I've put off writing about this, not wanting to have to face what has happened during the last week, but I feel that people should hear a little about a man I knew, Ken Bayliss, who sadly passed away last week, even if they did not know him themselves.
Ken Bayliss was the father of one of the people I live with, and the father-in-law of the other. Just over a year ago my life was shattered and I was taken in by my friends who wanted to help me through those tough times. That's all that Ken knew about me when he first met me, that I was suddenly living with his family.
Where most people would quiz me over who I was, why I was living with his family and so forth Ken greeted me with kindness and compassion the very first time I met him. That very same day he and his wife invited me to the wedding of their eldest son. At the time I was surprised by this, I was taken aback by how welcoming and warm he was to a complete stranger.
The more I got to know Ken the more I discovered that this wasn't unusual for him. Ken was an incredibly kind and caring man, one who took the time to get to know people and find something to like about them.
I think this must have stemmed from his time as a teacher, and later a headmaster, where he took on one of the toughest jobs, teaching children. It's a job that I could never do, not having the patience or temperament to be able to work with children, it takes a special kind of person to do that. One that has patience and understanding, one that has compassion and empathy, one who can find the best in people even when they can't find it themselves.
Ken was able to do all of that. The messages that have flooded in since his passing have shown that. There are so many people who, like me, were shown compassion and caring from someone who had no need to, but because he was a decent person. Young people who had lost their way or needed a guiding hand in life found what they needed in Ken. He was beloved by his former students and his staff alike, and his loss has touched them all.
That's what I will remember about Ken the most, the amount caring and compassion he gave to everyone, and how they loved him for that.
His family meant the world to him, and he gave everything for them. His beautiful wife, his two loving sons, his two daughter-in-laws who gained a second father, his amazing new grandson, his loving and doting dog Myla. He loved them all so deeply. I didn't know him for long, but he always seemed the happiest around his family, especially his grandson, who meant the absolute world to him. The last memory I have of Ken is surrounded by his family, happy and loved.
Ken was a special man, one who has left a hole in the world where he once was. He taught and helped dozens of people throughout his life and helped them to become the people they would grow up into. He made everyone feel welcome and cared for. Most importantly, though, he built an amazing family.
Ken may be gone now, but his love and his compassion lives on through his family. They are his greatest achievement and through them he will continue on in their hearts and their memories.
I wish I had known you more Ken Bayliss, but I already think my life was improved for having known you for the time I did. Rest in peace Ken.