The kids were determined not be arriving on time.
They said Dad was always slow and they would joke he would be late for his own funeral.
So they made sure he was!
It was quite a mission for them to carry the coffin from the truck into the church – it was very heavy.
But Bri had built it with enough rope handles that all 12 could easily get a good grip.
There were a lot of people waiting inside.
Estimates later were of way over 650 – probably over 700, who had come to support us and pay their respects to a good man.
I am now realising there were so many I never even saw, some who had come long distances.
I just want to say how much we all appreciate and love each of you for coming.
Adrienne had not only printed the service sheets for me, she also made these lovely bookmarks for folk to take home with them.
This was the order of service – a wonderful tribute in itself – thank you so much Adrienne.
The children’s tribute was wonderful.
Their hearts were breaking but they were able to share their Dad with everyone in such a beautiful way.
Azzan read a poem, he had searched the net for one that said what he wanted to say and I think it was perfect.
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it … “DAD!”
Shoshannah sang a song she has been writing for past few weeks.
Tim has been encouraging her and listening to her as it has formed.
The words were so timely and perfect.
My friend Bedelia commented after – “keep the words of Shannie’s song in your head…. ‘just keep going, keep on loving, keep on praying ,keep laughing, keep dancing’, she sung the song for Tim but I think she wrote it for you.
She sang so strong and so well – we were all blown away.
She has only had 4 guitar lessons!
Ross read this poem for me.
He got up wearing gumboots in Tim’s honour which made us all laugh.
A Good Man
by Joan Clifton Costner
When a good man dies a thousand lights go out,
And it’s said a giant library is lost –
Oh, I’ve tried to make comparisons and wise clichés
To estimate, in part, a good man’s loss;
For I know the way it feels to have your heart bend low-
And I understand how dark the nights can be….
But a good man has a heritage beyond the grave,
And we would be so foolish not to see
That a good man leaves a light his children follow-
No groping through some wilderness or maze-
And howe’er their lives, it shines on in a brilliance
That they can see ’til ending of their days’
And his words come ringing, deep, in vibrant stereo
Within the keen recesses of their minds…
There’s guidance there enough to get to Heaven
Where once again their hearts and arms entwine.
I’m so sorry for your loss here on the earth below-
But I’m proud to say “a good man” went away…
And you’ll see him soon – it won’t be long – just follow
The lights a good man left upon the way…
Christian’s photo tribute was amazing.
I am so glad I had watched it the previous night.
If I hadn’t I don’t think I could’ve stood up and spoken straight away.
It was so incredibly moving – thank you Christian, you have blessed us so much.
Normally I don’t do too well speaking in public.
I can do it but I shake and feel incredibly sick with nervousness.
But on this day I felt I needed to speak.
Graham stood with me and read the word Andrea had sent that morning – that part was definitely too much for me to read without breaking down.
And I was able to get up and without any shaking or gut wrenching nervousness I was able to deliver my message.
I was truly cushioned by the loving arms of our Saviour through all of this.
It is the only way I could have done it.
Since Monday night I have been asking why?
But I will never know why, so I have needed to know – how?
How could this have happened.
How could my man who has driven our hills all these years literally fall off the side of the hill.
How did it happen?
From all that we have been told and pieced together, it was his friendliness that put him over the edge.
As the mower driver pulled over to let him past he has leaned down to look through the window and give an appreciative friendly wave of thanks that took his attention from the road and allowed the back wheel to end up on the soft freshly mown verge which crumbled beneath him.
And in that split second he has gone.
Gone forever from our earthly lives.
But never, ever gone from our hearts.
From the time I arrived in town on Tuesday I have been enveloped by several very special close friends who have left their lives on hold and have supported me, loved, me, cried with me, and taken charge of all the details when I couldn’t think straight.
Ross & Andrea are two of those dear friends – Ross has done what he does best – manages! He managed everything for me to get us to this point. But sadly they had to fly out of town Friday morning as they had their own family commitments.
