Sadly on the 14th of June my Dad passed away. For the full notice in the Scotsman please read here.
Thank you to all our friends and family for all your love and support over the last 2 weeks. It sounds like a cliche but you have really helped us. The cards, flowers, texts, phone calls and well wishes really do help.
Me and my Dad when he was 26 years old, 30 years ago.
My family dressed for a friend's wedding. At this wedding my sister stole a big wedge of icing , from the yet to be cut, expensive wedding cake. She looks like butter wouldn't melt. My Mum made our outfits and my doll even had a matching dress. I love that I have memories that go way back to my early childhood.
Me, my Dad and my Sister in 1990.
In Cape Cod in 2008. My Mum, Dad, Sister and I.
My Dad in Cape Cod in 2008.
It still hasn't fully sunk in. I miss him so much and life feels surreal.
The funeral, last Friday was beautiful and a real comfort. We also held a wake style reception after the funeral that my Dad would have enjoyed. My cheeks hurt by the end of the afternoon from laughing so much at great memories with his friends. We even had to drink black velvet- Guiness and Champagne with one of his friends in memory of Dad. It felt like a fitting celebration of his life.
At the funeral we all wore bright colours and it was a very sunny summers day. His friend Andy sung 'The Parting Glass', 2 pupils from the music school at Broughton High School, which was the last building my Dad designed, played the violin and piano. My Sister, her boyfriend Dougie, Nathan and I did a reading and Dad's Norwegian good friend from University, Willen read the Eulogy. She was kind enough to send her words to us which I have copied out below.
"The world is full of people, ordinary people. But there are some that are extra-ordinary. Some that give you openness, warmth, laughs, support and a friendship that gives colour to your life.
And Jim was just such a person.
I knew that he at times could be very stubborn sometimes strict, and occasionally quite critical. But in all the years I knew him, he never once showed those sides to me.
He had a remarkable skill as a raconteur, even dull stories became interesting when told by Jim. His stories were seldom just stories, they were about real people and real events, and in real time, and always told with a twinkle in the eye.
But he did tell one story that wasn´t about real people. You may have heard about the Mexican fisherman, who stayed true to his job and his way of life.- And this story has stayed in my mind, not only because it gives a valuable lesson, but primarily because it reflects Jim as a person, and his values. – Although Jim was very successful, he never lost his way, in all his achievements.
Jim's memory for dates and events was uncanny. If ever I wanted to know, in retrospect, when something happened in my life, all I had to do was to ask Jim
Jim was a “gourmand” and a “gourmee´” for life: good food, good drinks, good cigars and good company were joys of life to bed savored.
As students, long back from our study trip to Italy, Jim and I managed to get hold of a bottle of Sambucca and a packet of Tuscanelli cigars. With these secured, and Lorraine and Peter packed off to the cinema, to leave us in peace for our Tuscan memory trip, we solemnly poured the drinks, with the prescribed burning coffee beans and lit our cigars.- Alas, total disappointment : what tastes good as young students in Italy, does not taste so good in Edinburgh.
But Jim knew how to repair the disappointment: the very best bottle of Scotch was opened and other bigger and better cigars were lit. – So when Lorraine and Peter arrives back from the cinema, they found two very contented, happy and slightly drunk people.
At heart I think Jim sometimes felt like a bit of a “Nog”, and that was probably why he fitted so well into the Norwegian landscape, when he came visiting. At the winter cottage , in the woods, he was really good at pretending to be an elk, much to the childrens´ surprise, fear and amusement. And down by the coast, at the summer house, he thrived at the maritime way of life, with swimming, snorkeling, boats, sailing and fishing, and inventing a new type of golf: hitting pine cones at the open beaks of the seagulls.
For Jim there was no such thing as long distance calls. When he called, I always looked for a comfortable chair, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (preferably both) and then sat down to enjoy his call, his recount of life, his stories and his sense of humor.
Jim was for me a “rainesance man”: many faceted: he was creative, but practical, clever, but never conceited, humorous but serious, ethically critical, but tolerant, easy to get along with, never dull, but also definitely not one to be ignored, he was noticeable.
Jim, there is only one of your kind.
I will miss you."
We will all miss him so much.