The below is a text I read aloud at my Fathers funeral on September 9th 2008:
I would like to ask you all now a favour. If you could all close your eyes and think of dad, see an image of dad. Then when you have him with you look at his hands. Look at his strong working hands and keeping this image in your mind open your eyes and look at your hands. Now imagine that dads hands, his hands become our hands, as we move forward now, what do we take forward from and with him, so that dad enters all of our daily lives, not just as a memory but as a direct action, as a response, as an intervention into all of our lives in this room today.
How do we love?
How do we see?
How do we look after one another?
Are we caretakers?
Are we listeners?
Are we gardeners, farmers, or builders?
Are we recyclers?
Are we servers?
Do we listen to the land?
You see his hands could take a piece of damp cotton wool and gently mold it to get rid of crows up Josephine’s nose as she lay as a baby on the table to help her breathe. His hands could lay fields of hedges, brushed, cut and layed down to thicken hedges for finch’s gold and green, to make a nest. His hands can dig into the earth to make foundations, carrying and carting wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, after wheelbarrow, bale after bale, spade dug, brick, pool, painted, nailed, dart thrown, hand hugged, loved, wrapped around on knee, after spade dug, wellies put into feet, into feet and taken off again, teats milked rubbed and cared for. Our hands are now covered in soil, in dirt, in earth, in dust, in diesel, in petrol, in grass, in wheat, each of our hands holding across a beach – is it skeggie, blackpool, ryhl, prestatyn, is it Scotland, across a sea to Ireland or another one to France, holding Mickey and Minnie’s hand.
Thank you to the farm, to the milking parlour, to the cows nudging and noseying in, into me the sides they were, coming to me to help me, they looked after me when I fell. The black and white cows waiting by his side