Sunday, August 11, 2013

Remembering Allan

Aeaw & Bob.(Thailand) raised a glass, a stick of incense and a Buddhist prayer.
It has been wonderful and heartwarming to hear from so many friends in the aftermath of Allan's sudden death.  The first to call were Paul and Gwen, whom I hadn't heard from in a long time.  Paul and Allan worked together in the labs and Paul was also my neighbor on Mint in Dhahran.  Bob and Aeaw, friends from Abqaiq days with whom I'd lost contact, sent their condolences via email.  They wrote a wonderful piece which will bring back good times for those of you who were in Abqaiq "back in the day".  You may read it HERE.  Thank you so much, Bob and Aeaw, for the memories!

Then there were the friends whom I have kept in contact with in some way or another over the years, more than I can count. Thank you so much for thinking of me in such warm and caring ways. All shared some recollection of Allan, using such terms as....

---"generous, outrageous and hilarious character"
---"always made us laugh"
---"gentle, kind and genuine"
---"generous with his hospitality"
---"good friend in time of need"
---"a soft soul"
---"he made us smile, happy to be around him"

But, by far, the most frequently used descriptor was "larger than life".  As Len, his brother-in-law said, you know he's in the room!  Allan would be touched and pleased to be remembered with such fondness and joviality.

Paula describe Allan's service as lovely, feeling that Allan would approve.  The eulogy was given (read it HERE), followed by a poem (HERE).  The vicar asked those attending to stand around the closed casket as he said a final prayer, which Paula described as very emotional.  While I wish I and all those I've heard from could have been there, I am so thankful that Jean and Doug (sister and brother-in-law) and Neil (close friend of 30+ years) and Paula were there, standing in for the rest of us!  Before Allan's passing, Jean said that every night she told him who was thinking of him and praying for him, which was a comfort to me. I'm not sure I would even have thought of doing that, but it was a wonderful thing to do.....for Allan and for those of us who could not be there.

It didn't end for Neil and Paula there!  Paula took it upon herself to find homes for Allan's cats, Tigger and Princess Tinkerbell.  The Princess has already found a home and we're keeping our fingers crossed for Tigger.  It is probably better that they go to different homes as they always fought even though they were litter mates.

Jean and Doug were going to Whitehaven this weekend to be with the family, so I know they will relive it all.  I'm sure Allan's dad is stunned and heartbroken.  One of the things that brought Allan joy was how his relationship with his dad had deepened over the last few years.  When is mom was alive, his dad would answer the phone, say a few words, and automatically pass it to her.  Once they had the opportunity to talk, their relationship blossomed.  I know this has left a void in his dad's life.

For me, the last few days have been a bit better.....they've been busy, which is probably the best thing I can do until I gain equilibrium.  I have gotten together with a few friends, and on Thursday my cousin from NC came to visit my mother. His first big adventure in life was when he visited me in California years ago.  That has always been a bond between us and it was wonderful to sit and catch up.  I still have teary moments, but I guess with time that will lessen. 

I'd like to leave you with a lovely poem sent to me by Eileen, which I found comforting.

Where Do They Go To?
Where do they go to, the people who leave?
Are they around us in the cool evening breeze?
Do they still hear us, and watch us each day?
I'd like you to think of them with us that way.
Where do they go to when no longer here?
I think they stay with us, calming our fear,
Loving us always, holding our hands,
Walking beside us, on grass or on sand.
Where do they go to, well it's my belief
They watch us and help us cope with our grief.
They comfort and stay with us through each of our days,
Guiding us always  through life's mortal maze.

In Turkey (2009) for Victoria's wedding.