My father was a very political man. He believed in Equality with a capital E. When he spoke people listened, they didn't always agree but they did listen.
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In 1997 my Dad died suddenly whilst calling an ambulance for my Mum who had just had a seizure. My sister, who used to be a nurse, was there and tried for 20 minutes to revive him with my mother unconscious in the next room. It was an awful time but when the funeral was arranged we made sure that it was a celebration of his life. He was non-religious and we had a humanist service. We played Always Look On The Bright Side of Life and the theme tune from Match Of The Day (a football programme, his favourite). We laughed and we cried but we had a funeral that he would have thoroughly enjoyed.
My Dad's motto was - laugh at least once a day - a motto I have tried to carry with me in my life.
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I don't believe in an after life or even that he is looking down on me now but if he and I are wrong then I know that my Dad will be grinning like a Cheshire Cat today, the day after the inauguration of Barack Obama.
My Dad taught me tolerance and thankfully didn't leave much unsaid. He believed in talking to the enemy not bombing them. Barack Obama made my day yesterday when he said 'we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist'. What I believe is that my Dad lives on through his family. His mannerisms, his beliefs and his laughter is in each and every one of us.