I'm lucky enough to have had all four of my grandparents in my life, well into my twenties. Living a long life like this, meant that my grandfather's passing, whilst shocking, was not completely surprising. His health had deteriorated over the past few years. He had moved into a care home, and then more recently a nursing home. The last three times I had visited him, he had not recognised me.
This brought my relationship with my dad into focus. Preparing for the funeral has been more about taking care of him than anything else. The main way I was able to do this was by delivering the eulogy at the church service.
This is pretty much what I said:
As Marcus' grandson, I have three things I remember and I'd like us all to remember about Marcus.
He was the life and soul of many a gathering.
Firstly, he thought big. He wasn't afraid to go for things. And at the same time - he sometimes loved to be the centre of attention.
The area I always think of is all the work he did for the Goan community. That's how most of you might know him - as one of the four founding members of the Goan Overseas Association (GOA). But also - he founded something called the Standing Conference of Goan Organisations (SCOGO).
I remember asking him when I was about ten, "Why did you do all this? What are you trying to do?"
He said, "I wanted to bring together all the different Goan village associations, so that we could all celebrate what it means to be Goan".
Fast forward thirty years, and we have the Goan Festival.
He wasn't afraid to think big.
The second thing: he always wanted to better himself. One of my memories of him is that he was always reading: always reading books, always learning, always pushing himself. Sometimes that made him pushy on me, and my sister and those around him, but he always wanted the best. Because of this reading, it meant he never failed to have an answer for everything. One of the sayings I remember from him is:
Sitting still and wishing
Will not make you great
The good Lord gave you fishing
But you must bring the bait
He pushed himself to develop himself.
Thirdly, he was known for being young at heart, being playful and slightly eccentric. I remember my sister and I were sitting in his flat - I can't have been older than eight or nine - my sister would have been younger - and there was a visitor there. And Lyndsey called him 'Marcus'. The visitor said, "You shouldn't call him Marcus - he's your Grandfather".
My sister replied, "No! Grandfather is in North London".
What she meant by that, was my mum's dad lived in North London. He was Grandad. But Marcus, always for us, was Marcus! As I got older, I realise why he did that. He wanted to be thought of as playful, so he made us call him 'Marcus' rather than 'Grandfather'.
He was young at heart.
So, I will take three things from Marcus' life - and I would like you to the same:
Look to better yourself, and
Stay young at heart.
I've written about Marcus indirectly here.
I've also written about people in my life passing away, namely my:
1) friend Matt