between parent and child. The debt a child owes to a parent for bringing them into the world of being is unmatched; the cord is unseverable. And if the child should rise up to be of service in the noblest sense, there is no way to avoid being grateful to those who gave us life. And yet, does this give license to the parents to abuse and violate that innocence, whether through ignorance or malevolence?! By God NO! All are accountable to Justice. All must plumb the depths and polish the mirror of their heart. All must demonstrate a sincere remorse for their shortcomings, and most especially when an innocent has been affected adversely.

    In my experience, parents have a most difficult time demonstrating remorse in regards how their actions have lead to traumas and formative negative programing in their children; often preferring to hide away the truth as a “dirty little secret”, or creative reconstruction of the historical facts, or sweeping it all under the carpet and turning a page as if it is all cleaned up and a fresh new day, or patent denial. And when that doesn’t work, well there is always alcohol or “big pharma” to thank for anti-depressants to numb it all away.

    It is a tragic situation which I find to be of epidemic proportions in the world at this time. Presently, what I have observed repeatedly is that the “baby boomer” generation is one of the most culpable in this regard (as parents), being one of the most narcissistic, rapacious, fearful, adulteress, hypocritical, duplicitous, lying, self-interested, traitorous demographics in modern history.

    What the solution to this situation is, I don’t fully know. I sense a divine intervention necessary to break the vicious cycle. A profound accounting to a Divine Justice. I see it underway as we speak as Religious institutions, Hollywood, the United Nations, the Clinton Foundation, to name but a few are all presently undergoing investigations for pedophilia and/or sex trafficking; (admittedly extreme expressions in the broad spectrum of violence and abuse of the innocent).

    In the meantime, my guidance tells me to pray… not for a blind forgiveness; but for each individual to be brought into those circumstances that no longer permits them from escaping direct and personal accountability, and will hopefully lead each soul – either by bending the knee willingly, or being broken at the knee by a superior force – to remorse and a plea to the Creator for sincere pardon and forgiveness.


    I leave you with these quotes:

    “Thus when Christ said: “Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the left one also,”[1] it was for the purpose of teaching men not to take personal revenge. He did not mean that, if a wolf should fall upon a flock of sheep and wish to destroy it, the wolf should be encouraged to do so. No, if Christ had known that a wolf had entered the fold and was about to destroy the sheep, most certainly He would have prevented it.
    [1 Cf. Matt. 5:39.]

    As forgiveness is one of the attributes of the Merciful One, so also justice is one of the attributes of the Lord. The tent of existence is upheld upon the pillar of justice and not upon forgiveness. The continuance of mankind depends upon justice and not upon forgiveness. So if, at present, the law of pardon were practiced in all countries, in a short time the world would be disordered, and the foundations of human life would crumble.”

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 269)

    “To recapitulate: the constitution of the communities depends upon justice, not upon forgiveness. Then what Christ meant by forgiveness and pardon is not that, when nations attack you, burn your homes, plunder your goods, assault your wives, children and relatives, and violate your honor, you should be submissive in the presence of these tyrannical foes and allow them to perform all their  271  cruelties and oppressions. No, the words of Christ refer to the conduct of two individuals toward each other: if one person assaults another, the injured one should forgive him. But the communities must protect the rights of man. So if someone assaults, injures, oppresses and wounds me, I will offer no resistance, and I will forgive him. But if a person wishes to assault Siyyid Manshadi,[1] certainly I will prevent him. Although for the malefactor noninterference is apparently a kindness, it would be an oppression to Manshadi. If at this moment a wild Arab were to enter this place with a drawn sword, wishing to assault, wound and kill you, most assuredly I would prevent him. If I abandoned you to the Arab, that would not be justice but injustice. But if he injure me personally, I would forgive him.”
    [1 A Bahá’í sitting at the table.]

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 270)

  14. Oh Bohique thankyou

    So much resonates especially with rehatda to parent child dynamic and the baby boomers generation being unconscious to the narcissism they create and the payback dynamic of respect elders and be grateful or else

    I’ll numb you with pharmaceuticals to shut you up

    However it is pointless in me saying that as my parents
    Father narcissist
    Mother passive and enabler kind heart but had her SET WAYS
    AS I have to pray and change

    Needing to hear anything of the God law at the moment as society seems hellbent on dividing us

    And as a single
    Sometimes strong female
    Some collective understanding and kindness would be good right about now


    Bahai Faith is good and solid. Some old clients were bahai and lovely souls.

    (Oops now I’m compartmentalsiing)

    Thanks jade.
    Best writer. X

  15. Yeah Jade. Reading this I understand more of the wild raging of my own children against their “undad”. Thanks. Good stuff. xx

  16. So beautifully written! I hate your dad and I hate the Jewish cow who stole your dad from you. I am sick of people like him and her, fake, greedy and ugly in soul ruling the roost. I feel so sad and sorry for your mum, you and your brother. I wish I could take it all away. And I hate Coca Cola and Unilever too. Only ever known cunts to work for those 2 companies anyway. And Sidney is ruled by pedo illuminaties. Bless you love xx

  17. What you can describe with words is truly wordless, nestled in the feeling realm ubiquitously. And yet, you do it anyways, with graceful skill, and space for the ripple to roll through the reader, unhinged.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and your art of your story, for others to grow with.

    I’ve not read a depiction of family separation, devastation, which touches me directly as this one has. Deeply painful, yet simultaneously, freeing. Will be feeling the reflections of it for a while. 🙏🏼💗

  18. Also, thank heavens and the earth for Uncle Max. I’m grateful you’ve had that experience, for your own healing and that which you choose to share with others. 🙏🏼💗

  19. Incredible…moving… thank you (which sounds wishy washy, but in my heart it feels fierce and wild).

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