As promised here is a summary of Tuesday, the service to Celebrate the Life of Craig.
I believe Craig would have loved everything that took place on Tuesday, it was very appropriate for the person he was.
In front of the church there were six vases of loose bright yellow sunflowers with yellow ribbons. I must admit they were not standing tall, looking up, but rather looked a little downcast and perhaps respectful of the occasion, but they were beautiful. In amongst the flowers we had Craig’s Liverpool shirt hanging. It was specially made for him and on the back are the words Legend, which is what Craig was.
The service was conducted by Steve Pohlmann, Craig’s friend and the pastor who married Craig and Kate. The church was almost full, I estimate in excess of 300 people, and at least half of them were dressed in Believe t/shirts, including Kate, the family and the pastor.
My sister and her husband created the most beautiful pamphlet for the service with a wedding photo of Craig on the front, and the scripture “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Very pertinent for Craig.
The service started with Amazing Grace and Steve gave a short but very appropriate message on “where God was” when Craig was sick and dying, and he explained so clearly that God was there, present and that Jesus wept. It was beautiful and very understandable. He also spoke beautifully about Craig and where he is now, healed and complete.
There was then a time of tributes and as Steve said we could have stayed there for days. Craig’s impact on people, friends, family and strangers reached far and wide and we’ve had dozen’s of messages from people Craig didn’t even know but who were inspired by his facebook messages. His brother Les then played a piece on his guitar that he had composed especially for Craig and during that time there was silent reflection on all that had been said about Craig.
Listening to his friends and family talk about him made us all very proud.
We then sang the very moving and emotional Liverpool song, “you’ll never walk alone.” There were many comments about Craig having a laugh at all his non-Liverpool friends singing His team’s song.
After a brief tea at the church we went to the Sportsclub where Craig spent a large part of his life. Everyone was given a piece of paper to write a message on and these were attached to balloons.
We all went onto the middle of the soccer field and 120 red and white balloons were realsed together. Seeing them soar up to the heavens with messages of love for Craig attached was extremely moving.
Charlie had ordered a beautiful cake with the Liverpool emblem on and once again non supporters got to eat a cake they normally wouldn’t have touched, and I’m sure Craig would have been delighted.
During the remainder of the day, the Parletones CD was played over and over again. The two main band members who had played at Craig and Kate’s wedding had tried to get flights out of Germany to be there but were unable to. I’m glad they couldn’t make it, that would have been far too emotional for everyone especially Kate, but what a tribute to Craig!
“You’ll never walk alone” was also played over and over again, and you can only imagine the emotion it provoked in everyone, especially after a series of shooters!
Craig will be creamated and very fittingly Kate chose for him to be dressed in a favourite pair of shorts with his Superman T/Shirt, underneath a BelieveT/shirt. He really was a superman in the way he fought this fight. Marc and his friend Chris had written a beautiful message on a Liverpool shirt, which also went with Craig.
I got a very moving letter from Craig’s oncologist today. He told me that the fact that Craig had lived these past 18 months, and that he’d been able to get married, cycle races and so on was in no way due to the doctor or to chemotherapy, but rather due to some higher power, as Craig had been incredibly diseased and sick from day one 18 months ago when he was given 6 months to live.
We know without a doubt that God graciously gave Craig more time to live and inspire others, and he was given to us for a little longer than we should have had him, and for that we are truly grateful.
He will be missed more than words can say, but we will continue to honour him and his desire to serve others and ‘give back’ by continuing with the Believe Project and supporting CHOC.
I find it quite significant that as Craig lay in ICU in his last half hour, a little girl with cancer, pushing her chemo drip, skipped along in the garden behind the window where Craig lay. I do believe because of Craig we can all make a difference in the lives of little ones with cancer.
Thank you again for your prayers, love and support over the past months.