My father lived a full life. Though it was cut far too short, the time he was given was never wasted. From family and community life, to indulging his adventurous spirit, Dad gave it his all. I have never remembered a time that he was happy to just sit still. From scuba diving in Belize to roughing it through Africa he was never one to laze about. He was then very frustrated at being “caged up” in hospital for all the time he was ill.
An example of his hatred of the docile life was the coast to coast cycle trip which I accompanied him on. I can happily say that between the moments of exhaustion, wetness and bitter cold, we forged some of the best memories together on that trip and it is one I will treasure for ever.
Though a solitary man at heart, he cared for his family with a passion. He always put his family before any of his personal interests and did what he though was best for the us whether he liked it or not. His warmth extended also to the community as well for he was an extremely active member. From being a scout’s leader to doing odd jobs around our village chapel, he benefited any community he was in.
Apart from his family, Dad was most passionate about the environment. Especially in his later years he based much of his life around what was best for the planet. Among other things such as driving an electric car from taking a course in bee keeping, which he unfortunately never got to finish, my father made many sacrifices for the sake of the planet and inspired others to do the same.
When he was nearing the end of his life and was under the effect of the fateful neurotoxicity, the doctors made him write a sentence ever day to assess his progress/deterioration. I vividly remember on one of my visits he wrote “I am as free as a bird.” Though this was his classic cynical humour coming through at the frustration of being trapped in the hospital, I believe that this phrase encapsulates the very spirit of my father. It captures both his extremely passionate ornithological interests and his naturally free spirit, both of which constitute much of what made Dad, Dad.
I am sure I could stand up here talking for hours, even days on end talking about all the special moments which my father has gifted me with, but I chose only my favourite few. All I can hope is that now he is at rest, he truly is “as free as a bird”