|JAN(LEFT) DAD & JUD ( RIGHT)|
LAST PICTURE TAKEN BEFORE HIS DEATH - JAN. 1975
As we are about to celebrate another Father's Day I take time out to pay tribute to my father Harold Haughton-James who passed away when he was 56. At that time Janine and I were only 13 but I will treasure those years as during that time we learnt some important life lessons.
He was a jovial father and a politician who had no time to consume himself with hate. I admired the ease with which he had friends from the opposition party and how he treated people equally regardless of their political affiliation. The tribalistic attitude of our politics at that time could not change him.
He started his political career when a Councillor was not a paid official but showed dedication to service. He was a shining example that one does not have to be paid in order to carry out his duties well. So much so was his commitment that even when he had his first stroke in 1970 and was hospitalized he kept asking questions concerning his duties as a Parish Councillor.
At times he took us to and from school. On our way home some evenings it was like a Geography lesson titled 'GETTING TO KNOW YOUR PARISH.' We enjoyed his traversing here and there as we got to know several areas in St. Mary - Belfield, Islington, Oxford, Free Hill, Bailey's Vale and Hampstead, to name a few.
Early in the morning on August 14, 1975, he sat with us on the veranda and we had a good time chatting and laughing. I can still remember as we drove out with our aunt-in-law that morning she said "Oh, I forgot to tell Harry good morning." We turned around and saw him as he stepped back into the house. A few hours later he collapsed and died at the Parish Council meeting. As fate would have it he died serving people.
He was a real church man and served as a member of the Church Committee for many years. He was also a Justice of the Peace and would sign documents for persons who came to his house at various times of the day from Sunday to Saturday.
The words on his tombstone tell the story of his life "I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith" - 2 Timothy 4:7
Having lost my identical twin sister in 2008 I have become more and more curious about death. I have read several books including 'Healing Grief' by James Van Praagh. I am here hoping that Janine and my father have already met each other in the afterlife. I still wonder how coincidental it was that they both died on a Thursday, just before noon and a few weeks before they would have celebrated their birthdays. Dad and Janine are at peace and I know we will all meet again some day.