This is the most difficult speech that I have ever prepared. I had wanted to say a few personal words, but was very concerned about how they would be taken. Then I realised that if you were not Roy’s friends, you would not be here today to share my grief over the loss of such a beautiful man, and to farewell him in his last journey. I therefore open to you all so that you can see what a wonderful man Roy was.
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you for being here today, and especially to some of you who had helped me through in the past few days.
With my limited grasp of the language, I could not find enough words to describe how wonderful this loving man was. Roy and I had been together for almost 27 years. It would have gone on forever had it not been for God’s grace that he was released early from his sufferings, and so peacefully, for which I feel extremely sorrowful, and yet grateful to His wisdom.
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Roy had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and curiosity akin to a child. He was a man of passion. He loved the classics, literatures, poetry, paintings, music, horses, roses and a scotch or two, Teacher’s being his favourite. He was an intellectual in his own right. He dazzled me with his quotes from Shakespeare, and taught me to look at colours in ways that I could not have thought of. He read widely and remembered them all. His memory was phenomenal. At 80 years of age, he even learned how to use a computer and various difficult programmes, all by himself. I was both amazed and very proud of him.
His two favourite classical composers were Papa Haydn and Mozart. The only thing that marred his full appreciation of their music was the loss of his hearing, which he suffered during the Second World War. He joined the army by overstating his age, and fought for Australia in New Guinea. It was the relentless firing of cannons next to him that resulted in his loss of hearing.
He also had passion for horses, and had special affinity for the fillies and mares. He knew the breeding extremely well, and could name the bloodline of any horse several generations back. He was the only person I knew who could identify a horse by its racing name even without looking at its racing colours or number. He loved the smell of horses.
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Roy was a charitable man; even though he did not have the resources he would share what he had with others, down to the last penny. He was most hospitable; his home would always open to any weary traveller who needed a rest. He was indeed a very trusting man.
There is no doubt in my mind that Roy had had hard times for the most part of his earlier life. In his life time he had seen several departures of his loved ones who had been nearest to his heart. Being a man of compassion, he had looked after each of them tirelessly, comforting them, and had helped them through the most difficult times when love and cares were needed most, and had never uttered one word of complaint. He had borne the pains and mourned their eventual passing even to the last days of his life.
Roy loved all his friends, and any friend of his friends would be his friends as well, you could be assured of that. His love was unconditional, and his kindness unbound. He had nursed me back to health when I was extremely ill, and had indulged me over the years without any question. I have not known a man who could be so kind and generous. He never was a person who would impose, and had always told me that he had taken up too much of my time, which was a complete nonsense. It was I who had taken up too much of his most valuable time. I could not thank him enough for what he had done for me over the past 26 odd years, and sadly, I could not now reciprocate. His sufferings had been seen but not heard, but being the kind of person he was, he would always cover them up with his characteristic smiles and dismiss them as if they were nothing.
Roy was a perfect and honourable gentleman in the true sense of the word. Dignity was very important to him. Those who knew him would remember that he had always dressed up immaculately - understated, yet dignified.
Roy was well known for his affection. He would hold your hands while talking with you, put his arms around your shoulders when walking along, and hugged you whenever you needed one. There had never been a shortage of hugs in our home, as we really cared and loved each other very, very much. His warmth and strength were embracing, and one always felt safe just by being there with him. Destiny had been extremely kind to me when she brought Roy into my life. I still don’t know what I had done to deserve this wonderful man. 26 odd years were too short, if only it could be for another 26. But for what we had, I am forever grateful and shall treasure his memories till the day when I, too, can no longer stay.
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As you had always said to me, Roy, now I am saying back to you : Good Night, my Sweet Prince. Thank you for your love, kindness, selflessness and generosity. You had been my love, my friend, and my mentor. You were the lighthouse that guided me home when I was lost at sea, and the anchor that ceased my aimless drift. Without your strength, support, patience, and understanding over the years, I doubt if I would be able to stand up here today to tell all our friends about you.
When you meet up with the loved ones please send my regards. And before you go, I just want to tell you I love you very, very much; the home will never ever be the same again without you. I will miss you. I will miss your smiles, your kind words, and most of all your warm hugs, and all the thousands of little things that we used to do together. You will always be in my heart.
Good-bye and Love you.
At Mark Carey Chapel
St Kilda / Melbourne / Victoria / Australia
2.30 pm to 3.00 pm