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Please view this lovely
Poem Pippa's cousin Sharon wrote.
On October 25, 2006, we embarked on our long and weary journey to South Africa to be with family and friends to bid farewell to Pippa and Kieran. I hadn't been in South Africa since 1993. Throughout our time in South Africa, despite the fact we were all suffering from terrible shock, pain and disbelief, we did manage to have some lovely times together, including a trip to Schotia Safaris.
On October 30, 2006, we gathered at Jeremy and Sue's house to greet friends as they arrived before the service. The house was absolutely covered in beautiful flower arrangements and greeting cards too numerous to mention! The outpouring of love and grief was astonishing! Such a bitter/sweet experience, seeing old and dear friends gather to say goodbye to these darling people. Rev. George Irvine had paid us a visit the day before, and his compassionate words to us all have helped me in the difficult days that followed. He made a point of saying "We grieve (pointing to his heart) with this, not (pointing to his head) with this! There is no 'why'. It was an accident." Those words rang in my ears in the difficult days, weeks and months that followed. Especially when I tried to figure out the 'why's and the 'what if's'.
Other family members had travelled from England, Boo Barton, Pippa's step grandmother; from Ireland - Judy and Mike, her aunt and uncle, Sharon and Kevin, Pippa's cousins and Sharon's husband Kieran (little Kieran was his namesake). Sarah, Pippa's stepsister and her two babies had flown from Barbados. Other family and friends were there having travelled from other provinces in the country. Pippa's step sister Joanne and her husband Kurt, Frankie and Harry, Alan and his wife Louise (who'd visited the day before the Funeral). Kevin, Pippa's Godfather and his wife Edie. And Debbie, dear little Debbie (and her boyfriend Barry), from Amanzimtoti Primary days. This dear young woman goes back so far in Pippa's life and what a joy to see her!
There were also many friends of Jeremy and Sue's who travelled to be with us.
The service was short and bitter/sweet (a term which pretty well describes our whole experience at that time). During the service, Rev. George Irvine mentioned that we create 'circles' in our lives. There are those of us who exclude some people from that circle, but Pippa was someone who included everyone in her circle. How true those words were. It was at the point at the end of the service, when they played Kieran's favourite hymn, All Things Bright and Beautiful, that my heart could take no more. They took our babies away to be cremated and we all left the church.
We gathered at Humewood Golf club and everyone mixed and mingled and talked about our memories of Pippa and Kieran. The club laid on a delicious buffet and we all tried to find some small moments of 'cheer'.
We then returned to Jeremy and Sue's house and later in the evening after a glass or two of 'spirits', we had started a 'sing along' which went on well into the night! We did Pippa and Kieran proud! Pippa loved some good 'craic', so we did not disappoint her on that score!
I've included aPOEM that Mike wrote on our return from South Africa, which pretty well sums up our bitter/sweet experience.
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Pippa and Kieran had a large, extended family and group of friends in Canada so in order to give everyone the opportunity to come together in their grief and to celebrate two precious lives, Topher and Nancy and Nancy's parents, Jack and Marg arranged an exquisite memorial service at St. Paul's (Runnymede) Anglican Church on November 25, 2006. Pippa's friends Paul and Melda flew over from London, England. Paul is from New Zealand originally and had met Pippa during her time in Vancouver. His wife Melda is from Turkey. Pippa and Kieran had flown for a weekend in Istanbul to attend their wedding and again, there were wonderful stories about their experiences there. Our friend Janette flew in from Dublin. Janette had given Pippa solid financial advice which helped her in buying her condo, at the ripe old age of 23! Aunt Peggy flew from Newfoundland and others travelled by car from other parts of the province.
Nancy's family have been attending this church since she was a child and she and Topher married there on August 5, 2000. Pippa was a bridesmaid at their wedding, and we've spent many lovely Christmas Eves there, so this church has become our family church as well.
The service was very moving and The Rev'd Maurice Francois gave a thoughtful Homily, describing Pippa and Kieran's lives with warmth and sincerity. As you will see in the program, a number of friends and family members did readings and prayers and Colette, Pippa's closest friend in Toronto, gave a beautiful Eulogy, describing the delightful people she grew to love.
My neice (Pippa's cousin), Lisa, also gave a beautiful Eulogy, describing in particular the time she and Pippa worked together at Fionn MacCool's and embarked upon their adventure on the Ottawa River. They both received their Swift Water Guide and Rescue certificate and Lisa noted that Pippa was a particularly courageous member of the group. I will be adding photos, PIppa's certificate and Lisa's Eulogy on a separate page soon.
Another beautiful touch to this service was the music played by the Piper, Michael Brown. His rendition of Amazing Grace was very moving, accompanied by the voices of all in the congregation. I could feel our spirits being lifted, joining those who's lives we were celebrating!
The ladies of the church and family members and friends put together a delicious buffet in the Church Hall after the ceremony. Again, it was bitter/sweet to see so many familiar faces and catch up on each other's lives. A tragedy such as this truly makes one realise how precious the people in our lives are and that distance nor time can separate family and good friends.
After the Church Reception, a large group of us went to reminisce at Fionn MacCool's. Aneel, the Chef and dear friend, provided more lovely snacks and again, many stories were told of times gone by!
After we left Fionn MacCool's a group of us went to Colette's home and at midnight we celebrated my sister Sue's 50th birthday.
I know this is repetitive...but those times were so Bitter/Sweet!