On Losing My Father.....

It is rare that I make a personal entry in this blog, but this lunchtime I took a walk through the Botanical Gardens close to my home and I was moved to write something about the recent death of my father, who had shared a love of nature and gardening with my late mother.

The relationship with one's parents can be difficult and since his death I have tried not to remake history, but I have often thought what would I say about my father if asked and here it is...

Dennis Victor Thomas: Born Feb 1st 1922, Died February 24th 2008.

At various times in his life he was a soldier, a lorry driver, a farmer, a welder, a carpenter and a builder...and for most of his life he was a father.

A veteran of World War II, he was a driver in the 8th Army through North Africa and Italy. He was present at the Battle of Monte Casino, something he only mentioned once, as is the way of his generation.

He was a father to four sons: Paul, Christopher, Michael and Timothy (me).

My parents were intensely private people so I shall share no more of their lives other than to say that he died almost four years to the day after my mother, his wife of 57 years.

Of my father: I shall just say that he was a quiet and gentle man with a good kind heart...and he did his best. Uncomfortable with his emotions, he was a silent provider for his family. I only found out of his pride in me from others. He showed his love for his grandson, our 8 year old, by saving his meager pension and quietly delighting in giving him the money when we visited him.

A lovely poem was read at the end of my mother's funeral service. I was surprised to find a cutting of it in my fathers wallet after he died, and it was read at the end of his funeral also. It is a famous inspirational poem attributed to Mary Frye.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

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Tim Thomas

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