The Rod Blog

10 November 2006


Today is Grandad's birthday. In a couple of days it will be Grandma's.

In their memory I am posting the eulogy I gave at Grandad's funeral.

What is success? How does one measure the success of a life?

A prestigious car, sleek lines and well appointed?
A grand house, an ediface impressive to the visitor?

A name, well known, often spoken in the right circles?

A title and an office of status?
These are fine things, not to be rejected if offered.
But what are they without love, honour, and compassion; without wisdom, wit and humour;

time spent with family and friends; admiring the beauty and wonder of the world; speaking out for that which is right?

Grandad led a simple life, uncluttered by the most obvious trappings of success.

But was he successful? It was once put to us, my mother and I, that he was not.

He lacked the usual tags by which one might measure these things. The suggestion was, of course, a tactless one, and we vigorously refuted it.

By all the measures we hold most important, Grandad was a success. Grandad’s life was noticable for his love.

He loved life. He loved his family and his friends. To know Grandad was to know that this was true.

Most of all, he loved his wife. After Nana’s death, he spoke of her, often with a tear. They were partners to the end when in times of temporary marriages, this is an achievement of note.

Grandad led a life of honour. His sense of honesty and justice were quite plain to me, though he rarely spoke directly of such things.

Although society has changed much over Grandad’s lifetime, these are immutable values which I believe are visible in the generations which follow him.

What measure of success could be greater than this?

Grandad loved to garden. My earliest memories are of wandering among neatly tended garden beds; fine red tomatos and Nana’s chutney. I recall tapping on the pipe in the fish pond to summon the goldfish to feed on biscuit crumbs.

These images will remain with me forever, becoming more precious as I grow older.

In those things that matter most, Grandads life is one worth emulating.
As one of the younger generation, I feel that his is an example to follow. One could not do much better.

We all feel a sense of grief; a sense of loss at the passing of someone special.
But let us also feel a sense of joy, a sense of victory, even a sense of elation at the thought of a successful life.


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