I was asked by Betty his wife to conduct the service. It was honour to be with the Shankie family. From the lovely feedback I received after the service, I think we celebrated his life in a special way. The family all pulled together for him in life and in his death.
As the guests gathered they listened to Alan Gardiner's music. Alan Gardiner was Archie's Nephew from Scotland, and this music had been playing in the hospital for the week prior to Archie's passing.
It is very sad for the family as ten days before, Archie and Betty had been enjoying their life together. Every day they went out for a 45 minutes walk together. On this particular day, he had been for his daily walk and de-headed the roses; later becomng confused and the amublance called, Archie suffered a massive stroke.
For a week Archie was in hospital and died in fact one week to the day, less one hour. Does that make sense? Yes, for a week he was in hospital and there was a family member with him in shifts for the entire time. I was told that the nurses commented on that commitment from the family and along with the tears and grief, there was lots of laughter as they shared their memories together. At one point there was 16 of the family in his room. The music Archie enjoyed was played over and over again.
The family has certainly raised the bar for every other family.
Archie died with his eldest daughter Aileen and grand-daughters Emma and Lauren, by his side on Friday 25th March at 7.21pm at Christchurch Public Hospital.
Archie was a no-fuss person, a man of few words, and he would be thinking "Why all this fuss?" "I had a great life. I was a lucky man, coming to New Zealand from Scotland in 1970. I have a lovely wife; four great kids and eight grand-children and many wonderful nieces and nephews".
I have known the Shankie family from many years and Aileen, the oldest daughter one of my friends. So it was indeed a privilege to celebrate with Betty, Aileen and Jimmy; Derek and Adele, Jim and Annette, Alice and the grandchildren Emma, Lauran, Kieran, Jonathan, Daniel, Kenyon, Jamee and Tessa and deepest sympathy.
What I found impressive, was nearly everyone, I just listed, all got up and spoke about Archie - as a Father and Grandfather. The love and respect they all had was very heartfelt and the stories and confessions made by some of them had us all laughing. Archie was smiling.
Rest in peace, Archie Shankie