… but events can take us by surprise.

7th January
Dear Friends,

My dad died suddenly this morning. He called me at breakfast time and said he had felt poorly through the night and had arranged for his doctor to come and see him after morning surgery. Ever the practical and thoughtful one, my Dad left the door on the latch and when the doctor arrived my Dad had already passed away.

In truth, he has been lonely since the death of mum, a year ago. They were married nearly 70 years. He enjoyed a lovely Christmas staying at my sisters, visiting us here in Wooler and then we took him down to my brothers where he had a lovely relaxed New Year weekend before we returned him home on Monday. He looked well and was in good spirits. Who truly, but God, knows what his thoughts and feelings were but I have a hunch that his insistence, despite the snowy conditions, on getting to church Communion on Wednesday morning and his phone calls to Ben and Joshua yesterday and his phoning me this morning may not be coincidences.

A gentle, humble, caring and compassionate man, he was always there me, as a loving, encouraging and supportive father. His care reached out beyond his beloved family, to many friends and anyone in need. We shared so much together and his life was blessed with remarkably good memories of times shared with the many who knew him and my mum. He loved his family, enjoyed his work, appreciated the beauty of God’s creation and was one of the most contented people I have ever known. Selflessly he bore his sufferings, [not many people know that he had tinnitus for over 70 years as a result of working on aircraft engines in the Second World War], cared for Mum in her later years with incredible grace and who never made any demands of anyone, giving himself tirelessly for the wellbeing of others.

I am grateful for a loving sister, brother and close family with whom our grief is keenly shared and together with the support of some great friends and superb colleagues we will respond with thankfulness to God for the life of a good and godly man, who was better prepared for his eternal rest than we were for his leaving us. Together with my Mum, he bequeathed to me and my family, many of life’s true values – for which, through my tears of sadness and pain of loss, I give thanks to God.
The memories of a good man are a blessing indeed!