Pamela May “Pam” Lawrence

Pamela May “Pam” Lawrence

08/12/1960 - 12/10/2017

FUNERAL DETAILS

St Alfred's Anglican Church, 107 Springfield Road (cnr of Koonung Road) Blackburn North

Thursday, 26 October, 2017 at 10:30 am

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LAWRENCE (nee Cook) Pamela May "Pammy May" Passed away suddenly but peacefully, aged 56 years. Pam will live on in our hearts forever. Loving wife of Andrew, stepmother to Rachel and Bronwyn, sister of Louise and husband Bernard, Darryl and wife Snezana, Kelvin and wife, Janelle, and aunt to Mayer, Rainer, Hannah, Elena and Bethany. The peace of God passes all understanding LAWRENCE (nee COOK) A Thanksgiving Service for the Life of Pamela Lawrence will be held at St. Alfred's Anglican Church, 107 Springfield Road, Blackburn North on Thursday October 26th 2017 at 10.30am. If you want to bring flowers, Pam would have appreciated a cut flower from your garden. Also, in keeping with Pam's wishes, memorial donations may be made to Asylum Seeker Resource Centre https://www.asrc.org.au. Private cremation will follow.

Lilies are one of Pammy's favorite flowers

Purple is Pammy's favorite color

It's a comfort to know that you're living in a lovely house above the highest clouds surrounded by rainbows and flowers with Kowey, Bruce, George and Dulcie. Au revoir, until we meet again, eh?

I only connected with my cousins last year, I was welcomed by all and connected to an amazing family history. I wish I had more time with Pam.

We only met a couple of times but your love and joy for our Lord impacted my life. Thank you Pam <3

To my dearest friend Pammy, I never thought I would be standing here today, using the past tense to talk about you. I’m so glad to have met you because you have enriched my life in so many ways. Even though life had been tough and you felt things so deeply, you personified everything good I first met Pammy in 2000 when we began this teaching journey together at Trinity College doing the Health Professionals program. My overwhelming memory of Pammy is that she was a giver who had a zest for life, was fun, full of whacky laughter and involved herself in so many different activities in Melbourne. She was a born teacher and took her role teaching English to migrants first at AMES and then later to overseas students at Trinity College very seriously and with gusto. Pam always maintained excellent relations with her students and became very close to a number of them, going the extra mile to help them when life got difficult. Pam even became a de facto mum to one of her students being there for her when she was struggling. Pam often invited students home for dinners to make them feel part of her family life with Andrew her husband and to experience Australian home life. She was an extremely non judgemental person and even when she moved to the country her ex students came up to stay and visit. She had that connection with them. She spoke gently and often with loving endearments which drew them to her. Apart from teaching, Pammy was also involved in many different activities with different groups of friends. She was into cycling, craft, sewing, baking and became a cupcake queen even toying with the idea of setting up a business. She loved afternoon teas with beautiful china and was a collector of many fine English trios all from op shops which was another of her great loves. Fat Helen’s in St Kilda, Vinnies, Salvos and anything vintage either in Melbourne or the country would draw her. She was the most organised person you could find and a very quick worker, able to organise events for a few to a very large number of people with ease. Nothing fazed her. No one could make a roast dinner like Pammy! Pammy was very hospitable and gracious and always extended warm invitations to drop in. She loved good conversations and was warm and funny. Her other love was for the outdoors. Anything relating to the sea and water was high on her agenda. Often she’d be out on the Yarra canoeing or swimming in the beach. Picnics and camping were a normal practice in the warmer months. Despite struggling with sleep issues, she was always full of vitality with lots of different ideas ready to try anything new, always the soul of kindness and generosity and ever so helpful. At work she was always ready to lend a helping hand with marking, entering marks in synergetic especially when the deadlines were upon us Her first love was for God and she had such a big heart for him, putting Him first before all she did. She went to Ridley College and did a Theological course to equip her with the work she felt God was calling her to do leading her to leave the comforts of Melbourne to work as a missionary with Pioneers in Indonesia. Her training in English as a second language also led her to teaching English to the Karens at the Thai-Burma border. In Melbourne, Pam’s strong sense of social justice led her to volunteer at the Ayslum Seekers Resource Centre. Pam could also be found working quietly and faithfully behind the scenes in church, cleaning toilets once a week. She was a lady of great faith in God and loved to read and pray. She believed that it is by grace we have been saved, through faith - and it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:4–5, 8). As Scripture so firmly assures us, that all who have trusted Jesus Christ can never be separated from his eternal love. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus has embraced us I have no doubt where she is now, enjoying eternal rest and complete joy because she believed in Jesus her Saviour and that He carved her name in the palms of His hands. So today in spite of our grief and loss, we can all rejoice that Pammy has gone home to a loving and forgiving God who has welcomed her into His mansion. We will miss her but we also know that we will one day be joyfully reunited with her. May we all find much comfort in that assurance. I love you Pammy and I’m so blessed to have been your friend. With much love from Priti

