“My father, the forecaster”, by Wendy Winn, describes her father’s preparations, almost as if he knew what was coming, and of how his illness pushed her mother to tap new wells of strength.
“It scanned and rhymed perfectly, quite apart from being very heartfelt and [containing] sentiments, which I could identify with,” Leapa committee member Barbara Hall said during the prize-giving at the European Foyer on Monday 24 June.
Winn, who works for a European institution and hosts “Happy Hour”, a weekly programme on Ara Radio, said the sonnet was written for her father, who is a weatherman, and who moved himself and Winn’s mother into a gated community.
She said: “He [her father] had a stroke and lost the ability to read, it was like one step down. Then he had another stroke, it was a second step down and then a third. Since January, it has been difficult. But it’s true what I said, it’s almost as if he planned it. In the last few years, my mum has had to step up. My mum has always been a strong person, she’s a pilot, she was a great role model for me, I admire her a lot. But you can quickly grow dependent on someone to do things. And then the retirement. My dad is 10 years older, he did everything, he drove, he did the banking and all that sort of stuff. Because of this situation, she has become little by little stronger. It did seem to me in a way that it was part of his plan.”
My father, the forecaster
My dad forecast and planned well from the start
We had all that we needed and much more
Not things, but things in which we placed great store.
He’s been our shelter, heated from the heart
Our sure refuge no gust could tear apart.
But storms can worsen, winds whip and rains pour
And hopes be dashed like ships upon the shore.
This dreadful illness blew us all off chart.
No harsher clime, his dimming day by day.
He’s sometimes fair, but bright skies can deceive.
Mom’s changed as well. She’s learning that she is strong.