Monday, 18 March 2013
OUR LOSS HEAVEN'S GAIN
Blogging here has been light lately because I have been a bit snowed under with work and we had a loss in our family.
My father in law died in February. It was very sad. He was a likeable chap who was always smiling and a man who worked hard all of his life. He couldn't face retirement and worked until he was 70 and it was soon after he quit work that he began to have problems with his health. The last year saw him go downhill rapidly and since Christmas he was bedridden. My mother in law was determined not to let him go into hosiptal and so she nursed and cared for him to the point of exhaustion and one can only thank the Marie Curie, MacMillan and St Banabas Hospice nurses who helped out at times when she needed rest.
Father in law was a country man who worked on farms most of his earlier life and then for decades on the roads. His was the last generation to do National Service and he served in Malaya in the 1950s. He never lost his love for the countryside and kept an allotment for years. Those sacks of potatoes he often brought round were always welcome. Sadly, the vast rural haven in the middle of a small urban estate has since been reduced to a small spot as urban housing has taken over much of where the old working classes dug for victory, for joy, or to supplement the family food budget.
He never lost his love for tractors and would often drive mother in law nuts with his collection that would sit on the drive if there was no room for them at his allotment. It was no surprise, therefore, that one of his wreaths was in the shape of his favourite mode of transport.
I was honoured to be asked to read the poem Memories of Dad and it was hard because the tears threatened to make my voice croak but I managed to get through it. The sadness everyone felt hung in the air. The funeral parlour was packed with standing room only and that was squeezed full such was the respect people had for him among his friends, neighbours and workmates.
Three songs were played - I believe by the Batchelors, Only You by the Platters, and then as we all stood, tears freely flowing, and began to file out after the committal to lay flowers, the song below was played and I think my father in law would have appreciated that. He gave us plenty of smiles in life and the last smile was on him as the mourning atmosphere suddenly lifted as we heard his favourite song that so uniquely caught his character.
If there are tractors in heaven, my father in law is today a very happy man but after 60 years of marriage, I fear my mother in law has many more tears yet to shed for the man she will struggle to live without.