If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that my beautiful Dad died just over six weeks ago. It was a terrible shock and left my family utterly devastated. We didn’t get any advance notice. He went into hospital on the Monday, was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer on the Wednesday and on Thursday we were awaiting his treatment plan to extend his life by at least a few months. However overnight on Thursday night, his bowel ruptured as a result of an undiscovered tumour and on Friday morning they called us to say he had an infection from the rupture and he was dying. The cancer had spread to his bowel and liver. By Friday night we had lost him.I thought I would share with you the eulogy I gave at his funeral, as it’s the best way I can think to honour him and tell you about the impact he has had on my life. First I want to share some of the beautiful photo gifts I got at Christmas from my Mum. These were all made at My-Picture.co.uk and I shared a product of theirs in my What I Got For Christmas 2021 post. The company saw this on socials and they have given me a discount code that I can use for future purchases. I can share it too, if you want to take advantage of it too. The code is FRILLS15 and it will give you a 15% discount on all products except face masks and MIXPIX (no minimal basket value). They have all the products in this post – acryllic block prints, framed prints, photo blankets and even metal prints. Such a nice way to keep someone you have lost around your home. I don’t benefit from sharing this code with you.I spent a lot of time writing my Dad’s eulogy and I was so pleased I managed to give it –
I took it for granted that my Dad would be here for another two decades. I thought I had so much time to apologise for what I wanted to apologise for, to say the things I wanted to make sure he knew and to cultivate a bigger bank of memories that would sustain and fortify me after he was gone. I didn’t take many photos, I didn’t inhale and ‘bottle’ his scent, I didn’t show affection much and I didn’t try to learn more about his life whilst I still could.
It’s true that you don’t fully appreciate someone until they’re gone. He was just ‘there’ and had always been there. I didn’t think about what would happen if he wasn’t there any more. Underneath the many moments of father-daughter friction was the deepest love you could imagine and I only realised it and expressed it to him in the week of his death. He told me that he’d always known I loved him, that we always had a special relationship and that I must not regret the past.
It was only in the week of his death that I properly realised what a privilege it was to have a Dad like him. To have a father that you knew no matter what you’d said or done to him, he’d always come running if you were in trouble and that all would always be forgotten the next morning. When I was ever in real difficulty, I’d call the house, my Mum would answer and I’d say ‘put Dad on’. He was my solid foundation and my trusted advisor and I’m lost without him. I’ll always be his little girl and I’ll ache to hear his voice and ask his advice until the day I die.
Even right up to his death, my Dad’s whole focus in life was me. Since I was born, all he worried about was me and the effect things would have on me. All that he wanted was for me to be happy and well and he tried to spare me pain and worry in any way he could. Right up to the day he died.
When I was little he would sit at the end of my bed and hold onto my foot until I fell asleep. He’d read me his childhood Rupert the Bear annual before bed and tell me fantastical tales about how he had a cousin called Pippin Pearson. He’d chase me up the stairs like a crocodile. He’d race me up to the top of the bed from the bottom and he’d take me on adventures up secret paths. We forged an unbreakable bond.
He was a private and reserved person to the world; but to me and my Mum he could be a lot of fun… even if sometimes his humour really back-fired. When I was around 8, I was sitting on his lap in the living room whilst he was eating pistachio nuts. Every few he’d eat, he’d give one to me. I’d carefully take it out of it’s shell and put it in my mouth. After I’d consumed at least ten of them, he said ‘oh, just remember to never eat a green one as they’re poisonous’. Cue the hysterical crying from me as they were all green and he got a sharp telling off from my Mum.
Every day at nursery age he’d take me to my Nana & Grandpa’s before work and he’d always get me a little bag of sweets on the way. My Mum kept giving him into trouble, but he kept doing it anyway. When the nursery took me swimming, he would go to the pool and hide out of sight so he could be there on standby incase I started to drown.
The memories of my Dad that I’ll cherish the most are of our holidays together as a family. Especially to the Yorkshire Dales and to the US and Canada on our road trips. We went to Salem and learnt all about the witch trials, and Prince Edward Island to learn all about Anne of Green Gables. North Yorkshire was our favourite place as a family and it has such a special meaning for me now. We must have been more than 50 times and I feel so close to my parents there.
He taught me how to swim in Austria. He bought me a beautiful doll with a flower dress in Paris. When he went to the US with work he brought me back a Native American doll that I’ll keep forever. He was always thinking of me and I was always at the front of his mind. I have hundreds of lovely memories of my Dad and our family of three, and I’ll treasure them forever.
When my little dog Vicki joined the family he doted on her as he did me as a child. My Mum, Vicki and I were his world, his reason for being and we were all so incredibly lucky to have him. When Vicki hurt her paw and it got bandaged up by the vet, she wasn’t allowed to get it wet. So my dad made her a little rubber sock out of a balloon so she could go outside. Hours before my Dad died, I said to him ‘You have a very important job to do. You need to go to Rainbow Bridge (that’s doggie heaven) and cuddle Baby Vicki for me’. He said back ‘I’ll look out for wee Vicki’. That was the extent to which he acknowledged he was dying and the moment brought me real comfort and peace. For over 12 hours I nursed him through his pain and discomfort until he drew his last breath. It was as beautiful as death can be, it was peaceful and it was just the three of us at the end – my Mum, my Dad and me – just as it had always been. I hope I showed him how much I loved him in that final thing I could do for him, although there’s nothing I could do that would repay everything he’s done for me. I will love him and miss him until the day I die.