Paul Appleby, son of Chris & Di Appleby, died on 14 December 2012. His funeral was held on 19 December 2012, led by the Rev Greg Footit.
Below are 2 Eulogies followed by the funeral homily
Thoughts about Paul - Janet Appleby
Paul was a serial hobbyist. His eclectic pursuits included:
- Tropical fish and fish tanks
- Collecting Kinder Surprise toys (which he stuck around his bedroom doorway; when he was 14 or so)
- “Magic”, the role playing card game (which I never really understood)
- Collecting Coins
- Gourmet Cookery
- Guitar, singing and piano
- Ever changing hairstyles - from Fabio tresses, to skinhead to punk colours
- The music of Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa (to name a few)
- Collecting free postcards
- Downloading all sorts of TV shows (note to all: don't try it in your place of work!)
- Making chain mail
- Balloon animals
- Collecting body piercings
- The Gym
- Pepsi Max and then making towers out of the cans in random places
- Computer gaming: from Lemmings to Sim City and, most recently, WOW
Paul was easy going, but not always easy to get along with. He could have some very black and white views on a lot of things and always thought he was right. The thing is, he was right so often, that it was an easy assumption for him to make. He had a strong sense of justice and would challenge people who didn't meet his expectations. In year 10 or 11 at school during the Principal's address at an assembly for ANZAC day, Paul stood up and walked out in front of the entire school, fuming because he felt Mr Frizza was glorifying war. When later called to the Principal's office, Paul explained his reasons clearly and somehow managed to avoid any punishment whatsoever.
Super -smart, Paul didn't really go with the status quo. In early Primary School, he won a hamper in the Easter raffle instead of taking it straight home, he raced home from school before us, knocked on the neighbour's door and asked them to keep it hidden until Easter so he could surprise us.
Paul got average marks through school (except for maths), didn't hand work in, had shocking handwriting and got in trouble for not doing maths the right way. But after years of “Paul should make more effort” in his reports, he decided to prove to his teachers that he really didn't need to work hard for all those years by getting an outstanding ENTER and a scholarship to Uni.
But really, Paul had a gentle and kind heart that he had to protect somewhat with a brash exterior. He was devastated when his first fish died (I was not very sensitive). He had special patience for people who were broken or marginalised, and he looked out for them. He particularly liked meeting “the crazies”, as he called them; people who saw life through a different lens or would not behave as expected. I guess, they were a little like him. His loving heart was also lavished on his nieces and nephews who could count on him to bring home gummy bears from Germany; who would climb upon his shoulders and risk being flipped upside down and who were always impressed by his ability to eat more chocolate mousse than anyone else. He was an endless supply of maths questions for Emily's hungry mind.
As kids, not once did I beat him in Monopoly, he really knew how to play that game to the end. It was hard work trying to manipulate him as an older sister should. He didn't believe me when I told him he was adopted or when we told him he was an alien and his middle name was really “Martian”. However, for a few years I was able to convince him to play my game first and then I wouldn't play his. Somehow we usually ended up playing with Lego anyway. Having older sisters is a bit of a burden to bear and Paul compliantly allowed us to dress him as a girl on occasion and he dutifully played Barbies with me; though I never found out just how Ken's bottom half came to be amputated from his torso.
As teenagers, Paul and I worked together at Safeway, where I could boss him around seeing as he only pushed trolleys and I was a supervisor. He didn't really listen to me. We spent many hours watching and rewatching movies and tv shows, particularly Buffy, Press Gang, and Pride and Prejudice (my choice, though he once admitted that he quite liked it). More than once, he would whip up a late night chocolate pudding for dessert. When I visited him in Berlin for Christmas one year, he took me to the Christmas markets and tried to speak German and we went to see Finding Nemo and were the only ones in the cinema laughing. As adults we talked about all kinds of things; he knew about Peter long before the rest of the family.
We fought, we laughed, we teased, we had private jokes and nicknames. I bit him, he karate-kicked me. Paul was a playmate, a rival, a pain in the butt, a companion, a confidante and a friend. My brother.
Eulogy for Paul Appleby - Di & Chris Appleby
Paul was born in Melbourne on the 1st of February 19799 - thanks to our minister at the time, who suggested that we might be limiting our family for the wrong reasons. Paul came home a week later and was welcomed to North Fitzroy by his 2 older sisters, Katherine and Janet. He was an easy, contented baby who didn't cry in his first year of life, although he did make it clear when he was hungry! He was a happy, fun loving toddler, whether being pushed around by his sisters or enjoying his own company.
