My dad passed away before Christmas. He was 86 and died of cancer — ‘old age’ as some have put it. Although our family had plenty of time to prepare for the inevitable, I found it almost unbearable… to watch him fade away over the last days, his arms making slow semaphore movements as we talked to him, unsure if he could hear us.
My mum, sister and I were at his bedside when he died. His breathing stopped and I felt a great surge of love flow through the room. I am not going to dwell on this personal loss, but it has affected me in all sorts of ways, one being that I’ve found it very difficult to write anything meaningful.
I did write my dad’s funeral eulogy, with help from all my sisters and brother, and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. Since then I can’t seem to write. Along with music — a huge help over these last weeks — writing has always been important for me, so I am trying to start again, and maybe this post will be part of the process.
I am going to share this small detail from the eulogy. It gives an insight into the character of my wonderful dad.
As a teenager, I chanced upon my dad in the back room at our house, where he kept his books. He was sitting quite still. His eyes were shut and his head was bowed. A passer-by might have reasonably assumed dad was praying, except my father had no interest in religion, preferring the works of Karl Popper. Nevertheless dad sat there a very long time, unmoving. When at last he raised his head and opened his eyes, I asked him, “What are you up to, dad?” He waited a moment and blinked, his eyes adjusting to a new light, and said, “I was thinking, of course.”
Goodbye dad, I’m thinking of you.