Farewell to Father

Dear Friends

My father died on 18 January, at home, in his own bed.  He was almost 98.

He lived a good long life, and we are thankful for it. Thankful, too, that we (my sister, brother and I) were beside him when he died.

My mother, at 95, is coping reasonably well without her partner of 70 years.

Father’s  funeral will be on February 7th at the community centre near his home in Cairns.

I will post again sometime in February or March.

In the meantime, please enjoy a favourite photo of me and my father. It was taken about 1998 in Maadi, Cairo.  Dad loved Egypt and he and my mother made two visits to Cairo when I lived there from 1994 to 1998.

Dad and I in a shop in Maadi, Cairo.

Evening Prayer

Lord
it is night.

The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.

The night is quiet
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us
and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.

In your name we pray.
Amen.

© A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa 1989 p.185

 

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119 thoughts on “Farewell to Father

  1. Mél@nie

    just discovered your blog-post dedicated to the loss of your papa, RIP… ❤
    * * *
    our lifetime looks like a feather carried-away by the wind to unknown horizons – with stop-overs here and there… in fact, we are all ‘earth-bound misfits’ – the only tangible paradise… days and nights pass by, then everything suddenly stops – often without warning us… once again, my deepest sympathy, and a French poem you already know:

    La mort n’est rien… – Charles Péguy

    La mort n’est rien, je suis simplement passé dans la pièce à côté.
    Je suis moi, vous êtes vous.
    Ce que nous étions les uns pour les autres, nous le sommes toujours.
    Donnez-moi le nom que vous m’avez toujours donné,
    Parlez-moi comme vous l’avez toujours fait,
    N’employez pas un ton solennel ou triste,
    Continuez à rire de ce qui nous faisait rire ensemble,
    Priez, souriez, pensez à moi,
    Que mon nom soit prononcé comme il l’a toujours été,
    Sans emphase d’aucune sorte, sans trace d’ombre,
    La vie signifie tout ce qu’elle a toujours signifié,
    Elle est ce qu’elle a toujours été.
    Le fil n’est pas coupé,
    Simplement parce que je suis hors de votre vue.
    Je vous attends. Je ne suis pas loin.
    Juste de l’autre côté du chemin.
    Vous voyez: tout est bien…

    Reply
  2. restlessjo

    Hello darlin. So sorry to be so late here. I stopped blogging for a while when I came to the Algarve at the end of January, so I missed this post. Spotted you in Lisa’s comments and popped over to say hi, only to hear your sad news. He has such a lovely face- that’s a great photo of the two of you. 🙂 🙂 Poor Mum. At 95 it must be hard to be left behind. Sending lots of hugs to go with your memories.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you so much for the hugs, Jo. Mum is coping quite well but perhaps a little more confused than usual. We all knew Dad’s time with us was nearing its end but we still hoped we could have him a bit longer. That was not to be. I may take a while to get back to blogging. I am not unduly sad but life is just….different. You have travelled this path recently so I know you will understand. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Tiny

    So sorry for your loss, my friend. Both our fathers had a good, long life. I am happy you are there for your mother at this time of sorrow. Thinking of you all. Hugs

    Reply
  4. lisadorenfest

    Thinking of you and your family to day. You are blessed to have had your wonderful father in your life for so many years. He looks like a kind soul. I am glad that your mother is doing okay. Hugs from Thailand.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Andrea. This is my first full day back at home after the funeral. It seems a little strange to be thinking about ordinary tasks and routines again.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mary, my father first walked at the age of 9 months. And from that time until almost his last days, he was active to the best of his ability. At nearly 98 it was definitely time for him to rest. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Art and Soul Space

    oh, dear Gallivanta, sending you condolences and heart-warmth on the loss of your one and only Dad. 98. Wow. I love the gentleness of the Maori prayer. May softness cushion you and your mother. What an enormity of loss for her.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Sally. The family will be gathering in Cairns this coming week. It will be a comfort to be together for the funeral. You will love this Sally; my brother -in-law and a friend have made a simple but very beautiful coffin for my father. Dad would have been so impressed.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you so much. Despite our busy days preparing for the funeral, we are feeling our loss. Mum seems to wander through acceptance, forgetfulness, and sorrow.

      Reply
  6. Born To Organize

    A life well lived and a peaceful goodbye. May we all end our lives this way. I’m sorry for your loss, and for your mother, too, who’s lost her life partner. I’m glad he could die at home, surrounded by those who loved him. He lives on in you and your memories, but you’ll miss him nonetheless. Gentle arms around you.

