Walkabout: A Journey of Healing After Dad Died

Walkabout: Journey of Healing
Photo by Robin Matteri Facebook

A documentation of healing, humor and perspectives that define people

Walkabout was a term coined by the Australian Aborigines. It was a reference to a spiritual journey. Many Aborigines sought out spiritual teachings in the landscape of their land and home as a way of finding a “Sacred Belongingness“.

My dad, who thought he pioneered the term, used it to round up his buddies in an attempt to walk “about” the town looking for fun. Today my family and I use the term as a reference to walking “about” the town in search of people, places and things that are important to us as community members.

A few days after Christmas in 2007, my dad passed away suddenly in his home.

He lived in Patterson for 55 years: was an active member of the community and the owner of Patterson Glass. He spent his lunch hours watching The Andy Griffith Show and his evenings laughing with SpongeBob Squarepants.

SpongeBob SquarePants (character)
SpongeBob SquarePants (character) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although he dreamed of living on the beach he knew Patterson was home and he loved it.

After spending some time in Patterson, my eagerness to explore the outside world took over and I parted ways from his community and didn’t return until after his death.

I chose a walkabout that led me straight back to the landscape I had originated from.

So, I began my journey of the walkabout. A rather simple one that solely consisted of walking.

I walked every morning and most afternoons; eager to meet the community; eager to talk to anyone that would listen and eager to embrace and be embraced. It became a ritual of getting to know the people, the places and landscape of the town in an attempt to feel a sense of belonging. As it turned out the city I despised a decade ago would come to surprise me in many ways.

As I walked, I began to make peace. Peace with my dad, peace with the community and peace with the people. And, with peace came confidence; and with confidence came ambition; and with ambition came life and excitement.

The overall pleasantness of the community not only surprised me but also gave me hope.

Family and the pursuit of togetherness and belongingness are essential aspects of life to those who reside here.