Last night I was able to sit in my kitchen and listen to my Pop's funeral service. Oh how I wish I had been there in person, but I'm so grateful for modern technology that made it possible for me to be there virtually.
I've just been reading blogs from my cousins Toni, Lisa and Chrish. Seeing the pictures from the graveside service and seeing my older brother Dion wearing my Pop's war medals sent tears streaming down my face. My Pop was a WWII veteran and so at the end of the service an Australian Flag was placed on the coffin and the Last Post was played as it was lowered into the grave.
I'm so proud of my heritage. My Nan and Pop had 6 children, 5 boys and a girl. There are 29 grandchildren and 58 great grandchildren. They've left an amazing legacy. When I moved away from Tasmania at 18 to go to university, I didn't really appreciate the amazing family I came from and what I was leaving behind. Growing up it seemed that there were cousins and second cousins everywhere. I just thought that's how life is for everyone and that everyone had that many people around them that loved them. It gave me a wonderful sense of identity, I knew where I belonged in the world. And I still know that in my heart, Tasmania is home. More than anything, I want my children to know where they belong too, which is why we make it a priority to go back to Tasmania every couple of years and to attend family reunions on the Bingham side too.
I'm so glad I was able to visit Pop one last time just 3 weeks ago. It helped when I was crying today, that the kids knew who I was crying about. Sam is always so sensitive and several times has tried to comfort me and say that he misses Piggy Pop too. Even little Owen drew a picture of Piggy Pop for me tonight. He drew one shape for Pop and then another and said it was the box (I guess the coffin) and then he said that Piggy Pop was going to eat the coffin (not quite sure what that meant!). They looked at the pictures on my cousins' blogs and could see their cousins there and I was able to say how much I wish we had all been there too.
Chris likes to tell the story of the first time he met Pop in December 2002. Pop was down at the river flats on a tractor. He saw us coming and came off the tractor and said to Chris something like "You had better treat her right, or I'll kill ya". Somehow, saying that made Chris like him all the more. Of course it was said with a smile on his face and then he put his arm around Chris. Pop was such a like-able guy.
I will miss you Pop. You've been a wonderful example to me of how to live and make the most of life. How to love everyone, live righteously, work hard, be honest and to laugh.
Good bye Pop