Friday, June 27, 2014

The first day of the rest of your life

After two terrible weeks, during which time all our priorities were directed towards Skegness we all headed back there for the final farewell to our dad. Myself and Buffy with Chris and Emma travelled from Manchester while Gareth and Tracey came over all the way from Australia.

It was fantastic to be all together in Skegness with mum, but incredibly hard to be there without dad. We have been apart from most of the last 20 odd years, with me and Gareth in the army and then being abroad, whilst Chris, Mum and dad staying mostly in the UK. But we were together when it really mattered.

The day of the funeral went well - albeit with a little input from dad...friends and family from all round the country had turned up - all of the Manchester family was there - Catherine, Andrew, Brenda, Eleanor, David as well as a whole host of the London connection - Patrick, Christine, Pamela, Margo and of course Tony, Joyce, Sharon and Tracy. A whole host of other friends came from around Skegness, from church, cafes, work, neighbours old and new - too many people to mention  - but a huge thank you to everyone who came to the church, crematorium and the function at the pub later on.
Us three with Terry -one of mum and dads oldest and closest friends and neighbours

We put on a good show for dad. Hymns were sung in church - even one which was sung to a completely wrong tune, the organist who apparently played r-e-a-l-l-y -s-l-o-w-l-y and with only one finger at a time plus the priest who told stories in as much detail and for as long as dad used to! Catherine made her way to the altar - with broken ankle to do the readings and did a fantastic job. Dad would have been immensely proud of his little sister as he has been his whole life.
From Mikie

Made by Tracey - from dads garden

Mum and Big Rick....

Gareth then got up and spoke about dad and got us all in tears as he told us about what made dad happy - Skegness, mum and moaning to name a few. He finished with a poem  called Gods Garden, which when he read out was received with bawls of tears as most of the family finally broke down.

After the church we headed off to the crematorium, Dad would have had a wry smile as he ordered a huge rain storm to hit us as we arrived at there. We were almost an hour late and so had to rush in and get the service done before the next booking. Dad would have smiled even more though when he found out that a couple of cars got lost because of bad directions and only just made it on time for the end of the service and the curtains to draw as Lonnie Donegan played dads favourite tune. It just happened that the car that got lost was driven by someone who dad had taught to read maps....hahaha!

The afternoon was just right - people chatted and laughed as we reminisced about dad and family with a couple of beers and a lovely big buffet that lasted us for the next two days after we took a huge load home wrapped in silver foil.

After the end of the get together us three lads went out with our cousins - Sharon and Tracy to re-create a photo taken outside Skegness hospital about 30 years ago when we were all teenagers here on holiday with our mums and dads. It was lovely to spend some time all together again.

Take 2!

After that it was time to head home and relax - but that didn't last long as work started the next day getting dads garden back up to scratch - Tracey spent nearly all day getting weeds pulled up, grass cut and new plants planted before it was time for Emma to head back to Manchester. Before she went though we did get a chance to get the whole family together and take some pictures. We never know when we will get the chance again.....

The following day Chris picked up Dads ashes from the funeral directors. What happened to them coudnt have been planned any better. Firstly dad loved a coffee in the morning - so would have enjoyed the moment that coffee got split over the bag and tube which contained his earthly remains hahah No harm done, so dad was put outside for the day in his garden - albeit in a plastic chair (he would have moaned about the chair! haha)  He spent the afternoon just where he would have chosen - in the garden on a lovely summers day.

Dads wishes were to be scattered on Skegness beach - we had also looked at getting him scattered in the sea using Skegness lifeboat - but it would have meant waiting a few weeks and that was unfeasible - so dad got his wish and we drove to North Shore - where him and mum spent many hours and days standing and enjoying the views. Gareth and Chris had created a small memorial which was hidden in the sand hills and a plant from the garden was planted around it. Its in a lovely little spot - hidden from view of the path, but high enough to give him a view of the sea - a view he loved.

Dads secret little spot

His eternal view

towards Ingoldmells

Towards Skegness
It was then time to scatter the ashes.
Now, anyone who has done this will know - There are A LOT of ashes to scatter - probably a good 3 kilo's and it takes a while. Plus, no matter what you do - you WILL end up covered in the ashes as you scatter them . We all did our best to avoid this, but it happened to us all - over and over again.

There was also an unexpected brilliant surprise - As I explained earlier we had looked into getting dad scattered from a lifeboat - he would have loved it. But it turned out that someone knew his wish, as just as we were about to start, the Skegness lifeboat crew turned up on a tractor as someone had falsely called them out. They asked us if anything was wrong and carried on their way - but we noticed that he small lifeboat was also passing by in the sea. So after all the planning, we couldn't have done any more as Chris scattered dad into the waves - the lifeboat passed by giving dad a wonderful 'flypast' to his final moments with us. It was almost too perfect and as Gareth said, it makes you wonder just if dads ghost was really there taking control and getting his way after all. It makes me cry thinking about it - but dad would have absolutely loved it all. He got the lifeboat and the beach.

Just perfect.

Bye dad.

Lifeboat in the background

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We then had to scatter the remaining ashes, so with some we wrote a little memorial to be washed away with the incoming waves - everyone took a turn and mum scattered some of dad on the exact spot they have stood on every time they visited the beach over the years.

Mums footmarks, where she scattered the final ashes..and got covered - its on the exact spot where they always stood..

Bye dad. We love you and mum always.