Author Topic: Undelivered speech for my Cousins 'wake. I'll put it here for what it's worth.  (Read 16270 times)

Offline Gyppo

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I didn't manage to get to my Cousin's funeral just before Christmas.  Distance, timing, and circumstances conspired against being there.  I had to look after Mum and she didn't feel up to travelling.  First priority has to be to the living.

But I'd written a few words to read out at the wake, so with your permission I'll post them here, as an epitaph of sorts.



   I'll not pretend my cousin was a saint.  Like several of us here today he was too much of a man for that label to sit comfortably on his shoulders.  

   So let's remember Tony the man, who would always try and help out if he could.  He was always my 'go to' man when I needed an old British bike rewiring.  He never took money for this, but we'd get through a whole loaf of bread and a couple of pounds of bacon in bacon sarnies to keep him going.

   He once offered to take a girl home to her parents for Christmas when she was drunk in a pub and feeling homesick.  He'd already made the offer before he found out her parents lived in Wales and not near Southampton.  But, he'd promised, so he shoved her on the back of his bike and took her there overnight.  I'm told there was some confusion as her parents assumed he must be a boyfriend, rather than someone just playing St Christopher for a few hours.  The parents wanted to tuck the pair of them up in the spare room together for a few hours before dinner ;-)

   That's the kind of crazy generous man he was, and sometimes it led him down the wrong path.  But there's no need to revisit those choices.  Those who know already know, and those who don't will just have to wonder.

   He also liked blowing things up, but he was always careful, and there was never anything malicious about it.  It was just dabbling with science.  A childhood hobby which he developed even more during his time with the army.  His wife will remember how he bought his own set of saucepans for cooking up various unholy mixtures after she gave him grief for using her best kitchen pans.

   He told some terrible jokes, some repeatedly, but we enjoyed them.

   I believe one of the biggest disappointments in his life was when he wanted to become a paramedic, riding the first response motorcycle, and was told - at nearly forty - he was too old.  During his time in the army he'd learned how to reduce people to their components.  As a paramedic he would have been putting them back together again.  The perfect job for a pro-active risk taker.

   I was always terrified of collapsing in front of him with breathing difficulties, because he'd always wanted to perform an emergency tracheotomy on someone.  You know, the job you do with a ball point pen jabbed into the throat to bypass a blockage.  For years he carried a pen at all times, in his top pocket, just in case he had the opportunity.

   There are just too many stories to share now, from his childhood through his Navy and Army days, and a couple of memorable pub crawls around Hythe.

   I lost track of him in his later years, but the stories still reached me at secondhand.

   In the last few weeks of his life, when they knew the cancer was inoperable and chemotherapy wasn't getting anywhere, he re-married his former wife, Kim, who had divorced him many years earlier because she couldn't live with his philandering ways.  But she still loved him, never wanted another, and moved in to care for him 24/7 and help him through his final weeks.  

   Rest easy, Tony.  Even with all your faults and foibles I know one thing.

   You will  not be forgotten by those who knew you.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 09:47:05 AM by Gyppo »
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Offline Laura H

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That is a very fine tribute, Gyppo. I'm sorry you didn't get to attend the service or deliver your speech in front of others who knew him, but I think we all wish for someone to write just such a remembrance for us when our time comes. Lovely.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline DistantSun

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What a character he sounded like - thanks for giving us a little glimpse through your memories (although, unlike Tony, I was always petrified of having to perform an emergency tracheotomy some day!).

I bet he has some good stories to tell to all those he meets in the great beyond :)
It's good to laugh at yourself once in a while - why let everyone else have all the fun!
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Offline Mrs N

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Wow, how lucky were you to have known such a character.

Thanks for sharing, Gyppo. You've written some fine words to his memory.

Offline Simple Things

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Nicely said, Gyppo.

Offline WordBird

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I just got to this Gyppo. Tony sounds like he was a good ol' chap to know. Whilst reading this in person, I imagine quite a few giggles and smiles. Followed by tears at the end. Emotional. Nice.

Offline DGSquared

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I happened upon this just minutes ago and it's very nice, Gyppo. Did you send a copy to Kim?

I'm sorry you weren't able to attend your cousin's services but with this written remembrance, you gave a Tony a decent send off.

Sorry for your loss and the world's loss of another generous human taken too soon by cancer.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark. -Chinese proverb

Blondesplosion! ~Deb