January 11, 2011

Goodbye Dad

This is an abridged and slightly modified version of the speech I read out at my father's funeral on January 5th, 2011.

First, I want to thank everyone who is present today; the outpouring of support and love shown to John and our family has been incredibly touching. Thank you also to St Paul's for graciously offering the use of the cathedral for the service.

I'll keep this short, as there are just a few things I want to say that haven't already been said.

Essentially, I want to thank my Dad for the lessons he taught me about life and for what he gave me. From a young age he instilled in me a sense of wonder and of curiosity about the world. Dad, there seemed to be nothing you didn't know. You knew why planes flew, why the mountains were capped with snow, where the rivers ran and why the stars shone. You taught me never to stop asking why. You'd never shy away from the real answer either, no matter how long, complex or abstract it might be. You instilled in me the value of hard work, of motivation and for striving towards one's dreams. To say that I wouldn't be where I am today were it not for you is a gross understatement. You were superman. If I have even half the life experiences that you had, I will consider myself fortunate beyond words. You were so many wonderful things to so many people.

And I am so immeasurably sorry to see you go. I'm sorry that we'll never get to hike the Dart-Rees, or the Hollyford like we were always going to. I'm sorry that you'll never get to see me graduate. I'm sorry you'll never meet the man I end up falling in love with and marrying. I'm sorry you'll never get to see your sons again and share in the joy of their lives. I'm sorry you'll never get to see your grandchildren grow and experience all that life has to offer.

But I think the last lesson you taught me was the most important.

On December 28th, as I saw the life drain from your eyes as you lay dying on your bed; in that moment I learnt the most important thing that I think I will ever learn in my entire life. In that instant I learnt exactly how precious life is. I knew that I wanted to live, that I am more determined than ever to live my life to the fullest. But I don't begrudge you for choosing to go. I forgive you for what you did Dad, I forgive you because of what you meant to me, of what you meant to everyone here and because I want Tom and Chris and Michael and Matai and Kae and Mum and Rosemarie and Gra and everyone here to know what I know surer than anything I've known before - that life is fleeting and so very precious.

Goodbye Dad. I love you.

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