Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Goodbye To An Old Pirate- John Lloyd-Ellis

I have been to many many funerals in my time.
family.....family friends.....friends....colleagues........neighbours and patients.....
They are all generally hard work on the emotions, especially when the grief present is raw and each service I have experienced always seems to possess it's own unique sense of sadness and occasionally  joy. Joy at the celebration of a life most extraordinary .
Over the past few decades, it is more acceptable for the service to be led by a minister 'supported' by family and friends who often read a personalised eulogy of sorts.
In my experience, if is often these intimate glimpses of the deceased that provide the most "joy" at a funeral for they always seem to underline the real love that is felt and the real affection that is often shared.
I have seen my fair share of piss poor funerals where it was obvious that the vicar hardly knew the deceased in question. it was  either that or the fact that they couldn't really be bothered.
my mother's funeral had a sense of this...a fact that made my blood boil......I was just grateful that I pushed myself forward to read a home spun eulogy...a eulogy that perhaps tried to capture the sense of the woman. A woman that was as complicated as a Rubix cube in a dark room.

As you might have guessed it was the RFWF's funeral today.
In the packed marble Church at Bodelwyddan, the Rector did indeed capture a little of the " exuberance " of the man as did one of his oldest friends who told a perfect story of how the RFWF whilst on a mobile carol service around the local farms bellowed lustily "SING YOU BUGGERS SING!" from the back of his trailer which housed, of all things, a strapped on piano!
Personal eulogys always bring the stiffness out of a funeral day.....especially when you look and sound like an old pirate!

John, for that was the RFWFs name, was buried in our churchyard here in Trelawnyd. I stood stiffy in the field holding the thumb stick he had made me, and waved gently at his wife and sons as they walked slowly into the graveyard with the congregation. After all of the help he had given me, rounding the pigs up, providing a never ending supply of bedding and hay, and putting down fences and the like....I thought it was fitting I paid my respects right here with the turkey gobbling noisily in the background and with mud on my shoes

29 comments:

  1. You are such a generous man. I suspect there was muck as well as mud on your shoes - and that would be fitting too.

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  2. Nothing worse than a funeral with no eulogy...I've been to a few and always feel like something was missed. When my boss died at 47 (he was an orthopaedic oncologist), there was no eulogy at the church, however at the reception after there were many, many speeches from loved ones, colleagues and patients alike. All funny, heartwarming or informative. It was here that one of his secrets was revealed to the masses. That he had no left peripheral vision. As his office manager, I of course knew this and had been yelled at many a time because he couldn't find a file that was merely on the left side of his desk. For such a brilliant surgeon this was a shocker to many.

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  3. A great tribute John.

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  4. As you wrote... sometimes it's not the funeral but the get-together afterwards that you really get the sense of the person... maybe folks are more open in a less formal setting?

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  5. I am sure Mr.Ellis looked on with bemusement from your field at your side.

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  6. Well done, John---

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  7. Funerals are such an odd mixture of sadness and joy. I'm not having one myself. I want people to go out and do something that makes them happy on the day I get planted.

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  8. He is still with you.

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  9. Well said John! And remember the friend.

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  10. Go back another day when it's quiet. The day of the actual burial is usually attended just 'to be seen'.

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  11. Yes, go back and you will have 'closure'. He sounded like a real character.

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  12. I'm sad at your loss because a good friend like that is hard to find. He sounds like a "stand-up" guy.

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  13. He must have given much to many. A life lived well and truly.

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  14. Ah you honored him well, friend :) You know he wanted you to you to remember him the way he lived...xxx

    Being raised Roman catholic, of course my mothers funeral included a mass - they got to get their bit in too. When the priest mentioned a few words about my mom, it was very evident the priest didnt know his own people - because he mentioned what a dutiful wife she was, enjoying cooking and caring for her family. My mother was a professional - a 30+ years RN for a major hospital when it wasnt the norm to have a mom who worked, and she hated cooking - on her days off she'd rather be outside gardening, ripping things out and have brush pile burns...us siblings all looked at each other and knew this priest was talking a crock-full if you know what i mean...so i can totally relate with your "boiling"

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  15. John, I would have done the same. x

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  16. Good luck to the old boy, and you.

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  17. Your whole blog post is a fitting tribute to a man you've made known to us through your blogs. RFWF, rest in peace

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  18. Thank you everyone for your comments...
    For some inapplicable reason my cold and temperature has returned with a vengeance ...and so I am off to bed with some lemsips feeling very sorry for myself.

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    1. sleep in and sleep well - get better soon John!

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  19. You poor thing. I'm sorry to hear the cold is kicking your arse again.

    I know what you mean about how a funeral service can be lacking. My parents weren't church-goers, and I was appalled to hear that the minister who would be speaking at my mother's funeral had never even met her. So I spoke. Oddly enough, it was the saddest, yet most uplifting experience. Since you spoke at your mother's too, I'm sure you know exactly what I mean.

    Get well soon.

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  20. Oh, the dear RFWF! I'm so sorry. I have enjoyed him popping into your blogs as he drove by with a wave and a cheerful greeting.

    I hope you feel better soon, John. xoxoxoxo

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  21. Just where will you find another one like him? They don't grow 'em like that anymore.

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  22. How fortunate you both were to have such a good friendship with each other.

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  23. I agree with Gail. He'll be watching over you.

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  24. I remember when he gave you that stick, well i ought to say, i remember the blogpost where you wrote about it. I think he'd be glad to know you were in your field, minding the animals, and i wouldn't be surprised if you give a wave now and then over the wall.

    Sorry to hear your cold has reared its head once again :0(

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  25. I'm sure that that's where he would have liked to have seen you, in the field with the animals. Again, I'm very sorry for the loss of such a good man. I hope you're feeling better soon.

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  26. The personalized services are the reason that I do what I do. Whenever possible, I encourage the families to step outside of the norm and honor the one that they loved. This makes each service a bit different than the last. I say, we are not all the same and so the service should not be either. Saying good-bye to a friend shouldn't be like waving to a crowd. I hope you got to say good-bye.

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  27. Oh no!! I've been offline a lot lately and I didn't even know he had died. I'm so sad now. I always liked the RFWF and how good natured he must be not to mind you calling him the RFWF. Well, shoot. I'll miss him. I sincerely hope his family is threading their way somehow through the loss and the hole he leaves behind him...and you too, of course. It must be hard to lose one of the stalwarts of the community. For everyone.

    You've been sick for quite a while now, buddy. If it's that horrible flu, I know people who were sick with it for three and four weeks. I hope you don't have that one!

    Dia

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