    Reply
  7. Clanmother

    Ah, my dear friend – you are in my thoughts and prayers. A wonderful tribute and an affirmation of a life well-lived. Your father’s greatest gift is the memories he gave you for they will sustain you in the journey ahead. They are embedded in your heart and will remain forever clear, joyful and profound. I’m sending your this thought by Richard Wagamese that came to me when I read your post: ““All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…” Much love coming your way…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      What a wonderful quote, Clanmother. Dad loved to tell stories. And the story of his funeral and the wake is one I hope we will treasure, starting with
      the careful crafting of his coffin by my brother-in-law, to all the traditions we wove into Dad’s service ( Fiji, New Zealand, and Scotland). My brother wore the family tartan (kilt et al), and the piper played Flowers of the Forest and Black Bear….I wonder if his Scottish granny has welcomed him home yet? 😉

      Reply
  8. Marisa @missmarzipan.com

    Sending so much love your way. I am very sorry to read this 😦 . I think it’s amazing and wonderful that he had such a long and interesting life (love the photo, btw), but I am so sorry for your loss and hope that you and your mum have the support you need during this sad time.

    Reply
  9. Clanmother

    My thoughts are with you – so sorry for your loss, but grateful for the lasting memories your father gave you. It is a lasting gift that will stay embedded forever in your soul. Much love coming your way.

    Reply
  10. KerryCan

    That really is such a great photo–it shows the family resemblance very clearly. And he lives on through you, that’s clear. Such a difficult time–stay strong.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Kerry. The family resemblance is strong but, fortunately, I have inherited my mother’s thick and voluminous hair! I am trying to prepare myself for the days ahead; there will be sadness and laughter. All as it should be. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Steve Schwartzman

    Last week Eve and I attended a gathering for our friend H.J., who died in November at the age of 90. In my contribution to a memorial booklet I said: “After my father died in 2001 [at age 89], H.J. wrote: ‘In addition to one’s sense of a great gap where there had always been a presence in one’s life, those like you and me who have no children experience the shock of suddenly finding that WE are ‘the older generation’. She ended up in the much smaller group of people without a single living relative. For that reason she valued her friends all the more.”

    You’re multiply fortunate: you had your father for so long; you have friends, both personal and on line, as well as family to see you through this time; and you’re still not the older generation.

    I’m glad to see that happy photograph of you and your father together.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Steve, I agree wholeheartedly; I have a multiplicity of good fortune in this situation. This extends to a family member who made my father’s coffin, and all the family (and friends) who are participating in the funeral/celebration of Dad’s life. Your friend HJ had good friends in you and Eve, as do I. Thank you.

      Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Thankyou for letting us share that delightful photo of you with your Father, a very special man I was privileged to know.

    Reply
  13. Cynthia Reyes

    You both look so happy in that photo, and your dad has a spark of delight and mischief in his eyes. What a long life he lived. And what a lovely prayer you share here. It was good that he could die at home and in his own bed, with his loved ones beside him. I’m glad that your mom is coping, though it must be a tough time for her. My warm condolences to all of you.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Cynthia. Dad had a lot of mischief in him. He was a great practical joker.
      And he had some wonderful stories ( often repeated 🙂 ) He resisted the idea of hospital or nursing homes to the very end, so I am glad we were able to keep him at home as he wished.

      Reply
  14. Clare Pooley

    I am so sorry for your loss, Anne. I hope he didn’t suffer too much. I very much like the photograph of you both and I think the prayer is lovely! Peaceful and moving. God bless you and your family. xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Clare, for your blessing. Dad was very weary towards the end of his life but, during the last week of it, he didn’t appear to be in any pain. Remarkable really. He had a great constitution.

      Reply
  15. Juliet

    What a beautiful ending to a long life, dying in his own bed with his loved ones with him. Blessings to you Gallivanta, in the sadness of this loss. I love the photo of the two of you together on an adventure, and the quiet stillness of the prayer. Much love to you.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Juliet, it was a privilege to be with him. He was not a religious person in the traditional sense but he appreciated a lot of the rituals and music of the church, so I feel he would have been okay with this prayer.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Cindy. Dad packed a huge amount into his long life. One of the frustrations of his later years was that he couldn’t physically do all the many things he liked to do, like going to the food market each week.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Pauline, we were so fortunate. His passion was his family. We were not spoilt but Dad was a good provider and we lacked for nothing physically or emotionally.

