Someone called me the other day – her Father In Law had died and she was struggling to help her Husband find words for a eulogy. I duly sent over my own words – with the caveat that just as I’d said, they were relevant and personal to me, my family and my relationship with my Dad, so I didn’t think they’d be that helpful. But still, I’m happy to share what I did say, because anything is better than starting from a blank page. Particularly at a point in your life that’s as hard as this has been for me.
It’s two months today since my Dad died. I’ve spent the day thinking “Is that all?” and “How has it been so long?”.
I cried for the full 40 minute journeys to and from the office today. I did that thing of brushing my hair, snotting into a tissue and some deep breathing before going in. I also sang – no – shrieked – to music at the top of my voice. Yodelling to on George Ezra’s ‘Paradise’ on repeat – life and your bloody veins – that’s life coming your way. I feel so sad. I am aghast that life is carrying on. How is it possible? There was a SATS meeting tonight at the school. It’s surreal sitting there thinking of where my head was two months ago today. I was annoyed – by the night time, I was annoyed. Because I couldn’t go and visit my Dad until the next day, and I wanted to spend time hanging out with him. I did a lot of that, in the days before the funeral. I wasn’t scared of my Dad. I just wanted to be with him. Even though it wasn’t really him any more. Still, I know it’s a personal choice. But anyway, on with the show. Here are the words I said, and sobbed through, on the day of my Dad’s funeral.
How do you condense forty years of loving my Dad into a four minute summary? It’s just not possible. I’ve struggled with what to write, so instead, I’ve written a letter to my Dad – because he’s the one I’d really like to talk with today.
There are just two things I want to say today. Firstly, thank you for being with us. And secondly, to go well.
Thank you for being with us. It’s so strange to have an important day in my life and for you to not be in front of me – in the audience. There were so many times as I grew up, where I’d be embarrassed that you were in the front row. Of course now I’m just so grateful that you and Mum and Stewart were there as often as you were. I make sure I’m always at the front of the queue at school, to be on the front row for our own boys.
There’s so much that I want to say thank you for.
Thank you for teaching us about the importance of love and how to love with an open heart – you have loved us with a strength and consistency that has set the tone for how Stewart and I have gone on to form our own relationships and we will be forever grateful for that.
Thank you for believing in me. You’ve always told me to ‘go for it’. I was worried about going to University – none of us have ever done that so it was a big step twenty years ago, to go for that one. Thank you too, for taking me to one of my finals, when I was so scared to do them.
When I started my first business you said I should go for it, so I did. And then it grew so quickly and it was you who encouraged me again – lending me the money to buy the shed which became the office where my team and I would work. In recent months, I’ve had a real feeling that there’s a plan and purpose in everything – that shed has made it possible for Richard and I to take on Hope House Press. We literally would have had nowhere to put all the machinery and do this, without that shed. It’s an incredible feeling, to know that there’s a purpose to all of this, that it’s all ok – more than ok, that everything is going to be awesome.
You told me as much yourself – it’s all going to be ok. You took my hand on the 28th December and said to me – I’m ok – and then repeated it, just to make sure I heard and understood you. I’m so grateful to you for these moment of connection.
I was worried about going through life and not being understood. Do you remember the phrase in the reading at our wedding about staying open, that lightning could strike. And look Dad, it did. It took a while of waiting, but I now have the friends that I always wanted to have. I’m so pleased that you got to meet some of them.
And of course, you were so right about Richard – my Husband and our boys were worth the wait as well. It feels so good to know that we spoke about all of these things – the value of waiting and allowing the good things to happen.
The second thing I want to say to you today Daddy, is to go well – don’t look back. Wherever you’ve gone on to, I want it to be a place where you find the answers to all the unanswered questions – the big one being, is there really life on other planets? We speculated together so many times on this. And it brings me so much happiness, to feel that you’re somewhere, finally catching a salmon, getting the answers to the questions you’ve always had about life and the universe.
I’m looking forward to our continued conversations, to feeling your presence – it’s such a great feeling isn’t it? Knowing that I can chat and connect with you, wherever I am, as you would say – it’s awesome.
In recent months, we’ve really wrestled with the idea of letting you go Dad, because we wanted you to stay with us. We have loved having you with us. But I’m working on coming to a place of peace with letting you go – if these feelings are the price we’re going to pay, to let you be free of the dementia, then it’s ok and we’ll do it for you. Because I love you and that makes everything ok, doesn’t it?
I’m so looking forward to seeing what comes next for us all Daddy, we will keep going with our chins up, hearts open and ready for the adventures and experiences we’re going to have. To continue a life well lived. Go well Daddy, thank you for being with us.
We love more than all the pebbles on Chesil beach. Wubu.