~ A Farewell for My Father ~ Part Two

Posted: February 22, 2018 in childhood, FAMILY, Family stories, FATHER, Grandfathers, grief, kids, loss, love, memories
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After we first got over the shock of my father’s death last week, we four siblings began to think about writing our eulogies.

I remember the first night, I couldn’t come up with a single word. I had about five scrunched up notes in my bag and nothing but crossed out lines on a pad. By the fourth and last night before the service, I really still only had the bare bones. My elder sister, who speaks for a living in her job gave me a few tips and suddenly, at the eleventh hour, I was able to write my eulogy.

Here’s the speech I gave at the Committal Service for my father last week…

 

Dad, My Hero

 

I’m Yvette, “daughter number three,” and I’m here to fill you in on some of the details of my father’s life, who he was, and how he came to be here.

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Dad was born 5 July, 1932, in Hastings, England, the only and treasured child of Nan and Jim. Nan was a magistrate and County Borough Organiser for the Women’s Voluntary Service, Jim was the manager of the Hastings Power Station.

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At the age of eight, when WWII broke out, Jim was needed in Hastings to run the power station, and dad spent years separated from his parents as he was evacuated to St. Albans.

As a young man, fresh out of school, he went to the University College School of Navigation in Southampton.

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Dad joined the merchant navy in 1949 and worked for them for ten years, working his way up to the rank of 1st Mate, navigator.

During that time, dad met mum. After their first meeting, his mother, Nan, said, “Why don’t you go out with a nice young girl like that?” and dad said, “She’s not my type.” Luckily, Shirley was his type, and they were wed in 1955. They had two daughters, Gina and Jag.

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Dad joined the Union Company in 1961. When he and mum decided to emigrate, he brought a new ship called the Nakuta out to New Zealand, in 1962. Mum followed with my sisters a year later.

My brother, Alan and I were born here in New Zealand.

Dad couldn’t leave mum alone in a strange country with young children so he left the sea in 1964. In 1966, he joined the NZ Post, working his way up to the position of senior supervisor.

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After nearly 30 years, dad finally retired to his beloved Tairua, living full time in the house he had built with the help of his family, which was his pride and joy. Dad lived here for twenty plus years and would say, “This is all the view I get to look at each day!”

Looking back, I realize how fortunate we were to have such a wonderful father. He was attentive, caring, disciplined, loyal, hard-working, kind, generous and good. He created a spirit in us, a fellowship of strength.

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Growing up, I felt secure and stable, because dad gave us that foundation, and I’ll always be grateful for that. He never had a bad word to say about anyone, and I learnt a lot from his example.

Dad was neither racist nor sexist. He believed all people are equal.

Perhaps because he’d been raised by such an extraordinary woman, he had a reverence for women. The only woman my father looked at was my mother. He didn’t look at women as objects of desire; he treated them as people worthy of respect and admiration.

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I never had the sense that dad expected any less of his daughters than he did of his son. He always said to me, Girls can do anything! And he wasn’t just paying lip service to the ideal. He believed it, therefore so did I.

At the age of seven, I had a formative experience with my father, which I’ve never told anyone until today. It was something special between him and me.

One day, dad took me for a drive. He said there’s something very important we need to do. We drove up to a car yard and dad said, “I need your help. We need to buy the family a new car and I want you to help me decide which car we should buy.”

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I took this very seriously because my father was a man of his word.

I walked around the cars. One by one, I looked inside and out, studied the angles. I was seven, I knew nothing about cars. Yet, dad never gave a word of advice or questioned me, he let me continue to prattle about how this car was too small, and this wouldn’t work as it had only two doors and listened carefully to my reasoning.

Eventually, I chose a ghastly green coloured Milford Marina. Dad said, “Good choice.” And he came back five minutes later with the deeds and the keys. It turned out, he’d been to the car yard the week before and bought it, but I didn’t find that out till later.

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All I knew was, I’d been empowered to believe in my own decision making, in my self-belief, my ability to think.

Thank you, dad, for your stellar example, for your open-minded leadership of this family, for your loyal love, your unwavering support. You were steadfast, ever present and dependable. You were our rock, and in my heart you ever will be.

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When you died, a blanket of cloud covered the mountain behind your house. It seemed fitting. The head of our family was gone and the landscape reflected the sad passing.

Thank you for everything.

I love you.

I’ll miss you, dad my hero.

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Talk to you later.

Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

*

Sometimes it’s better to light a flame thrower than curse the darkness. ~ Terry Pratchett

*

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Comments
  1. davidprosser says:

    Dearest Yvette, that was a Stellar eulogy. All your love for your father as well as your pride in him was obvious. If he was hovering near the ceiling that day he must have glowed.
    I have to hope when my turn comes, my daughter will feel as passionate about her old man as you did yours.
    xxx Mega Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thank you, David. Your heartening words have cheered me so today, when tears threaten to rain and fall again, as the process of mourning continues. Where would we be without our ability to write and express these things and share them with friends, huh? I’m sure your daughter will wax eloquent at your celebration, one day, and may it be many, many days in your future! xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    I can’t imagine how hard it was to write that eulogy. What a beautiful eulogy, Yvette. The world will miss your gentle father. I love all the photos, especially the one of him as a boy. And look at what an adorable little girl you were. Such a lovely family and a fitting farewell to your father. I’m so sorry for your loss, Yvette, but you were so blessed that he was your father. I love the story of buying the new family car. So sweet!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’v’e read this eulogy many times since you posted it and even though I never had the honor of meeting your father, I feel I know him through your eyes. And that is a beautiful way to see a person – through the eyes of someone who loves and respects them. Love, Clare

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi, Clare,
      sorry, I missed your response until now. Thank you for that beautiful feedback. What more could a writer want to hear. That speech caused me so much anguish to write, it was a labour of love, that’s for sure!
      It’s very gratifying to hear someone whom one respects as a writer and fellow blogger, has taken the time to re-read. A rare phenomena in this time hungry world. Thanks again, Clare.
      Love, Yvette

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jenni Legate says:

    Lovely eulogy, Yvette. Your dad sounds like such an inspiration and a wonderful father. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so happy you have a new granddaughter coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi Jenni, thanks for stopping by this neck of the woods. Dad was an inspiration, yet he was strong, too. One of his workers, when he heard of dad’s death said, ‘He was greatly admired…and also, feared!’ ha ha. I thought my brother said a wonderful thing in his eulogy. He said, “I’ve always said, if you looked up the word ‘integrity’ in the dictionary, you’d see my father’s face there.”

      Like

  5. Tina Frisco says:

    I’m so sorry to learn of your father’s passing, Yvette. It’s not easy letting go of a loved one. Having your faith and your family to support you is a blessing. I’ll keep all of you in my prayers ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi Tina, it’s a process, no doubt about it. I gather it’s a gradual thing that happens over time, as you grow used to them not being there. At the moment, it’s incredibly odd and entering dad’s home is like going into foreign territory. Very weird. Thanks for the prayers. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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