“To mourn too long for those we love is self-indulgent. But to honour their memory with a promise – to live a little better for having known them – gives purpose to their life and some reason for their death.”
The Love; Quite possibly the most overwhelming part of My Story. I have been writing, deleting and rewriting this particular part of my story for a few months. This is my attempt to say thank you, so bear with me.
The love and messages of support never went unnoticed. When the news that dad had found peace first became known by everyone, I was overwhelmed with messages of support. Seeing the love and messages was so incredibly heart-warming, but I never really knew how to respond. For the most part I just replied with a “<3” emoji. It was to me, the easiest way to say I’ve read your message, thank you for thinking of me and taking the time to send a message.
I don’t remember much of the day of Dad’s service. I woke up that morning and couldn’t get out of bed, because I knew it would have to say goodbye again. I had a pain in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. With the encouragement and reassurance from Mum, my aunts and cousins, I managed to get dressed and walk out of the room.
Dad’s funeral service was held at the Trangie Community Hall, with more than 1000 people in attendance. A true testament to the many lives that Dad touched and the amazing people supporting our family. Once we pulled up at the hall and I saw how many people were there, I broke down in tears. There was no way I could get out of the car. But once again with Mum, Belle and Uncle Col by my side I soon found myself at the front door of the Trangie Hall, walking in side by side with Charlie, carrying Dad’s Workshirt to the front. Mum, Belle and Ned followed carrying Dad’s Hat. Uncle Merg carried his Saddle, Wigs (Dad’s Mum) and Aunty Jo carried his Spurs and Whip, Cutch (Dad’s Good Friend) carried his Bridle, Tim (Dad’s friend and employee who worked side by side with Dad for 10 years) carried his welding helmet and Chloe (Family Friend & “Big Sister”) and Uncle Wal carried a picture of his header and wheat. We decided to place these particular items on Dad’s coffin at the front of the hall as a symbol of the man Dad was, not a jack of all trades, but a master of many.
Uncle Col read Dad’s eulogy, I didn’t think it was possible to put into words the man Dad was, but Uncle Col did it incredibly. He spoke of memories from their childhood, their mischief and adventures. He spoke of how dad was the first person you call when you have a problem, he always had an answer. We also asked three of dad’s great mates to speak and share stories of the man Dad was, Jakes & Tiny, who were lifelong mates that Dad made during his adventures up North and Sam, who to our family is our ‘big brother’. These three men spoke so incredibly about the man Dad was, his memory he has left for us and kept everyone very entertained with many yarns.
After the service, Dad was taken to the Trangie cemetery. He was ‘piped’ away from the hall by Warwick & Col Irving, lifelong mates who also piped at Mum and Dad’s wedding and Hugh & Carter Tuck, sons of a couple of Dad’s close mates from his year at Scots. After Dad was lowered to his final resting place and we all said our final goodbye, we headed to the Trangie Racecourse to spend time with those who had travelled so far (and just down the road) to say goodbye and show their support. I don’t remember much of that day, but I do remember being overwhelmed by the friends and family that were there, people I hadn’t spoken to or seen in so long.
While I’m here and saying thank you, there are a few (many) people I want to say a special thank you to. And I know I will most likely forget a few…
To the ones who gave me an extra squeeze in a hug, who sent a message of love or just showed up, constantly. Thank you. Thank you for keeping me strong and showing me that I’m not alone.
To those who supported me while I was at school, my Teachers and my Boarding Supervisors. Thank you for constantly encouraging me to try my best and for providing me with an insane amount of support in such a difficult time.
To my beautiful work family. Drew and Annie, thank you for taking me on knowing the challenges I was facing. Thank you for being so understanding and supportive in the toughest times, thank you for letting me into your family. And to my little buddy Harry. Thank you for keeping me entertained, constantly, and reminding me to always laugh. I am so grateful for the friendship we have created. I also want to say a big thank you to Woody and Sparkles who made sure I was ok every day and kept me laughing every day.
To all my incredible friends. Thank you for sticking with me the whole way and for still being by my side today. Thank you for dealing with my constantly changing emotions and thank you for always having my back. And thank you to the friends I made through the “ride”, who not only took on the challenging role of becoming my friend in such a trying time, but did so without hesitation (and with lots of Tequila).
To my incredible extended family. (Holy moly, there’s a lot of you!). Jayne & Nikki, thank you for being there constantly and for always having my back. My Kennedy Cousins, (Billy, Thomas, Skye, Sophie, Sarah, Harry, Georgia, Lucy & Toby), thank you for being the best, for always having my back and for keeping me laughing always. Aunty Carm and Uncle Wal, thank you for showing up always, thank you for being there always and thank you for giving the best cuddles. Aunty Jo and Robbo, thank you for keeping us laughing, every second of the day and for being so supportive always. Uncle Merg and Aunty Gabe, thank you for your constant support in a trying time not only for me but for you as you fought your own battle, thank you for making sure ‘North’ felt like home always. Uncle Col and Aunty Nic, thank you for being my North home away from home, thank you for letting me have unexpected visits and being so supportive. Aunty Paula, thank you for going above and beyond, always. Thank you for being there and thank you for always making sure we were ok. Wigsy, thank you for your constant support in such a difficult time for both us and yourself, thank you for being an awesome Grandma and for showing us that we would be ok. Grandma and Pop, thank you for making sure home still felt like home, thank you for giving the best cuddles and thank you for always being there, no matter what.
I don’t have the words to say thank you to my beautiful sibling and incredible Mum. I’ve tried a couple of times to put it into words, but it makes more sense to just to give you a hug. Without you guys by my side this whole journey would have been impossible. We are all strong but together nothing can bring us down. Thank you for teaching me I am resilient enough to face every battle.
And to those I didn’t mention but continue to support me daily, thank you.