posted on August 19, 2008 at 4:20 am

got the disturbing news my daughter elli is back in hospital
i feel so powerless
and although i love her so dearly
being the most like me of all my kids
and i
still being a kid myself in so many ways
we clashed a little during her time here
over a lot of the usual teen-olde guy malarkey
elli thinks im a scruffy old bohemian ratbag
she doesnt care that i wrote some song last century
i’m just a bit of a hopeless case to her
and before you protest
oh i’d love to have a dad like you
ive been absent
ive been an addict
ive been unreliable
plus the fact that i’m a moody son of a bitch
and it dont all add up to father christmas
elli is so like me
that we almost became opposites
no me being in the church means nothing to her
she’d rather i had a proper job and wore nice clothes
shes over the bricklayer look in spades
shes bloody beautiful
shes bloody intelligent
shes got everything
including this disease getting at her all the time
shes 17
her sister started their new school yesterday
ellis in hospital getting lumbar punctures and dye scans
and i dont know what to say or do
except wring my hands and feel demoralized
everything is so complicated between us
i never wanted this stand off
but its like …..
lets face it all my relationships are fraught with this….
everybody is always slightly disappointed me
i can see why too
but with elli being so very much like me
it makes it all so hard to understand
like fighting with an aspect of yerself
a cruel beautiful female seventeen year old aspect
with a swedish accent and a haughty manner
and now shes sick
and i want to wrap my arms around her
like any father would
and there is this distance
this distance….
not merely physical
an estrangement or something…
i just wanted to tell the world
how much i love that young woman…

46 Responses to “gravitas”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 August 2008 at 5:06 am #

    Steve,I feel for you and send much love and sunshine to you and yours!

  2. avatar
    matt davison | 19 August 2008 at 5:16 am #

    Oh’ Sk…. I wish I could a sold ten thousand of those bloody dvd’s so I could send you and NK over to Swedlan..

    I really do.


  3. avatar
    the dean | 19 August 2008 at 5:18 am #

    She knows you love her so hang in there a little longer, within a year or so she’ll outgrow the teen/old guy thing. I wish you and your family all the best.

  4. avatar
    Richard | 19 August 2008 at 5:19 am #

    if you’re right about her being just like you I’m sure she already knows, and that she feels the same way

    but just in case, go to her and tell her

    (I’ve brought forward my next paypal contribution in case the fare is a struggle. I’m sure some others here will do the same.)

  5. avatar
    linjo | 19 August 2008 at 5:36 am #

    My dad and I have had the worse arguments and once it even became physical. He can make me so miserable with one critical comment and on the days when he is in a mood, I just have to keep away. But I worship the ground he walks on and I know the feeling is mutual. When he is good, he is very very good, when he is bad he is horrid!
    Anyone with kids can imagine how you are feeling Steve. Hope you can bring us the best news soon. Linda

  6. avatar
    princey | 19 August 2008 at 5:45 am #

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about Elli being sick again, I had a bad feeling you were going overseas bacause of that illness in your family. I hope your visit there will help Elli realise how much you love her and you two can patch-up whatever needs to be patched-up between you.
    All the best to Elli and hope you’ll be ok too sk.
    Take care and love always,

  7. avatar
    princey | 19 August 2008 at 5:53 am #

    P.s. Sk, the Painkiller cd and t-shirt look AWESOME, well done!!!!

  8. avatar
    kat | 19 August 2008 at 6:12 am #

    my best to elli, sk. even though you feel distanced i know there is a bond there.



  9. avatar
    ScaughtFive | 19 August 2008 at 6:26 am #

    Love in all of its forms is imperfect in the material. What’s that Patti Smith song where she sings, “…transcend, transcend”?

    There is always the nexus. Thank you for sharing a thread.

  10. avatar
    Richard | 19 August 2008 at 7:02 am #

    I just re-read my comment above.

    I was assuming (from comments here in the past few days) that you have already decided to go o/s and that any contributions would therefore be especially welcome.

    If I’m wrong about your intentions then my comment may have seemed presumptuous. Sorry if that’s how it came across.

  11. avatar
    verdelay | 19 August 2008 at 7:10 am #

    fire above and lake below
    this constitutes the image of contrariety
    in the same way, the noble man differentiates among things while remaining sensitive to their similarities

  12. avatar
    ...being here, doing this... | 19 August 2008 at 7:16 am #

    “everybody is always slightly disappointed me”


    everybody is always slightly disappointed (in) me?

    everybody (has) always slightly disappointed me?


    the first is beyond your control
    the expectations of others
    are issues
    for them to address

    the second is within your power
    overcome the powerlessness of judging
    by dropping


    sending love and healing energy
    to all

  13. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 19 August 2008 at 7:26 am #

    Polydora, I envy you…

    The guy was and is vaslty underrated in my book. Unfortunately most people only seem to know the rather scmaltzy ballad Longer, but he was SO MUCH more than that. Just listen to Loose Ends and Sketches (off Nether Lands), Beggar’s Game (off Phoenix), As The Raven Flies (off Souvenirs), In The Passage, Times Like These and Ghosts (off The Innocent Age, and Tuscon Arizona (off Windows And Walls) to name a few.
    Sorry, Steve – no more Dan Fogelberg, I promise.