      Reply
  16. utesmile

    Sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. My Condolences to you. A lovely picture to treasure along with the wonderful memories you have. Hugs Ute ♥

    Reply
  17. Lavinia Ross

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. That is a beautiful evening prayer, and photo of you and your father. Peace be with you.

    I lost a dear elderly friend on the same day as your father. They are now at peace and in the Light.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Lavinia. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Friends occupy such a special place in our hearts. I still mourn a dear friend who died several years ago. I am glad you like the evening prayer. It is so comforting.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks so much Sally. I have been looking through a lot of photographs and remembering how interested my father was in photography in his younger days. He took great care composing his photos.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Michele. We are lucky that quite a number of family members will be at the funeral, so I am looking forward to gathering more stories and memories. There will be laughter and tears.

      Reply
      1. Michele LaFollette

        I understand. I always tell my daughter…please good music and good food at my funeral. I want people to celebrate…life. I hope it is a beautiful day that provides healthy closure for you.

        Reply
  18. Herman

    So sorry to read this sad news about your father. Wishing you and your family much strength. Hope you can find comfort in the beautiful memories of your father.

    Reply
  19. danniehill

    I used to say and think of friends living a good long life and feeling it is okay for them to take the next step– and it is. But then my mom passed a year ago and no matter how long she was with me it hurts and I miss her. I am now remembering all the good time and knowing she is in a better place and it makes it easier. I feel your pain and send you a hug.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you so much Dannie. Dad loved his life most of the time. Towards the end, of course, he was too tired to enjoy it, but in the week before he died we drank some whisky with him and he loved that. I am sorry to hear about your mother. I know I am going to miss my father most dreadfully. My Dad’s mother lived a good long life, too, but I know Dad missed her to the very end of his life. Hugs back to you.

      Reply
  20. shoreacres

    The prayer is beautiful: touching and comforting, able to contain all of the emotions that arise at a time like this. I sent you a favorite poem; like this prayer, it is filled with peace, and an acceptance that passes understanding.

    In your father, I see something of my own. There’s no question they helped to shape us into the women we are today. You are in my heart.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The prayer you sent is lovely, Linda. I treasure it already. Dad took good care of us but he encouraged us to be independent and as a father he was a great role model. Unusually for his times he cooked, he did housework, he cared for his children on an equal footing with my mother, and he supported my mother in her career and financial independence. Of course, he was not a saint. He could be hot-tempered, impatient and demanding, but there was no doubt ever about his deep love for us all.

      Reply
  21. Liz

    My dear Mandy, you and your family have been in our thoughts since we first heard the news about your father, and we continue to send our love and prayers to you all from the other side of the globe. It is a sad time for you all, but how wonderful also that you are clearly able to remember the happy times you had with your father, and to celebrate his long life. A fitting legacy. xxx

    Reply
  22. Kate Johnston

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My grandfather passed away at 98 too. He had been born in 1898 and one of his greatest wishes was to be able to live in 3 centuries. It was too bad that didn’t happen. I love that photo of you and your dad. Thinking of you. Hugs.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks Kate. Your grandfather sounds like he was a determined man. 🙂 My father was astounded ( I think) that he made it well into the 21st century. 🙂

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Thanks for that GP and for highlighting the radar units. It was pioneering work in lots of ways. And incredibly important work as well.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Su. We are very busy with the practicalities of death and funeral arrangements. I expect the grief will ebb and flow and take its own time. I have already had the first “Oh I must tell Dad…” and then the “Oh, but he’s not here.”

      Reply
      1. Su Leslie

        I think that the hardest time is that few weeks after the funeral, when “everyone else”goes back to normal life, but the hole in your heart and soul are very big and very raw. My mother-in-law died in winter, and I spent all of spring seeing flowers that I knew she’d love and instantly thinking “I should bring Joy to see these.” I’m glad you have people around who will feel a similar loss so that you can support each other.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, we will need to take extra care in the post funeral days. My sister who has cared for my father daily for years is sure to need a lot of support. It sounds as though your mother-in-law was a very special person.

        2. Su Leslie

          She was a difficult woman, but loved flowers. I think that’s how I connected with her. She was ill for a long time, and it reshaped the rhythm of the family. Take care and I hope you have support and aroha.

  23. inavukic

    Sad to hear of your loss, Gallivanta. My heartfelt condolences. Sounds like your dad had a good life that simply expired as ours will one day. May he rest in peace and forever love.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, kindly. In your blog I read of your mother’s sadness and your brother’s illness. I share your hope that the foggy weather will soon pass.

      Reply

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