Friday, July 18, 2008

Our Dad

I read out the following at Dad's funeral Mass today:

Our Dad, Tom, was 81 years old this June. People who met him often remarked that he seemed a lot younger. This, perhaps, was due to his great spirit and love of life. He felt at his best when he was working on some project, or examining a new gadget he had made or seen in a shop window. He was a believer in the idea of “early to bed and early to rise.” Anyone who heard his grass mower working at seven o’clock on a Saturday morning can testify to that!

Tom loved to collect things and to share his latest discovery with his friends and neighbours. If someone was working on a blocked drain, or having trouble with a garden shrub, he delighted in producing some strange invention or unusual advice to solve the problem.

He loved dressing up in a favourite suit and making an entrance. In recent years he added some fancy waistcoats and a number of hats and caps to his collection and knowing how much he liked them, we, his family, often aided and abetted him by giving him presents of new ones.

We will miss him in his Sunday hat.

To many people, Tom was larger than life. To us, his children, he was that and more. He cared deeply about what was happening in our lives. He was full of pride in our times of joy. He had a quiet wisdom when we shared our woes. A word from Dad would add to our happiness or help solve the problems we found ourselves within.

Tom’s cheerful outlook is the more remarkable in the face of the setbacks that life threw at him over the years. In 2001 he lost his wife, Maureen, after 50 years of marriage, a terrible blow. His own health could sometimes be poorly and he was all-too familiar with clinics and with hospitals both as an in- and out-patient. He bore too the losses of dear brothers and a beloved sister.

In all these times, he took comfort from his religion and his faith in God which gave him the strength to not only survive but overcome his ills. He returned, each time, with renewed optimism to tinkering on some machine, hanging some shelf, fixing some door. Often these were done for other people who remarked on his resilience and (once more) were astonished by his age.

Our Dad was usually wise in his choice of friends and extremely lucky in his wonderful neighbours who looked out for him in his latter years. He joked that if he chose to have a rare lie-in it wouldn’t work out because someone would come knocking on the door to check if he was okay!

Tom’s independent lifestyle always left time for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom he loved dearly. He met his newest great-grandchild, brought on a visit from England, only a few weeks ago. We know that each of them will sadly miss their “Grandad Tom.”

Dad would have been touched by the support and sympathy offered to us over the past days by everybody. You are too many to mention individually, but we are pleased to use this opportunity to thank you, his extended family, colleagues, clergy, musicians, friends and neighbours at this difficult time.

The family would like to welcome you to attend the crematorium at Newlands following this morning’s Mass. And there shall be refreshments served in the Cuckoo’s Nest afterwards if you would like to come along.

Tom will always be remembered, whether as “Thomas”, “Tommy”, “Tom”, “Big Tom,” “Big Dad”, “Da Walsh”, “Uncle Tom”, “Grandad Tom”, or, simply, “Dad”.

The world already feels a lot emptier without him.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Angharod said...

Tom resembles our neighbor Jack just a little bit. He will be 81 next month, with energy and good will to spare.

Good job Willie, the tribute and the picture are so special. I'll only echo Fitz, to remind you to take care of yourself. I know this has been hard.

Our thoughts are with you all.