As on a previous, happier, occasion, I ask for my readers indulgence for this personal post. This was my reading delivered today, 29th January, 2015.
My father once said that he could not understand how people found so much to say at funerals; at his, he said, his life story would be over in just a few lines. Perhaps, here, I will prove him right.
My father used to describe himself as a blessed man — he meant this in a very simple way, which was that he was a happy man, contented with his life and his family. My father did not want for things for physical possessions but he did want to look after the things that he had. He loved to make and build things, to define simple solutions to little problems; his garage has shelves and cupboards that he crafted like a fitted kitchen. He was happiest in his home, in the environment that he had helped to build.
As children, my father would take my brother and I on long cycle rides through the countryside around Worcester on many weekends. In my memory, these rides went on for a long time, though I was young and they cannot have been that far; but they were an enormously exciting adventure. They left me with a love of cycling that I retain to this day. In reality, of course, it was just my dad finding a creative way of getting us out of the house while my mum made dinner.
My father loved to talk with people, to find out how they were. After Sean, my son, was born, my dad spent many hours talking with my Italian father-in-law: first, they waved their hands around; then, after I showed them how, they used my computer to translate, passing it backward and forward between them. The lack of a common language was never going to get in the way of my dad having a good conversation.
When I was young, I did not think of him as a good father, just as my dad; I thought every dad was like that. Seeing him with my son made me appreciate him all the more; the sweet stupidity of an eighty year old man, crawling on all-fours with his grandson saying, “shall I make some silly noises, then”? He loved Sean beyond measure.
He had a deep consideration for others. When I told him how I had not been able to return this year at Christmas for his unexpected operation, he said that, he would have been devastated if I had, and that he hoped that he had not spoiled the holiday with his illness.
My dad’s life story may not be one of great deads or big adventures, but these things miss every thing that was important about him. He was a loving man, a kind man and a generous man. But above all, he was a gentle man. His loss leaves a hole in my, and our, lives that cannot be filled, but if when my, and our, time comes, if family and friends can say the same thing about us, then we, too, will have lead blessed lives.
William Henry Lord