Ten days ago I got a Birthday Reminder from Birthday Alarms.com telling me you would have been 83 today ...as if I could ever forget. But what really blew me away was the fact that it's heading on for 5 years since you left us so suddenly & I still haven't cancelled that alarm. I don't think I can bring myself to do it.
To be honest you haven't missed much this year & in many ways I am relieved that you're not having to see the massive changes to this city. I far prefer the images of the Christchurch that 'was', the city portrayed in the photos & tales of your childhood & youth here, to what is going on around us.
That isn't to say that we haven't missed you... we have, especially Mum who has had so very much to deal with alone. She's had to handle a whole lot of things that she never expected to handle & make some pretty hard decisions, but it's Mum & it will come as no surprise to you that she has come through this admirably! I expect that hearing echoes of your calm accepting voice telling us not to sweat the small stuff & that everything will work out as it should has a lot to do with that.
Remember last year I told you that Kieran & Kerry were getting married in December? It was an amazing day, beautiful & perfect in every way. The entire family was there from Mum down to the twins that you never quite got to meet. The only thing missing was you. If you could have heard the speeches Dad, you'd know just how much you were missed & the influence & impact you had on your two eldest grandsons.
Jeremy made a wonderful speech, full of both compassion & humour that I know would have had you chortling away....especially the part where he referred to Kieran as a hobbit! I hope that Jeremy was right & that you were looking down on us all - he said that you would be proud of Kieran, but I know you would have been equally proud of them both, & the rest of all your beautiful grandchildren including the two that you never quite got to meet.
Kieran is away on deployment now & I know you'd enjoy hearing all about things where he is. Kerry is working towards a degree in early childhood education & enjoys learning about the scientific side of human development - you'd be in your element hearing some of the things she's been learning.
They say this gets easier with time & in some ways it does....except on certain days, such as today. I've been thinking about you all day while I was in plodding away the garden. I didn't plan it that I'd be putting up the string to support the scarlet runner beans today (I know, it should have been done a week ago!!) - but that's the way it turned out. I even planted the beans, descendants of your scarlet runner beans at Estuary Road, after dinner tonight. I know you would approve!!
The girls still miss you heaps & both acknowledged your birthday on FaceBook today. I'm not sure you'd like FaceBook so much - but I'd bet you would use it just to catch up on all the latest family photo's, knowing how much you used to enjoy looking at them. Michaela found a beautiful poem & posted it....it made us all teary.
So Dad, that's another year that has gone by all too quickly. Happy Birthday to the worlds best - miss you heaps.
P.S - Just thought you might like to see your two youngest grandchildren - these were taken at Kieran & Kerry's wedding. I wish I could put up the video, but it's far too long - besides I'm pretty sure that Kieran would harm me if I did ;)