Yesterday I received this email from Andrea
“Dear Raewyn, we spent a couple of hours in the presence of the Lord in the House of Prayer here yesterday morning, and The Lord showed me a picture of Tim in the Safari at the moment it was about to go over. The angels were poised ready for The Lord to tell them to rescue Tim and save his life, but Jesus said, No, I am going to get him Myself. Jesus Himself caught Tim in His arms.”
I don’t get to know the ‘why’
But I do know the ‘where’
He is safely in the arms of his Saviour.
The Saviour and Lord of his life who he gave his life and heart to 30 years ago is now taking care of him for eternity.
We can also hold close to our hearts that he is spending precious time with his first grandson Cypress, who was taken to the Lord only 3 weeks ago.
Tim loved his babies – and no matter how big they got they were still his babies.
His large work toughened hands would cradle their tiny bodies with so much tenderness and love from the time they were born.
He always would tell me that there should never be a youngest.
He was so happy about becoming a Grandad and he would’ve been the best Grandad.
So maybe this God of ours actually knew what he was doing when he took Cypress first.
Tim’s story of how we met is that he saw me swimming off the wharf at Pohuenui when he, as a local lad of 21 came over to visit the shearing school which my father was running.
I was 14 at the time.
My first memory of Tim is when we were farmsitting at Pohuenui, and the day after a huge storm wrecked havoc in the Sounds a boat arrived and two tall very, very ruggedly handsome brothers came to see if we were alright. One in particular wrecked havoc in my heart.
From that moment on I knew in my heart of hearts that he was mine and I was his.
Seven years later we were married.
Over the years time has entwined us together so closely that our differences blended to become our combined strengths.
He loved me, teased me, laughed with me and supported me.
When life just became far too much for me a couple of years ago I suffered an emotional breakdown & went into a spiral of depression.
He was there to hold me, to pick me up, and protect me.
When I was trying to explain to him one day just what was happening to me he asked with a mischievous grin on his face – ‘Does this mean I will have to live with a mental case for the rest of my life?’
He was my constant one.
He was always there for me.
He had my back!
Shoshannah said the other day that she can never remember Tim getting angry.
She was right.
He could be upset, hurt, frustrated, annoyed, but we never saw him angry.
I would argue with him, rant, rave, and carry on – as you do when you live with and love someone for so long, we have had interesting heated discussions, but he never got angry.
He was a gentle man, he was kind, loving, caring, and completely honest.
He was also a man who just got on with it.
Bureaucracy was just an irritating frustration to him.
He used to do my head in as I fought to keep ahead of the red tape and paperwork.
He would just get out on the farm and do what had to be done – permits or no permits!
I have very strong memories of the day when he and Anson went over the back of the farm to muster stock.
As always they took a box of matches to burn off patches of fern.
This particular time though the burnoff got a tad out of control.
I was at home completely oblivious to the havoc they were creating until I got a call to say there was a fire threatening the trees on the ridge and the fire brigade were about to head in.
The next hours would have had to have been some of the most stressful in my entire life as I fielded phone calls and watched helplessly as the smoke poured up over the ridge top.
But on returning home Tim’s response was that all was well, they knew what they were doing. What was all the fuss about.
He got a such major knuckle rapping over the phone from DoC for no having no permit etc etc!
The very next day I caught sight of smoke curling up around the trees by the dog kennels and immediately ran up to see what was happening.
Tim was feeding his dogs and decided that the toi tois needed to be burnt back a bit.
Permit? What’s a permit??
I see his nature and character in all our children.
They are all strong, resilient, doggedly independent, full of life and purpose.
As Marah tells me often – Tim was a missioner.
And like their Dad our kids are all missioners.
They get an idea and they are off to make it happen.
I have seen so much of him in his children these past few days.
The children have flown in from all corners and we have hung out together.
It has been a very special time for us all.
It has been chaotic at times with 20 of us going in all directions but still pulling together.
Yesterday I paid the younger ones to go shopping with the older ones.
I needed space and quiet and they needed to ‘mission’.
Azzan’s mission was to buy me a rose candle to help me remember the wee roses his Daddy would often pluck off the bushes and present to me as he passed by the house.
