When Joe O’Dea put forward his idea some months ago of holding a Remembrance Service in conjunction with this year’s tree planting we all put our hands up to be involved.
What began as a simple idea ended with a wonderful day to remember! A day of honouring, sharing, caring and love as we saw our very first Remembrance Service and Tree Planting come to life.
After months of preparation and planning the big day finally arrived. With constant rain in the weeks leading up to the event our main concern was not about being rained upon (perhaps uncomfortable but we’d cope), more for the waterlogged paddock, which was to be our parking area!
Marquees were up, chairs put out, urns ready for tea and coffee (thank you Trillion Trees coffee beans), catering all set and ready to serve. The whole area was a hive of activity with cars beginning to arrive and families coming through the gates.
Our thoughts behind this very special day was to honour and remember all those we have cared for over recent months, in the hope that grief may be eased a little, allowing some time for very gentle reflection and enabling individuals and families to know that they were not alone.
Our service began right on schedule with Father Peter Bianchini offering words of comfort and support, followed by Celebrant Sue Van Leewuen, reading ‘The Desiderata’ and ‘The Clock’. Amy Krupa, CEO of SERCUL, acknowledged the fact that this was ‘National Tree Planting Day’ and then gave a brief instruction on who to look out for at the site.
Father Bianchini and Sue were then joined by Joe O’Dea and some of the O’Dea family for the short walk out to the planting area where volunteers from Trillion Trees were ready and waiting.
It was such a wonderful sight to see everyone making their way down the path, across waterlogged grassed areas and patches (some would say paddocks!) of mud. There was a bit of ‘slippery slide’ going on but no one seemed to care.
Once at the site, the honour of planting the 2018 Remembrance Tree went to Joe O’Dea and with this, the personal cards, with the names of all those loved ones whose families were in attendance.
As National Tree Planting Day coincided with our own tree planting day we felt the opportunity of sharing this with others very fitting. Whether they came along as individuals or with a large family group, everyone had the chance to plant a personal tribute for those they had lost. There was a lovely positive energy amongst the crowd, everyone appearing to gain something from the experience, which was our hope.
Since then we’ve received lovely words of thanks and appreciation:
‘Thanks for this great opportunity, was very special to us.’
‘Thank you, the service was very moving and we were very impressed.’
‘was so overwhelmed and truly respectful of the memorial service. Thanks for this great opportunity, was very special to us.’
Each of us took something away, a memory, a shared experience, some hope and special time spent with family plus the knowledge that our Mother Earth will be forever grateful.
Special thanks to Trillion Trees volunteers and SERCUL for their enthusiasm and support.