They came. From almost every walk of life they came and joined our ranks.
Teachers from the classroom, tradesmen from their benches and building sites, computing and technology professionals from behind their monitors, truckies, physios, check-out chicks and accountants, nurses, musicians and artists, from every branch of our Armed Services and from the land; they came.
We stood with them. Shoulder to shoulder we worked. Sometimes sweaty, sometimes in laughter and disagreements, others in tears and weariness we shared the load. Daytime, night time, what did it matter? We were a team, together.
They became our trusted friends, good mates and confidants, even at times our families spent great times together. For some of us they were our family, one whom we deeply and dearly loved; husband, wife, a son, a daughter, our parent, our partner in life.
So when? When did the light begin to fade? The spark of enthusiasm begin to dim? The keen edge of that genuine concern and commitment begin to dull? That urge to learn and grow in the job, when did it start to slow down? Barely noticeable at first and cleverly disguised, we did not notice, really, at first.
We struggled to understand and we fought like mad to help, aching arms outstretched waiting to embrace and heal the invisible wounds while our heads pounded with unanswered questions! Moments of hope were bright but few and just when it seemed there was a brand new day ahead, the lights went out, darkness descended, it was over. An end for them for whatever reason and for us, a beginning and an end
We want to remember what they gave in life.
We want to remember how they loved.
We want to honour them for the way their lives shaped ours.
We want to honour them for the fight they fought when their hope was gone.
We want to give thanks for every moment, every memory, every experience of love and life with them.
We want to commit to supporting each other, to listening to each other, to being bold enough to say, “I need help” before hope dies.
Today, we came. We came celebrating that the Services we represent are a vital part of our community.
Today we stand together in remembrance, honouring those who are no longer with us.
We stand together not only to remember but also to say that there is hope, there is help and support.
Take it, use it and live!