Family must say goodbye twice
FOR Sandra Geddes, the so-called festive season has been a painful pill to swallow.
Mrs Geddes lost her husband, Peter, just days before Christmas and this week endured the agony of laying him and her brother-in-law to rest in the space of two days.
“It’s awful, a real empty awful feeling,” Mrs Geddes said yesterday.
Peter, a motorbike lover and well-known Bundaberg figure, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July and died at home on Monday, December 21, at the age of 55.
But only two days before that, Mrs Geddes’ sister’s husband, Tony Ponticello, died of a massive heart attack.
Mrs Geddes attended his funeral on Wednesday then drove back to Bundaberg to prepare for her husband’s funeral.
She said yesterday she wanted the funeral to be a celebration of his life rather than a time of mourning.
“I wanted to make it a joyous occasion, because he wasn’t a sad person,” Mrs Geddes said.
“I wanted it to be a happy day because that’s what he would have wanted.”
She said her husband worked at Bundaberg Refrigeration and Electrical, and until his cancer diagnosis he also worked in security at the Club Hotel.
“He was full of energy, a very busy man, then it was like his batteries started to fail and he couldn’t understand what was wrong,” she said.
Mrs Geddes yesterday told of how she and other family members sat at her husband’s side in his last few weeks.
“Peter didn’t want to go to hospital, he hated hospitals,” she said.
“He wanted to die at home, and my oldest son and I sat at his side in his last three-quarters of an hour and talked him through it.”
Mr Geddes’ strong ties to the Bundaberg motorcycling community were evident at his funeral yesterday.
Among the hundreds of people who turned out were dozens of motorcycle riders, some wearing motorcycling club colours, who rode their powerful machines in procession from the CBD to the crematorium.
Mrs Geddes said her husband had been into motorcycles his whole life, but lately had become more interested in historical machines.
She paid tribute yesterday to the medical staff who had treated her husband.
“They were fantastic,” she said.
“They supported me very well.”