A letter to my step dad.
12th February 2021
I’m not religious, and neither were you. So I can’t speak for where you may not may not be now, only the legacy you have left.
You are the bloke that everybody recognises. Someone could bump in to you down the street that you haven’t seen in 30 years and they would know exactly who you were straight way. Whether it’s down to your flat nose from when you broke it as a kid, or your few remaining teeth, or the fact you were a recognisably short stocky fella I’m not sure… but the conversation would no doubt go like this:
Stranger “I can’t believe my eyes, Laurie is that you?! How are you doing? It’s been so long!”
Laurie **Laughs** “Ah yes, I’m good thank you, and how about you?”
…. some minutes later….
Laurie “Ok, catch ya, send my love to your wife”.
Me “So who was that then Laurie?”
Laurie “I don’t know, but they seem to know me!”
So without even trying, you were that bloke everyone remembered and recognised.
Another thing is that everybody who has been told about your passing has said the same exact thing, which is that you were a lovely kind man. And it’s true, and probably the thing people will remember you for the most. The tireless selflessness that you had as you carried on your every day life. Whether that was helping friends or family with some building advice, or countless trips as someone wanted to borrow your pickup to help them move something.
Speaking of which (about owning a pickup)…. you helped us build a new garden office not long ago. This meant having to dispose of the old shed at the end of the garden. So off to the tip we went. After one trip you thought it would be nicer for Beth to sit in the front rather than squashed in the back, so you jumped in the back yourself. Well… that only added the hilarity when you couldn’t get out of the van at the tip, so you had to roll over on to your tummy and slide backwards down the footwell out of the van. And you were 81 at this point…
You took me and my sister on board as your own when were were young and introduced us to the foreign country… New Zealand. I used to think I was the bee’s knees at school going on month long holidays to New Zealand over Christmas. But what that gave us was more than a holiday, it was a whole new bunch of people in our lives we could call family. It wasn’t just us and family you cared for. You had a lot of friends, some from your childhood and some that were new, you even took time to get to know my friends. The amount of camping trips we’d go on that would be us + a friend of mine (always Jamie).
I’m not even crying or sad whilst writing this. Maybe it’s because it’s not sinking in? or maybe because this entire letter is full of happy memories.
You had a pretty crazy laugh too. At home, my old bedroom was quite the distance from the living room, and even then I could hear you cackling away at Lee Evans and Billy Connolly on TV. It was probably your laugh and smile that people remembered the most actually. That, and your sense of humour. I thought I was bad when laughing at my own jokes, but you were on another level.
You were never one to shy away from doing something silly, and I don’t think you even knew what the feeling of embarrassment was. If you weren’t dancing around the kitchen, or taking the rabbit for a walk on a lead, you’d be wearing some ridiculous oversized poncho…
You’d been pretty ill for a while, and I know you didn’t really enjoy life at times over the last 5 years due to your body starting to let you down. But you kept on being that strong/stubborn person you always were. For people who don’t know, Laurie pretty much worked a full manual labour job as a builder for 65 years. That’s SIXTY FIVE years. That’s not part time towards the end either… that’s pretty much from the age of 15 to 80 working full time. Most people my age couldn’t fathom that.
And maybe that was what kept your body strong enough to keep on getting back up all these years, or the fact you were a Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan wannabe and went on to become a 4th Dan black belt in Karate.
I’m going to end this, and that’s without even touching on your huge family of siblings, children, grand children nieces, nephews and wife who all love you dearly.
So what will people say when they talk about Lawrence Moss? That he was just a really jolly man, who’d put his body through the ringer for you. Even if he didn’t know you. They will say that he was the guy who built their forever home, or the person who taught them how to defend themselves, or just a bloody nice bloke with a van. They may even say “Oh yeah I remember Laurie, he’d always tell me these really long stories with great precision that I’ve already heard 5 times before”.
The point is, there isn’t one particular thing people will say – and that’s because you have left a legacy that spans generations. All with a different memory or reason for knowing you, and all of them filled with fondness.
So your legacy is that you are you. Everyone loves you, and everyone appreciates all you did for them. I know I feel that way. I also know that you actually loved that pink poncho…
Thanks for everything Laurie.