Dear Dad, your funeral was beautiful, but not as beautiful as you. There were so many people, so many broken hearts. I spoke about you and this is what i said:
My Dad only ever seemed genuinely happy when he felt that those closest to him were happy as well. As children, he taught us how to laugh at ourselves. And together we often laughed until we cried.
He taught us that we make our own luck. That if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing properly. He encouraged us to acknowledge our own mistakes and always try our best, despite set backs.
Just weeks before he died, he said to me, "it's good isn't it.. To know that whatever happens, I am leaving a piece of me here, in you and in Reuben" There are few things more precious than the knowledge, that I am the flesh and blood of a truly extraordinary man.
He taught us how to blow bubblegum in the bath, the importance of saying thank you, standing up for what you believe in, and never taking anything for granted. He wanted us to be sociable, proactive and kind. To learn the art of communication and never lose our sense of humour. He taught me how to trust myself and value all that I have to offer, to never be a bully or make promises that I cannot keep.
He made Birthdays special and Christmases magic. he spent hours forging beautiful handwritten notes from the tooth fairy to tuck under my pillow as I slept.
He always listened to me, he valued my input. I never had to justify my feelings, they were always met with unconditional support and empathy. He focused on my strengths and told me very often how proud he was, not just of me.. But of my Mum and my brother too.
He also taught me that emotions are not mutually exclusive. Where there is laughter there are often tears, where there is happiness, there may also be despair. Because contrary to popular belief, life is not fair. Bad things happens. And more important than a life without problems, is our ability to cope with those problems.
When I was little and I had nightmares, my Dad sat me down and told me that the monsters in my dreams were made out of jelly- all I had to do was run towards them and eat them. At night when he tucked me up in bed, he left a fork on my bedside table. And somehow, it worked.
He lead by example. He enabled, facilitated and motivated. He allowed us the freedom to make our own mistakes and supported us, even with our most ludicrous plans. And when disaster struck, as often it does, he was constructive with his criticism, brave with his words and relentless with his optimism.
With the determination and enthusiasm he embodied, he still holds me in an everlasting moment that continues far beyond the original embrace. Within which I feel as if I cannot fail, as though the terrors that I run from are made out of jelly and the tears I cry are drops of rain, waiting for their chance to shine like rainbows through the sun. That is how extraordinary this love is..
There are not many people who can call themselves lucky to have had a brain haemorrhage. Yet that is exactly what I am. In recovery myself, I was exactly where my father needed me during his final weeks, right by his side.
Dad's glass was always half full, plus a little extra. He had the ability to make even the most difficult situations seem manageable, not just for himself but for all the people who surrounded him, especially those of us who looked up to him for guidance and support. And if he was able to pick himself up and continue his life with such inspirational courage and purpose, after the many losses and set backs he experienced, then I could ask for no better role model.
Although our Dad has died, the values he instilled in us and the tools he handed down to us, still remain. So it is with everything he has given us, and he gave us such a lot, that we intend to navigate our way through this devastation and with every move we make, pay tribute to our father, who was quite simply, the best.
(then we played Tina Turner, simply the best.. Because it said all the right words and as it started playing reuben and I walked to your coffin and he placed his hand on it and I kissed it)
And I organised for us to witness your cremation. Because Dad. I said I would never leave your side. I love you so much. Forever x