My father

My father died recently, so I have been rather busy with other things. I wrote a short eulogy to him and I thought I would share it, and my memories of him, on my blog. I am not certain that this is the ‘done’ thing, but I am doing it anyway. I sort of feel the need to share it with those who are kind enough to read my blog.

My father was not a man who suffered fools gladly. In fact his favourite expression was BF, as in, bloody fool. We were all, at times, BFs. I am sure I was referred to as a BF on more occasions than I ever knew. Politicians were most certainly all BFs.

But beneath the façade of referring to everyone and most of their actions as those of a BF was a man who would, after he had finished his obligatory two minute rant, then do all that he possibly could to help someone out.

Crashed your car….you BF….then he would fix it. Needing help… he would invite foreign students into his house for the night. At heart he was, basically, a big softie. A velvet fist in a steel glove. He would forgive anyone anything – in the end.

I remember he used to sing a little song at times. At the time I never knew where it came from. Some of you may recognise it. It is incredibly rude, and incredibly sad. This is the chorus – which is the only bit I heard him sing.

It’s the same the whole world over,

It’s the poor that get the blame,

It’s the rich that get the pleasure,

Ain’t it all a bloody shame

This never seemed, to me, to be a favourite song of a man who did not care deeply about the world, and who would like to see it become a better place.

Yes he could be irascible – we all know that. Yes, he could be difficult and argumentative… and we all most certainly all know that. Yes, he too, he was a fully functioning BF at times, with bells and whistles, and there were most certainly moments when he drove me – and everyone else – completely mad. But my thoughts and memories now are almost entirely positive. As I think are those of everyone else gathered here.

As we know he did many, many things. A man of great energy and boundless enthusiasm for life. Whilst I was thinking about writing this short eulogy I remember a quote about Winston Churchill that I think best sums up my father.

When you first meet him, you see all his faults. It takes a lifetime to appreciate his virtues.

58 thoughts on “My father

  1. Spokey

    Sorry to hear about your loss Dr. We’re all BFs occasionally for sure, but I imagine your father was always immensely proud of you despite any times you may have been.

  2. anglosvizzera

    Sounds like a great man – my partner is very similar in personality. Incidentially, he’s just lost his mother, who I mentioned in some of my comments on your posts about statins and polypharmacy, so we understand a bit of how you’re feeling at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kay Laverack

    Condolences for your loss. I thought we hadn’t heard much from you lately. The bit of the song that I remember is about her standing on the bridge at midnight throwing snowballs at the moon.

  4. Ali

    Sounds like the kind of man I’d have been happy to know. Wonderful tribute, thanks for sharing and condolences for your sad loss.

  5. rhod Tibbles

    Hi.. if I was remembered like that I would be very chuffed… sounds a bit like my old Mum…. total eccentric but unforgettable……. lovely memories all round….

  6. Sue Richardson

    Just sitting here on Remembrance Sunday and caught your blog coming in. Your dad sounds to be a great chap and apart from all the other times you will remember him, you will remember him on this Day each year too now. I had a Scottish granny who was 4’11 and didn’t suffer fools gladly either. We were a bit scared of her as kids even though she wasn’t much bigger than us! These characters are never forgotten – ever, and neither should they be.

  7. Chris Wunsch

    Dr Kendrick, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I pray that God will grant you his peace which passes all understanding. Sounds to me like the world is not as nice a place without your father.

  8. lorrainecleaver7

    I’m so sorry Dr K. He sounds like a good man and a great dad. Your eulogy is refreshingly honest too. How often I hear the departed described as paragons I can’t relate to. Bless your dad.

  9. yolanda

    It certainly is a bloody shame your dad is no longer with you. And yes, it’s very much the done thing to write about your dad on your blog. Grief is part of what makes us human, well, some of us anyway.

    I’m very sorry or your loss! Take care. XXX

    The Netherlands


  10. Jeff MacDougall

    Condolences to you on his passing. Thank you for posting your eulogy… totally appropriate as I see it, and very moving.

  11. celia

    Well, it may not be the “done thing”, but thank you for sharing. It seems to me that you too may have inherited some very positive qualities from your father – a wish to do good in the world, and a frustration at some of the idiotic things that men do; not to mention his boundless energy and enthusiasm that keep you battling on for what you believe is right.

