This simple remembrance of a friend was delivered at his funeral on 24th September 2016 at The Wenallt Chapel in Cardiff. Angus was a one off – one of life’s great individuals. He and his wife Margaret, whom he adored, are the central characters in a wonderful love story. Their family is truly one of the kindest you will ever meet. It’s a privilege to call them my friends.
Jean and I were speaking with Angus just a couple of days before he left us and he held Jean’s hand and through his tears he said, ‘I have always tried to be a good man.’ As he said it I smiled and thought to myself. ‘No Angus you are not a good man…. you are a great man!’
In my eyes, that’s what he was – a great man and a great friend.
Somehow, I knew that the time between us meeting like this to say goodbye to Margaret and meeting again to say goodbye to Angus would be a short one and so it turned out. They were inseperable in life and will now be inseperable in death.
Angus left us a little while ago and we are here because of his influence on our lives. For you his family… your lives were intertwined with his from the moment you were born. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Angus’s at different times and in different contexts in the course of time. No matter what our connection with him we will never be the same again because of the man he was. We are all a part of the wonderful legacy that Angus and Margaret Mayer have left behind.
This morning as we mourn his passing, we are also celebrating Angus’s life. I believe life is a gift from God. It’s a gift made to be full of experiences, people and events. We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him.
In knowing Angus we have, hopefully become better people.
I was first introduced to Angus and Margaret soon after I started courting Jean. She told me of this wonderful family she knew and visited regularly. She just loved her visits to Fairfax Road. Without fail, she was welcomed every time, you children were asked to budge up and make room and a plate of something homemade and special was put in front of her. It was only later in life that Jean realised that Angus and Margaret were probably giving her their own food. But they did it willingly. That’s the kind of people they were!
Jean loved her visits and longed one day to have a family of her own just like The Mayers.
For me… I loved both Angus and Margaret from the very first time I met them and my love for them both never stopped growing. We were frequent visitors to their home down through the years and it became our custom to visit them every Christmas Eve. Each year one of his terrines was opened up and each year he would say the same thing…
’I wouldn’t cut this before Christmas Day for anyone else you know!’
Last year it was a Christmas Cake. He was very proud that Cath had made it.
Last week, we promised Gus that wherever he was, we would still visit him on Christmas Eve. He appreciated that! You can be sure we would have kept that promise and you can also be sure he and your mum will always hold a special place in our hearts and we will remember them in a special way on December 24th!
One by one our children were introduced to him. The first time my son Gareth visited, Margaret informed us that Gus was in the greenhouse. Out in the garden we were met by a great cloud of feathers and suddenly Angus’s booming voice came through the cloud! He was busy plucking pheasants. It’s a story we retell at regular intervals!
Kate, my daughter, was fascinated this year when Gus met us wearing an old cardigan which had a massive paper clip attached to the zip, replacing the obviously broken orignal. To me that summed up the lovely man that Gus was… quirky, eccentric, funny and so very interesting. I loved just sitting and listening to him tell his stories! Your dad was a master storyteller. He was the best cook I ever knew, his cross stitch skills were remarkable and one of our prized posessions is a signed and framed cross stich of Creation – Day One that Angus made for us several years ago. Trust me every time we pass it we smile and think of our lovely friend.
He loved life – cooking, decorating, building, gardening at home and at the allotment , fishing, but most of all he loved his family. His face would light up when he spoke of you all.
Death robs us of much – never again will we have Angus with us, no longer will we hear his voice, see his smile – no more hugs and handshakes. Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say.
How are we going to cope? We have something to help – a great and wonderful gift
The gift of memory…
Remember how much he loved your mum. Remember him as your wonderful father, grandfather and your friend. Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive. Remember the fun times.
One day he said to me ‘Roger I could never be a teacher’
I didn’t have the foresight to say ‘But Gus, you are a teacher already!’
He didn’t realise all the things he taught us all about living life to the full, about overcoming life’s obstacles, about filling life with great experiences and about LOVING!
Let us promise that the good Angus and Margaret showed to us in their lives, we will now show to others and keep their memory alive!
They are gone.
We can shed tears that they are gone
or we can smile because they have lived.
We can close our eyes and pray that they will come back
or we can open our eyes and see all they’ve left for us to remember.
Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see them
or they can be full of the love we shared together.
We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
We can remember them and only that they’ve gone
or we can cherish their memory and let it live on.
We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs
or we can do what Angus and Margaret would want:
Smile….open our eyes……
love each other like they did…
and go on.