'Beautiful pink Yarraman roses in his hand as he went'
My Dad was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2017. He became very unwell very quickly and he and mum needed an enormous amount of support to navigate the legal and palliative care systems into which they were suddenly thrown.
I live in Bell and they live in Caloundra - a round trip of nearly 500 km for me. I made the decision early on that I would just drive as much and for as long as was necessary to support them.
I'd leave Bell at around 4 am and be with them for breakfast. I have to confess that I got into the habit of stopping at Yarraman's beautiful roadside gardens and picking a few sprigs of lavender on the trip down.
Dad loved them and they became a sort of talisman for when I'd be back next. Then the roses bloomed and I felt quite uncomfortable taking a rose - being a very law abiding citizen - but I did take a couple of blooms each trip.
Then I realised that by pulling them I was harming the bushes, so I put a pair of secateurs in my car. Every trip I would pick one or two roses, or lavender and take for Dad.
I like to think that by dead heading any blooms while I was there, I was doing my little bit in return for the garden. As the days became longer and I was no longer doing my thing in the dark, I started to get the odd loud car horn hooting, or shouting out of car windows.
I apologise to those people who felt I was vandalising your gardens - but they were going to a good cause and I was being very respectful in my actions. I didn't hide, I parked my white VW Transporter right there and did my thing. No secrets.
My Dad finally passed away last week and you will be pleased to know that one of your beautiful pink Yarraman roses was in his hand as he went. I had picked a stem of 3 flowers that week, so he took one, I have one and Mum has one.
His funeral was last Thursday and I hope you don't mind but I stopped again and picked a couple of pinks and a couple of reds to place on his coffin.
Thank you Yarraman - it was a very small ritual and I like to think that I left your beautiful rose gardens as I found them - flowering beautifully and never damaged. I'll remember my Dad always when I see the roses and lavender in flower in Yarraman.
Thank you, Lesley Bryce