The blog post I didn’t want to write…



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

37 thoughts on “The blog post I didn’t want to write…

  1. Thank you for sharing such a private, tough experience. Remembering your father by posting to your friends/readers/followers can be cathartic. I have not been so touched by someones words in a long while. I cried when I read this and it reminded me what to be grateful for (especially all the wonderfully quirky things parents pass on to us.)

  2. So very sorry to hear this sad news Liz, my thoughts go out to you and your family and we’re all thinking about you. Thank you for telling us a little about your precious Dad Jim, it’s a priviledge to know about him xx

  3. I’m really sorry to hear it. Since you wrote the other post I’ve been constantly sending positive thoughts on your way. I’ve lost someone from my family recent and I understand that this is a situation you can’t compare with anything else and people deal with in different ways. Your memories of you dad are beautiful and I’m glad you have so much to remember about him. My best wishes go for you and your family. xxx

  4. Lovely post. So sorry.

    I lost both my parents in the last 10 years and posted about both of them at the time. It seems a weird thing to want to do but it helps to get your feelings down in writing and, importantly, share how great they were with the world.

  5. Sorry for your loss. I’m sure it’s going to be hard for you and your family especially during all the holidays birthdays but I’m sure with his spirt will be with you all.

  6. I’m so sorry Liz. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I’m sure your father was very proud of you and your accomplishments. Probably more than you realise. I’ve lit a candle to spiritually guide you through this difficult journey. I’m not particularly religious but in difficult times I tend to remember God and light candles. Hugs.

  7. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. He sounds like he was a very interesting man. Sincere condolences on your loss.

  8. Darling, I am so sad and sorry to hear your news.
    Much love and virtual hugs. I lost my father nearly 13 years ago; you never get over it, but you do sort of get used to it. He will be with you forever. XXX

  9. What a lovely and moving tribute to your Dad. I know how you feel about losing a dearly beloved parent and you should feel free to write about him on your blog as often as it moves you, without apology.

    For some odd reason, I didn’t read your previous post, Silence. Which is weird because I am a complete Simon and Garfunkel fan and their albums mark the relationship of my husband and myself.

    Take care of yourself and don’t work too hard. But do allow yourself to grieve. Cx

  10. My sincere condolences on your loss. I hope you and your loved ones will support each other during this difficult period. May you continue to cherish his memory in happier times.

  11. I am so sorry to hear this, Liz. Your father sounds like a lovely man and a great husband and father. I am thinking of you.

  12. Such a moving tribute to your father – thank you for sharing this with us. Your choice of lyric is perfect. As a father it’s one I hear more deeply than just about any other of his songs, and probably just how your father felt about you.

  13. Dear Emma, I know and understand how you feel as my darling mother died at Christmas. Like you I found music a great comfort and dedicated Joni Mitchels River to her as she had a great journey ,born in Canada , went to Chicago and eventually ended up in England . I have made a wonderful memorial book of photographs for my family from 1919/2012 . Like you I played on her name, Virginia, Jean , and even the priest gave her a new name Joan at the funeral however the most important name was mummy …my precious name for her .My thoughts are with you all at this time
    La Verne

  14. I’m so sorry Liz… your post is a glowing testament to your Dad and the person he helped you become.
    Take care.

  15. Liz
    We may not know each other, however, I follow your blog and when I heard about your fathers illness, my heart went out to you.
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss and can only begin to imagine how you must feel.
    You have laid open your world to all that know or know of you – thank you and god bless you and your family
    RIP Jim

  16. I’m so sorry for the pain of your loss, You’ve described your dad so beautifully, I feel lucky to have gotten just this much of a peek into what a wonderful father you had.

  17. I’ve followed your blog for ages absolutely love it. I send you and your family my condolences. What a lovely tribute to your dad. That photo says so much about a father’s love for his daughter and your face is pure delight. Thank you for sharing.

  18. that was really lovely Liz – very beautiful & moving tribute. There’s no right thing to say beyond there are special people who leave us but will always stay in our hearts. Mary & I are so sorry for your loss. It made me think about my own dad.

  19. Hi Liz-my sincere sympathy to you and your family at this time, you have written a beautiful tribute post for your father- please take care xxxx

  20. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Liz. I don’t know you, but I do follow your brother Paul on Twitter, and he’s one of my favorite people. Please convey my sympathy to him and your entire family. Your Dad raised kids who are special and unique, and I know how much his loss means to you.

  21. So sorry to hear this sad news Liz, your dad sounds a lovely man, and those Paul Simon song lyrics are such a beautiful tribute. Thinking of you at this distressing time. xx

  22. So sorry to hear about your father. And what you wrote about him was very touching to me along with the music that you shared with us.

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