It was a typical November night with the first lingering taste of winter, decorated windows already showing the first signs of Christmas and everyone about their normal busy routine.
I had no idea that this would be your last hour on earth dear Dad. You left us in an instant. How can we understand and accept this harsh reality when your bed sheets are still as you left them, the glass that you drank from still on your bedside table and any hope of you carrying on with your normal routine has now finished.
Everyone knew you as Loreto ‘Tar-Raġel’, a lively, friendly, outgoing, energetic, hard-working and good-natured soul. As a young man, you immigrated to Australia, where you worked hard and developed your musical talents. On your return, the sweetest episode of your life commenced when you married my mum and started our family.
As the oldest followed by two brothers, I remember you during the best years of your life when you travelled the world as a ship engineer and later returned to Australia with your family, furthering your studies in the electrical trade despite working long hours to support us.
Being a creative and ingenious person, you were always up for any challenge. As a skilled tradesman, you practically constructed everything in our family home. There was never a job which you did not try to do yourself.
Christmas time was always cheerful with your handmade and original Christmas decorations, especially your nativities. You were very active in our parish and, over the years, carried out works in the Għajnsielem church. Your last work was assembling the main lamp in front of the altar. Nothing was ever too challenging for you.
From your many talents, music was your greatest. You played so many instruments, all self-taught with love and dedication. Among them the double base, trumpet, piano, base and the acoustic guitar.
Throughout your life, you played with various bands in bars, restaurants, hotels and participated in so many concerts and private functions. You also played with various orchestras in practically every church in Gozo. You were also a bandsman with the St Albans Melita Band in Australia and the Għajnsielem St Joseph Band Club, as well as being an active committee member of the same band club for many years. And you did all this with commitment and discipline.
Your greatest pleasure was socialising and meeting people. Everyone was invited to your garage in Ħamri Street which was also your musical sanctuary. Over the years, countless friends stopped over for a music session or just for a chat especially on the eve of the Għajnsielem feast where you hosted your annual feast celebration.
It was also a place where you spent most of your time working diligently, be it electrical, mechanical, carpentry, ironworks, a trade which you learned from your grandfather, as well as any other job which required your attention and skill. You never refused a request to help friends and relatives with any job they required.
But now you left this world in a blink of an eye on the very last day of November. You left our house and never returned. We know that you did not suffer but the shock was too great.
We thank God that you lived a full and beautiful life with your family, utilised and shared your talents and made so many people happy through your music. You appreciated and enjoyed life until the very end.
How can we ever forget the many memories and values you left us? You left a big void in our hearts and lives. No one can ever replace you and I will always hold the beautiful memories we had together close to my heart. I am certain that you are now by God’s side together with Our Lady of Loreto whom you loved so dearly, your dad Peppi, your mum Nena and your sister Maria.
Pray for us so that when the time comes to for us to leave this world, we will join you in heaven. Farewell dear dad and may God our Father grant you eternal rest.