Thank you for all your support and wonderfully kind words since my last post. Unfortunately my dad died on Friday at the age of 65.
He was James, though everyone knew him as Jim. But he was my daddy.
I’m not sure how one even begins to tell people how they feel about a parent, so complex is the relationship, so this post is more of a train-of-thought than anything really coherent or resembling an obituary.
The older I became, the more I realised just how much I had inherited and learned from him. Although I look like my mum, I think I eventually had more of his laid-back temperament. And a great tendency to procrastination. (We don’t call it laziness…).
A much more practical person than I could ever hope to be though; he would smile wryly at my silliness, and was quietly supportive of my more ‘bohemian’ career choice. Although I’m certain he’d have been happier if I’d had a ‘proper’ job, for my own sake, I wouldn’t have been able to do everything I’ve done without his help.
He had a wide repertoire of anecdotes, and it was a family joke that they always took forever to recount. He liked long pauses, big build-ups… He was a quiet man, so you knew it was something important or interesting when he started to talk to you. I wish I had written these things down; I feel so sad that, with him, his anecdotes have gone. Like the time he saw The Yardbirds in some tiny pub in Tolworth, and his friend who had been with Jimi Hendrix the night before he died…
He knew the answer to anything, or so it seemed, and never tired of being asked: “What’s that over there?”, “what does that do?”, “how does that work?”, and you knew he loved being able to tell you. He was one of the early breed of computer programmers and talked of mysterious times when a computer room really was just one computer, and feeding punch cards into machines to do relatively simple tasks. He was forever mending things I’d broken, without complaint. Forever giving lifts here and there. I’ll miss our little chats in the car. I keep thinking I need to ask him about something, and then I remember I can’t.
My parents had known each other for 50 years, been together for 48, married for almost 42. If that’s not amazing and inspirational, I don’t know what is.
It was a privilege to be able to say goodbye, and I must thank the anonymous woman who gave him CPR and allowed us a few precious moments of smiles, nods and kisses during the period he was in hospital. Although it was a distressing period, he left us knowing how loved and special he is. We made damn sure of that.
I also, along with my big brothers, inherited his deep love for the music of Paul Simon. Those songs are so ingrained in my psyche from long car journeys; dating from my birth right up until a month or so ago when we all travelled to see his beloved granddaughter and new grandson (who also shared his birthday). I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to hear those songs without crying now. But they serve as a perfect memorial to his life: subtle, quiet and with a great sense of humour…
Rest in peace Pa, I will miss you always xxxx
James (Jim) Eggleston (1947-2013)
If you leap awake
In the mirror of a bad dream
And for a fraction of a second
You can’t remember where you are
Just open your window
And follow your memory upstream
To the meadow in the mountain
Where we counted every falling star
I believe a light that shines on you
Will shine on you forever
And though I can’t guarantee
There’s nothing scary hiding under your bed
I’m gonna stand guard like a postcard
Of a Golden Retriever
And never leave till I leave you
With a sweet dream in your bed
I’m gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you’ll always know
As long as one and one is two wooo
There could never be a father who loved
His daughter more than I love you
Trust your intuition
It’s just like goin fishin’
You cast your line and hope you get a bite
You don’t need to waste your time
Worryin’ about the market place
Trying to help the human race
Strugglin to survive it’s harshest hour
Father and Daughter by Paul Simon