A Shadow Cast


“Are you John Hume’s son?”

They would inquire,
Once they had caught wind of my surname
“I am”
Came the immediate; proud reply.
“Nothing to do with his namesake John Hume up in the North by any chance”
They would pursue.
Both men of peace. Both much respected.

“I worked with your father when he was Hospital Administrator”
“I was in the Civil Defence with your dad”
“I used to work with him in the court house”
“Ah, I remember working with John in Kilroy’s”
“Didn’t he do the Mater Hospital Pools?”
“He was a good man. A kind man. Always had time for everybody.
Was an absolute gent. Always got things done. Always had a smile
On his face.”

“Who is this man?” I thought to myself
This man they call John Hume
The man with a plan
This man of whom they speak
With such fondness and high regard.
With veneration almost
As though he were a saint
To be revered.
A giant among men
Chosen to walk among us mere mortals
Without equal.
Yet treating everyone equally
Such high standards
Such lofty heights
Such charm and charisma.
I did not really know this man
Nor he me.
He was a stranger to me.
And I to him.
A mystery wrapped in an enigma.
Not a patch on him
Yet cut from his cloth
So something of him
Must have rubbed off on me
Right?!

Yet he loved me unconditionally
Encouraged my talents
Embraced the path I chose to walk,
Even though it wasn’t pensionable
Nor secure
Walking the extra mile with us all
Bending over backwards to support
Always expressed his pride in me,
Via our mutual translator:
My mum. His wife.
He said to her
“I wish I had Ken’s way with words”
I said to her
“I wish I had my dad’s way with people”

You cast a large shadow over us all dad
Spreading far back into a time before I began
Before I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye
Comforting and warm as a thick blanket
Suffocating and inspiring in equal measure.
Your name carried so much substance
And character. Had a gravity to it
So loaded with expectation and history
That I sometimes stumbled under its weight
A weight that I’m only now learning to carry
And embrace.

A rich tapestry of experiences
Sewn together by the same name
By the same man. Bound
Together forever by
The same man’s sorrow
Which made one family, two.
One family’s loss
Became another families birth
Multiplying his legacy
And casting his shadow
Way beyond what he could
Have ever imagined.

Written by Ken Hume
09/10/2015
Copyright of Ken Hume 2015

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