Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Loving Memory

When I realised that today would be the 20 year anniversary of your death, I felt it was fitting that I would finally have in my life, your grandchild - Levi who is 25% you.  I also had no idea how to mark the day.  I thought about taking him to the beach & remembering you out loud but decided that this would be a more permanent way of doing that & he could read and understand this when he gets older.  It is important to me both that I let him know what kind of person you were & that I don't want him to mourn me the way I mourned you.  My grief was an open wound that I wore like a badge of honor, of loyalty.  A few years back as my heart was breaking all over again on this date, my husband suggested that you would not have wanted this for me, not wanted to be this source of raw pain for me.  Not for this long.  And as I struggled to understand the meaning of his words, I realised he was right.  And wondered how I could have got it so wrong, thinking the exact opposite.  Like somehow you would have been proud of the devastation your absence has wrought on my life.  Until I met Filip, I felt like I was living the wrong life in an alternate universe.

I realise now that I should have gotten counselling after your accident.  But for a long time, my grief was very precious to me.  People assured me that the pain would pass, ease with time, and I could not comprehend why they would think I would find that comforting.  My pain was all I had.  But to my horror, it did ease.  The pain numbed as did my heart.  When I could think about you without crying, I just felt dead inside so I would put you to one side.  My memories faded. I struggle to hear your laugh, see your mannerisms; no longer confident that I know how you would react to things.  Unsure of how much of what I remember is real & what I have coloured in myself.

Through Levi, I will try and remember you.  Talk about you in a way I never really did before, not a lot anyway.  Talk about you with the people who remember you.  By sharing you with him, I will reacquaint myself with the amazing person you were.

Thank you for making feel loved and liked, growing up.  I never had to earn your pride, just had to be myself and that was enough for you.  Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for my childhood all over the world.
Thank you for teaching me to think for myself, to have the confidence that I could be right even if everyone told me I wasn't.  Thank you for teaching me to not take myself so seriously.  Thank you for teaching me to explore concepts just for the sake of thinking.  Thank you for talking to me like I was an important person, not to be talked down to or imposed on.
Thank you for passing on to me a love for good books and good movies. Thank you for passing onto me a wicked sense of humour and irreverence. Thank you for just trusting that I was a good person, that I could be trusted.  Thank you for our year or so together in Japan, the year before you died.  It remains one of the highlights of my life and a huge part of the person I have become.  And I don't know if I would've have made it intact without it.  In the years that followed, when the world was a little grey because I no longer had you to share everything with, I had that year.
With my best friend.

I love you, Dad.

Bryan Neville Laing  (8 December 1941 - 31 July 1992)


  1. A beautiful, heart-felt eulogy Angeline. It has brought tears to my eyes. I know that kind of pain. I'm deeply sorry for your loss.
    Hugs to you and your loved ones x

    1. Thanks Joe, I've been waiting for that hug :)
      Writing this letter to Dad went a long way towards my not being a wreck on the day. That, and being able to lavish love on his grandson.
      I found the last paragraph in particular quite healing and also illuminating. Dad will live on in the person he has helped make me. And the person that I will help make Levi.