At 3 year old kinder we learned that he rarely played with other children and his 4 year old kinder is a blur, because we moved to Weston, Canberra that year (1983). His prep teacher however, put things quite succinctly; Paul didn't suffer fools gladly! In Year 5 we moved him from Weston Primary to the school where Di was teaching, because he was obviously not enjoying it. During his primary school years Paul was not invited to a single school friend's birthday party. He only went to those given for children at our church, St Peter's Weston.
We returned to Melbourne in 1990 and Paul completed Year 6 at Balwyn Primary. That was another tough year because Paul experienced lots of bullying. Di remembers me saying 'You're a strong boy Paul. Couldn't you lean on them?” Well, he didn't. Though he did finally lose it and punched a child during the second last week of school. He was suspended and told he wasn't welcome at the Y6 graduation ceremonies. The principal acknowledged that 'we don't handle students like Paul very well'. We knew that already, having heard that his teacher had told him that “he wasn't as good at maths as he thought he was! “
During his secondary schooling Paul fulfilled Shakespeare's words. He was 'the whining school-boy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school'. Not quite right. He didn't whine. He just became a familiar face at the office collecting late notes which said 'missed the bus' or 'flat bike tyre'; when we lived less than 10 minutes' walk from Balwyn High. Paul didn't receive any school prizes, except in the external maths competitions; perhaps that why he didn't go to any end-of-year final nights during secondary school, except Y12, which Di dragged him to.
We sent him to a study skills program at Melbourne Uni, because he did no work at home and we discovered in Year 11 that he hadn't written a single English essay! A tutor was found! He had no plans about what he would study at university, but after receiving perfect scores in Maths & Physics, some phone calls were made and Paul received a Dean's Scholarship to Monash. He did some work there but his friends Josh & Emily Bode have another story to tell.
“Paul was a PhD student in the Monash Maths department, 1 year ahead of Josh. Josh knew him a little bit (mostly as a fellow student/tutor) in the years 2000-2001. I had seen Paul around campus, mainly juggling or doing other ball related tricks out the front of the Science cafeteria (he was well known on campus on this basis). From time to time, Paul and his friend James Barton used to drop in on the honours students (Josh's year, the year below) and generally attempt to confuse them (quite successfully).
Early into Josh's first PhD year in 2002, Josh was asked by his PhD supervisor Klaus to swap offices with another PhD student who was at that time sharing an office with Paul. There was something about Paul's working habits (turning up at midday, juggling/unicycling inside the office, eating tuna and leaving the tuna tins lying around, building a wall with empty coke cans until they were infested with ants, singing out loud, and wanting to talk about films and politics and anything other than maths) that Paul's former officemate didn't find conducive to quiet reflection on complex mathematical issues.
Josh and Paul soon got along like a house on fire. Their shared office was soon lined (floor to ceiling) with free postcards collected by Paul from all across Melbourne, with no two the same. Josh and I had been going out for a year or two by this point, and as I was also a student at Monash, I soon came to know Paul as well. His hair colour during 2002 must have changed at least 3 or 4 times (blue, red, green). He was always positive, friendly, entertaining, and switched on in terms of music, films, culture and politics.”
During his time at Monash, he was involved here at St Columb's where he formed some of his great Christian friendships. Paul K who knew Paul at St Columb's wrote this: “As I remember Paul, I think of him as a deep and enigmatic person who had a cheeky zest for life. He obviously had a bit of a genius flare and there was always something curious going on inside his head. He was definitely a fascinating and intriguing person to engage with. I relished our intellectual conversations on the many Sunday nights when we hung out at the pub after St Columb's services.”
Emily & Josh Bode continue the chapter on Paul's PhD program, with Klaus Ecker as his supervisor.
“In mid-2002, Klaus announced he was moving back to Berlin, and that his PhD students were welcome to accompany him (and offered scholarships!). Josh and Paul quickly took up this offer, and I (Emily) decided to accompany Josh (to do a Masters degree via correspondence).
Josh and Paul moved to Berlin in late 2002, and I followed in Feb 2003. Josh and I set up in the inner north and we set about finding Paul an apartment (eventually in the inner south). The process in Berlin was for newspapers to be issued on a Friday night, with the various offerings and opening times set out for the following day. So many a Friday night was spent in a pub, waiting for the newspaper to arrive, and then scrutinising the offerings. In typical Paul fashion, he had incredibly lofty standards at first, and dismissed many apartments (a number of which we inspected with him) on the basis of price, location or features. Inevitably, as the deadline for him to leave his temporary accommodation drew close, he had to find something in a tremendous hurry, and settled for something that fulfilled none of the criteria that he initially outlined. It was nice nonetheless (though the bathroom was airplane dimensions)!
