Losing a Father is one of the hardest things one ever has to go through. The other day the woman who lives upstairs lost her Father. It was a battle over a few weeks and she was distraught throughout the process of the hospital bedside vigil and inconsolable when he died. As I was trying to comfort her, like it always is with grief, it was a trigger that took me back to a similar time in my life and dealing with the loss of my own father. Even though it has been over 15 years, it felt as if it happened yesterday. It took me back to the time when my father had a stroke, the family bedside vigil before he died, the day of his funeral and the prolonged grieving process afterwards.
It is something you never really get over and for all of my 3 sisters and 1 brother, something that we all still grieve about.
You remember sitting next to him at the hospital, and even though you have been told by doctor’s his stroke has rendered him a vegetable, you are sure it is not your imagination that he is trying to tell you something, that he knows you are there. Just writing this is making me cry.
I have always thought that heaven is the way the people who loved you remember you. For my Dad he is remembered all the time so is definitely in Heaven. My little sister keeps his ashes, and often talks to him. So do her children. At every 18th and 21st, every wedding of his grandkids, every birth of his great grandkids, every special occasion and sometime just when something normal happens, you think, gee Dad would like that.
His Grandkids all adored him as much and all credit him along with my gorgeous Mum, with contributing a great deal to who they are today. Pop as he was known to all loved them as much as he did his kids.
He was so special I would like to share the Eulogy I gave at his funeral below.
Eulogy Laurence Andrew Pritchard by me his Daughter
I stand before you all today representing my sisters Shaaron, Noeline and Margaret and my brother Andrew, to try to celebrate and honour his life and share with each of you our profound grief at his loss.
For all the roles our Father undertook in his lifetime, the role in which he never wavered and rarely faltered, and I believe with all my heart, his starring role, was that of FATHER.
He was a wonderful father to all of us, both as small children and as we grew and matured. He managed to adapt himself to forge a strong bond with each of the distinct individuals we have all become. He loved us all so much, that he has passed that great love onto to all of the grandchildren present here today as well.
The last terrible two weeks have been a time of both reflection and introspection. In deciding what to say today, I tried to summarise all of the wonderful gifts he gave each one of us during his lifetime, into the ones that bond us together as the children of Laurie Pritchard.
I managed to get it down to three of the most precious gifts any one can give.
- Firstly, he taught us how to LOVE. Throughout the years, the loving relationship he shared with our mother, taught all of us all of the colours of love. The joy and laughter, the passion and pain, the sacrifice and devotion. This relationship gave all of us the strength and courage to face our lives as individuals and to give love to others in our lives, easily and without restraint. No matter where you went in the world or what you did, the one thing you could never doubt in life, was how much he loved you.
- Secondly, he taught us GENEROSITY. His endless generosity and his kindness to others is something I believe each of us has inherited in some measure. Although it was sometimes to his detriment, as it has sometimes been to each of us, in balance the ability to give both of oneself and one’s possessions freely, is a good thing. He helped mould five people who know how to be kind and generous, and the world is a better place for such gifts.
- Thirdly, but by no means the least, he taught us how to PLAY. As I have matured, I realise what effort it must have taken, to come home after a long day at work and still find the energy to play with your children. He managed it unfailingly.
- From the memories of fighting for the position of honour, leaning against his belly in front of the TV, which nearly always ended in a playful wrestle, to coming outside after tea to practice playing ball, he was always there.
- He taught us how to play sport and that is was good to be competitive. When the Nuns told him winning wasn’t important he said “then stop scoring”.
- For those of you here who know us well, you know that there is not a Pritchard born to him, that you can trust to stand next to a pool fully clothed, or that you would even begin to trust with a hose.
- The fun and laughter of all the food and water fights throughout the years, the playful teasing of prospective suitors, being taught not to cry when you were dumped badly by a wave, all of these wonderful memories, bind us together in the joy of having had him for a Dad.
- Being able to face the perils life has thrown at each of us and still know how to laugh and to play, is a gift, immeasurable to me and one I would not have got to where I am today without, and the same for my siblings.
In closing, one of the most awful things about today and the thing that bonds us so closely together as a family, is the knowledge each one of us so strongly feels ………………….
That no-one will ever love us quite like that again.