So today was the day Dad died a couple of years ago. Mum died a few years before Dad on 24th August 2014. Dad had dementia and we looked after him after Mum died from lung cancer.
As you’ve come to expect from me I have mixed feelings with them both. I thought it only fitting that I break cover on the blog and put a photo up of my family at B’s christening. Dad on the left and mum is wearing the red dress.
I wanted to make a note this year about him. So here is the speech I made at his funeral.
Good afternoon, thank you for coming to celebrate the life of George. He truly led an extraordinary life.
For the avoidance of doubt, Dad was born in Glasgow. The accent never left or weakened over his life. For those of us close to him, we learned the need to nod and agree at key moments when he spoke. I often referred to myself as his translater after mum died, giving warnings to his glasgow humour for which he was very well known.
A loyalist, a die hard Rangers fan who went hand in hand with his Orange Order marching; he always did things his way even if they drove everyone else insane. From rejecting the freemasons for the lodge, speaking his mind when others wouldn’t, never scared to be who he wanted to be or do what he wanted to do. He was unique, he lived his life and he lived it well.
Starting life as an engineer in the shipyards of the clyde. Working side by side with a now famous Billy Connolly, who was apparently lazy and up his own ar…backside. He worked on the QE2, then a British nuclear submarine where he saw Britain’s nuclear deterrent up close and personal. How he didn’t throw a spanner at one, I’ll never know such was his humour. He worked in many countries all over the world. He was a professional footballer playing in America at one point. Then the next he was working in Africa, tormenting German contractors. This was all trivial in comparison to the day he met his future wife whilst working in a bar in Majorca. Moving to Amsterdam living in my mum’s dads flat above the sweet shop. Before eventually returning to Britain and settling down to have a family. I’ll be sharing some fantastic stories later during the service.
He was a proud man. He was kind and generous, filled with a need to prove his love. He was bloody grumpy at times too but this was part and parcel of who he was. He wouldn’t have been Dad if he wasn’t a contradiction. A family man trying to do his best for his family.
A frightened man. Scared to be forgotten. His greatest fear after mum died was to be forgotten, to fade away unnoticed. How wrong he truly was. As news of his death started to spread, emails, cards and phone calls came in. Memories, left, right and centre. A discovery of a book written on the life he led in Majorca with his best friend Jim. He was loved. He is loved. He has been remembered and always will be. The true tragedy is that he would not believe you. No matter how many times he would be told he was far too humble to accept a thank you or a compliment. Usually fobbed off with a few choice glaswegian words.
He opened up more in recent years. I think everyone was shocked a bit with the amount of love demonstrated through the pain when his beloved wife passed. He showed a side me and David didn’t see that much of. He counted every single one of you here today as family. There was no distinction in blood. Workers from Decantae, who we both classed as our extended family. Coworkers from his contract days. Friends of David and I. Everyone. He loved to share stories of all of you. The last few years he clinged onto these memories. The love he had despite the dementia slowly destroying his sharp and witty mind. He clung onto those memories till he could no longer speak. He would tell anyone of these fantastic people who were such a massive part of his life. I know he would be so happy to see you all here today. Telling stories and celebrating the life of one crazy Scottish man, who never cared about being anything other than himself.
So please. Don’t forget. It would be a disservice to the life he led. His life now lives on in you. Each and every one of you. His name and legacy doesn’t end here today. David, me, Victoria. B, S and R. Everyone. Legends never truly die.
We thank you. God bless.
Rest well Dad. You deserve to.