Rest in Peace my lovely Dad.

On the off-chance that I have a reader who doesn’t know this, my father Tony Duffy died last Friday Nov 4th 2011 aged 83. His health had been deteriorating over the past three years, and in the end he died because his bone marrow was failing and couldn’t fight off the infection that was affecting him. He suffered no pain, and just a small amount of distress when he found it hard to breath – this was dealt with excellently by the staff at the Galway Clinic. At the end, he slipped away so peacefully that we can’t precisely pinpoint the moment of his death.

Each of the five siblings spoke briefly at my Dad’s funeral Mass, describing what he meant to us. I’m sharing mine as it was originally written, although I did ad-lib a little when the time came to speak:

When I sat down to write about my Dad on Saturday evening, two words sprang immediately to mind – grief and gratitude. My grief is enormous, because my father was one of the rocks on which my life has been built. His unconditional love, kindness and acceptance are irreplaceable in my life and in my heart. He was an exemplary person in so many ways – a gentleman, dignified, a towering intellectual, a talented gymnast and tennis player in his youth and a keen walker until the last years of his life. He had a fantastic sense of humour, with a rare ability to laugh even when the joke was on him. He was also a thinker, a reader, a man of deep spirituality and wonderful aesthetic taste – he was that rare thing, a polymath. I am known by some people as a person who knows a little about many subjects, but Dad knew a lot about so many things that only in the area of technology could I teach him anything. He was a late convert to the idea of the Internet, but in his last years I ordered many CDs and books for him online. Indeed, a massive two-volume set from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on his beloved Dutch Painting was his main reading material in his last weeks.

But with all these gifts went a deep humility – his inability to accept a compliment became family legend because he was too humble to see himself the way we did, as a truly exceptional person. He lived his life for us, his family, and that shines through every moment of my memories of him. He and Mom were a unit whose strengths and abilities were complementary, and they focused on giving us the best education and a home that was full of love and laughter. It’s a great comfort to still have my Mom to share the laughter and the memories.

I am grateful beyond words to have had such a man as my father. I’m especially privileged to have cared him – with the help of family and professionals – for the last few years of his life. I feel like a fraud when people praise me for this, because I can say without reserve that there is nothing I would rather have done that take care of my parents, whose company I truly enjoy.  When he became ill, Dad was a good patient fir the most part, although there were some skirmishes over my insistance that he use his Zimmerframe even within his bedroom, over his desire to read large and very heavy tomes which put strain on his neck and shoulders. But he never moped, or moaned about his failing health or his diminishing mobility. He still found great pleasure in his family, his music and his books. Dad never wanted to be a bother to anyone, and he died as he lived – quietly, with dignity and in peace.

Rest in peace Dad. You’ll live in my heart always.

I ad-libbed a portion which I had previously cut out, regarding a time when I was going through a rough time at the age of 19, and he had pointed out to me that the second half of “Love thy neighbour as thyself” was often ignored and yet equally important, for how can one love one’s neighbour if one doesn’t love oneself?  Since I had often had trouble with the latter, this piece of wisdom has stayed with me all my life.

I also  wanted to attach one of my very favourite of Dad of his last year of  life, (where he is petting Willow)  but due to a major spillage of diet coke on my faithful laptop, I don’t have a soft copy to hand.  Anyway I posted it in Facebook a few days ago, so just click on the Facebook link at the top of the right column.

Won’t be blogging much for the next week or so (at least!) due to a really filthy chest infection. Apparently is “going around” and I shouldn’t expect to feel better until at least next week. It certainly helps me identify with Dad’s breathing problems over the final week.

RIP Dad. My life will forever have a gap where you were, but thankfully I have friends, family and memories to help it heal a bit.

~ by Lynn Duffy on November 10, 2011.

2 Responses to “Rest in Peace my lovely Dad.”

  1. I’m very sorry for your loss, Lynn.

  2. Thanks Dan. 🙂 Nice to know someone is still checking here despite the lean pickings in recent months. Hope you’re keeping well yourself.

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