How do you actually prepare yourself for the passing of a loved one?
In my case, it was my dearly loved Dad, aged 92. After suffering from the dreaded ‘C’ word over the past few years and especially the extremely painful last six months, he passed away peacefully on 6th February 2015.
It was hard living 500 kilometres’ away from him, even though I had visited him several times during these last several months, it wasn’t the same as being with him all the time, as my sisters and stepmother were.
Just before he passed, he managed with the wonderful assistance of my sister Cheryl, to phone and me murmur the words ‘I love you’ and within an hour he had passed away.
I knew straight away when my phone rang that it wasn’t good news. My sister Cheryl was crying uncontrollably, which immediately started my emotional decline into howling to the point of being ill.
Knowing that his time would eventually come didn’t help with the emotional feelings that had now taken over me affecting everything that I did.
Within a few days, it was a family having to pull together and plan his funeral service. Cheryl was absolutely amazing, where her strength came from I don’t know, but the love she had, as I did, for Dad excelled her into planning with my step Mother the most amazing funeral service at the Cemetery where Dad’s Mother was buried. This was his only wish to be buried near to his own Mother.
When Cheryl discussed with me ‘who and what was going to be included in the eulogy’. I said that this is something that I would be honoured to do, which I did. However, after penning the eulogy, my mind went into overdrive about all the wonderful things Dad had done for me over the many years, especially when I was young and without a Mother myself.
The decision to write in addition to the eulogy being delivered by the Celebrant I decided my own personal eulogy as a tribute to my Dad was going to be written.
This was the hardest undertaking that I have ever tried to do. I managed somehow to pull myself together and the strength came right through me to write and deliver the eulogy at my Dad’s funeral service.
Knowing he was looking down on all of us with his love shining through me and with the help of my sister Cheryl beside me I read this eulogy.
‘What Dad Meant to Me’
I have chosen to say a few words about what my Father meant to me, let’s hope I am able to get through this.
We all know what a wonderful loving man our Father was, but most of you don’t know how special he was for me. From the age of 11 my Dad became Mother and Father, as my brother Laurie and myself lost our mother Olga, she left us. Dad stepped in to be the best at everything, with a little help from his Mother, our grandmother Elsie Maude.
Being so young I needed desperately a mother, it wasn’t good enough to say it will be all right when clearly a young girl needs a Mother. Dad tried to be everything by attending those parent-teacher meetings, to driving me to tap dancing classes, marching girls and basketball championships. Even saving my backside at a time when I was threatened with expulsion from a girl’s school for sliding down the bannisters and knocking over the Headmistress.
During my teenage years I used to daydream constantly about having a sister, Dad not only produced a sister he produced three sisters Deborah, Cheryl and Carolyn, a dream that came true for me! Love you, Deb and Cheryl.
Something that resonated in my head throughout my life is how Dad would say to me when I was growing up “I will support whatever you decide to do in your life”. Although some of my decisions were not the best over the years, like getting married too young and then getting married for the second time in my later years.
The best decision of getting married so young was producing two wonderful daughters Corinne and Roanne, to which I am so extremely proud of and I know Dad, your grandfather was proud of you too. During the ceremony of my second marriage in 2007, Dad announced to everyone “I gave her away once, let’s hope she doesn’t come back”. Sorry, Dad!
You might laugh; resolving a difficult situation is hard, but not as hard as losing such an exceptional Father. I love you Dad, you will always be in my heart and mind forever!