photo courtesy of abc.net.au
today was truly one of the saddest funerals i have attended in my life. a few weeks ago i spoke of a visit to the hospital... to visit a dear friend who i feared would not be with us when i returned from brisbane. as fate would have it, i was right... and my friend bill passed from this life to the next while i was away.
bill was truly one of a kind. to know him was something else. i met him during my early days with chippers as our company worked along side his and had the pleasure of spending many hours with him getting to know him better. he was conveniently in the same ward as us too, so we had sundays for a chat as well. he was so quirky, always saying the most random things and always had me laughing.
his funeral was just the same... i cried, but it was between laughter. his wife ellie and his seven children spoke of his character with such love, whilst keeping his quirkiness alive through many stories and experiences that many of us remembered. ellie made us all laugh especially by recounting a conversation she had had with bill during his final weeks in the hospital, when he had informed her that he wanted a private funeral. what a crack up. after his years of service to the saints in perth, he wanted to slip away privately? ellie was having none of that and of course the chapel was filled to the stage... it was practically like being at stake conference.
some words from our old bishop particularly stuck with me, as he spoke of bills dedication to serving others... he spoke of the words of gordon b hinckley as he dedicated the temple here in perth, asking the saints to wear out the carpets. to attend the temple and wear them out through service. as bill was dressed for his burial earlier this week, his wife fussed over his temple shoes noticing that they were worn thin. what finer example could there be of service than those shoes being completely worn? how many sessions would bill have had to attend to achieve that?
bill passed away on the same day as elder l. tom perry of the quorum of the twelve apostles and another friend who spoke joked that he had chosen that day as elder perry had needed someone to assist with the necessary arrangements on the other side, and who better than bill to do so?
the graveside was especially meaningful, as bill had helped so many polynesian families over the years that he was given a traditional send off, having his coffin called onto the grave and then all the boys doing the haka once it was in place. doug and our friend nifae were called upon to assist and my tears flowed as i watched the polynesians pay their respects. what a beautiful culture i have been blessed to marry into.
goodbye bill. it was an absolute pleasure to know you and call you my friend.
until we meet again ♥