We helped Paul furnish the apartment with a truckload of IKEA goods (and spent a weekend assembling everything in exchange for beer and kebabs). We spent many, many evenings over the following 2 ½ years enjoying Paul's hospitality in that apartment. Paul, similarly, enjoyed many, many evenings at our apartment 9 U-Bahn stops away, and we frequently met up at beer gardens, restaurants and pubs (his favourite being the Tiergarten Quelle). Paul was a great cook (his curries and rice pudding were particular highlights) and he once even roasted a goose (accidentally tipping goose fat all over his kitchen floor, which meant that it was never quite the same). Paul was far from clean and tidy, but we forgave his mess, and once cleaned his apartment for him when he had gone away and stupidly left us a spare key. I cannot tell you how much money in coins we collected from his floor.
In our Berlin years (2003-2005), Paul was our third musketeer. In addition to spending days with Josh at the Uni, we met up at least twice a week after hours. During this time, he had many interests which he fanatically pursued - e.g. making chainmail clothing (approx. 50% of his luggage allowance on the way to Berlin must have been taken up by little metal rings), playing World of Warcraft, Larouse Cookbooks, Oxford English Dictionary ("OED"), downloading and watching TV shows (particularly the West Wing, South Park and 24) and watching the Tour de France (and hating Lance Armstrong).
Paul was our constant supplier of illicitly downloaded TV shows- our house is still full of disks with his handwriting. We watched many series of 24 with him. He once convinced us to watch approx. 15 hours of a gripping children's tv show from the 1980s (the Tripods), which came to an exciting conclusion at the end of Series 1. We couldn't wait to watch series 2, which, sadly, hadn't been made….
Paul was loved by everyone in the Maths community during his time in Berlin. He studied with a number of ex-pats and being the thoughtful person that he was, Paul thanked all of those people in his thesis (and deservedly, thanked Klaus in particular). Many lovely dinners and picnics and beery afternoons were shared with this wider group of friends.”
We remember that apartment well with its bathroom designed by an aircraft engineer, as we visited Paul at Christmas 2003, overlapping with Janet who was also in Europe at the time.
Paul's PhD was not finished in the two & a half years he was there, so he returned to Melbourne in July 2005. He said he was sick of maths, although he continued to tutor at Monash. He was more interested in economics and politics, so he enrolled in a grad dip in Political Science. He also took up piano lessons again and became quite proficient with pieces by Beethoven & Satie among others. His musical taste was totally eclectic from Classical to Doris Day to Led Zeppelin & Pink Floyd.
The wonderful Klaus (otherwise known as the K-man) lured him back to Berlin during the mid-year break of 2007, and the summer break of 2008-9, because he was so close to finishing his doctorate. He went although his heart really wasn't in it. He was enjoying living in his Clifton Hill apartment, playing his keyboard (with headphones so the neighbours didn't complain at 2 in the morning), riding his motorbike to Monash, starting up a private tutoring business, meeting mates at pubs and building up his collection of fish tanks. He even had small breeding tanks in his bedroom!
When he was offered one more opportunity to finish his doctorate, he took it. He gave up his apartment, went to Berlin for 9 months and returned to Melbourne in August 2010; PhD completed! Soon after, he was diagnosed with leukaemia. He postponed treatment for a year so that he could take his Y11 students through their final year (He loved tutoring keen maths students). He was due to have his treatment in January this year, but a very serious case of pneumonia prevented that. Similarly, his lungs weren't clear enough to have the transplant in June, so he finally entered hospital in November this year. The transplant was successful but sadly his body had been so badly damaged by the chemotherapy that he couldn't recover.
While I may have bored some of you in the past with stories of Paul's stubbornness, arrogance, chronic procrastination and the ability to maintain the bedroom of a teenager into his thirties - all of which are true - I want to assure you that this gentle bear of a man was a wonderful son for a mother to have. I spent much of the last 2 years sitting across from Paul, enjoying his company, listening to his take on the state of the nation and the world, being encouraged to watch violent, disgusting or truly great movies, recalling the antics of his nieces and nephews and hearing about the trials & tribulations of being a Guild master. But … I was not able to get his thoughts and feelings on his disease and treatments, because he didn't want me to worry. He showed his love in many touching ways. And so 'ends this strange eventful history'. (“The 7 ages of man”, As You Like it.)
