Saying goodbye (pt2)
And so I’ve left home and returned home.
Today was a sad but inspiring occasion.
The church was rammed to capacity as people came to say goodbye to granda. A tribute to a life well lived, the impact he had on his community, and the love for his family (so many people commented on how my nana, mum or aunties had “been there for them” in the past).
I’ve put some of the family tribute below, which focused on the things granda taught us;
He taught us to love music; Behind his beloved organ at The Salvation Army or practising at home in the front room. I think we all used to love hearing him play…I guess though, what was a treat for us could be slightly more of a pain to live with. I remember once being at the house and granda was playing in the front room. His hearing had started to go and so he was playing loud – I could hear nana shouting for him to turn it down and worried that he couldn’t hear her I said “granda nana wants you to turn it down”. Without a seconds hesitation he looked at me and said “I know son I can hear her”
He taught us selective hearing; His selective hearing became the stuff of legend – he could sit in a room and make out he heard nothing to the point where someone would say “he can’t hear a thing” it was at that precise moment he would weigh in with a perfectly timed and sharp as a tack comment that left you in no doubt he heard everything.
He taught us to have a signature dish…granda had not one but two incredible signature dishes – Ginger wine and Irish stew, no one made either quite like him…
He taught us the secrets of a happy marriage; Nana and granda loved each other dearly, they would fight the bit out but their love was real, committed and had stood the test of time…we celebrated 60 years of their marriage this Christmas. You don’t fall into 60 years of marriage and it doesn’t just happen. It takes work, commitment, faithfulness and a love that lasts long beyond the heady days of romance and newness.
Granda was a loving husband to our nana and a proud father of his three girls and the lives they’d each made for themselves with husbands of their own…You only had to see the smile on his face when the family got together…He loved his family and we loved him.
He taught us to serve; granda loved to help others, he served his church for decades…he showed keen generosity to causes that caught his eye, created hanging baskets for family and friends and everywhere he worked or went sought to work for others…He loved to help, he loved to serve and he lived well for others.
And all of this, stemmed from his faith. A quiet but constant presence in his life. A belief in Jesus that he shared with nana and his family and today we recognise he has gone to be with the Heavenly Father he knew and loved.
Granda was not one for deep theological conversation and neither is this moment – but he loved Jesus and was a true disciple, a faithful follower of Christ.
His simple faith, commitment to his family, service of his church and devotion to his community here in Newtownards will remain how he is best remembered.
I believe that after death you leave behind what you lived.
Granda leaves a loving wife, a family united, and four grandsons, three grand daughters in law and two great grandsons who will miss him greatly but will try their best to follow his example into a future that is now a little sadder without him in it.
So today we don’t say goodbye…Besides granda never said goodbye anyway – he would shake your hand or give you a hug and as you left would smile widely and only ever say chi-o
So granda, until we all meet again, we simply say – chi-o
I’ll always be sad that granda never got to meet K, and K never got to meet his great-granda but will make sure he knows all about him and what a great granda he really was.