Sadly Michael died on October 17.
this was my eulogy.
First, I must thank everyone for the overwhelming cards,flowers,texts,emails and messages of condolence we have received..
I must also pay tribute to our children, who have surrounded me with love and support these past few weeks.
His nephew wrote to Victoria ( his daughter) last week
“if the measure of a parent can be shown by his children, then Michael Gildea did a pretty good job”
and I go along with that.
To some of you he was Mick, to some he was Mike, others know him as Michael. To his children he was Dad and to his grandchildren,. Grandpa Michael.
i always knew, when he stopped to talk to people, how they knew him by the name they used.
But today I want to tell you about ” my” Michael.
My lover and my friend.
We had 27 years together. We laughed and loved and travelled life’s journey side by side,. But we were very different people and that was the thing about Michael, he allowed me to be who I was.
i got to know him after the dark days of his drinking, when he’d wondered around, lost and bewildered. Until one night sleeping on a bench he’d had an epiphany and realised that alcohol had been at the bottom of everything he’d done wrong in life.
many people had helped him during those dark days, —-,—–and ,——,—-, are just some names I know
but there were other people, names I didn’t know. He would offen stop to speak to a drunk or down and out as we walked ( slowly! Joke)in the town centre and I would ask ” why are you bothering with him?and he’d say ” he showed me where I could sleep” or ” he shared his food” or simply. ” He was kind to me”
so he came to Alcoholics Anonymous and I watched him get sober and recover.
i saw a kind man
I saw a generous man, even though he had nothing at the time.
but most of all I saw, how many people have described him to us this past week,
a… Gentle. ..Man
So he trained and worked as a counsellor, quietly helping as much as he could, people with drink and drug problems.
We travelled to many places,. ( Usually involving a racecourse!) and had a good life.
He loved a posh hotel, but was equally at home in an apartment in Paris or a tent in Cartmel,. Note both those places have racecourses!
Our last conversation was about how much we loved each other, then he died quietly and peacefully 4hours later. That is a great comfort to me.
The two great things Michael taught me ( apart from ” never let your income get in the way of your lifestyle!) Joke as mentioned earlier.
were. ” live within the day”
and “Be optimistic”
he was the eternal optimist, and it would irritate me, he never had a plan B, in fact he hardly ever had a plan A.
!! He’d say to me, ” don’t worry, it’ll all turn out alright in the end…….and usually it did!
so as I say goodbye to the physical Michael today, I know his wonderful kindness and generosity, his eternal optimism and his amazing ability to be non judgemental, to treat everyone the same no matter where they came from will live on in the memories and stories we have of him
.My life has now changed forever, but I’ll always be honoured and grateful I shared a part of my life,. With Michael Gildea.