For my Dad on Father’s Day
3 September 2023
A personal blog today. My Dad passed away almost 12 years ago. two days ago would have been his 79th birthday. Rereading the eulogy I gave at his funeral was a nice reminder of the good father he was:
When I was a kid dad was my hero. He knew more than everyone and he had bigger muscles than the Incredible Hulk.
Dad was also awesome from my kid’s perspective because he also worked at great food companies. When he worked at Beecham we always had a house stocked with endless Ribena , Lucozade, Horlics and Enos. Later he worked at Peters and I’ve never quite weened myself off the ice-cream addiction I developed.
When I was in my 20s we even had the same job one summer – stocking shelves in the baked bean aisle Stammers Palmyra supermarket on the night shift.
Dad taught me all the expected things that dad’s normally teach their sons; the value of hard work, of keeping fit, of getting a good education.
But more importantly he also taught me – through example rather than just words – the values of honesty and integrity. The importance of respecting all people, no matter who they were – especially those less fortunate than you. He showed me the values of respect, loyalty and reliability through his treatment of everyone around him.
It was nice to read in the death notices that my dad was referred to as a gentleman. It is not a word we use much these days but it does capture a large part of the essence of my dad.
His kindness gentleness and all-round goodness was not only towards other humans but for all creatures great and small. From the German shepherds that helped define my childhood; to his care for the goldfish in his ponds; to his amazing garden on a suburban block that became a sanctuary and refuge for dozens of birds that would politely queue at his always full bird baths.
After dad’s death I’ve been surprised and reassured by the beauty and gentleness of the sadness of his passing. And that too is credit to him. Before he died he made sure that everything that needed to be said got said that there were no regrets left behind – only love and care and lots of good memories:
• I will always remember our regular coffees on a Sunday mornings before taking a stroll along Cottesloe beach and maybe having a dip.
• A dad who would break up my days of relentless meetings and emails with a lunch a Cully’s where we would try to solve the world’s problems.
• His reliable and regular calls – just checking in, making sure I am Ok.
• The newspaper clippings left at my front door highlighting what someone had written about Freo just in case I might have missed it
• I will always remember a dad who would quietly come around and look after my neglected lawn and garden. Some of the rosemary you’ll have the opportunity of laying is only thriving today because it was watered by Dad.
Dad, I’ll always treasure our time together – even those hard last weeks sitting together choosing the songs for this funeral. I’ll treasure the fact that you made sure you told me you loved me even though it I had no doubt about it. I’ll treasure that I got to tell you that you were not only a great dad you were also a best friend.
Dad believed most of life’s ills could be addressed via a glass of milk, eating more red meat and going for a swim in the ocean – or a combination of the above. Sadly, none of these worked this last time
Dad, the world’s a better place for having you in it. You’ll leave a huge gap that no one can fill but you will also leave far more than that. You will leave a wife and three kids who new they were loved, a beautiful garden full of fish, plants and birds, and lots of good friends across a life well lived.
Thanks mate for everything. I’ll miss you. I wish you infinite peace.