In 1982 I met Taff.
Two days later we decided to “do something silly” and agreed we would get married (maybe I will blog that some other time).
His mother reacted with enthusiasm, asking why he had “kept me so quiet”. His father was just quietly there in the background. If he was surprised or concerned he didn’t mention it to me.
He was often quietly in the background. But his humour and intelligence were a huge influence on the whole family. He was a real gentleman, and his sons and grandsons learnt so much from him.
Over the next few years I learnt the family traditions. The men would have a “Glenfiddich” (meaning a coffee with whisky in it) after dinner. There were two special cups and they floated the cream on the back of a teaspoon.
There were lots of other things he liked to do. He liked “a small glass of sauvignon blanc”, a cheese platter, shark fin soup. He loved it when there was someone else who would share these pleasures with him. He liked to have a cup of tea and read the paper or a book. And he loved to play golf.
Seven years later our first son was born, followed by three more over the next 12 years. And so a whole bucket of new traditions was born. Da pushing the latest baby in the stroller to the bakery in the morning. Digging ‘taters’ with Da in the garden was a popular toddler pursuit. And there was the annual Boxing Day water fight with the neighbours.
It is hard to have a strong relationship with a grandparent that lives 3000km away. But my boys all did. Photos, phone calls, visits and a strong sense of tradition. Every time we visited the same things happened. And Da was “one of the boys”. He chased, tickled, bounced and giggled. He was often in trouble for winding the kids up after bath time when he was supposed to be letting us settle them down. His huge grin showed he didn’t really care what Mam and I thought should happen, he was having fun with the boys.
He taught my husband how to love your wife, no matter what. I am so grateful for that. He taught him how to be a wonderful father and my boys have reaped the benefit of those lessons.
We have to say goodbye to him and we are all finding it very hard. But if this is the cost of having that relationship we would all do it again, without a doubt.
Goodbye. And thanks.