Although it was lovely to go home and see so many people all at once, unfortunately the circumstances were not ideal.
I recently lost my dear dad in a tragic accident and as much as I feel like I'm ok to talk about it I'm all of a sudden feeling the wave of emotion sweep over me as I type. So for now I leave you with this, my final tribute to my hero, my dad. My personal reflection of my dad that I read at his funeral.
For several nights now I've sat quietly in my parent's home, trying to capture my thoughts and memories of Reg.
I've started more times than I can count and stopped just as many. Then I started again, trying to find the words to describe how it feels to be here without him...to be honest. I still don't know.
But what I do know is that regardless of my recollections, you will all remember him in your own way...as a husband, brother, father, Pa, uncle, friend, teacher and mate.
Regionald was his name, some called him Reggie....I called him Dad.
One thing that you could count on with my Dad is that what you saw, truly, was who he was. Rough around the edges, with a mouth like a trooper but with the biggest, warmest and most giving heart.
He was a salt of the earth, meat and potatoes, sit and have a beer kind of guy. I think we can all agree on that.
As a father, he was never absent. Yes, he worked a lot, but he was never more than a few footsteps away, working in the shop next door to our house. I have many fond childhood memories and although it's hard to find him in the photographs of my youth, he was there. He was always there.
Our childhood went a little something like this:
Dad worked, mum ran the house.
Dad worked, mum took us on holidays.
Dad mowed the lawn, mum did the cooking. Except for on the rare occasion when Dad was left in charge.
One of my most cherished memories of my dad's culinary flair was jaffles, cooked in the living room fire.
Leftover's, always with mashed potato's, sandwiched between two slices of white bread. Into the jaffle iron and cooked over an open fire as we huddled around dad's feet, patiently awaiting our dinner. A squirt of tomato sauce and the masterpiece was complete.
We didn't have much back in those days, but we didn't notice. That was the magic of my Dad.
Dad fixed things, we broke things.
I don't remember seeing many tradesmen in the Luy household growing up. My Dad was a jack of all trades as you well know. He didn't always do things the right way, granted, but he got it done.
If you'd ever worked alongside my dad, you know only too well of his short fuse. What we affectionately called the spanner dance was known to many.
When things went wrong, as they frequently did, you knew to stay clear and protect yourself from projectiles such as a spanner or a hammer. And for goodness sake, cover your ears.
Dad played good cop, mum the bad cop.
Dad loved the speedway, mum sat with us on the side lines and screamed.....a LOT!
Everything that Dad was passionate about became our passion. His energy was infectious and his zest for life was intoxicating. Go hard or go home was his motto....he practiced what he preached.
Dad was a man of very few words when it came to expressing his affection for his children, but we never, ever doubted how much he loved us. It was evident in the sacrifices he made every day. In the little gestures that went unnoticed by others but meant the world to us.
Helping with my math homework, even when his body ached and his mind worn out after a hard days work.
Sitting quietly with me in the living room- no words exchanged between us- after every broken heart. Never trying to fix things....but he did, just by being there.
Flying all the way to Canada to come for a visit. Realizing that it meant having to go without a smoke for almost 24 hours and still stepping on that plane.
Even with all the time spent in the last few days looking at old photographs of him. It seems the image that is with me every day and will be...always...is not of the face of my Dad.
With his cheeky smile. His thick, coarse hair, brittle form years of spray paint and thinners. His ears protruding slightly and those famous thick glasses, you couldn't miss him in a crowd.
No, the image that my mind continues to focus on, in every photograph that I see of Dad, it's the image of his hands.
Rough and strong with his short, wide fingers usually clutching a cigarette. Grease lodged under his fingernails, his skin callused and leathery from years of doing what he did best. Those were the hands of a man who spent his life working his hardest, living passionately, giving to those who needed him most and loving with every ounce of his being.
And in the end, it was only your hand that we were able to touch through a veil of silk to say goodbye.
Dad, the morning I heard of your death, travelling to my in laws for Christmas.
I will forever cherish the beauty, the warmth and the calm that I felt as that sunrise slowly engulfed me. It was the longest and most magnificent sunrise I have ever seen.
I could feel you that morning, just as I feel you here today.
As I see you in the eyes of those gathered here, on the many familiar faces.
We will see you in the eyes of your grandchildren and in all those who love you.
We will hear you with each rumbling car engine and every honk and toot from a passing vehicle.
I will miss you every day of my life and be with you with every sunrise and sunset that I seek.
I love you dad.