Maria is a consecutive career chameleon — currently a family lawyer, formerly a history teacher and author of text books. She is a bi-lingual New Zealander of Polish ancestry. The Polish refugee and immigrant past of both her parents motivates her writing memoir.
As we do each anniversary, we gather at your graveside. This year, it is 29 years since you passed. What an unbelievable number of years. I remember every detail of your cancer and death as if it were yesterday, it stays so fresh. We meet — me, daughter Kasia, and the family you never knew, grandson James, and son-in-law Mark. It is a Kazmierow theme - family loss and never knowing those who have departed.
But for those who did not know you Dad, you are alive. By regaling you at our regular birth, death, All Soul’s, and Christmas Day grave side family catchups, updating you on the latest family gossip, we are keeping you close to us. You are the centre of our lives on those days.
But Dad, this year, the spotlight is on you. How did you manage that from the grave after nearly three decades? The boys want to ask, have you and mum, close to you in the ground and beyond, had a chat? You’ve had some secrets (which to be fair, there’s one you may not have known about) but we reckon, you and Mum have to have a talk. A “one-to-one” about my two new older brothers discovered in the last year. You can’t put that off.
My “oldest new brother” Pita is very lovely. He looks just like you, a complete doppelganger. Being part-Polish is really special to him. He’s even in the process of taking on the “Tomasz Kazmierow” name. You both would have loved swimming in the sea and fishing together. Pita is so pleased to have found you. My “younger-older new brother” Dean is a treasure too. Just like you, he loves his politics and history, and is a witty and intelligent conversationalist. Both brothers enjoy gardening also, sharing the family green thumb. It would have been wonderful if you had known them Dad.
You’ll have to tell mum. You can’t keep this quiet any longer! Love you!
Dad, we had a graveside giggle, imagining this heavenly conversation. We lit the candles in the lanterns on your graves, for our family remembering, and left you your flowers.
Just to get you hungry, as you always had a great appetite, we shared with you the menu for the dinner in honour of you tonight – your Death Day dinner, your favourite meal – roast lamb and roast potatoes, peas and gravy, with Edmonds cookbook banana cake to follow. Dad you could be a surprisingly kiwi boy, for a Pahiatua Pole. Followed with a Polish Vodka toast - Zubrowka Bison Vodka of course.
We continue to tease you Dad for your naughty past, previously only hinted at in a very hip photo of you in your twenties. Living up to your “James Dean” period. Channelling leather jacket and jeans, riding your Royal Enfield motorbike, hair brushed back in a “Dean quiff”, with the essential sultry attitude. Too cool, a touch rebel. And now with secrets travelling beyond the grave.
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