My apologies for silence over the past few weeks. My father-in-law died as the result of injuries sustained in an air crash and the energy and inspiration has been drained from our family…..but it will come back. We will remember and feed off his memory and huge strengths. He was a great role-model, particularly in the way he led both his family and his work teams to success. As I said about him at the celebration of his life:

“He was the slowest to say a negative word about anyone. He had a powerful and instinctive philosophy with people… he simply listened and showed respect. He was always quiet and patient, non-judgemental and supportive if he could be. They say that one reason a dog is a good friend is that his tail wags and not his tongue. To this extent Michael was a dog, albeit a highly distinguished and relatively house trained dog. He never betrayed a confidence and never talked without thinking …and indeed often thought without talking, but for this silence he was both respected and loved. He would give his opinion only if asked and if he didn’t know the answer he would never pretend he did. In areas in which he did not have the knowledge he would be the first to seek the expertise of others.”

As a result those he met trusted and respected him and flourished under his leadership. Lucky and blessed are those in the horse world who meet people with similar qualities. All associations need to find, train and cherish good leaders….leaders who have a broad view and keep a sense of perspective, leaders who have a sense of humour:

“Everything was laced with humour…"I have the body of an eighteen year old” he said to the nurses, ”I keep it in the fridge!" “What’s the meaning of Apéritif? It’s French for a set of dentures!”

For many the two main lessons from this type of tragedy are one, a reminder to seize the day, and two, that we shouldn’t get too worried about the small things in life. These are surely worthwhile thoughts, but I would add a third that usually leads to the other two. It is the about the importance of doing things well. My father-in-law did everything well in both his professional and private life. As a doctor it was vital to do things well and stay at the leading edge of his speciality, because it was often a matter of life and death. It also made him more efficient and allowed him to achieve more with the minimum of retraining and effort. He always had a clear understanding of the priorities in his roles as both doctor and
father and did everything with great thought and precision.

Doing things well on a daily basis makes us so much more able to seize the day and ensures we concentrate on the important not the unimportant. To ‘do things well’ is not a bad maxim for us all and for coaches and riders it is vital….and doing things well is without doubt possible, because every exercise can be broken down into simple parts and every great dream into bite size action steps. Life is both too brief and too important not to do things well at every stage. By doing this we open the door to levels of achievement and fulfillment that enable us to say we truly did our best and have no regrets:

“Do not be sad for Michael…he led a fulfilled, joyous and wonderful life….he had no regrets.”

So onwards in hope and joy…. and with great thanks for good horses, great coaches and the very special people we meet in life. William

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Comment by Wiola Grabowska on May 11, 2010 at 5:58am
Really sorry to read about your loss.
Comment by Ann Crago on May 10, 2010 at 10:44pm
Sorry to read of the loss of a much loved family member.......It is so hard to think of carrying on without a loved one that is suddenly gone....It hurts so very much....and the disbelieve hangs on for so very long. The understanding that they REALLY are no longer here is so very hard to accept. You both laugh with good memories and then cry with the sadness and pain. Please know you are not alone and I and many others that are reading this send your family a small and silent prayer.
I'm sure your Father - in- Law left his litttle corner of the world better than he found it.
Good Bless.......
Comment by Janet B on May 10, 2010 at 8:09pm
So sorry to read of your loss. Time does help heal, although it goes by slowly to start...... I know yu do things well, and this will help you heal and regain your energies. All the best to you and your family.
Comment by Jackie Cochran on May 7, 2010 at 11:03am
My sympathies for your loss. It is hard when the good ones go, human or equine.
Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on May 7, 2010 at 9:05am
Sad to hear of your loss William. Sounds like your father-in law was a top bloke.

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