We’re finally home again after burying Lady M’s father. It has been exhausting, and we’re still on a rollercoaster as we try to sort out his estate. I was asked to speak for the family at the funeral – to give his eulogy – and with their permission, I’m posting it here this evening.
The first time I met Eddie, he looked me up and down, furrowed those mighty eyebrows, and said: “Who are you?” It wasn’t meant rudely, but it certainly made a lasting impression. At the time I’d just moved in to a flat-share with his daughter: Joanne. We weren’t dating, but a father’s protective instincts are never far away.
The second time I met Eddie, it was to ask for Joanne’s hand in marriage. I once again got the long look. Then there was a little nod, and possibly the driest commendation I’ve ever heard came my way:
“Just remember – she’s not just for Christmas right? You can’t bring her back if she starts running rings round you.”
These two short encounters illustrate so much of what made Eddie so unforgettable. His dry humour and love for his family were rivalled only by his ability to make friends wherever he went, and by his huge generosity of spirit. Everyone knew Eddie, and he usually left a trail of smiles in his wake.
He was never slow to help the people around him. Trying to track him down for a conversation often started with my being told he’d “just popped over to see so-and-so”, or that he was ” fixing something for someone”. As you can imagine, this was sometimes more than a little frustrating for his family, especially if they were trying to get something of their own fixed, or something sorted out.
It will probably come as no surprise then to hear that as we’ve met people over the last few weeks, the universal reaction to the news of his passing has been shock and genuine dismay – particularly among the ladies of the town: his ready wit and silver tongue seem to have left a trail of flirtation and teasing wherever he went.
We can only imagine that Barbara is feeling his ear right now and giving him a round telling off.
The last time I met Eddie, he was finally at peace. The pain and loss that had marked him in his last years were finally lifted. His relaxed features looked proud, and in the raising of his two amazing daughters – Jo and Suzanne – he has every right to be.
However we remember him – with love, affection, annoyance, or gentle smiles – his greatest achievements are here in this place with us now, and for that we are all truly grateful.
So, goodbye Eddie.
You’ve done well.