Memories of beloved dad are a winner
THE air was thick with family stories when The Observer visited Lyn Stiller at her home at Tannum Sands yesterday.
The triage nurse was planting baby salad greens on her farmhouse verandah with the help of her mother and three-year-old grandson.
Lyn has lived at Tannum for many years and is the winner of The Observer's Your Family Stories competition.
The comp encouraged readers to submit short stories about a key milestone or event in their lives.
The paper received a number of entries to win local author Nicola Davison's new book Your Family Stories and be published in The Observer.
Lyn's winning entry (below) was about the death of her father.
"I think about the loss of dad quite a bit because it was only two years ago," she said.
"We are a pretty close family and it has had a pretty big impact on all of us.
"I just thought 'oh, that is a good family story'.
"It made us closer and it was a good death.
"It felt like it was the right thing to write and is a nice family story."
Nicola is the owner of Forever Young Autobiographies and said she was delighted to present Lyn with a copy of her new book.
"Lyn's story was particularly touching and heartfelt," she said.
"Death is not something we tend to talk about in everyday conversation in our culture.
"I thought her story was a particularly poignant story, straight from the heart and full of love.
"Well done Lyn and well done to everyone who submitted entries. We enjoyed reading them and the opportunity to share them with The Observer readers."
Lyn has never written family stories before but said the prize would be a definite boost.
"I've haven't done any writing in the past. I've only done a bit of study and academic writing," she said.
"I have had thoughts that I should write more and I start well, especially on January 1 each year with resolutions.
"I do have little short stories hanging around. Yes, this book will spur me on to write more."
For writing tips, free training and to find out more about Your Family Stories, go to www.foreveryoungautobiographies.com.
FEELING BLESSED FOR SPECIAL TIMES
DAD. Dear Dad.
You always think, especially when you are younger, that he will always be there.
It is a sad fact that they most probably won't be but take heart, it is not all bad.
There are worse things than living a full long life and then dying in your own home with your family present.
Our family was privileged to be with Dad while he died at home at the age of 85 - two short years ago.
His illness was largely hidden by him for maybe a couple of years.
And he was only bed ridden for the last five weeks or so with loved ones making sure he was comfortable.
I consider this a good death.
Just like a good birth or a good childhood or a good menopause.
It is a stage of life that needs to be faced and all we can hope for is that it is "good".
We got to have some difficult conversations with Dad that, because of our relationship with him, coupled with the reflective and intuitive man that he was, seemed to be very natural.
Things like "what will you miss about me", "how do you think your mother will go without me" and "what advice do you have for me going into the future" were all discussed at length while he lay there.
I wouldn't change a thing, even if I could.
Dad was loved and loved us right to the end.
I cherish the moments we had together as his body wilted and faded, and feel so blessed that we had this special time together.