Dead people sometimes don't LOOK dead, do they? Pa looked like he was sleeping, and cold. I found it mildly undignified that he was in his winceyette pyjamas. And the lining of the coffin was a kind of nylon net curtain material.
I didn't think I'd be too upset. But all of a sudden, I was. I loved him so much. He was so quiet and steady and constant - always there, like an anchor. Even in our most difficult moments - for example, when I was twenty one and he told me that I either knuckled down under my mother's roof and let her be top dog, or I packed my bags and left; and I did - I respected him.
My first memory of him, is, I think, when he brought me home from visiting my mother and Sister Natalie in hospital when Natalie was born. We had a Singer Gazelle and the seats smelt of hot plastic when it was warm. I must have been two and a half. Every Saturday afternoon we would all go in Daddy's Car to visit Granny and Grandpa in Wellington. We would be sat in the back, often in short 1970's toddler-skirts. Our legs would stick to the seat. Coming home, we would chatter at him to drive over the 'cats eyes' in the road going in to the village, so the car bumped and rumbled.
I didn't say very much to him, in the Chapel of Rest. I couldn't reach out and touch him - kiss his forehead or cheek or put my hand on his head.
But I thanked him. I told him that I would do my best to look after everyone.
I couldn't say out loud that I loved him.
But I did.