Thursday, April 05, 2012

Eulogy For A Brother

Richard Longshaw 5.7.1954- 31.3.2012

I hope that during these past few months Richard finally realized how deeply he was loved and by how many people. I don’t think he ever truly knew how much we all needed and valued him. Whenever someone had a crisis or needed something done Richie would be there. Sometimes just the fact he was in the room would make you feel better, safer, as if everything was going to turn out alright. He always put others first before himself and constantly thought of how to make their lives easier. I have lost count of all the times he came to my rescue; repairing computers, helping get a sick animal to the vet and helping me move house on too many occasions.

When we moved the pony and donkey in a horse float Rich would insist on riding in with them so they wouldn’t be stressed. When I had to have my old pony put to sleep Richie drove all the way out to where I was living at the time to keep me company while the vet did the deed before lying on top of Toby the goat so the vet could trim his hooves.

I have happy memories of Richie and I going shopping and having long philosophical conversations about science, quantum physics and Top Gear. He would go into in-depth descriptions of how he fixed someone’s computer or the reason why a car wasn’t running properly and I would nod my head as if I actually knew what he was talking about.

Dad always said Rich was the “luckiest unlucky bugger” he’d ever met. His boat La Paloma blew up with him on board but he only suffered a flash burn on his chest. His trawler “Trojan” sank off Mahia although fortunately he wasn’t on board. We would always joke about the Longshaw luck. Just as well the other part of being a Longshaw was having a robust black sense of humour.

Richard tolerated the intolerable and suffered fools. Whereas I would get angry about someone’s actions Richie would shrug his shoulders and say “oh well that’s just them”. But under that seemingly strong calm exterior there was a sensitive soul who could be so easily hurt by people. He was truly a gentle giant and for me he was a wonderfully kind and caring brother.

Last Friday as I watched Richard lie on the verge of his last voyage into the next world a few lines kept continually running through my head. They were from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem”

''This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.''