A Tribute To My Husband (My eulogy from Colin’s funeral)
Colin, Col, Rat, Colly, Uncle Colin, My love, Daddy. You were so many things to so many people and I really won’t be able to do you justice with my words. You were a great friend, a loving son, a cherished younger brother, a posh brother-in-law, a number one son-in-law (undisputed), a gorgeous, wonderful husband and, most recently, a truly devoted father. You have left us all with a huge Colin-shaped hole in all our lives.
As a friend you were so loved and lovable that people would do anything for you. And they did. Which in many ways was just as well because from DIY to booking a flight or getting yourself to university lectures your friends sorted it for you because you weren’t all that practical my love. And they loved doing it because they loved you. You made friends wherever you went because you knew how to talk to people on their level, whoever they were and wherever they were from.
I have discovered this last awful week and a half without you just how many special friends you had. From work, university, Kenya, hockey and squash, people just loved spending time with you because you listened, debated, laughed and joked and made people feel special in your presence. When it comes to your friends ‘the lads’. They have all been so upset but quite wonderful since you passed. I never really understood what you and the boys got out of your conversations about who was baldest or fattest, who was better at tennis or squash or who was chief lad. In the last week I have come to understand what it was all about. ‘The lads’ and those honourary lads that have been introduced to the group through the years is a loyal bond of friendship that is all about looking out for the others. And since you were taken so suddenly from my life each of those boys have reached out and engulfed me with their love for you and I feel comforted that the girls have so many father figures in their lives going forward due to this. As for being chief lad, in my view, it is now obvious that this is not about who could drink the most wine or stay out latest but it is about being a connector and I think the boys will agree that this title is an honour you should be awarded because you have strengthened these friendshipsl in your untimely passing.
As a son it was always clear to me that you adored your mum and dad. They gave you the best of everything and you knew it. Only recently you and I talked about how you felt that you had been blessed with the best of childhoods in Kenya. The holidays to the coast and the camping trips all sounded magical to me and I often wished that we could visit those places together as a family and you were keen for me to get over my elephant phobia so that we could. You talked so proudly of your mum and dad and how they drove you to be the man you were. From forcing you to study for those law exams to sending you out suited and booted with CV in hand to get that first foot in the door in law, you knew it was down to your parents that you were who were. And I can only thank them for creating my lovely colin who I spent the best ten and a bit years with.
As a husband, well what can I say? I knew from the minute we met on holiday you were the one. How could I fail to fall in love with someone who told me in the most serious of tones that his biggest regret was a goat samosa? You looked so handsome and to me you always were. I always thought of you as a 1940s film star. A sort of James Stewart mixed with Cary Grant. But that was just the surface. You were a beautiful person on the inside too. I used to get so frustated that you wouldn’t say a bad word about people. I would try to get you to join me in a bitch about someone or other but you would always avoid it and try to make me see sense. Annoyingly you made me a better person. I hope I can continue to be that in your honour.
You and I, we had such fun. From the teasing about me and my ginger genes to the weavers knees and the virtual tickling we had so many laughs. And I only need to look at a few items from my wardrobe to raise a smile because I remember your conservative taste meant that you found some of my more fashiony pieces a little bit hilarious and sang songs about them accordingly. You were most worried when I told you I was wearing my mum’s wedding dress on our wedding day and we found it funny to concoct a whole tale between us that I would be wearing a bonnet, holding a staff and herding a flock of sheep down the aisle towards you.
I am so lucky that you were mine. Even for the shortest time. We used to say we just got each other and we did. We did also say we were lucky because no one else would have us but I think we both knew we were a special couple because we simply adored the other – Intuitively phoning each other at the same time, thinking the same thing simultaneously and planning the same treats for ourselves. I know now someone was watching over us those last few days we spent together because it is not often that a couple that have been together as long as us, with two small children, take time out of life to spend just talking. And we did. Our last evening together we went to our favourite restaurant, we shared our favourite foods and we just talked and talked about how happy and blessed we were. And we were. And I still am because you are still with me everyday in our beautiful girls.
So finally to your most recent and most treasured role. A father. You were so worried when I was pregnant with Evie that your world as you knew it was going to end. You asked friends with children, gravely, how it would be. Would holidays ever be the same and, more specifically, would you be able to get some reading done while I was in labour? You were so worried about all of it. And then Evie arrived, not without a lot of screaming from me and a nearly broken hand for you, and you realised that yes everything had changed but for the better. You couldn’t spend enough time with evie. Rushing home from work when you could to bath her just like you did on that last night together. As for holidays I am so pleased we had our lovely Menorcan week with the four of us (I was pregnant with Isla). It was our last and we both said our best because it was just us and Evie was at a hilarious stage. You happily gave up reading your book on your sunlounger for time spent digging in the sand or splashing in the waves with an excited little girl who adored her daddy. I always loved that when we were out and about you kept one loving eye on her and the other looking around to check out the people checking her out. In these last few weeks you were just getting to know Isla but I know that if you were here you would be as proud of her as you were of our spirited little Evie. And Isla is beautiful. Since you left she has been looking more and more like you. So it seems my genes, ginger or not, are still weaker than yours. And I am pleased because going forward seeing you in our wonderful girls will be the only way to get through. They are your legacy and I will bring them up as best I can. They may not have your plummy tones if they grow up in Edinburgh but if they can be half as kind, generous, funny, competitive, intelligent and loving as you were while you were with us my love then they will be the most wonderful people.