Call it selfindulgent, but I wanted to post the tribute I wrote and read for my Dad’s funeral on 11th Feb. It is, by far, the proudest I’ve been of a piece of work in recent times – not due to technical skill, but to emotional resonance within myself.
Over the past couple of days, many of you have shared stories with me about my Dad, which helped me to write the Eulogy – something I’m forever thankful Glynn was able to read on our behalf – and whilst those stories didn’t necessarily show my Dad in a new light, instead they helped to brighten the light that was already there. Because today we’re here to both celebrate and remember him, today we’re here, because we’ve all lost someone very different; be it a Son, a Husband, a Brother, an Uncle, a Friend… And whilst I can’t even begin to capture the specific and very intimate grief we’re all feeling today, I can hopefully tell you a bit about how I feel, having lost my Dad.
As soppy as it sounds, they say we all have our own ‘Love Language’, or, in other words, the way we show our love for each other. Some of us show our affection with words, literally saying “I love you” to those we hope will hear it. Others of us show our love with intimacy, in a cuddle or a touch or a closeness, and we hope our nearest and dearest will reciprocate in kind. Then there are those of us that show our love with our actions. The way my Dad showed his love, all the way up to that final day, was through his actions. He was the kind of person who would drop anything to help someone in need. No favour was too big or too small to be deserving of his time. He would exhaust his days off helping you fix something, he would travel miles if you needed him to collect something, he would watch every eBay posting in the UK to find you the best deal for what you needed (and then he’d haggle the cost of it too, when it came time to collect). It was these actions that showed he cared, and more to the point, that he was interested. He’d show your interests matter to him by the actions he took. I distinctly remember, and Mom will tell you, of when I used to eat Wheatoos for breakfast – Dad filled almost every kitchen cupboard with them. Or when I first started buying PopVinyls – Dad must have bought every single Star Wars themed one on eBay one Christmas. Lastly there’s the Hogwarts Castle, which many of you would have seen decorating my parents lounge – Dad knew Kirsty loved Harry Potter, and he knew I loved Kirsty.
It’s fair to say I wouldn’t be where I am now, without my Dad. It was my Dad that sat me down to study Maths every night when my SATs were approaching, it was my Dad that dragged me, the day after my 16th birthday, to begrudgingly get my first proper job. Most importantly, perhaps, it was my Dad that introduced me to Video games, by passing down his old consoles – Now that’s something I’ll forever be thankful for. This was all because, whilst we might not have said it with words, he loved me and he always wanted the best for me. I was too young at the time to appreciate it, but he was teaching me a good work ethic, he was teaching me to always give my all if I wanted results. When I wanted the then-new Nintendo Gamecube, he helped me set up a Carboot sale to make the money, and, in the process, he sold his favourite Subuteo set just to help me meet that goal. It was my Dad I rang up instantly whenever something went wrong, a problem with my house, or with my car. It was my Dads DIY knowledge I relied upon, perhaps a little too heavily, and it was my Dad I recommended to any friends who needed help. When one of my best friends, Woody, needed a door fitting, he was there without question. When my then-girlfriend, now-wife Kirsty needed to replace a carpet before she moved, he was there and ready to do whatever he could. I think that’s the real example. He didn’t just help me, he helped the people who were important to me as well. He helped anyone, really, if they needed it. That was how my Dad showed his love and its those things I will remember most fondly.
My Dad and I were pretty different, we both knew it though we never explicitly stated it. My Love Language is very much a language of words, I express myself with the things I say, but whilst my words will fade, be forgotten or misremembered, the actions my Dad took, the things he built and the people he helped, will stand the test of time. Everytime I cook for my family, my Dads love is there because he built the kitchen. When I drive my car, my Dads love is there, because he helped to choose it, collect it, maintain it. When my Son or Daughter plays with their toys, perhaps even coating my house LEGO just like he did, their Grandads love is there, because of the toybox he built for them before they’d even had a chance to meet.
We can all agree, my Dad was taken from us far too soon, but in his time he left no end of memories with us, and, more importantly, I think he left his example. As much as he may have wished it, he wasn’t always right, but at least he always tried. I think we can all strive for that, we can all strive to try our best, to give our all, and to help those amongst us that matter most. Those are the actions with which my Dad showed his love and, as I show my love with words, I just want to say – Thank you for everything Dad, I love you. Always will.