If I close my eyes the familiarity of the sound of Bertie’s “hello my dol”, followed by his perfectly groomed, clean shaven, Hermes scented nose kiss with a sparkly eye…was a ritual greeting my second Dad Bertie, shared with me over the 30 years I have known and been a part of his world … the smell of that Hermes kiss lingered on long after for hours in the day…and will do forevermore.
The unique sound of his call for, and to, his beloved HILLARRREEEE – a completely devoted and entwined union shared, right up until the day before their 61st Wedding anniversary… a rose for each year, I will never forget…
The shared and often very emotional tears…entwined with meaningful and treasured words which had touched our soul, at family gatherings, or around the Shabbat table, quietly and gently with kindness…Bertie always said what he felt, and made sure that he acknowledged and let you know what he was thinking…there was very little that went unnoticed by Bertie…the good and the bad, although he would always find a way to turn any bad into good…He kept us on our toes and never forgot a thing.
Countless tips and lessons on the golf course – it was never just a day out on the course but a session of improving every swing, chip and putt…Golf course time was high up on his list of one of his favourite things to do, life lesson times, especially in Plett…amazing how he never gave up on inviting me to play at every opportunity that presented itself…Such patience he had…how he wished for me to try something other than to always use my “safe Seven Iron”…he wanted me to take chances and experiment, take out my driver and give it a good “WACK”! Alas I loved the tranquility of hitting gently down the middle with my 7 (my dad’s lucky number which allowed me to play golf with my two dads)…Bertie would tell me and guide me over again to keep my head down, watch the ball and follow through, “Please give yourself a chance” would often be the comment for me to get past the hole with my putt, too often a time just too short, he would ask me to get it past the hole with the opportunity of sinking the putt…if you can’t get it up to the hole you will never get it in…so much about his motto of life, to give it your all and be there with a chance, do your very best at all times, always with compassion and with a regard for others. The joy he shared when a putt went in as if it was his own, as well as the perfect drive or chip. He just adored to witness the success of others as if it was his own.
“Don’t regret the things you do not do”…this was a big one…Bertie willed us to take the opportunities that came our way and to make the most of them. If you have done your very best you can have peace in your heart, but you need to be sure to wake the next day and do it all over again, be it work, sport, play time…Nothing was impossible in Bertie’s eyes, he asked us to research and search for the answers we needed so they could present themselves…”nothing comes easy” and he surely knew about work and burning the candle at both ends, there was always one more paper to finish late into the night.
Paramount was our family time, he put so much into the planning, the energy, the effort in giving us all the most incredible experiences of all being together as a family…our Shabbat dinners and our embedded Jewish festivals, he and Hil taught me and included me in the Lubner circle from the outset with great kindness and care. They opened my world to their world and allowed me to be a part of it with such love and grace, including my family as we learnt so very much. Such a generous step to allow the life and love that Tony and I cherish and share…the unconditional love.
We have all respected and nurtured these times. What a privilege. Visits to Israel to learn about his passion and devotion in bettering the lives of so many where Bertie has been at the forefront. He has taught us, starting here on our doorstep, to be aware, have integrity, to do the little things which become big things, to see the world through the other man’s eyes, to walk in their footsteps…make the changes.
Chairing our Sabrina Love Foundation, leading us through the years with your advice and compassion, sharing the joy as you have witnessed it grow over time, being at the start of the walk of the Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge on Central Beach, we will have you flying in you pink shirt and cap forever guiding us on our way. Bertie always wanted the best for each and every one of us on this planet with his tireless devotion. He had such a tenderness with animals…our dogs and of course his great love of horses…an absolute shared passion…on the racecourse and in the show ring as he followed Gabriella’s and my riding our precious horses. It was never about the winning but the journey that took us there, the hours of devotion and the beautiful relationship between animal and man which Bertie respected and understood so well. His interest in Emma’s studies and her amazing school achievements, always there wanting to know what she wished for and planned for and any tips he could offer, listening first and then giving his input.
His communication – he was always available however remotely apart we were…How often I took the random chance of dialling his number at a moment in my day when I had a thought of him, and loving the sound of his voice as he answered in his crazy busy days he filled from the time he woke until he slept. Even if busy he devoted a pocket of time to engage, we had windows into what was up in each other’s lives…always wanting to know about my darling girls, Tony, life in Plett and Sabrina Love, remembering every detail, caring deeply for all of us.
My image I hold now is that of Bertie flying free, watering heaven’s garden with our precious Sabrina…he used to carry her in his arms on our farm as he helped her hold her little watering can so the two of them could sprinkle water on the spring flowers in bloom. This is my colourful image filled with love, togetherness, tenderness, sharing, caring, considering…a moment IN the moment for only the two of them in nature…There were many of these moments for Bertie and Sabrina where he engaged so purely…on the beaches of Plett, drawing in the sand, collecting shells and making sand castles, soaking her little feet in the ocean, feeding her ice creams, all of us “walked” her life together. Bertie had these treasured and unconditional times when it came to his pockets of time with Sabrina, as he did with us all…and as she has done for so many…Numerous similarities with the two of them through their illnesses…the bravery, the courage, their concern for others even in their own pain…they are now together, wing in wing with Rob.
Sabrina has her two grandfathers, adventuring in Heaven where we will all reunite some day…until then, you are my rainbow Bertie, beaming and gleaming in the brightest of colours, expanding the sky from one end to the other… endless vibrant strands of gratitude and love I shall hold for you forever…thank you for being the YOU in my life and the all that filled my world.