Today would have been my Dad's 85th Birthday. He passed away last August.
I am not writing this post to score sympathy votes but to remind everybody out there to love, cherish & appreciate their parents no matter what.
I hope you don't mind, but I would like to share with you some excerpts from the eulogy my sisters & I wrote for Dad.
Douglas George was born on 18th February 1927 in London, the eldest son of Gertrude & George. He had a younger brother, Ray who was born around 2 years later.
At the age of 18, towards the end of the Second World War, he joined the Army in the Royal Signals & worked as a radio mechanic.
He left in 1948 & joined the GPO - now BT.
He continued his fascination with radio-communications & gained his operators licence. We all recall him speaking to friends through his self-built radio set!
Also in 1948, whilst out with a mutual group of friends, he met a young girl called Joan Hunter. Joan, our Mum, was from Scotland & had moved down to London several years previously.
Their friendship blossomed & on 28th August 1954 they married.
They had an extra special 1st Wedding Anniversary present - the birth of their 1st Daughter, Sheena!
They went on to have 5 more children - Marion, Alan, Alison, Zoe & Christine.
Sadly, Alan died at only 5 months old & Alison at the age of 36 in 1999.
Living in a household of all girls could not have been easy, but Dad would use his patience & endurance - even to get a slot in the bathroom!
We had various male pets over the years as allies for Dad. Despite his protestations that animals were a nuisance, it was not uncommon to see a cat curled up on his lap & a dog at his feet!
Dad was a modest man, who was never envious of anyone's achievements but was proud of what they had attained & shared in their delight. He knew the value of love & family life.
Dad's strength of character shone through after Mum died. We rallied around to help him but in fact it was he as head of the family who helped us come to terms with the loss of our Mum. When we were faced with the bereavement of Alison within 2 years, he stoically carried on despite his own grief & offered us support in his quiet manner.
When his 1st grandchild, Fiona, was born, he created a cairn whilst out on one of his mountain climbs & his walking companion took a photo of him next to it.
Soon after, his car was stolen - with the camera in it. He was more concerned about recovering the undeveloped film than the car itself!
He was a great cook - there was nothing better than one of Dad's chicken or prawn curries. Another of his signature dishes was ham, egg & chips, where the eggs were done to perfection- none of us have been able to replicate the 'Dougie Fried Egg' & probably never will!
Dad was our very own Oracle. As we were growing up there was no Google or Ask Jeeves - he knew just about everything & if he didn't, he knew where to find the answer or how to work it out with his own unique logic. He guided us through our schooling with gentle persuasion & assistance. Even in his last few months, whilst struggling with illness, he was able to help with the crossword! He could not see to fill in the boxes but instantaneously provided answers to the clues - such as Soporific or the Capital of Australia (I know I should have know these!!! By the way, the answers are calm or sleepy & Canberra!)
There are so many things to thank Dad for with one exception - our genetic disposition for sticky-out ears or 'Doug's Lugs' as we call them! However, they are very useful for keeping the crowns on our heads throughout Christmas Day!!
During the last few years of Dad's life, he struggled with physical restrictions, having been diagnosed with Parkinson's, which took hold quite swiftly. He had been an active man, so found this difficult & frustrating but we were grateful to be able to reciprocate the care, love & devotion he had shown us & help him through.
Thank you for everything, Dad. We will never forget that your support & love for us has been unconditional throughout our lives. We will always feel honoured to call ourselves Doug's Girls. We miss you but you will always be in our hearts.
Now, go & give your Mum & Dad a hug & kiss, give them a call or in your head -
tell them you love them!
Happy Birthday Dougie!!!
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In Memoriam to Douglas Plant