This morning I went to a funeral. He was a man I knew only superficially; I went as my husband's representative, as he is away overseas at the moment.
It wasn't a sad funeral, as send-offs go. The man was 90, and had been fit and well until a few weeks ago. Last week he bought a new exercycle, because he had "worn out the last one" doing his never-varied 11.1 km per day cycling regime. (Why 11.1 km? I have no idea.)
A meticulous gardener, he had great pride in entering his garden into the annual district Garden Tour; today speakers enjoyed commenting on the green mower which sat amongst the memorabilia around his casket. He was a golf fanatic who played his last round at the end of June: "of late he had not bothered with carrying a scorecard; he just counted the number of pars he could get". He was gently scathing about people who use motorised golf carts and battery-assisted trundlers.
He and his wife of 46 years had never had children - instead, they had a huge extended family of nephews and nieces, greats and great-greats. The most moving tribute today was from a great-niece, a beautiful girl who came forward to speak simply and movingly about the precious hours she had spent with him and the love she bears him. He must have been extremely proud of her.
He was a true gentleman, a person of integrity and kindness. I wish I had known him better.
When I sat down to write this post, I had no intention of writing about the funeral. It just wrote itself, and the intended post, about birds I saw on my walk today, can wait for another day.
"Goodness in words creates trust, goodness in thinking creates depth, goodness in giving creates love."
~ Lao Tse