10 September 2015, Springvale Crematorium, Melbourne, Australia
Eulogy first published on Embracing Wade webpage, dedicated to Jack's grandson Wade.
What the eyes don't see the heart doesn't grieve,
I remember being at nan and pop's one night for tea. Nan was cooking dinner and she was cutting up onions and garlic.
"I thought pop didn't eat onions and garlic" I said,
"What the eyes don't see the heart doesn't grieve" was her response with a wink.
For as long as I can remember my eyes have seen some wonderful times with my pop. My memories of these events will never fade because the stories have been shared around like prized treasures to any one who will listen like Sammy and I running in to his room and nearly breaking his bones as we jumped on the bed with him still in it. Or the time I marched with him on Anzac Day and saw the pride he had in his eyes for his mates and for me being there.
I saw little things like sitting at the old laminate table in the kitchen watching pop peel a whole apple with a knife as the peel fell away in one long ribbon from beginning to end. I remember picking passionfruit off the back fence and the smell of the jasmine and Hoya that grew all over the front porch.
I saw the look of respect in the eyes of anyone who spoke of pop.
I have fond memories of pop before he had the stroke but it was my time with him afterwards where I learned the most about him. Yes, a lot of the old Jack was gone afterwards, his body wouldn't move in the same way and he was muddled by the medication some of the time but I saw that a lot of the old Jack was still in there. I used to visit him most Fridays for the last 3 or 4 years and I saw a man who was living a life he never wanted to live but still retained the strength, determination and gentlemanly qualities of old. He still cracked a joke and flirted shamelessly with nurses. He could still pull names and dates from deep within the recesses of his mind without pausing for breath and he still marched on believing that this was a problem to be fixed and something to be conquered. I’ll never forget the time he thought I was one of the physios and set about showing me how he could get up and take a step. Around 400 serious OHS violations were committed until he worked out who I was…he thought it was hilarious.
I saw that his right arm barely changed and every time I looked at it I was transported back to the times he used a spade or a pick in his garden. That right hand never lost its strength and even up to his final days he still had a vice like grip.
I saw the love he had for Wade and the understanding we shared about raising a child with extra needs. Sometimes we would have a whole conversation with our eyes and he would end it with a slow nod and a long blink which said, I believe in you. I saw that no matter how sad or frustrated he felt on any day, he always raised his hand for a little wave to Wade and listened as he tried to entertain him with the latest song and dance routine. I saw how much he loved watching him grow and reach new milestones all the time.
I saw how hard it was at times for him in the home but I also saw my nan by his side 6 days a week almost every week for 5 and a half years.
I saw his final breath and I saw a 70 year marriage of total love and devotion come to an end and because my eyes saw all of those things, my heart is grieving today.