(Click link to download Kieran’s order of service)
The first time I met Kieran, he opened the front door wearing a vintage pink silk jacket and I thought – there’s a man who isn’t afraid of anything. Of course he was, and it was my great privilege to get to know those fears, and hopes and dreams, over the sixteen years that followed.
Kieran and I were friends before we were anything else, and while there was plenty of passion and romance in our fourteen-year relationship it was our friendship that was the bedrock of our partnership. He was such a good friend to so many people – people in this room, and many more people who are watching from home, I know – and I feel very fortunate that I got to be his best of friends. That, in a lot of ways, is a great a privilege as having been his wife.
I have to admit, though, I was pretty annoyed that he had asked me to give the eulogy at his funeral. As if I haven’t got enough to deal with at the moment! But Kieran always had great faith in my abilities – and I always hope to live up to his vision of me.
As a family, our plan is that in the early autumn we will throw a celebration of Kieran’s life that includes some of the things he loved best – good food, live music, the company of friends – and at that event I hope I may speak more fully, and also invite some more of the people in his life to speak about him. Right now it’s difficult for me to find the words to sum up who he was and what he meant to me and our family. So I thought I would read out some of the lovely eulogies I have received in the days since his death.
“he was so kind and so encouraging. it meant so much to me that he, master of all things, thought that I had talent. you were very lucky to have known and loved him, and I’m so sorry you no longer have him around, but my gosh, what a force he was. I expect his energy must still be so strong. I hope it remains as strong as he was.”
“I only knew Kieran for a few years through Jitsu… but since then he gave me so much advice for what was my law career and his posts and stories of achievement were inspirational. You and your family were just so beautiful to follow and everything I would strive for should I ever be lucky enough to find love and have a family like yours.”
“Kieran was so exacting and precise in his writing and woodworking that I would never have imagined there was a problem or battle he couldn’t overcome… …I’ll miss him dreadfully but will always have some wonderful memories of working, and laughing together to remind me how much I enjoyed his company and valued his friendship.”
“The things which Kieran taught me on work trips went beyond legal skills and the basics of woodworking – his wisdom taught me an immense amount about life itself.”
“Talking to kieran and his support meant the world to me, so much, and helped give me the confidence to woodwork full time and follow my heart.”
These messages come from people who knew Kieran in all different areas of his life – from martial arts to woodworking to music to the law – and offer just a glimpse into the extraordinary impact he had on so many people across the world.
Kieran asked that Adam and Becca read poetry by Pablo Neruda and Wendell Berry, and that I could choose the poems. I have selected ones he liked and that seemed fitting. I know, though, that The Country of Marriage was his favourite Wendell Berry poem, but that seemed too intimate a thing for anyone but me to read. It is a poem that has hopes for a long future, and those parts are painful; but in it too there is an acceptance of the inevitability of death, of knowing that joy must be grasped where we find it because so much of the future is unknown, the path before us hidden. So I will read a little part of it to you now; if you like you can go away and look up the rest, and understand something of what we meant to each other.
What I am learning to give you is my death
to set you free of me, and me from myself
into the dark and the new light.
I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,
containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.
I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:
a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,
the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life
that we have planted in the ground, as I
have planted mine in you.
It is a terrible thing that we have lost Kieran so young: that there aren’t decades ahead for him to be a great friend, son, brother, husband, and most of all, daddy. But Kieran loved so deeply, gave his heart to the things and people he loved so fully, that we will be able to carry him with us in the years to come. I promised him when I visited his body that Grace and I would live good, long lives, because we love him. The strapline of Kieran’s woodworking and writing business Over The Wireless was “Craft and Integrity”. He lived up to those values, and our best tribute to him is to do the same.