  14. avatar
    boogered | 19 August 2008 at 7:31 am #

    man, this sucks. both the sickness of Elli and the relationship you have with her currently.

    i know sickness guy, i’ve been in the hospital like 3 months of my life, about 7-8 times for days at a time here and there, psychosis’, addictions, eye operations (4), broken bones, and my sister who is 44 has Lupus and is so sick all the time but she is also so brilliant, top of her field in the nation, awarded writing/journalism awards left/right and center over the years. but lately she is getting sicker…hope she gets better..

    I know how it feels to be running from Doc to Doc, trying to find one with all the answers…i know what it feels like when someone so close is also so far away. My sis lives thousands of miles away. Her and I are like oil and water. She lives in this spiritual void, not believing in anything except what cure may lie in her future..because of her illness she questions and doubts anything that isn’t making her feel and be better…

    there are so few families that do not have any illness with them at any given time….

    I wish Elli all the best.

    don’t worry
    send all the good vibes only. stop sending spells out…spells are bad dude…they can come back to what you love to hurt you. no magician is immune…just because you have seen the results of your spells doesn’t mean that you have won any battles. end all wars…live complete peace, make amends. we are all connected, send peace to all
    peace out…

  15. avatar
    ScaughtFive | 19 August 2008 at 7:32 am #

    Hey, what that being it doing it dood said is true. Yer a gentlemen drude and if you just keep your periscope above the waves, trust the current.

  16. avatar
    melissa | 19 August 2008 at 7:50 am #

    sending my best too, I hope that everything will be o.k and that Elli will get better soon


  17. avatar
    PAGEY | 19 August 2008 at 7:51 am #

    Steve, i remember reading about this here weeks and weeks ago. Again, hope she gets through it to a better state of health!

    And relationships with parents are never perfect. She grew up in an unknown household and who knows why she feels the way she does about you and for what reasons. You are a good man (for a hippie renaissance man!!)
    Keep humored. You believe in Karma so don’t feel like anything is your doing. Just be yourself and nothing else!

    Love ya mate!

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 August 2008 at 8:01 am #


    Godspeed for recovery and reconcilliation. Kids are everything!

    Big love to you and yours. Harry

  19. avatar
    Melby Symon | 19 August 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Steve…my thoughts are with you.

    I feel the pain and anguish in your words…the sadness at not being able to do…or say something …or make something happen that will help. It’s the curse of males to feel so “lost” at times like this.

    Peace be with you.

  20. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 19 August 2008 at 11:34 am #

    my god steve i feel for you…elli will be ok…
    i know exactly how you feel…my mum has come home from hospital today after having her ovaries and fallopian tubes out and part of her bowel removed…she rang me up and said three words that you never want to hear from a loved one…i have cancer…
    she’s going to need chemotherapy and there’s not a fucking thing i can do about it…
    god, man, she’s my mum, she’s not supposed to get stuff like this…
    love always…

  21. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 19 August 2008 at 11:38 am #

    “i just wanted to tell the world
    how much i love that young woman”

  22. avatar
    nickp | 19 August 2008 at 11:42 am #

    So sorry to hear that your daughter is unwell again. I send all my best wishes and positive thoughts for good health from the UK to Sweden.

  23. avatar
    matthew | 19 August 2008 at 1:14 pm #

    Steve, all my best wishes and encouragement… I so understand that distance issue. Take care, my prayers for Elli to get well soon too.

  24. avatar
    Malika | 19 August 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    Oh dear… I'm tearful & feel so sorry & touched reading this…

    Wish reconciliation & most of all *recovery* to your beloved daughter.

    *Love & hugs* to you SK & take care,


  25. avatar
    Lian | 19 August 2008 at 1:53 pm #

    Steve, Elli will be OK, dont worry too much.

    As for you… I guess I wanna say, yes…you are! 😉

  26. avatar
    tongue-tied | 19 August 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    I can never articulate how I feel at times like this. But I’m thinkin about ya both, man.

  27. avatar
    veleska1970 | 19 August 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    this made me cry, steve. as i've mentioned before, your relationship with your teenaged daughter is very normal and typical. speaking as a former teenaged daughter myself, i can tell you that your baby girl loves you with ALL her heart. girls always do battle with their fathers. it's that awful growing-pains-independence thingy that all teenagers have to go through, and unfortunately it's just as painful for you as the parent, too. don't beat yourself up for what you have/haven't done. it's irrelevant. trust me, your relationship WILL improve.

    and right now feeling helpless is normal, too. i know that if you were able, you'd trade places with her in a heartbeat. but she'll be alright.

    i'm a firm believer in prayer. i've said some for her and for you and your family. <3

    lotza love…..

  28. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 19 August 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    Big time prayers for Sk’s daughter and SK !

