07 January 2013

A Remarkable Man

On Friday the 4th of January, I attended the celebratory funeral service of a truly "remarkable" man. An academic scholar, who spoke 5 languages, and was awarded many accolades for his services both in the UK and abroad. At 81 he swam and windsurfed and indeed had the greatest enthusiasm and passion for life of anyone I have ever met (except for his wife).

All of these things mentioned would be fantastic things to be remembered by; but for me I will remember him for the following:
  • His compassion
  • His humility
  • His love for his family
  • His interest in everyone's life
  • His love of art and opera
  • His acceptance of all beings
  • His ability to encourage his children and grandchildren to be who they wanted to be
  • His large gin and tonics and his passion for cooking
We visited him in hospital a week before he died and - despite being very unwell - he was surrounded by his children and grandchildren and when one of them asked "what does namaste mean?", he knew the answer but was too unwell to articulate it. A gentleman and a scholar. I don't know if I will ever meet anyone quite like him again but feel honoured to have known such a wonderful man.

A quote from him in his younger days as a hitch-hiker, that seems to express his philosophy in life. "When I hitch-hike, I put myself in the hands of chance. I go wherever the next car takes me, which is often quite a long way. It is fatal to plan your whole journey in advance, because at some point you are bound to be disappointed: whereas if you make no plans at all you are often pleasantly surprised."

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