Yesterday we said goodbye to my mum’s husband, my stepdad, who had been fighting cancer and Parkinsons for the last two years. My mum cared for him right up until the end, when his daughter also came and took care of him for the last month. He was the love of my mum’s life and a lovely man. We are so sad to lose him. Here is what I said when I was given the opportunity to say good-bye.
I don’t remember the exact moment I met Guy and that’s because he seems to have always been there. Like a soul that was meant to walk into the life of my mother and become part of our everyday. I do remember my mum talking about him, like a besotted teen, she was smitten. It was joyous to see her so happy.
And after only a month or so, I would be on the phone to mum and he would be telling her to say he loved me. It was a strange feeling, and it’s unfair to compare, so I won’t. My dad loves me as I love him but his love languages were different and didn’t involve words. But Guy’s did. His love languages were many, words, hugs, kisses, tears, thoughtful actions.
I don’t claim to know him as well as his family, who I have come to know and love. But my experience of Guy was that he loved with all his heart and never rationed his affections. Consequently he was loved back with everybody else’s hearts, especially my mum’s and definitely mine. He would rave about how beautiful my mum was. “The beautiful Isabel” he would say. I remember looking askance as she blushed and giggled. I glimpsed my mum as a young woman. We would be eating dinner sometimes and he would look up and say, “your hair looks lovely dear”. And I would sit a little taller.
His music wove its magical way around those hearts that gave themselves freely to him. My mum was never more radiant than when she watched Guy play the bass, proud, happy, dancing, clapping, skipping along to smooth jazz refrains.
When I was envious of their cruises he would always wink and say, “well I’ve got a shorter use by date than you dear”. And I scoffed. I couldn’t imagine life without Guy. Isabel and Guy. It’s as if they had always been.
He weathered torrential floods of grief. He wept with us, comforted us. Joined in our celebrations. Through high tides and low he was like a light house, strong and immoveable in unpredictable seas.
He embedded himself so fully in our lives, with his stories, his music, his generous spirit. Everytime I sit down of an evening, exhausted after wrestling a four year old to sleep, I stare at the telly, beyond to the wall and my eyes roam around and admire how perfect is the paint. How Guy, one day in 2005 meticulously painted that wall, admittedly using Solver, but nonetheless, he worried over that wall until it was perfect. And it still is.
I am so glad he got to meet my foster son. Because he looked at him with complete fondness, yet he’d known him such a short time. And this little boy’s height of compliment is imitation. He often says “ I Karen” and taps at the keyboard on the computer. Or “I Leon” and pretend to mow the lawn. One day he said “I Grandpa” and shakily lifted a cup to his mouth. It was the pure adoration that only a four year old can provide. It made me smile, and secretly wipe a tear away.
I dreamed of Guy recently. He was not wracked with pain, bent over or shaking. He was standing tall at the bass. Plucking the strings, wearing a joyous smile and a twinkling shine in his eye. He was the Guy I first met. The Guy that made my mum so happy. Guy in his cable knit cream sweater. Guy cursing the Falcon drivers. Guy relishing a red wine. Guy laughing uproariously at good joke. Guy at the dinner table at Christmas. My mum’s Guy. A beautiful, beautiful man.
Goodbye beautiful man. You will be missed.