I feel like a part of me is missing. He taught me so much. He's the reason I am who I am today.
The funeral was packed with people he knew who were bewildered and sore like us. I got to know Jeffrey a bit better at the service. I learnt about his life outside his family, which he never really talked much about. He had touched people throughout his life and I had no idea just how much. It was so nice to hear.
I wanted to say a tribute to him as well. I felt that it was important that people know the kind of father he was to me, the kind of admirable person he was in my eyes. Here is what I said:
I always thought I’d scored pretty lucky when it came to my dad. When I was younger we sometimes had our differences, usually when I wanted to be frivolous and he recommended I exercise caution instead. But I felt that he respected my opinions. Particularly as I got older I felt like an equal with him, despite that he’d tell you he usually “won” in our disagreements.I know that for some people, the way they can best cope with grief is by putting the deceased out of their mind. For me, I want to remember, even though it hurts. I'm letting the tears do what they want.
I believe he had the perfect mix. He was encouraging and endlessly considerate. He’d go out of his way for me in a heartbeat, even if it meant getting out of bed at 3AM to pick me up from somewhere. He was practical and stubborn, and often inserted a wry dad joke at just the right moment. Plus, he didn’t mind when I started calling him Jeffrey, which I thought was pretty cool.
Mum often told me that I was his “little pet”, meaning that I was very similar to him and that he and I shared a special relationship where we just seemed to understand each other and agree on most things. I always smiled inside when she said it because I’m proud to be like him.
Jeffrey was the kind of parent I aim to be for my daughter Ellie. I’m so grateful he taught me that. I’m glad that he met and knew and loved her. I remember in his speech at his 60th, earlier this year, he said that Ellie was the new love of his life and that made my heart soar. I’m so glad I was able to make his life better through her.
I wish she would have known him like I do. But I’m going to do my best to make sure that the things that he instilled in me will be instilled in Ellie, too: strength, integrity, kindness and good judgment.
I’m going to tell her stories about him and show her pictures. I’ll tell her that he loves her still. We will not forget him.
Now that he's gone the only thing I can do for him is honour his life. I can laugh at the funny memories and smile at the nice ones. I can remember the lessons he taught me. I can tell people about what an exceptional person he was. How he made people feel valued and was respected where ever he went. How he was a family man and put us before himself. How he was always wise and straight-forward. How he was witty and made me laugh.
I can keep his memory close to my heart. That's what he would have wanted.