Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Know A Beautiful Man

It was summertime in the year of 2005, and I had been 'hanging out' quite a bit over the past few weeks with a boy from Geelong, who had just returned from serving a mission for The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. This particular evening we had just come back from spending time at Jan Juc beach with friends at a Young Single Adult activity. We were in his family home, watching whatever was on television in his lounge. I remember my long black hair thick and frazzled from dried salt water. (I'm thinking I must've really felt comfortable with this boy from Geelong for my hair to be that way – if you know how conscious I am about my hair.) Someone had just walked into the door, and the boy introduced me to this lovely man. My first impression of this man, was his white grey fuzzy curly hair and a warm welcoming smile.

The boy's name is Campbell, and the name of the lovely man is his father, Bruce Walshe.

Campbell and I started going steady and we dated for nine months before we were married. During our courtship I got to know Campbell more, and it was the same with his family. It was a natural affection that I had grown to love them. And if you know the Walshe family, you will find it is easy for anybody to love them.

As a father in law along with his wife Jenny, I felt I had the greatest of in-laws. There are some who hold a negative connotation to parents in law - yet I had not experienced that, even a little. 

I thought Bruce had an infectious personality. Aside from spending time with you in making you feel loved and uplifted, you just wanted to be a little more like him.

Our children would love seeing their pop Bruce and nana Jenny. Pop was musical and animating, our children loved being entertained by him. A music lover myself, I loved to watch Bruce sing or perform. There was a brightness about him. My favourite song that he ever sang, was for our wedding, ‘Make It With You’ by Bread. His voice just as timeless as the chords he strummed.

Pop was never shy or ever seemed to miss a moment to tell those important to him that he loved them. He would greet or farewell with a hug and say "Irra, you're just awesome" or "Irra, you are just gorgeous". I felt a little embarrassed yet atop the world at his sweet boldness. He would do the same for his children and grandchildren. Irrelevant of what the world thought of you, it just seemed to matter when Bruce said it. You believe it.

My own parents were happy that I had not only married a wonderful guy in Campbell, but also married into a loving family that welcomed me openly with warmth.

In notes written by Campbell and his siblings to their parents for a gift at Christmas, Campbell wrote "thanks for loving Irra and Luaipou (our daughter) so much – and maybe even more than me”. It wasn’t a negative comment by Cam, but just beautifully highlighted a parent’s love for their son’s wife and child.

Bruce was an awesome example of many things, one in particular was caring for his health. One thing he inspired me with was practicing yoga. I enjoyed speaking about the benefits and tips he would give me to aid me in my personal yoga.

They say a love for grandchildren is quite special, perhaps different to that of one’s own children. My own mother and father love their grandchildren immaculately. It seemed no different for nana Jenny and pop Bruce. My children and their cousins loved their pop and nana dearly. A reflection of the love their pop and nana had for them.

My children love the famous Dr Seuss collection of children’s books. One book in particular titled “Hop On Pop” caught my children’s eye. Dr Seuss had his books illustrated quite literally to his ingenious rhymes. My children always laughed at the possibility of hopping on one leg, on top of their pop’s head. And as entertaining and fascinating as their pop was, he just might’ve let them if they could.

I was pregnant with our third child which we knew would be a boy. Cam and I was always fond of family names meaningfully passing them onto our children. The name Bruce was amongst the choices. 
To me it was a strong and very masculine name, I was a little unsure at the time if I could see that name on a tiny baby. But I loved Bruce, Cam's dad, so much and thought him the loveliest man that I hoped in naming my son after Bruce, he would always remember his beautiful pop and hopefully fashion his good ways. 

So it was, our son was named Bruce. Our now four-year-old son Bruce even has the curls, just like his pop. It was, and is, the perfect name.

To be loved by Bruce from the very beginning, is an empowering feeling. To have my children loved ever more by their grandparents - by their beloved pop – there is not more that I could ask for.

I anticipate the future moments when Cam and I will reminisce with our children about what it is like for them to be loved by the best 'pop' in their world.

I am blessed to know Bruce, and have him as a second father.
I consider his wise words, and our conversations not as a past tense, but very much in the present and future. There is much I will treasure of his legacy, in my life now and in the future.

I also smile to think, that he may have already had a hug and greet with my brother Donny.

To me, Bruce will always be amongst the most beautiful of men.
And I am most blessed to know, that I will simply see him again soon.

Pouey with her Pop

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