Flowers sent by Gayle in the USA for service at Trinity College

Tribute to Pam on Snez's Facebook Post (1 Nov. 2017) I love you Pam. I miss you dearly and can hardly believe that you are gone from this earthly life. I’m so glad that I have such beautiful memories of the life we shared. You enriched my life and that of many others. You were a treasure and there is no-one that can replace the uniqueness of who you were. I’m thankful for you and am proud of you, that despite your difficulties and struggles, you continued to minister to me to the end of your life. Thank you for the gift of you, your caring nature and your love of me, my family and countless other people throughout your life. I have much hope that healing, peace and eternal life are fully realised for you. You are home and free. I have the utmost assurance that one day we will rejoice together, laugh and feast over heavenly delights, wrapped in the loving arms of our wonderful God. xxx To friends, we have a tribute page set up for Pam (see link below). This shows aspects of her life, including the slide presentation and audio of the funeral. Her history is also detailed in the eulogy section. I also invite you to contribute with your own message via condolences, memories or symbols. Thank you for your support and love during this time of grief and great loss. https://bethel.etributes.com.au/etributes/pamela-lawrence/ *About suicide and mental illness* PS For those that don't know it is very important for you to know that Pam took her own life. It is does society no good in continuing to shroud suicide in mystery and silence. The true pathway to healing and processing this tragedy is by talking about it in an open, honest and real way. I will probably be doing a lot of this myself as there is a huge complexity to the events leading up to Pam's death that is very hard to ignore. Also, it is my hope that barriers will be broken down regarding mental illness and suicidal tendencies- that there will be acceptance, better communication and listening, especially with those that are grieving and suffering. I truly want shame and judgement to be obliterated for anyone who is suffering. And here are some big tips from me: don't put any time limits on grieving, just be with the person and offer plenty of hugs, and ask the right questions (example below) This is a helpful way to begin: 'I would love to help and this is what I'd like to do for you (e.g. make a meal, take you out for a cup of tea, sit with you, visit). You don't have to make a decision now I'll call you later and see how you are.' This type of response is especially appreciated after the funeral. And did I mention plenty of hugs? With regards to mental illness (or any other chronic illness for that matter!) all of the above applies, plus much perseverance in friendship and keeping in touch. Huge heaping doses of love from family and many friends is a key component to recovery. Accept them where they are at. Do not say things such as "pull your socks up", "get over it" or "stop thinking negative thoughts" This type of response is more harmful than helpful as it puts more pressure on the suffering person. It is not our job to fix people but to listen. And a final encouraging word "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up".

Tribute to Pam as spoken by Snezana Cook at Pam's Funera,l Oct. 12 2017 (The entirety of this speech did not make it in the audio of the funeral recording but I thought that people might appreciate reading it as makes up an important aspect of her life, especially in those last few months) My name is Snezana. I was not just the sister-in-law but a close friend of Pam’s for over 28 years. Over this time our friendship has grown and deepened in ways I would never have imagined. We shared so much of our life stories together, and in particular, our struggles with psychlogical health issues. What a huge encouragement it was for me to connect on this level with Pam, and to be understood and to understand. During the last few months of her life we were in very regular contact and drew very close together. I was just starting to recover from a traumatic experience with my health. Through sharing my story with her and her with me we found mutual encouragement, strength and yes, moments of joy and laughter. And we prayed together and for each other. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me. What a huge gift her prayers were to me. Even throughout her own decline into mental unwellness, and despite this state of mental and emotional improvishment, her despair and suffering she gave out of the very little she had and she gave some of it to me. This is the Pam we know and love. We shared so many spritual truths together. She knew and loved God, and had a passion to serve him. She cared for many people, especially in the final few years of her death. I am so thankful that I have many sweet memories of her, in particular, the last time she visited us in Tasmania. We spent two weeks together as a family as she was recovering from her resurgence of PTSD. We read and hugged, and did gentle activities together. I was so proud of the every small victory she had overcoming fears. Living in Tasmania meant it was not possible to be physically present in the challenging times she was experiencing. I so wanted to hold her in my arms and hug her. However, I am so glad that I had those regular times with her on the phone. And it may comfort those of you who have struggles in this area, that I told her that I loved her liberally and regularly. I hold these memories in close to my heart, as I do those memories of watching movies together (especially Star Trek), crafting together, our picnics, her discussions of a wide range of topics, her love of my children (her nieces) and inolvement in their lives, her ready laugh and love of adventure. As you know Pam was a story teller and had the gift of the gab. But there was a story in her life that was very hard to tell- this story of brokeness, vulnerability, failure, shame and feeling judged. I think if Pam was here now she would say tell your story anyway, despite what people think or say. Band together and forge a real and honest community of love and affection, where we don’t move away from people in pain. For I believe that this way of being will bring much healing to our lives. In the last phone call we had nearly three weeks ago I remember reminding her of God’s love, and there was nothing that could ever separate her from this great love of God’s, not even herself. She cried over this truth in relief and wonderment. And, she added, ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’. On the day before she went missing Elena and I were aniticapting having a chat to her. Not knowing what was to come I prayed for her in my personal prayer time. This was from selected verses in Psalms 30 and 31 dear to my heart. You set Pam’s feet in a spacious place. You turned Pam’s wailing into dancing You removed her sackcloth and clothed her with joy So that her heart may sing and not be silent Oh Lord my God Pam is giving you thanks forever. How glad I am that this true of Pam now. She has become a whole, healed person, full of life and joy, finally at peace in the glorious presence of our wonderful God.

Card from Gayle in the USA

Memory Timeline