This picture is very special. It shows 3 siblings together, apart, yet in sync with each other in their own way.
They are all quiet, intelligent, sensitive, unassuming people, secure in the knowledge that they don’t have to big note themselves to get attention, happy with themselves and as is the case with siblings, they are similar but also different from each other. They are competitive and I can guarantee that at some stage, either before or after I took this photo, that they were tossing a ball at each other with each subsequent throw getting harder and longer, or they were playing cricket or throwing a frisbee around at each other, running all over the beach.
They weren’t still very often and this photo is special for that reason, it shows them all together, but apart, content and relaxed. It’s also one of the few photos of the three of them together – just the three of them in such a natural state.
On this particular day Cliff is leading the way, striding out, Carol is in the middle which I see as an attitude of protection by her big brothers and Grant is in the rear, a position he often leads from. He likes to round up the stragglers and keep an eye on everyone, it’s definitely not because he’s slower. In fact he often says it’s harder to walk at the back of a group than at the front. Both Grant & Cliff are big walkers and when Carol was growing up she always had to run to keep up with them. She loved nothing more than being in the company of her two big brothers and they loved her right back. They would walk around the bush whenever they got together and they often didn’t need to talk to each other, just the fact that they were together in the bush was enough for them.
Cliff had a huge reputation as a leader in his local walking group and Grant is renowned for his walking ability within his local area. The two boys often talked about doing a big walk together at some stage but it never happened, life kept getting in their way. Then, sadly, the life was taken out of Cliff.
It’s been said that the first events, after you’ve lost someone close, are always the hardest. Today should have been Cliff’s 56th birthday but instead of celebrating another birthday, we are grieving the loss of a brother, a son, a husband, a father, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, a work colleague – a special character who was taken away too early, just 5 months ago.
We are still trying to come to terms with it all and will especially miss him at the beach this Christmas. We will still throw a ball, play cricket and throw frisbees but it won’t be the same without Cliff.
Our family is gathering for Christmas and one of our traditions is a drink and toast at 11am on Christmas Day for absent friends – this year it will be very hard.