Thank You for being my father
This book is written as a tribute to my stepfather who played a key role in directing my life. I lost my own father when I was only 6 months old. My mother re-married when I was 12 years old. I felt utterly rejected and wanted to commit suicide. In the end, the nurturing and understanding nature of my stepfather helped not only to overcome my negative feelings, but also to accept and appreciate his contribution to my life with extreme gratitude. I thank God for opening my eyes to see what a blessing it was to have had a father figure in my life. Just before his death in 1984, I had a dream in which I told him, ‘Thank You for being my Father.’ In response, he passed on a ‘gift’ to me. It took me years to realise what that gift really meant and I have shared some of it in this book. Many years ago my stepfather also passed on to me his own life story hand-written as Sinhalese poems (kavi), to be made available to the next generation. This book has provided a platform for me to present them as an appendix. I hope this book will be a blessing not only to those involved in step-relationships, but to all who take time to browse through it.
The Story behind the Book
Not being able to tell my stepfather in person, what I had told in my dream, “Thank you for being My Father,” made me very sad. I attended his funeral in Sri Lanka and returned to New Zealand with a grief stricken heart. As a means of overcoming my grief, I started writing what he had meant to me. This got written as and when I felt like writing. It was some form of therapy for me. Little by little what got written into thirteen chapters was a part of my own story and that comprises part one of this book. The fact that my own mother passed away exactly on the same day forty three years after the death of my own father made a good ending to this part of the book and helped create the boundary.
Then I wanted to include pictures in a form that would make it meaningful to a child. Hence the long part two “A Pictorial Memoir of Our Journey.” Most of the people mentioned in this part have played a significant role in the first 65 years of my life. For many years I had wondered what to do with the handwritten “Kavi” style Sinhalese poems covering his life story that my stepfather had entrusted me to pass on to the next generation. This book provided me with a platform to introduce them to an audience. However, it is with some mixed feelings that I have done so, Thanks to Ven. Chandawimala of Lankaramaya in Auckland, New Zealand for typing them in Sinhala script to include as an appendix in this book.
Once I had compiled the four parts of the book, I was keen to get it published, at least to leave it for my extended family members to know my story when I am gone from this world. However, several of my friends said that they would love to read my story if one day I happen to publish. It was during this time that I met Andrew Killick, of Castle Publishing Ltd at a workshop of the Christian Writers Guild, New Zealand. He was willing to look at my manuscript. I was further encouraged when he quoted me a price for getting it done. It was a lovely journey via internet, going back and forth, though we were in two different cities of New Zealand – Tauranga and Auckland.
I was really intrigued by Andrew’s selection of the cover picture, with no influence from me what so ever. Very meaningful as it was where the Chapter titled, “Marriages are Made in Heaven” came alive. It was so good to couple that with some Sinhala script to add some exotic flavor into the cover design by Jeff Tebbutt of Roll Creative. It was exciting to see all these coming together to organize a book launch the day after my 65th birthday!! A couple of weeks after that, I was off to Tanzania on a project sponsored by Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), New Zealand