Eulogy -  D.L. (Jim) GRAHAM


D.L (Jim) Graham.

8th September 1933 - 28th July 2016.

Watch on You Tube Here


Dear Jim,

By now you have travelled ‘earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast’ [1], and surely are just about through the ‘Gates of Pearl’. I hope you held firm, as your ‘Chariot of Fire’ [3] lifted you like a whirlwind, to where you belong. Heaven.

As instructed by you, we are sitting here in St John’s Church, Nambucca Heads. You, are a long way away. But in our minds we are holding you close, taking time to reflect on the impact of your life, on ours. We’re singing the hymns you chose… the ones you loved and meant so much to you… and we’re listening to the words of John and Paul, that inspired your view of the world and how to act in it. Your family, friends, ex-students and colleagues, their partners, their children, friends of friends… we who come under your sphere of influence across 83 years, are here… for you.

You have been on quite a journey. And as we sit here and contemplate that journey, you no doubt will be presenting yourself and your ID at - the Gates of Paradise beside the crystal fountain. This may be a struggle. You haven’t had a driver’s licence for some time. In fact, having driven with you often, between Armidale and Nambucca, I’m astounded you were ever given a license in the first place.

So Jim, you’re probably having to explain that on the 8th September in 1933, your mother Myrtle Florence, ‘Florrie’, brought you into the world as a son to William Lisle, and a third sibling to Bill and Noni, and then later Keith, Nettie and Robyn, and, that your parents decided that Desmond Lisle Graham would be the perfect name for you. Strangely, and possibly thankfully, Desmond Lisle gave way as your time on earth unfolded and you eventually became known to us all as our Jim… Jungle, or to respectful acquaintances, and the younger, Mr Graham.

But good luck with the righteous up there. It may not catch on and you may be stuck with Desmond Lisle for the rest of time.

Speaking of time, what story did you use to explain your late arrival? I mean, you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease nearly 20 years ago and yet defied the usual trajectory and lived a quality and length of life way beyond the expectations of your greatly loved Doctors - Paul Darveniza, Bruce Menzies and Rob Paton. And then as your allotted time loomed closer, you stubbornly insisted you were far too busy for the final journey and went about cleaning more silver, rearranging the furniture, sorting files and photos, writing a book, watching another Somerset Maugham play on You Tube, devouring more oysters, prawns, blue cheese and crackers, yoghurt and banana, and a Gin and Tonic, while watching Antiques Roadshow and listening to a classical CD and ABC radio, all at the same time. You stalled for months, not daring to miss out on anything.

Then, when we thought the end was nigh, inspired by Lazarus or possibly Jesus, you rose up, and began the roundabout of life again, on your tiny playing field, battling your now frail and inert body… insisting on continuing on with your passionate love of life and not wanting the story to ever end. If it’s any consolation Jim, that story, your story, will go on, because it and you, found a way into each and every one of our lives.

Did you like the song we sang together on that last phone call? The last of what had been a daily routine for countless years. Did you love the music that the beautiful staff at Pacifica Nursing Home played for you - ‘as your last day ended and darkness fell at His behest, and like a morning hymn you ascended’? [4] I will take the opportunity Jungle to thank them on your behalf. - James, Jo, Silvia, Ivan, June - Let me know if I have missed any out – I know I have.

In the short time you were there, and even functioning at such a low ebb, these compassionate and loving nurturers at Pacifica, you were still able to inspire, to entertain and to become - a friend. This was the pattern of your life Jungle and it continued right to the end.