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Pat Riordan

(Address given by Roger Riordan at Pat's farewell.)

 

I would like to thank all our many friends who have sent flowers or condolences to our home, and a special mention to the Cabrini palliative care nurses, who were a great help towards the end.

My late wife Sally and I first met Pat and John when our children Peter and Andrea started at St Mary's Preschool in East Brighton. We were all elected to various committees, and the two families very quickly became friends, and the Herman boys were often in our back yard.

The boys went to different secondary schools, but we remained friends, and often met to share our joys and woes.

First John died, and then when Sally died I started to court Pat. On the face of it we had little in common -- Pat was outgoing, sociable and sports mad, whereas I was a computer boffin and not remotely interested in sport.

Also Pat was always very formal, and well-dressed, whereas I was as informal and as casually dressed as I thought I could get away with. I had always been aware of Pat's charms, but she recently told me that if, back in the 70s, someone had told her that one day she would marry me, she would have replied "Roger Riordan? Don't be ridiculous!"

However I must have had something going for me, because at the end of 1999 we went to Falls Creek for a few days. On New Year's Eve I took her for a day walk around Basalt Hill. It rained steadily, and a bitterly cold wind was blowing. The lodge had advertised a gala dinner, but there were not many guests and the staff had decided that they were going to the party at The Man.

They hustled us through a very ordinary meal, and then abandoned us.

We retired early, and then she told me that, yes, she would marry me. I replied that if we were lucky we might get 10 good years. We were very lucky, and we had ten very good years. When we were at home Pat would go off to her shopping, her friends, and her golf, while I played with my computer. When her friends rang I would often joke "I'm sorry, she's escaped again", and one of our friends told Pat that she pictured her chained to the almond tree in the back yard!

Pat's people skills were very useful in our work with our Foundation, and everyone who met her loved her. We also went to plays and concerts, and we had a number of wonderful trips. She liked to stay at the best hotels, and on one of our trips in Germany I did a photographic study of the incredible swimming pools. Of all the magnificent hotels we stayed in our favourite was the Adlon, next to the Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin. It was where visiting presidents stayed, but, unlike so many top hotels, the staff were friendly and did everything they could to make us feel welcome.

On the last day of our first visit, there was a "Love Parade", with hordes of incredibly dressed people parading down Unter den Linden Baume. We were leaving in the evening, so we went off exploring for the day. Pat was well-dressed, and I was wearing my bushwalking hat, my walking boots and my pack.

When we returned the hotel had been enclosed by a security fence. As we approached the entrance a security guard stepped forward, and said to Pat, who was leading, "Excuse me, madam ..". But then he recognised my hat, and said "Welcome, Sir". Pat was mortified!

Pat had had several bouts of cancer, but she did not like people fussing over her, so she said as little as she could about them. She seemed to have recovered well from her last bout, but about two years ago the indicator levels started to fluctuate. Then, early this year the first serious symptoms appeared. We could no longer contemplate long flights, but in April we decided to visit Adrian and Kazuko in Japan, before things got any worse.

We had an energetic and enjoyable holiday with lots of walking, but then Pat put on a lot of weight, and developed some very unpleasant symptoms. However she changed her style of dress to hide the weight gain, and she put on a brave face. One of our friends rang me the other day, and said "But I saw you three weeks ago, and I thought how well Pat looked!"

Three weeks ago today (the 1st) Pat took herself to lunch with one of her friends, but as they were returning to her car she tripped and fell on the road. This destroyed her confidence, and she went downhill very rapidly. She left the bedroom for the last time on the 10th, and was as cheerful and positive as ever when her brothers Geoff and Ian from Tasmania, and a number of other friends, visited her on the 13th, but after dinner she went to sleep and did not move again.

She died peacefully, in our own bed, at about lunchtime on the 14th.

I was reading last night and found an entertaining quote. I turned to tell it to Pat, but then I remembered "Too late, no Pat".

I would like to read you a poem in her memory.

To my lost love.

We met when we were young

But others' songs we sung.

In twilight years we wed,

When nimble youth had long since fled,

 

But joy and love we knew,

As o'er the world we flew.

And friends aplenty made,

As many others we did aid.

 

But then Death's scythe he swung,

And down my darling flung.

My love, you could not stay,

But, Oh! I miss you so today.

 

Farewell, my love, Farewell.

 
 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017

Roger