Cemetery holds special memories

Monday October 29, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor
Frank Pike and Debbie Harris pictured at the Nikao Cemetery where they were painting graves and memorials to the patients of Milan Brych who died while undergoing cancer treatment in Rarotonga. 18101229 Frank Pike and Debbie Harris pictured at the Nikao Cemetery where they were painting graves and memorials to the patients of Milan Brych who died while undergoing cancer treatment in Rarotonga. 18101229

Dear Editor,

I am writing regarding the Cook Islands News article headlined “Holiday hard work for Aussie couple,” about two people who spent their holiday repairing graves in Nikao cemetery.

 

The article was in the newspaper on October 16, and was written by Richard Moore.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Debbie Harris and Frank Pike for caring for those graves. They have a very special place in my memory.

When Milan Brych’s patients arrived from Australia, Nell Armstrong and I felt that such  desperate and courageous people, sick and in a strange land, needed our love and friendship.

We took on the self-imposed task of providing some support. Each week we visited those receiving treatment in the hospital and those resting in their hostels. We cheered those who returned home smiling after six months of treatment. We wept for those who came too late and now rest in their graves. My husband, Pastor George Porter and his helpers, not only conducted the funeral services for most of the deceased, they also dug their graves.

There is no cemetery in all the world that holds more memories for anyone, than the one at Nikao does for Nell and me. Each grave has a story of a life well-lived but cut short by an insidious disease. Most relatives, even at the time, were unable to visit and care for the graves. We sent relatives photos when the headstones were put in place.

Once again, thank you Debbie and Frank for your loving care.

               May Porter

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