I remember my grandparents farm from when I was a little pre-teen.
It was a modest little red brick house from what I can remember, in rural Australia.
It even had a windmill and a couple of dams in various paddocks where you could catch Yabbies.
Growing up we used to visit the farm once a year, where possible. I just remember it being so much fun as we got to fly there (due to the fact we lived so far away) and this was when flying wasn’t a very accessible experience.
But I do remember my grandfather teaching us how to ride a horse.
How he would help me carve out a boomerang and teach me to throw it.
He would give me tips on how to kick a football, with plenty of wide open space!
I remember the duties we had to do while on the farm, like collecting eggs fresh from the henhouse, chopping wood and rounding up the cattle to then milk them.
I remember always being told to finish your plate, and if you couldn’t, being reminded that ‘there are people in this world starving and you can’t even finish what you have’.
I remember having most of my Mum’s side of the family together at Christmas, and the house being so full of family. Which was a bit overwhelming sometimes when you come from a family of 4!
And when I was a bit older, I remember him getting me to help him slaughter a sheep so we had meat for a roast… not my most favourite of memories!
Then there was the time that it was so frosty outside, having never seen frost before and I remember being so excited I just had to wake everyone else up to go outside and see it.
But I also remember as I started to hit puberty, some of my first memories about hiding my sexuality are from the farm. Buying the TV Hits magazine (classic sort of teen mag) and pining over the pictures of Devon Sayer or Leo DiCaprio always in secret.
Like everyone I was still very much finding myself over those early years.
I wish I had a chance to have shared the person I am today with him.
I don’t think I ever really understood why we went to the farm as much as we did. But as I learned growing up, it was because my grandfather had liver cancer. But I can’t really remember when I learnt this fact…
I remember the grown ups talking about him being in pain. Then there was also pain when my grandfather finally did pass away, losing his battle with cancer.
I would have only been maybe around 13/14yrs when it happened. And although I remember being so sad that he wasn’t with us anymore, I was confused that I could also feel relief. Relief that he was finally no longer in pain.
But I wouldn’t be who I am today with those experiences.
And even though I lost him when I was young, I still very much feel the grief that he is no longer here.