The Soul Food Cafe
is dedicated to the memory of my father
Colin James Goodwin

Born January 13th 1921 - Died September 24th 1998

and to my mother
Dorothy Jean Goodwin
who both encouraged me to reach for the stars

Dorothy and Colin Goodwin

Colin James Goodwin

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The following reading, was written and read by Heather Lorraine Blakey to provide comfort at the service of thanksgiving for the life of 
her father, Colin James Goodwin.

Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you...

Since my father died so suddenly on the Werribee Golf Course last Thursday my family have had to face a throng of emotions that come when you are not able to say your final farewells. Yet sudden death brings comforts of its own. As we gathered around Mum, Dad's partner of 56 years we each drew comfort from their marriage and the fact that Dad was 

  • playing the game he loved
  • had no knowledge that death was following him down the second hole
  • had been laughing and joking with his golfing partners about the football
  • did not collapse from exhaustion
  • had been spared the suffering that would have come if he had been rendered inactive.
We cried and laughed and told stories at Dad's expense. We drew comfort from each other, from time spent together in joyous celebration, time to make sense of it all - to see Dad's death as part of the natural order of things.

Yet as nature's anesthetic wore off and the harsh reality that Dad was never coming home confronted us we each had to face the inevitable grief and floods of emotion that the grief process demands. There are no easy shortcuts.

As a writer and a teacher of language I know the power of narrative to heal. I know that my mental health depends on the way I tell my story. So as I prepared for today; my final opportunity to publicly farewell my father and celebrate the marriage of which I was born, I searched for words from great writer's to help me tell my story and gain comfort and strength.

My father believed that as long as he lived in our memories he would have immortality.
Let not your heart be troubled: believe also in me
As I watered my father's vegetable garden on Friday morning I believed him; I believed that he would live on in my heart forever. I saw our shared passion for living things and gave thanks. I resolved to plant roses for him and to make a private place that I could go when I needed to be with him. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, you may be also.

Dad whither thou goest; how can I know the way?
You have another comforter, that may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth shall be in you. The world seeth me no more; but ye see me. Because I lived ye shall live also.

Of course! My father has taught me so many things that I remember. Why only last Monday I went with him and my mother to the Tulip farm and I smile now at the memory of him telling self serve customers that they should buy the flowers that had not opened yet or that they would get little long term pleasure from them.

There is a vast mansion in my psyche, a treasure house that my father has helped to stock with symbols and memories. I can go to that mansion, with many rooms, at any time if I want to find him. When I am there I am reminded that I only live because my father lived before me - that my father has given me commandments that I must honor; that it is he who has helped prepare a place for me.

I will find him for the has told me the way. I have a comforter. If I need to be consoled I know that I only have to call my father's name and he will come to me. If I feel lost and lonely I know that I can stand in the garden and talk to my father. If I am not sure how to act my father will help me decide what to do. If I ask anything of my father he will do it, just as he has always done so. My father will live for eternity in my memory and in the memory of my children.

Verily verily I say unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world giveth I unto you: Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Dad! My heart is not troubled now. I am no longer afraid of death. I am in you, you are in me and we are in my children.

Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Texts. St John 14 and William Shakespeare