“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.” — Elsie de Wolfe

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Thomas Campbell - A Life Well Lived

"Every man has a piece of sky in his breast and in it flies a swallow.” - Fatos Arapi

It seemed fitting that the grey skies had been banished and the sun should be shining as we drew up to the cemetary to say goodbye to my Uncle Tom.

Instead of being in some building to say our farewells, we were outside in nature, the grass was soft and yielding underfoot and the big dome of the sky served as our ceiling. The weather was mild for a February morning as we gathered by the side of the grave and the celebrant began to speak.

My eyes wandered over the assortment of people there to pay their respects, almost all of whom were strangers to me. Some stood way back, some in small groups, some alone. All united in their wish to say goodbye to Tom Campbell, who with his twinkly eyes and ready smile was always willing to give others a helping hand.

Those who knew him, loved him, and it showed.

Though I didn't see him that often, my Uncle Tom had been there for as long as I remember. When I was young, he would always have sweets and smiles for us eager children. And when, years later I bumped into him unexpectedly, his big beaming smile and twinkly eyes had me running into his arms to hug him.

You never visited him without coming back with some delicious offering, freshly picked from his garden. On one of my last visits I returned home with armfulls of purple sprouting broccoli and two big containers that he had planted up for me with colourful summer bedding plants. He was a generous and giving man with a keen sense of fun.

"Put seeds and cover them. Blades will sprout where you do your work." – Rumi

His garage was a virtual treasure trove, and if there was anything anyone needed he almost certainly had it and it was freely offered. In fact when Joe was building our campervan, Uncle Tom supplied him with so much wood and metal, that he helped beyond measure.

Inside his house, it was a veritable feast for the eyes, especially for a magpie like me. Much to his daughter (my cousin) Shelagh's chagrin, he 'collected' things.

I loved to see all of the bits and bobs, the china birds, the bells, the brass, the eclectic mix of his treasures. They made me smile and want to give him another hug for just being him...which I invariably did.

So now whenever I shall see the little items that once belonged to him, (that are now sitting in amongst my own treasures,) I shall think of him and picture his smiling eyes and send him a hug.

He was a good man and he will be remembered with much love and affection.

Thomas Campbell born January 16, 1921 - died February 11, 2012, aged 91.

Twinkling eyes
a ready smile
irish brogue
never lost
he touched
the earth
made things grow
food - flowers
he understood
the land
walked its soil
planted and harvested
- it is his turn now
his life sown - grown,
and blossomed
it has given forth its bounty
and its produce was good
may the great gardener
appreciate his crop
he will live on
in the hearts
of those who knew
and loved him.

Thought of the week
❝To know even one life has breathed easier because
you have lived,
this is to have succeeded."- Emerson

Photo's from top:
Uncle Tom.
Me as a child in Uncle Tom's garden.
One of Uncle Toms treasures (the middle pot) in amongst my own.
Uncle Tom again.

Words and images - Susannah Bec.


Barb said...

Susannah - A tribute poem that would make Uncle Tom proud. Generosity of spirit never goes unrewarded.

Susannah said...

Thanks Barb. :-)

Good to see you. x

Deborah said...

Beautiful Sue, so full of love and warmth, just like Uncle Tom ... it made me cry xxx

Susannah said...

Thanks Deb. xxx

Morvah said...

So sorry for your loss my dear, I'm sure your Uncle Tom would have been delighted to know you thought so highly of him. Good taste would appear to run in your family, that's a lovely pot you have to remember him by...... M x

Susannah said...

Thanks Morvah. :-)

Good to see you, hope all is well with you. x

Jade said...

Touching poem & beautiful portrait of a remarkable soul.. I can sense a lot of warmth & kindness in these words. I'm sure your uncle would be honored and blessed to know you had written this.. Thank you for sharing and reminding us of what is important in this life. <3

Susannah said...

Thanks so much for your lovely comment Jade. x It is good to see you.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your Uncle Tom, Susannah. He sounded like a very special person. I am really touched by your tribute. Hugs to you and Deborah and all your family xxx

Susannah said...

Thanks very much Selma. xxxx

jabblog said...

Much loved, much missed, never to be forgotten - what a lovely man your Uncle Tom was.

Susannah said...

Thanks very much Jabblog. x

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful tribute. Am sorry for your loss, but glad you had such a wonderful uncle.

Susannah said...

Thanks Jennifer. x


Related Posts with Thumbnails