  29. avatar
    eek | 19 August 2008 at 3:53 pm #

    i just wanted to tell the world
    how much i love that young woman…

    And you most certainly have. It’s just so eloquent and so very heartfelt anyone who reads it will feel your love. I’m also pretty sure Elli knows you love her dearly, but keep telling her anyway. It’s always good to know your parents love you — even if one of them is “a scruffy old bohemian ratbag.” 😉

    My thoughts are with you, Elli, and everyone who loves both of you.

  30. avatar
    fantasticandy | 19 August 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    stuck for words……….

    this is life.
    maybe love will help fix things..
    if so,
    the kilbeys have a better chance than most.
    my very best wishes,

  31. avatar
    Fireseed | 19 August 2008 at 5:08 pm #


    so sorry to hear elli’s not well

    my thoughts and prayers are with you

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 August 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    will say a prayer for you both..

    jeffrey k.

  33. avatar
    Altres | 19 August 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    Steve, sorry to hear about the distance between you both at this time. When I’m feeling remote from my own daughters, I try to remember the first moment I held them and the overwhelming wave of life that passes over at that instance. One day soon she will be better, much better, and I’m sure you’ll both remember everything that is, rather than what was.

    My Daughter After an Illness

    Today she is the saint of distance
    watching the land run full tilt
    away from her, off the edge of itself.
    She throws her hands like paper
    into the wind and they are held there
    by some sort of miracle.
    Seriously she blesses the birds
    with what she has heard in church:
    “And now in the name of Him,
    who is able to keep you from falling….”
    That’s all she remembers of it.

    In an hour the sky will drop
    around us. She doesn’t care
    that what I own can’t go as far
    as she sees. The fences are lost
    in grass I haven’t mowed in a month.
    I don’t care either. Today it is good
    to have a child, to be part of something
    unselfish, moving in as many directions as air.

    by Keith Ratzlaff


  34. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 August 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Sage is burned in offering to the spirits and my thoughts and prayers are with your family SK..
    Be strong, be patient, be love..

    jaime r………

  35. avatar
    steve kilbey | 19 August 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    spoke to ellis mum yesterday
    elli is coming home from hospital today
    altho no one is sure what exactly is going wrong
    i thank you dearly my friends for your well wishes
    will keep you all posted of any new developments

  36. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 August 2008 at 9:53 pm #

    My thoughts, prayers, and many healing vibes are sent your daughter’s way for her immediate recovery.

    Tampa, Fl

  37. avatar
    CSTCoach | 19 August 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    hey brother,

    just back from several weeks offline in europe w/ scott sonnon. i’m really really sorry to hear that elli is ill again. if there’s anything at all that i can possibly do, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    don’t sweat the teenage years stuff. i was terrible as a kid but was very close to my dad, especially after those years. no one values their folks very much at that age. that perspective doesn’t come for a few more years. i think it’ll be the same for you. Only when we grow old enough to empathize and put ourselves in perspective can we take that angle with others.

    you’re both in our thoughts, for whatever that’s worth.


  38. avatar
    freddy mercurial | 19 August 2008 at 11:52 pm #


    Thinking about your daughter and sending good wishes her way.

    Freddy Mercurial

  39. avatar
    GroovyDaddy | 20 August 2008 at 12:56 am #

    From one father of a daughter to another, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    All my best wishes for Elli’s speedy recovery.

    John L. Micek

  40. avatar
    veleska1970 | 20 August 2008 at 1:40 am #

    oh, that’s good she’s going home, steve. that’s always a good sign.

    still sending good vibes her way…

  41. avatar
    damien | 20 August 2008 at 5:44 am #

    My thoughts are with you, Steve.

  42. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 August 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    They tell me that they grow out of this faze… 17 yo daughters are a mindfuck. Mine doesn’t even return calls much unless she is trying to convince me to buy her a car (which will solve all her problems)… I hope “they” are right and this fatherly agony will pass… good thoughts headed your way… perhaps one day they will realize how much their fathers love them… it is discouraging sometimes and it hurts…

    Oh.. And anthanasiuspernath after seeking professional counsel I’ve been assured I’m not quite that bald yet… furthermore and I was going for more of a Kenny Rodgers, Ernie Hemmingway, Margaret Thatcher Cocktail with the beard, which I was told last night by a highly respected stripper in Moline IL is “damn Sexxxy“… just wanted to be friendly and clarify the obvious…


  43. avatar
    nickfiction | 20 August 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    my my sk , i hope she reads that …..all my best…… NF

  44. avatar
    don joe | 20 August 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    damn Steve,….been a while since i cried…….. that was beautiful; wishing a lot of that love through the ether to Elli

    don joe

  45. avatar
    Polydora | 20 August 2008 at 8:18 pm #

    I am incredibly sorry for the two of you and your predicament. I hope you both find the healing you need, physically, emotionally, spiritually — on whatever levels and in whatever ways you need it.

    Estrangement… is a difficult, heavy mantel.

    I bid you and yours and us all understanding, love, compassion, health, prosperity and peace from the depth of my heart. I do.

  46. avatar
    Melquiades | 22 August 2008 at 3:31 am #

    Eli should read this.

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