"This morning, Sheila and I will go to Mass in celebration of Dad Williams' death. He died of a heart attack at the early age of 58 years on April 1st, 1980. All of his life was devoted to providing a good start to life for his two children, Sheila and Winston; earning his living as a barrister.
Although, I never met Dad Williams, I meet him regularly whenever I am in the presence of Winston and my wife Sheila. I often find it more than coincidental that the love of his life was, history, politics, law, literature and poetry, as my five lasting interests throughout my life are the very same five interests as his were, plus a love of song and music!
Sheila tells me that Dad Williams always encouraged his children's love of poetry; his favourite being 'An Elegy in the Country Churchyard', by Thomas Gray. We were privileged to have Winston read this poem at our wedding on the 10/11/12.
Briefly, the poem was inspired by Gray's thoughts following the death of his close friend Richard West who was both a poet and 'The Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1725-1726'. Once written, Thomas Gray sent the poem to his friend, Horace Walpole, who in turn popularised the poem among London literary circles. Gray eventually published his poem in 1751. 'An Elegy in a Country Churchyard' has often claimed to have been the best-known and best-loved poem in English. Since first published, it has been translated into many languages and published throughout the world.
The poem embodies a meditation on death, and remembrance after death. The poem argues that the remembrance can be good and bad, and the narrator finds comfort in pondering the lives of the obscure rustics buried in the churchyard.
The poem's purpose is not important to this post other than to know that just as Horace Walpole saw it as being one of his roles in life to popularise this poem among London literary circles, so did Dad Williams out in Singapore literary circles each time he proudly had his two children recite the poem to visitors and guests.
While we never met, Dad Williams, I still want to thank you for bringing my lovely wife Sheila into the world and teaching her to appreciate the cultural aspects of life, along with a learned devotion to what she sees as her contribution to the lives of so many. Today, we hold in prayer and love for you. Sheila, Bill and Winston." William Forde: April 4th, 2018.