My Dad | A Farewell

October 09, 2013  •  5 Comments

My Dad passed away suddenly last Tuesday.

My Dad was not the sort to dwell on sadness so I won't either. My favourite poem sums him up well.

A Song of Living

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.

I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.

My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young Love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end.

I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.

I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.

I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.

I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.

I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.

As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die. -Amelia Burr

I thought it might be nice to do a blog post for him and include the eulogy I wrote for his funeral. In retrospect there is a lot more I could say but I hope it does him justice. A special thank you to Dad's dear friend Richard for reading it for me. Dad is gone but not forgotten. He leaves behind my sister Laura & I; his grandson Ben; granddaughter Ava; his girlfriend Bonnie; his parents Ian and Marion ; his 3 sisters Louise, Lois & Lisa; his Niece Lauren; Nephew Joe & more friends than I can count!


Dad when he was small

Russell James
July 1st 1955  -  October 1st 2013

My Dad and I are very alike. We are both a little bit silly and a little bit selfish. Right now I’m very glad he was that little bit selfish. Knowing he lived the life he wanted is the thing that makes me smile through all the horrible things this week has brought. He talked about moving to France as far back as I can remember. He loved the country and its wonderful eccentricities. After all he was a man of wonderful eccentricities. Whether it was his multiple collections of curiosities, his inability to cook meat all the way through or his fascination with outstandingly boring landmarks his little eccentricities made him who he was. They made him the Dad Laura and I loved.

I’ve never for a second doubted that my Dad loved me, he told me often enough. I think it’s important to say that all though we weren’t great at keeping in touch and that sometimes he made me roll my eyes enormously: I loved him.

He was kind. Kindness is my favourite quality in people. It’s the one that matters most. He was so very kind, which is clear from the sheer number of friends he had and the kindness they’ve shown us since his death.

My Dad is the reason I love music. He’s the reason I know every Queen song off by heart and the reason I’m teaching my daughter those same songs now. He’s also the reason I could roll cigarettes at 5 years old but the less we say about that (and his driving) the better. He’sthe reason I love rubbish British comedy, he called me Baldrick for the majority of my childhood (because I was always grubby and a little bit stupid). He was a chronic exaggerator but I love that. He made me laugh so often.

Honestly I doubt very much my Dad will hear this, he’s probably off on some jaunt to see a weird jazz band or a bad Freddie impersonator. But on the off chance any of this get’s through:

Dad thank you for making my life fun.
Thank you for teaching me the importance of a good song.
Thank you for sharing your love of geeky literature.
Thank you for every message you sent me when you knew I was feeling down.
I wish I could tell you in person, I love you!


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Chris Crook(non-registered)
Sophie, lovely eulogy. Your dad was a great footballer, but his sister Louise is even better ;)
I still fondly remember those days we played foota in Rosebery Park.
Sophie, what a wonderful and personal eulogy for your unique and irreplaceable Dad. x
Thank you for sharing your story Sophie - your dad sounds like he was a special man. Always hold onto the good memories, the laughter and the love. Those are what get through those challenging days ahead. My mom also died very suddenly and it just blew me away - so many what ifs. Every Monday I would walk to the phone to make my international call home, and suddenly I could not do that anymore. I find myself thinking more and more, what would mom do, or what would mom say? It is hard but strength will get you through. Remember to share what you are feeling, it is far healthier than bottling. Find someone you can talk to, even if it is just to remember the crazy stunts and the laughter. My mother always used to tell me to put my petticoat on before going out - how I hated that petticoat - and how much laughter my brother and I had over that comment lol. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so glad I am getting to know you. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Kelly Wagner(non-registered)
So beautiful Sophie, he sounds like an amazing man which is why he has amazing daughters xxx
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