I've already shared with a few of you the first thing that came to mind after Paul died: that I had lost the protector for my old age - maybe I'm not a feminist after all.
And so we bid farewell to our lovely, generous, frustrating, kind-hearted, quirky and gentle son. Thank you all for being here today; for us, for his sisters, their partners, his nephews & nieces and for Paul.
Funeral Sermon for Paul Appleby
Lamentations, chapter 3 begins “I am one who has seen affliction...” This doleful sentence captures the tone of this entire book. A great tragedy has occurred, and Jerusalem, the holy city is no more. The poet writes this book in a state of dazed grief. He wanders the empty streets, and tries to make sense of a tragedy that defies all comprehension. I have in my mind's eye some of the horrific images of Hiroshima, or of the cities of Europe after the 2WW, or closer to home, Darwin after cyclone Tracey. But this is the Holy city, the place of God's dwelling.
Jeremiah, probably the writer of this book, is an old man, shrivelled of skin and broken of bones. He has been hunted, jailed, tortured, thrown into a pit and left for dead; yet nothing that he has experienced thus far equals the grief he feels as he looks upon the city of God; Jerusalem, in all its brokenness. His despair is physical, but also spiritual, for initially he seems to believe that God has abandoned him and all his people; so great is the devastation of the city and its people. Jeremiah expresses his grief as a prophet of God in the face of huge tragedy.
In the verses just prior to our passage, he tells us:
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
20 My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But ………
And this is the most wonderful 'But' ever pronounced; for it shows a trust in God, no matter how the outward appearances may look.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
And so, in the middle of this dark chapter, the author remembers what he has learned about God throughout his life, and especially in the brighter, happier times as one of God's people. He recalls the goodness of God; the love, the compassion.
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
In the midst of this bleak book, filled to the brim with expressions of abandonment and desolation, come words that a songwriter later crafted into the hymn 'Great is Thy Faithfulness”.
You see, the grief, the sadness, loss and tragedy are not the last word from God: They are never the last word for those who belong to God, and God is faithful to his word.
And that is why, even here today, as we wrestle with our grief and sorrow in the face of Paul's death whilst still so young, we can echo with the writer of the book of Lamentations,
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
And this is not an isolated thought bubble by this writer. The author of Psalm 94 was also in despair, and wrote, 'When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer' and Psalm 62 reminds us 'I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation…trust him at all times-pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.'
At the moment of terrible grief and loss, these qualities of God may seem far way, but where else can we turn. Without God's hope, there is no hope. And God has always proved true to each and every one of his promises. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him. God remains our heritage; our portion, and so we trust, and so we wait, with hope.
Look at the portion of Psalm 89 in your order of service. Psalm 89 is a great hymn of praise at the trustworthiness; the faithfulness and the love of the Lord. The songwriter knew the devastation of loss and the feeling of God's supposed abandonment, as is clear if we continue to read on in this Psalm, but his hope is always with trust in the unfailing love of God that he has known in the past, and which he trusts to experience again in the future. He ends the psalm with:
“Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and Amen”.
God's answer of hope is found in his sending of his only beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We remember his birth in less than a week, on Christmas Day. He lived to show us God's steadfast love, and truth, and died at an age not dissimilar to Paul's. Yet Jesus' death and resurrection fulfil the hope and the promise of God; that we shall not be abandoned to death, but we shall be given eternal life, life lived in the presence of God forever.
So we can affirm, and say Amen to the words of Paul in Romans 8: 28
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
God is always working for our good, so even the most difficult experiences may be seen to be part of his plan for us. Nothing that life can throw at us will ever separate us from his love in Jesus Christ, as verses 38-39 clearly confirms.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present, nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We live this life for such a short time in the face of eternity. The one thing we know as true for every human life is that it will come to an end in death in this age. Mortality is what all mortals' experience. But God's promise is that those who belong to him in Jesus Christ cannot be contained by our mortality.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God's design is to reproduce the image of the head of the family, Jesus, the firstborn, in the rest of the family. Even before we were born, God had decided what he was going to do in us. God called us to follow him and, and put us right with himself, but this work will not be finished until we arrive in heaven, and are glorified with Christ.
Paul joined this family when he was baptized into Christ on the 3rd of June 1979. On this date he began his baptismal pilgrimage, a pilgrimage that has taken him to distant places, a journey where he attained great distinction and human achievement, as well as tasting and knowing the depths of human tragedy and despair. At approximately 15 minutes past midnight on December 14th, after humming with his mother and sister the melody of Amazing Grace, and in the presence of his family, he completed his baptismal journey.
The Lord Gave, the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.