This is the title of a book that I have written as a tribute to my Step-Father, whom I used to call “Papa”. This book is part of my autobiography, which got written after returning to NZ from my Papa’s funeral in 1984. It was inspired by a dream that I had just before his death, in which I told him, “Thank You for being My Father”. The First Chapter of the book is titled, “The Dream” is available on my website: www.anneperera.co.nz
My own father, “Thatha” had died on 12th February 1946, when I was around 6 months old. I do not remember him as a person, but only a photo that my mother “Amma” had on her dressing table as I was growing up. From a young age, Amma used to take me to the grave of my father and tell me “This is where your Thatha was buried”. There was a cross with the name S.M. Don Gerard. It was in the cemetery of St Mary’s Church in Egoda-Uyana, Moratuwa. She also used to point to the sky and tell me that he is in heaven. So I grew up thinking that my father lived with God, who, I believed, was in heaven. It gave a lot of comfort to my young heart, knowing that my father and God are together in heaven, looking after me.
After her second husband’s (my Papa’s) death, Amma spent two years with us in New Zealand, first in Masterton (our first home in NZ) and then in Auckland. I used to tease Amma, saying, “Now that you have two husbands in heaven, I wonder which one will come running when you go there.” Amma returned to Sri Lanka, and two years later, she passed away on the 12th February 1989, on
the same day, exactly 43 years after my Thatha’s death. I wondered whether that is the way she answered my question, “ … which one will come running when you go there?”
A friend gave me a wall plaque recently, which says, “Because someone we love is in heaven, there is a little bit of heaven in our home.”