  12. Karen

    My dear Malcolm thank you for sharing and I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like your father with someone good to look up to. Also someone who has seen a lot in life but still had compassion for other people. God bless you and your missionto help other people become more aware of what’s happening in the medical practices that could be dangerous to us patients. so glad to see you are mines the first tide of doctors that are doing us. It takes a lot of bravery and I am certain that your father is looking down on you from heaven what the special love and pride for you. God bless you and your family. Please take care. Karen. PS I hope there are no stupid mistakes on this written on my cell phone and I can’t go back and change anything.

  13. Maureen

    My condolences to you and your family. The passing of a parent is hard – they are “always going to be there”. And then they’re not. I pray for God’s comfort in the coming weeks.

  14. Rebecca Hall

    Very sorry to hear about your dad, Dr Kendrick. I think that was a lovely eulogy and I will use the expression BF in his honour (seeing as I often have the opportunity to meet BFs).All the very best to you and “bon vent” to your dad. Rebecca Hall

  15. Lorna

    You clearly loved him a lot – faults and all. In fact, aren’t faults the other side of virtues: idealism and irascibility – cause and effect?
    I can imagine him very well from your words: a tribute indeed.

  16. Christopher Palmer

    I think it very much the ‘done’ thing to express and share ones sentiments surrounding such moments in one’s life when someone dear to us departs this world. Your father was a great man, and you’ll miss him for many years to come. Despite his passing he remains ‘alive’. No longer possessed of a spirit of his own there is much about his former spirit that lives on in you, and it comes through in your chosen words. I am sorry to hear of your loss, and share sincere condolences.

    Those men and women who truly care and would truly wish to have aspects of the distinctly human world shaped differently will inevitably appear irascible to others at times. The reason is simple: they have a perception of affairs that is deserved and cognition that is at least one level improved upon the rest. I’m regret this can make the rest of the ‘herd’ feel uneasy and they correspondingly think such distinctions make a person ‘difficult’.

    To come to appreciate the qualities in a ‘difficult’ person one first has to come to understand just what it is that rests heavily upon their mind and gives rise to their unease. It is not easy to be as perceptive as they are unless first we care enough, and second make the effort to advance our understanding. That the rich get the pleasure and the poor get the blame will always be the case, but that which is the case is far, far, more intensive than it needs to be. Something about our world lends ‘gearing’ to this intensity.

    Even if your father was not completely clear in mind about its cause the injustice of a striking axis of elitism and oppression did not sit well with his conscience. It doesn’t sit well with mine, and it doesn’t rest well with you either. Rightly so.

  17. Julie Jackson

    God rest his soul. (Not necessarily because I’m a believer but because you just don’t know. Not even you scientists!)

  18. Clutter

    I’m sorry for your loss. It’s a lovely eulogy and is testament to your regard for your father. Thank you for sharing it.

  19. Magarietha Zondagh

    Dr. Kendrik, He sounds marvelous! A person who was deeply aware of the fallibity of his fellows and unassuming. I am so sorry you lost your dad.
    Crooked Finger in Antonia’s Line (a very clever man) left a note after his death that said: “of God, I don’t know much, bur surely there must needs be an incredible dessert after such a truly indigestible meal, as life is. Thus I hope your dad is standing under glorious running laughter somewhere.
    Kind regards, Magarietha and family, South Africa.

  20. gilbert78

    Dr. K.
    Sorry to learn of the loss of your Father but wonderful that you have pleasant & positive memories; his influence do doubt had a bearing on the person you are today for which I am very grateful; absolutely the right thing to do writing about it & thanks for reminding me of a childhood ditty.

  21. Roy Carey

    Sorry to hear your sad news, the quote made me think back to my late father and it is also relevant to him, as I’m sure it is to many fathers. Unfortunately for me I didn’t realise it until his later life.

  22. chmeee

    Wonderful, and thank you for sharing it. I recall writing my Dad’s eulogy. What to say? What not to say? How long to make it? How do you express all that he was and why you loved and admired him? Difficult, isn’t it? But I think you got it right. I feel – in a small way – that I know him.

    Thank you.

  23. Jennifer

    Thank you for letting us read this on Remembrance Day, when many of us recall our parents, gone from our lives.
    You nicely sum up the love of families, where fun and exasperation tootle alongside one another and tolerance ultimately wins in the end. This is what keeps us sane, so take heart in remembering all the great, loving, funny, annoying times shared with your father. He will have been as proud of you as you are of him, and we, the followers of your blog, can say thank you to him for undoubtedly influencing your fair and balanced view of life, which you kindly share with us.

