When I think of my Dad now, I think of peace.

 

Dry humour, cracking wit and a wry smile.

 

Porridge with honey and blueberries, pancakes with lemon and sugar.

 

When I hear Bowie sing of 'Sorrow', now, I understand more than I ever have done before. "I never knew just how much I missed you, sorrow, sorrow."

 

Everything I care for dearly, everything I have passion and love for was influenced by my Dad.

 

Music, art, life... every last little bit of it.

 

I feel eternally grateful that he came to see my art studio, even if only for the first and last time.

 

Bemused, overwhelmed but ultimately elated, after huffing and puffing from a sore hip, my Dad turned to me and taking his phone from his coat pocket, asked warmly "Stand just in the middle there, let me take your photo."

 

There I am with frizzy curls and a beaming smile, proudly showing off everything I've built in honour of him.

 

"You've got to get your own unit" he'd say.

 

I remember warm Saturdays driving down with my Mom and Jack to his unit, Telford or maybe Wolverhampton (which both felt like the Dark Ages) that I now come to know as 'Auto Valet', from a keyring of his I'd discovered days ago tucked away in a bedroom drawer.

 

Rays of sunlight would cast across rows of squeaky clean cars, each so glossy I could see my tiny face reflected back at me with ease.

 

Engine oil pooled in pot holes on the entryway, blossoming delicate rainbows from the hot sticky tarmac.

 

When I think of my Dad now, I smile.

 

A dozen baseball caps, twenty pairs of reading glasses, hundreds of CDs. A songbook by Bob Dylan... hidden inside, a college report card stating 'Stephen must concentrate harder...'

 

Travel books on Southern France, on nature and the English countryside.

 

Beer and strange spirits I don't quite like the taste of.

 

A warm blanket.

 

I grow to miss my Dad more and more with each passing day and as many others have said before me I imagine it will become easier with time.

 

Rather than simply 'getting over' grief, you learn to live with it and it becomes a foundational part of you, shaping who you are.

 

Grief is meant to be a kind of love that has nowhere to turn.

 

You must grow around it, tall, confident and blooming outwards like a sunflower with a few lost petals.

 

I love my Dad, definitively, in spite of all his neuroses, hang ups and quirks.

 

Cans of soup in date order, letters unopened and piled high.

 

My Dad was a blessing, a gem, a mystery.

 

My introduction to Aladdin Sane and Abbey Road.

 

Late nights and early mornings.

 

Often offhand, often grumpy, I'll think of you always.

Eulogy

2022

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