Friday, March 30, 2007

A week of celebrations

The month of March has been a month of many birthdays for us to celebrate. This time, I was left to remember the dates all by myself and I keenly felt the absence of my special lady - not only for that reason, let me assure you!! But, I managed to get birthdays and names correctly matched plus an appropriate birthday present. Now let me tell you, that is quite a task that really is a two-persons' job. Carol's birthday book of presents - that dates back about ten years, was of great help.

The week began on 19 March with Luke's (grandson) birthday. Tim had suggested I go with him, Ellie & Joe to Luke's school with a birthday cake to sing happy birthday in class. How could I not? Luke's classmates and teachers all joined in when Tim presented the birthday cake to him:As you can see, Ellie was all for joining in with the classAnd Joe, well he just wanted to show that age is no barrier to being a teacher at the very young age of 18 months. He looks quite the part!Showing off one of his presents created lots of attention from his mates. And what else would a boy of six want but a computer software game.

The following day, we celebrated Tim and Heather's birthdays. I am sorry that I did not have a camera with me when we enjoyed each other's company at Tim's place, together with their families.

Then, the next day after that - we are now the 21 March, it was Andrew Herbert's 21st Birthday which I also gladly attended, though mindful that his grandma would really have wanted to be there for him. Once again, no photo, but lots of happy moments. Of all things, we looked at the DVD of Carol's Celebration Service that arrived in the mail that afternoon. So, in that sense Grandma was very much present and it was indeed rather special.

Respite on the 22nd? Well, sort of, but a bit more about that later. We hit the 23rd and its Jacquie's (Tim's wife) birthday. It doesn't stop and indeed why should it. The intention was to watch the first of the Cadfael Mystery DVDs. However, that just did not happen as the format of the DVD needed to be changed. BUT we managed......a week later!!

Where am I? Oh yes, the 23rd. The next birthday was on 26 March with Jason Biro celebrating his 19th birthday. Final year as a teenager. Being in the Illawarra, it was a little hard to be there in person, but I am sure we will make up later in April.

That's it for birthdays in March. The next one is my own on Sunday.

I titled this blog chapter as 'A week of celebrations'. And that it was. While celebrating birthdays, Tasmania also celebrated for the first time the hosting of the finals in the Australian domestic cricket competition. A most prestigous competition from which is recruited our national team. I really wanted to go and asked my old friend Denis Rogers if he was interested in coming to the cricket with me for a couple of days. Maybe he thought that was a bit of tongue in cheek! The upshot was that Denis arranged for me to have a couple of days as his guest in the Chairman's Suite of the Bellerive Cricket Ground. The suite is in fact named in honour of Denis because of his outstanding contribution to State/National/International Cricket. In fact, he was awarded an AO (Order of Australia) because of that.It was truly a 'box seat' of the best proportions. Some years ago, Carol and I were guests in the John Elliot Suite at the London IXL Oval. While we were most grateful for that honour at the time, one has to say that it could not possibly be compared with the Denis Roger Suite at Bellerive. And yes......CAROL WOULD HAVE LOVED IT!!!! To give you some idea of what treat I was given, have a look at the following shots:Preparations before the starting time.Play in progress.A spectacular day and a wonderful panorama shot. Click on the image and see a larger version of this photo.

Part of the hospitality extended to me was lunch on both days and these were quite magnificent. The pork on the first day and the roast beef on the second day were quite oustanding as were the wines. Guests included people such as Roger Woolley, a past player and Test Cricketer, who was interviewed. As you can see in the next photo, the Pura Cup Trophy is on display just waiting for the Tasmanians to pick it up. And that they did, and how! They beat the NSW team by a whopping over 400 runs, a record that will probably stand for many a long year. Is it any wonder that Tasmania and all cricket lovers celebrated big time. Well done Tassie. Well done boys! You did us all proud!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tribute to Carol

How to start this blog chapter? How, in a few paras and photos, can I do justice to a lifetime of memories, happiness beyond measure, and Carol's personality that was unique and just so beautiful. I am not even going to attempt that. But what I do wish to do is to give you a glimpse of how we finally honoured Carol, mum & grandma. That inevitably will include our adoration - we formed a family guard of honour, our grief and our love for one another. So perhaps, the fewer words, the better.With Pastor Steve greeting members of the family.Grandsons Andrew & Jason, Brother Henk, Nephew Greg and our sons Mark & Tim carried Carol to her final earthly resting place.Final earthly moments of goodbye leaves us emotionally spent, but also re-enforces our memories of Carol and a deep love one for another that will never fade. 'It was in faith that Carol died....and admitted that she was a foreigner and refugee on earth, making it clear that she looked with confidence forward to a better country, the heavenly country.' (Hebrews 11 : 13 & 16 - adapted)Grandchildren saying their final goodbyes and showered her with lavender out of her own garden plus a basket full of rose petals: I was so grateful that all my family, including all the grandchildren - except Kirsty, were near me. Their love and comfort is sustaining and just so meaningful. God's kindness is overwhelming!
If a view is important, Carol certainly has a prime position and I am grateful to Michelle & Phillip in fascilitating this plot. Ultimately, it cannot compare to our eternal 'mansion' in glory, where finally we will be reunited with one another.I treasure the above photo with my grandchildren. They are the future generation and together with our own children represent the values that Carol's and I hold so dear and sought to pass on.Carol loved her flowers and would have been so thrilled to have touched, smelled and admire the floral tributes that were received. Here are some of them:McKillop familyRoyal Guide DogsAmerican Bible SocietyIemke & TomTravel StudioHelen & MikeUnited Bible SocietyWoonona Baptist ChurchBible Society in Australia

There were many other floral tributes, including those sent to other members of the family. I have been totally overwhelmed by the love and messages of condolence received over the past couple of weeks. The email box and the letter box were full of eloquent testimony of how Carol touched the lives of so many from so many different walks of life. The service of Celebration of Carol's life was a wonderful and fitting tribute to a life well lived and to the FULL!

The final pictorial from Carol herself; as she was among the flowers that she and I planted in our garden.