Thursday, March 22, 2007

The TMI Files. Eulogies 'R' Us.

First of all, could someone set the timer to 5 minutes. As we all know, with the [nilk] clan, we’re not exactly shy of things to say, and I inherited that trait by the bucketload from [dad].

Next, I guess, come the things we all know about him. He was definitely one of the better men on the planet, and you always knew where you stood with him. When it came to shades of grey, dad was somewhat lacking there. He called a spade a spade, knew right from wrong and made sure that we kids did too.

I’m sure he wondered about how successful he was as a parent, particularly in my case, but I reckon you know you’ve done well when your children threaten to sue you for a job well done.

When you’ve got two out of three complaining that they had a happy, safe and secure upbringing, you’ve got to be doing something right.

And he did.

I know I got some hard lessons from him, like never talk to someone while wearing your sunglasses, as the other person can’t see your eyes. That’s incredibly rude.

And also, a lady should never neck a bottle. It’s unseemly and a Bad Thing. (note the capitals in that.). I know I learned these well, since even though I need my glasses for normal seeing at times, I still feel uncomfortable wearing them when I talk to people.

And it took me near 15 years to learn to drink straight from a bottle rather than through a straw. Mind you, these days, I think drinking through a straw is rather daggy, but that’s these days.

Dad was the ultimate softy. He might have been known universally as a bit of a grumble bum, but it took very little time to get past that to the marshmallow. Anyone here would have tales of things he’s done for people. I know I brought home enough strays to sink a battleship, and he still tolerated them. Some he even welcomed into the family. And when I speak of strays, I’m talking dogs, cats, lizards, people… you name it, he accepted it, although at times it pained him.

But he was great like that.

As for flaws, well he was a long way from perfect. He never deviated from the straight path. He always did what was right, and if that meant giving you a piece of his mind, he did that. It didn’t matter how harsh it was – it had to be said, and it was.

And then it was done. He wasn’t one to dwell on the past, just on living his life to the best of his ability. He had a good ability for that, too.

He had two very successful marriages to two wonderful ladies. With [mum], he created the best family. It wasn’t easy – mum and dad both had their moments, but that goes with the territory.

With [stepmum], as he said to me, he’d made mistakes with mum that he wasn’t going to make with [stepmum]. He’d learned, and was moving forward.

It was time to put himself ahead of the family.

Of course, considering we were all over the age of 21 and spawning our own additions to the clan, it was his turn.

And he had a ball.

He and I had spent hours at times discussing politics. I’m sure there are a few here who’ve had fun winding him up. All you had to do was mention Labor and Paul Keating and he’d go off like a frog in a sock. It was a lot of fun.

But with [stepmum], he had a lot more fun than hanging around with the kids.

It was no use asking him to babysit – they were always off gallivanting. They went on fishing trips, and golfing trips, and they just went out and about and had a ball.

He loved [stepmum] to bits, and that was the best thing for us to see. They were great for each other, and that made him one of the luckiest people on the planet.

Very few people find the love of their life once, let alone twice, and [dad] had that.

I probably need to wind up now – as I said, I’m one of those [nilks] who can happily rabbit on until the cows come home. We’ve got opinions on near everything.

One thing I will say about Dad’s leaving us. It hurts us all. It was sudden, and a big shock to the system.

It’s safe to say he is well-loved.

And while he’s gone, he’s still a part of us. I know this, because we turn into our parents.

Be afraid… all you have to do is check [stepmum]’s cupboard to see the bloody coffee cans he’s left behind. He shopped like he lived his life. Big.

If it was on special, he stocked up whether he needed to or not.

So do I. Ask my friends about my penchant for toilet paper. Never happy unless I’ve got a minimum of ten rolls.

[sis] is another one who buys in bulk. It means never running out. I’ve not been through [brother]’s place, but he’s another one who’s into multiples of stuff. Loo paper, beer by the trolley load and nappies even moreso.

Somehow, I think dad’ll be with us in spirit for a long time yet. Even if it is in the loo.

For those who sent condolences and flowers or even just warm wishes - Thank you.
For those who think I was brave and courageous for speaking at his funeral, thank you for those thoughts, but I don't deserve them. I spoke because it was my duty.

As his child, I should speak for him. He was a very good man, and for all that he did for me, I could at least pay my respect and love for him. My sister and brother were not able to do so - they stood with me when I spoke for mum, but this time they preferred not to.

That is okay. We can only do what we can do.

I could do this. For my dad and the rest of us.

Today is 3 weeks to the day since his funeral, and it has finally hit home for me. So many things I wanted to ask him - about Mum, about politics and life in general... you name it. I can't do that. There's a hole inside that matches the one mum left, and while you get used to it, it doesn't mean you have to like it.

It's just life, and it's something that we all go through.

I've said plenty of times over the years that I'm glad that none of us kids died before Mum did, as I cannot conceive of surviving my daughter. Well it's the same with my dad.

It hurts, it sucks, and there's nothing I can do about it except just go through it.

Oh well.

Thank you all again.


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