Wednesday 8th April
Today we bury our elder son.
Husband and I, younger son and girlfriend, sister, her husband and their daughter. A small family group to pay our very last respects to our dear boy.
The hearse pulls away a little after 10:30am, the coffin adorned with yellow sunflowers, He Man’s sword on a bed of white chrysanthemums, wreaths, sprays and bouquets. And spelt out alongside is his name. F R A N K.
We follow in a black limousine. We take a very slow drive through the narrow, and quite busy streets of the town. Along the harbour front with the sea sparkling, the sun shining in a perfect blue sky. He would walk for hours along the wharf. Then we turn up through more winding roads, and past the surfing beach, where he would wander along the sand. And then up the hill where we live. Countless times he would have walked up and down these roads, so we had to take him on one last journey. Unbelievably heartbreaking to think he will no longer be able to do this
The cemetery is only a couple of miles out of town, and we drive slowly along in silence. Pulling in, the songbirds are a joy to hear, the pink hibiscus are flowering along the driveway, and everything seems peaceful and still. We draw to a stop, get out of the car, and watch the coffin being taken up to the grave. White ribbon straps are attached, and as it is slowly lowered the church Father says prayers and commends our son to eternal life. We are all sobbing. We cast some soil on to the top of the coffin, then a sunflower each, that our younger son has brought along. We each say something, and tell Frank we love him so much.
We ask that the white flowered pillow with He Man’s sword be placed on top of the coffin. After about twenty minutes it is time to leave. We say our tearful goodbyes and head home.
Later on that afternoon though, my husband and I drive out to the cemetery, and see the mound where our son is buried. The flowers look beautiful, and cover the grave completely. There is a simple wooden cross with our son’s name on, and the flower letters spread along the length of where he lays. His final resting place. We break down. We cry and cry. We just cannot believe what has happened. He was so close to kicking this disease. Why did our amazing son have to be so cruelly taken from us?
It is something to which we will never have an answer.
We spend a few quiet moments talking, crying, tending to the flowers. And then it’s time to leave. We tell him we’ll be back tomorrow.