Late in the night on Saturday 26th May I received a very brave call from my little sister who lives in Bermuda, to inform me that the man I call Daddy had passed away.
Devastated was an understatement!
Without hesitation or thought, a plane was booked to leave in the next 72 hours and everything was cancelled.
This man was the very first man in my life, bought me my first teddy bear (Mr. Ed – who I still have today) and although we spent years apart (over 3,000 miles away) we saw each other every 2 to 3 years. He came over to England to see my sister and I, brought us gifts and that smile.
My god, that smile could be seen through the crowds of people dashing through Liverpool Lime Street Station when we went to pick him up. EVERY time I saw him, even when he couldn’t see me, my eyes welled up with pure joy and then he’d see us and give us the biggest hug a Dad could give.
He also had a certain smell, like we all do, but my Dads smell was one that reminded me of home.
Bermuda was where I was born and although I’ve only been back 3 times since I left at the age of nine and three quarters, to this day I still consider Bermuda as my home.
My family is a very large family (apparently one of the largest on the island) and I had a lot of people say to me “Girl, I haven’t seen you since you were this big…”, “My god, don’t you look like your Daddy…”, “It’s good to have you home…”
On the 4th June 2018, we buried my Dad in the Daniels plot in Devonshire and over 300 people; family, friends and work colleagues attended the funeral to come together, say their good byes and to also celebrate his life.
My brother James read the final poem in the Order of Service, which is called “He is Gone”.
I received the poem by Richard Blacklock of NutriBox Meals, who sent it to me via a private message on Facebook as soon as he found out my Dad had passed away. Richard and I have only met once, which was a few years ago when I delivered some email marketing training, but we kept in touch since.
Although the title sounds harsh, the poem was very apt. and James gallantly read it perfectly to the congregation.
He is gone…
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Thank you, Richard, for sharing. It meant a lot! Not only for your condolences but for paying it forward as I know the poem was sent to you when you lost a parent.
I was privileged enough to be asked to design my Dads Order of Service, included in it were many family pictures, tunes he loved like Bob Dylan and Smokey Robinson; Crusin’, which was played as he was carried out of the Christ Church by his son, cousins and nephews.
As I walked down the aisle after my Dad, I watched as the whole congregation swayed to the music, which was just perfect!
Who was he?
The reason why I have decided to write this article about the most incredible man I call Daddy, is because of how he led his life. As, I’ve mentioned before, there were over 300 people in the Christ Church and many told me some amazing stories about my Dad.
Saying that “He changed my life”, “Michael made me who I am today”, “He told me I could do anything, and I did!”
My Dad was a master at his craft and most who knew him, knew perfection was the only way.
As a Matre D of over 40 years, when working in the Fairmont Southampton Princess, he strived to make it THE best hotel on the island. He trained hundreds of people how to serve, what to say, how to dress, how to hold a glass right and if I’m honest all 3 of my siblings have the same thing engrained within them. We are possibly the worst group of people to come to your restaurant as we can spot things a mile away!
Daddy expected the best from everyone, and if they didn’t know how, he would happily show them and teach them how to do or be better. Not only did he want it for every person he met in his family, in his hotel, that he spoke to, he wanted it for the world.
And I may add that this type of person is a dying breed. Are you this type of person?
My Dad had his own blog and set it up in 2017 when I was last over there at the age of 73 (so don’t ever tell me you are too old). He only managed to publish two posts last year, and of the two he wrote, he was so right!
Read them here > https://doitrightinbda.wordpress.com
Service isn’t how it used to be… We should want it to be better not only for our clients but for ourselves.
Life Lessons from my Dad
As I look back on my Dads life and what he achieved for himself, his family and for me I know I take away so much from him and am so grateful that he was my Daddy.
He gave me diplomacy which is the biggest thing I can take away, he wasn’t one for shouting, he was always calm with a quiet voice. The quiet voice I also have, along with double-jointed knees and the smile to some extent but there are 9 other life lessons that will stay with me forever personally as well as being taken into my business.
1. Treat them like they are the only one in the room
I can tell you now, most of my cousins will say that they were my Dads favourite! And they would all be right.
2. Everyone likes to be treated differently
Everyone is unique; The Director, Spike Lee ate dinner in my Dads office once as he was being pestered by other people in the Hotel… I know because on my 16th birthday my Dad got him to call me to say Happy Birthday knowing how much I love movies! That was a great day!
3. Be the VERY best you can be at WHATEVER you do in life
So that people remember you even if they need you from something else entirely. My Dad was the go-to guy, he knew EVERYTHING about the island, where to go, what to do and how to get there…
4. Take your time to get it right first-time round
Giving people your time is one of the most important things that you can do…
They will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou
The Bermuda National Gallery read this out as part of their tribute to him. My Dad, once retired was a volunteer at the Gallery every Monday.
5. Apologise, even if it isn’t your fault and learn from it
When something goes wrong, the person who it happens to will never think its them to begin with, which means you must take it on board, be the better person and fix it for them. It’s all part of the service…
6. Always look your best, you never know who you may meet
Most of the guys at the hotel worn ties, my Dad wore bow ties when he was on duty. It’s far better be over dressed and stand out, then it is to be undressed and stand out!
7. Don’t settle for things to be OK, make sure that they are fantastic…
Even if it takes a little more work from your side – If you are not happy with it, why do you think someone else would be. Even if they don’t know the difference, you do!
8. If you’re not sure, say so and then find out
Don’t be the smart mouth, nobody knows everything… nobody!
9. Know your industry like the back of your hand and become exceptional
Do you want to be good at everything or exceptional?
I know which I want to be remembered for!
Some people said my Dad was rough on you/them or hard at times… I would say he was meticulous!
He is and will always be one of the most important people in my life, he was the first man in my life, his spirit lives on in me and others in my family.
This is my tribute to my Dad, Michael Daniels and what he gave me over my life. He was and will always be a legend.
I would love to hear from you… What did your Mum or Dad teach you when you were younger AND that you still use day to day in your life and or business.
Let them live on within you and pay it forward.
Let them never be forgotten…