Today was Pop's funeral at Deloraine and as expected it was huge. We got there early so we could go and view Pop's body one last time before the service. We asked the boys if they wanted to also view the body and they said they did. Jalen was a little bit scared by it and Harri really wasn't worried. Looking at Pop was strange as it just wasn't really him. He wasn't there and his body wasn't the Pop I remembered growing up. He had become so frail in the last few years.
The funeral was lovely with the whole chapel and cultural hall filling up. It was a really special day with the whole family being there - all except for Penny who is back home in the USA. I believe she was able to watch it live via Skype though. It was so nice to see so many of my cousins who I hadn't seen for a long time. All together Pop and Nan have 29 grandchildren and something like 58 great grandchildren and most of them were there today.
Uncle Chayne and Uncle Howard both spoke about Pop's life and his love for his family, his country, his religion and his work. Pop was always known as a hard worker and he taught that to all of his family. That is why he found it so hard as he got older as his mind still wanted to be busy, but his body wouldn't let him.
I felt sad throughout the day, but also happy for Pop to be free from his frail body. The thing that makes me sad is thinking about Nan and how lonely she will be without him. Pop had arranged his funeral a year or so ago with his children and asked that one grandson from each family was a pall bearer. I was so proud of my cousins and Chrish as they carried Pop out but it really made me cry as I watched them all with tears streaming down their faces.
Lots of people also came to the cemetery for the dedication of the grave. Nan had a few tears today but was taking it very well for most of the day. It was nice for her to have her brother with her.
All the great grandkids were great all day. They were sad about Pop dying, but also understood where he is and that they will see him again.
Dion (the oldest grandchild) wore Pop's medals today. Harri was fascinated by them and was asking why he had them on. I told them they were Pop's medals and he asked if he was going to look after them for Pop until he came back alive again :)
It was nice having Chrish down. I know he wouldn't have wanted to miss it for anything either, despite how hard it is to say goodbye.
After the dedicatory prayer we all threw stems of roses into the grave. Mum had also collected lots of rose petals and put them in baskets for the grandkids to throw in.
Jay and Harri both wrote Pop a letter and threw it on top of the coffin for Pop. Harri's said 'I miss you Pop. I love you, from Harrison'. Jalen's said 'To Pop. I miss you so much. I wish you were still here. How is it up there? We all miss you, especially Nan. I hope you have a good time in Heaven. I love the stories you told. Love from Jalen.
Aaron had been saying to me a lot last week that I look like my Nan and my Dad. Fiona took this photo for me today and I have to admit that I can see the resemblance. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not!
Nan had a cuddle with Lincoln after the graveside service. It was nice to see her smiling after such a sad week.
All of our family went over to see my brother Daniel's grave afterwards. We were stirring Nicki that she was left off the headstone as she wasn't loved very much (she actually wasn't born when Daniel died).
Back at the chapel lots of people gathered to eat and talk and remember Pop.
On the way home Aaron was telling me how scared he was of Pop when he first met him. Pop gave him a big talking to and told him if he ever 'hurt me' he was going to take him out behind the sheds and punch him in the stomach and make his legs fall off!!'. It makes me laugh as there is no way I could imagine Pop ever doing that, but can imagine him saying it.
No man except one was ever perfect, but to me my Pop was perfect. I couldn't imagine him ever doing anything wrong or ever having an enemy. I have so many wonderful memories of growing up in Dunorlan with all my cousins and Pop and Nan coming down the hill on their landrover to pick us all up. We would jump up on the back and hold on tight as he would take us down to the river for a swim.
My boys loved the stories that Pop told them - like the one we never got tired of hearing, about how he disobeyed his parents and the consequence was that his fingers were chopped off by a machine that he shouldn't have been touching.
Every Anzac Day we loved going out to watch him march down the street of Deloraine looking so proud and emotional. Every year we would joke that this would be the last one, but we never really thought it would happen.
I have been looking at some old photos on my computer and love these ones that I took in February last year just after Nan had he stroke. Pop was always holding her hand and letting her know that he was there.
He used to always joke that at their age you 'have to hold hands or you will kill each other'. We knew that wasn't true at all with Nan and Pop.
I especially love this one of him holding Noah and Nan's hand at the same time.
As we were leaving the chapel today Harri started crying and said 'I miss Pop so much, he is my favourite person'. We didn't see Pop as often as we would've liked but Harri always loved going to visit him and loved that they had the 'same' name.
We love you Pop. We are so proud that you were our grandfather and know how lucky we were. We will miss you so much, but know that you are in a wonderful place right now and know that we will one day see you again. It's still hard to believe that you are really gone, as it was easy to think that you would be with us on earth forever.
We look forward to the time when we will see you again.