Friday, December 30, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
We're spending Christmas in our new house. We moved - sort of - yesterday, and we're very happy to be in a brand spanking new house with heat, straight walls, and working locks on the doors. It means we've been frantically busy trying to pack up our house, and since we'd only just returned from Spain it was chaotic, to say the least. It also means that we're not very prepared for Christmas. I don't think that Raf has any idea that tomorrow he'll be showered in gifts, much less the idea that Father Christmas has left them for him.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
I remembered my mum calling me in the hospital when I had Raf, just an hour or so afterward, and then speaking to my dad and I told him how wonderful it was and how well it had gone and how it was the best thing ever, and he said, "I can tell in your voice, Billy".
They soon became fast friends.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Raf is such a good traveler. On the way to Spain he did amazingly well despite having a fever. It was a long journey which took us from Maine to Boston to New York to Madrid to Alicante to my parents' home. 24 hours in to it we came to the train part. Although Raf was very excited about seeing the trains, he was not excited about being on one and it was 3 hellish hours with a very tired little fella. En route home he fell asleep in the car to the train station and had to be woken up... this did not make for a good train journey.... We stayed in a hotel in Madrid overnight and began our long jaunt home yesterday. It was another long ol' day as the Madrid to NY part is almost 9 hours. With 4 hours to go both Rich and I felt like crying... especially since Raf had a bad tummy! When we got to NY, though, Raf had just fallen asleep AGAIN as we were about to depart the plane so I thought we'd have a hard layover. Thankfully Raf fell asleep in his stroller and we had enough time to walk around with him before we had to go through security again and wake him up...
Here he is having just gone through security. Because of said upset tummy Raf had run out of outfits and was wearing his elf pajamas in the middle of the day. He had a lovely time running around the airport helping with the luggage.
We had fries and Fanta at McDonalds as Mum and Dad always do this on every trip to the States when they're waiting for a flight, and then we boarded our flight to Boston. After 90 minutes waiting to take off we got to Boston late and very tired. Rich was wonderful in that he drove us home. Raf slept almost all the way home and woke up at his usual USA waking time so I'm hoping he is not too jet-lagged (he went to bed with us very late in Spain).
We're all missing Dad, though, and this morning I woke up with a heavy heart realising that he wasn't downstairs with Mum. But friends, and friends of this blog, have been just lovely. Jen sent us flowers and is bringing food over, and my friend, Kate, left lots of food in the fridge for us so we'd have something to eat this morning, and the messages and cards keep coming. Thank you, all.
Friday, December 2, 2011
It’s hard to capture a person’s life in one short eulogy, especially when you’re writing about someone like my dad who seemed to me to live many lives, spanning many decades, touching so many lives. From his childhood years with his mum Marjorie and his Dad Archibald Macpherson, to his navy days in the second-world-war, and more recently his final decade in Spain, living in the sunshine, growing his beautiful garden, living and loving life to the fullest.
Dad often said that he wished he was 50 again, and to me that says many lovely things about the way dad experienced his world – that he’d live so much of his life all over again just to be able to enjoy and relish those moments once more.
But instead of trying to distill Dad’s biographical life into a few insufficient words I want to tell you a few things about what I know.
I know that I grew up with a Dad with surprises in his pockets: chocolate and sweets and long forgotten poems and well-worn photos.
I know that Dad was passionate about many things including his serene garden, The Wolves, playing pool, Patch, and DIY.
I know that I had a dad who didn’t really like the finer things in life; he didn’t appreciate good music or wine, and much less fine food. In fact he liked terrible food and terrible music and loved to watch terrible TV.
I know that Dad had a wonderful turn of phrase; that he liked to see a ‘man about a dog’, that he liked most foods ‘not partic’, and that his nickname for me, Billy, was sweet and enduring.
I know that Dad was an unusually modest man, whose humility was humbling except when it came to parking cars in impossibly tight spaces and bragging about his pool playing triumphs.
I know that Dad’s company was good company, and that while sometimes he was shy that he delighted in the company of others.
I know that Dad was a wonderful storyteller, and told funny tales with tears streaming down his face. “It was so bloody funny, Billy”, he would say, as he recounted how a fierce woman had shouted at him “to get out of my way, you silly little man” as he, Colin and Ian tried out their new self-built boat.
I know that Dad was deeply loved and liked and that I was his biggest fan.
I know that he made friends everywhere he went, and that watching the burgeoning friendship between himself and my son is my greatest ever gift.
I know that dad was a decent, good and kind man. And people’s kindness as mum and dad endured these final weeks speaks so much to Dad’s own sweetness and his capacity to touch people with his empathy and gentleness.
I know that the only person who could offer comfort and take away this terrible pain and this terrible loss is not here.
When people looked at dad they likely saw an older man whose story was coming to a close. I saw only an ageless man with an infinite future. I saw him and mum visiting us at Christmases in the distant future, I saw him planting apple trees and digging holes and choosing flowers to make new beautiful gardens; I saw him watching and delighting in my growing son, and I took dad at his word when he looked forward to the day he’d be putting Raf on the school bus.
But we all die in the middle of stories and my greatest sadness is that I will miss him terribly. I will miss him for us all.
I will grieve mum’s life partner and soul mate ‘Cammy’. I will grieve Uncle Ian’s older, cherished ‘our kid’. I will miss Colin’s and Bex’s Pop, and I will miss fiercely Jane’s, Fiona’s, Melissa’s and my Dad; our beloved and cherished dad. I will miss Tricky’s Keith-Lad, Codger Campbell, Sailor Boy, Arch and Archie, I will miss Pops, Grandpa, and Papa Keith.
To borrow a brief passage from W. H. Auden’s poem Funeral Blues
“He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong”.