John Roy Sewell, 1935-2010
I spent a nice quiet morning with Dad yesterday, reminiscing, and came home while it was still light as I know he’d worry about me driving on the icy roads. He passed away last night; and, although it's a happy release because the last year hasn't been kind to him, I'm going to miss him terribly.
It's a comfort that my last words to him were ‘I love you’, and I know he knew that. And I also know he’d expect me to mark his passing with a bit of Shakespeare (very long-running gag about how I can come up with a Shakespeare quote for almost anything, which used to drive him crazy when I was in my early teens, but then became a ‘what can I challenge her with now?’).
So I think it has to be from Hamlet. (Very apt, because dementia really is a poison.)
He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.
Dad wouldn’t want people to remember him as he was towards the end of his life. He’d want people to remember him how he was: a larger than life character who was the life and soul of every party. At any social do, find the group of people who were laughing loudest, and my dad would be at the centre.
This is how I remember him (1997 - and there was indeed a dog about to leap on his lap).
A dog he'd cuddled right from his puppyhood. (He no longer had dogs himself at this point, so he used to come and borrow mine.)
And back when I was little.
With my son, happy to play with him.
With my daughter, giving her a cuddle (and he made time for both children).
With me, in summer 1986.
He was always happy to dress up and play the clown (son in particular was delighted with this).
And he passed on to me a love of cake...
Rest in peace, Dad. Sleep tight, and God bless.