  24. Jean Humphreys

    Please allow me to say that I am sorry for your loss.
    You describe one of those people who manage to hide immense kindness under the carapace of a complete curmudgeon, as though they are afraid of seeming weak. The world is a better place for all of them, and I have had the good fortune to be married to one like that for many years.
    It is hard to lose a good parent.

  25. Valda Redfern

    I am sorry for your loss. The passing of individualists and originals like your father is a loss to us all – but the world surely was a better place while they were in it.

  26. Arlyn Roycraft

    Very sorry for your loss,
    My husband sings the little song about ”it’s the rich that gets the gravy and the poor that gets the blame” almost daily.Funny that.

  27. Mary Richard

    Dr. Kendrick, I am so sorry for your loss. However, it is a tribute to him that you thought enough of this great man to stop your work for a time and memorialize him. He was indeed a stalwart, I know. You know how I know? I have, in some small measure, gotten to know his very brave son like all of us who blog here. He obviously did many things right. And…as my own late father used to say, “the acorn don’t fall far from the tree”. He taught you many things, not the least of them being courage. Thanks for sharing this touching eulogy.

    God Bless

  28. Janice

    Hi Malcolm,
    I’m really sorry that the presence of your Dad is now missing from your life. It’s not easy to lose someone you love, and I’m so glad we have memories that in a way help them live on within us.
    He sounds like he was a very fine man, and he must have been very proud of you.
    My thoughts are with you.

  29. Debra

    What a lovely tribute to your father. Thank you, Dr. Kendrick. The song is called, “It’s the same the whole world over” and is still as true today as it was in the 1930s when it was written. And, I’m keeping that Winston Churchill quote handy. It describes a lot of human beings.

  30. Professor Göran Sjöberg

    I am sorry to hear about your loss but happy to see that you are carrying on the spirit of his favourite song.

    1. Elizabeth Ann Biles

      Very sorry for your loss and i dont see why your lovely eulogy to your father should not be on a blog , its wonderful to hear someone say such things about anyone they both knew and loved, i wish i could have done the same 25 yrs ago for my mother, but difficult with no PCs then!
      I really enjoyed reading it. Well done! My condolences to you and your family also.

  31. Andrew Bovim

    Dear Malcolm, thank you so much for sharing your eulogy. It is now a done thing! My sincere condolences to you and your family. I understand very clearly that grief and sense of loss, having lost my father 14 months ago.

    I’m a very keen follower of your blog and look forward to each post with much enthusiasm. Please keep on writing! Please continue to raise awareness of the non-thinking that blights our profession. Thank you for restoring my belief in independent-thinking doctors.

    Andrew Bovim
    Cape Town, South Africa

  32. John Gregor

    Lost my father 10 years ago. It’s a life changer. We was Cornish and a motor mechanic. He related to hard working people and hated fat tory polititions. My sister and I think of him every day.
    John Gregor

  33. Sue Owen

    I don’t usually do this sort of thing, I don’t know you except through your blog but as others have said it called to mind my Dad, dead 14 years now. Even now I will often think “oh dad what WOULD you have said to that!” And laugh, and sometimes cry: I wish the same happy memories for you. The song IS terribly rude! I learned it from a rugby playing boyfriend nearly 50 years ago.

  34. Ingrid Chafiie

    Thank you very much for sharing your eulogy with your readers. As always, you come strait to the point – wonderful! — Ingrid

  35. Cath Bruzzone

    Very sorry for your loss & thanks for sharing your eulogy. I’m currently travelling in SE Asia & how true is your Dad’s song about the rich & poor in this part of the world.

  36. Dr.Garry Lee, Cork.

    Good stuff! I never really appreciated what a nice man my father was until I saw how huge his funeral was! He too had his faults!

  37. Claire Birtles

    Just read your post on a bit of a catch up. It has made me think about my own dad. A dairy farmer, he would say he had done the work of 2 men and a boy ( which was probably true). He was fond of gossip, Mario Lanza, Cassius Clay, his beloved pedigree Ayrshire cows and most of all buttering a chop before he put it in the oven!
    He died with his boots on age 77 , on a sunny Feb day nearly 4 years ago. His death certificate said severe coronary artery atheroma but no mention of an infarct. Never smoked.
    I miss him madly and it seems like more as time goes on.
    I hope I die suddenly as he did, on a sunny day when I’ve had bacon and eggs for breakfast.
    Cherish the good memories is my advice. It helps when you feel choked with grief.


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