Thank you Azzan – we will light your candle when we get home xxx
Shoshannah’s mission was to play her song for her Dad.
He had listened to it forming and encouraged her as she wrote it over the past weeks.
Bri’s mission was to build her Dad’s coffin.
She & Nick drove up from Chch on Tuesday and then all the way to Port Ligar & back to get the timber.
Her tribute to her Dad was finished last night and he was lifted into it by his kids.
Thank you Bri – you have done your Dad proud.
Cat’s mission was to do the ‘flowers’ for her ‘best friend’ – she wanted to make them for him, choosing foliage that meant something to him.
Anson & Sebastian’s ongoing future mission is to carry on what their Dad has begun and to work together to keep our farms ticking along.
The kids were emphatic that he would not be buried in a suit!
He scrubbed up really well when he had to but he was most comfortable in his work clothes.
I let the kids choose his clothes this time.
The shirt he is wearing is the one that the kids have written loving messages to him over the past months.
The children know their Dad.
They know his heart.
His heart was for his children.
From the first instance there was never any doubt that Tim would not be coming home.
Cremation for us was an absolute last resort.
Nick found a way that might be possible , so we asked and the wheels were set in motion.
We began scheming as to how we would make it happen and how a hole big enough could be dug into our hard stoney hillside.
Anson with a mischievous spark of his Dad, said to Sebastian with a big grin – ‘Dad’s got some gelli sticks, we could just go up the hill and blast the hole!!’
And that is exactly what Tim would’ve done.
So go for it my boys – your Dad has left some large footsteps for you all to follow!!
Last night we got confirmation that on Monday, just a week after Tim left home for the last time, I am able to bring him home in the helicopter to lay him to rest with Cypress on the hill top above our home.
I haven’t been sleeping much since last Monday.
We have all been functioning in a state of surreal disbelief.
Tim loved being home, he didn’t really enjoy town much, so over the years I took on the role of taxi driver. I have spent many hours traveling to and fro town with the children so while I am here I keep thinking that when I go home on Monday this nightmare will end and Timmy will be there waiting for me, just like he always was.
All I can see in my heart is his precious craggy face with his cheeky smile, and his gnarly hardworking loving hands waiting to hold me.
Sally then sang ‘Majesty‘.
It was Tim’s ‘special’ song – the one he connected with his conversion 30 years ago.
She sang it so powerfully and blessed us immensely – thank you my friend xxxx
Bri led us all in one of Tim’s favourite hymns – Be Thou My Vision.
And then I read the ‘Funeral Blues’ from the sheet.
Once again, it was amazing the calm I felt.
All week, whenever I read this I would dissolve into tears by the 3rd verse, but on this day, God gave me strength.
When we went to leave, the kids carried the coffin behind me, there was a hiccup with the final piece of music.
Amazingly I found out later that in the busyness of the previous night Phillipa had forgotten to tell Ryan that we wanted it.
But at 1am Sally had been woken from her sleep and told to put that piece of music on her iPhone.
Man! God has had his hand on this all the way – it is mind blowing.
So while we waited for Sally to connect her iPhone to the sound system the children were struggling to hold their father.
I was worried for them but Tony said to me
‘Don’t worry, their Dad has carried them all their lives. They can carry him for just a few moments longer.’
Thank you Tony – you have been a amazing support to us all through this.
You have been more than just the pastor – you have been and are our friend.
Finally the music was on and we walked out to ‘No matter what‘ – the lyrics are so moving.
The kids had brought ginger beer to crack open and toast their Dad before he was taken away.
He didn’t drink alcohol so they figured it was a fitting toast.
Meanwhile inside the food was being put out by a wonderful team of women from our local home school group.
I cannot thank them enough for all they did.
Phoebe & Marah had made 6 memory books which were scattered about the reception area for people to write in.
It is so lovely now to sit and read them and see who was there.
And many bouquets of beautiful flowers were displayed.
I had no idea of the time, but now looking back I think the service took a good 3 hours and then afterwards there were so many friends and family to catch up with.
I was totally overwhelmed and exhausted.
I was so appreciative of all who made sure I had drinks and food to sustain me.