A Beautiful Sunflower (A Final Tribute to Brian)

Sunflower

Brian… Dad, has never been a man of many words,

choosing them sparingly when he spoke.

An excellent listener,

always willing to hear what you have to say.

 

Today, I don’t intend to give a long account of

Brian’s life, because without a doubt he’ll be listening.

 

After all, he has planned much of today.

 

And if I was to indulge in his achievements,

Of which there are many…

He’d get grumpy,

In a nice kind of way, in Dad’s own special way.

 

Beside, I know that you all have your own memories of Brian

that when joined together create a beautiful mosaic of his life.

 Moments that you will be able to share together.

 

But I do want to share a story with you,

A story of a Sunflower…

Of two beautiful Sunflowers.

 

Sunflowers are a favourite of mine, big, bright, colourful and

beautiful.

And they have always been a favourite of Brian’s… Dad’s.

 

As a kid growing up I can always remember them growing at his parents home…

In Pop and Nana’s backyard.

 

At Scarborough, on the Redcliffe Penninsula,

there are two very special Sunflowers that are blooming…

 

You won’t miss them if you drive that way,

 For they stand majestically

 Overlooking the cliffs towards Moreton Bay.

 

What makes these two sunflowers so special is they are growing,

in the very spot where Dad asked our mother to marry him,

More than fifty years ago…

 

Last Sunday morning Dad slipped away peacefully…

As I held his hand gently the first rays of light were piercing the

Eastern skyline over Moreton Bay…

The rising sun is a beautiful thing,

Turning darkness to light,

 Signalling the dawning of a new day,

Lighting the pathway to a new life…

 

And as he made his way, peacefully,

I was comforted knowing that Nana and Pop would be waiting at the gate

for their little boy,

To hold him dearly, once again…

 

I was comforted that his faith has given him the courage,

to make this journey home,

His journey to eternal life.

 

I looked out over the bay at the rising sun and I could feel the

warmth from its rays touching these two sunflowers…

Breathing life into their delicate petals.

 

In the golden glow I could see a handsome young man,

holding his beautiful young bride…

A smile eased the tension in my face.

Over these past few days we have shed tears…

We have laughed…

 

But above all else we’ve felt so much joy that we have had Brian…

 Dad, with us for so long…

 

Always looking out for us all, and never far from Fay, the love of his life.

Yes, Fay, the love of his life…

To my mind one of the greatest gifts a father can give his

children is to love their mother, with all his heart,

Forever…

 

Mum, Dad will never stop loving you, he will never stop loving us all….

 

And to all here who have joined with us today

to farewell Brian,

I leave you with this thought…

 

When next you see a sunflower, take the time to stop…

Bask in its golden glow,

And look into its heart.

I know who’ll you’ll see and he will help wipe the tears you hold

He will bring a smile to your face…

 

Yes, Brian…

Dad…

Big, bright, colourful and beautiful…

Grampy
Grampy

Ps: Brian hasn’t smoke a pipe in decades, but we snapped him “mucking” around recently…

Life, Death, and Grief (We’ll miss you, mate)

archieon lakecaribou007

During these past few days following the passing of Janet’s father, I have been pondering on the cycle of life, death, and grief…

Surrounded by his loving family, Archie peacefully slipped away from us last week, while Clare, his partner of almost 60 years, held his hand, tenderly…

There was a feeling of deep sorrow and sadness as Arch let go of his final breath, tears were quietly shed as we sat silently in the dimmed light.

But there was also much to be thankful for.

Marys Birthday_0046

Archie was in his 99th year and he never experienced any major health problems during his lifetime. His love of life alone would have been enough to see him through many more years, but his aging body had simply become too frail to stave off what would normally be a minor illness for most…

We were lucky to have been able share his charm, wit, wisdom…his warmth, for so long.

In the predawn darkness following his passing my thoughts drifted to memories of times I had shared with Arch.

The early childhood stories that Janet and her brothers and sisters have shared many times. Of the travel to wonderfully exotic places that Clare has spoke excitedly of at every opportunity, and with whom she had shared with the love of her life, Archie, Archie Fawthrop…

A smile eased the tension in my face.

rajasparty004

I thought about Archie’s life that began with his birth in Burma, of growing up in India, and boarding school in England, of his time as a Captain in the British Army during the war years. Of a sea voyage he took with his young daughter, Mary, to the country that claimed him as one of its own, Australia, and of the family that Clare and Archie so beautifully raised at Garden Grove

DSC_0074

Archie welcomed me into his family with open arms and over the years I have valued his advice, his friendship, the stories he has told me…the laughs we have shared together.

The mere mention of his name will surely bring a grin to your face, and we’ve all got an Archie story, for there are many. And as the years pass they will be recounted like it was only yesterday that we were all together sharing the moment.

But on life, death, and grief…

Yes, we will all pass one day, but for me grief suggests I have lost something;  that something has been taken away from me.

But quite to the contrary.

Archie has given me much to be thankful for, beautiful memories, his wonderful daughter, Janet, with whom I am lucky enough to share my life, and our son TomO, who has more than just a shade of Archie in him, an overabundance of that wonderful “boyish-Archie-cheekiness”.

Currawinya National Park, Outback Australia

And as first light was beginning to pierce the eastern horizon and the warmth from those first rays of light filled my body, I swear I heard him whisper his most famous line, the one that always brings an infectious smile to your face, the line that sums him up perfectly.

“You don’t know how lucky you are”…

Take care Arch, we’ll miss you, mate…