Glenn McGrath shares reflections on grief and loss at San Memorial Service

Glenn McGrath sharing a message at Wahroonga Adventist Church.

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Australian cricketing great Glenn McGrath shared his heartfelt reflections on grief and loss at the annual San Memorial Service, held on October 7 at Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, NSW).

The service is dedicated to remembering the lives of patients who have passed away at Sydney Adventist Hospital. It serves as a meaningful opportunity for family and friends to come together to honour, remember and celebrate their loved ones.

Mr McGrath, renowned for his exceptional cricket career and for his charity, the McGrath Foundation, spoke of the personal tragedies that have touched his life. In 2008, he endured the devastating loss of his wife Jane. More recently, he faced the grief of losing some of his cricket family—his mentor and “hero” Rod Marsh, and team-mates Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds. And in May, his father Kevin passed away.

Around 150 people attended the memorial service.

“There’s no-one immune to loss or to grief, and it’s something that I have reflected on quite a bit over the years,” he said.

“When you go through something like that, it puts life into perspective. All the things we worry about on a daily basis, you realise are not that important, but what is important are the people in our lives: our family, our close friends.”

Mr McGrath encouraged those who have experienced loss to share stories about their loved one and the positive impact they’ve had on their life. He spoke about the influence on his life of Shane Warne (“an incredible person”), his father (“my role model”) and his late wife (“a beautiful person inside and out”).

Placing a rose in memory of a loved one.

Mr McGrath concluded his message with a quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now, you’ll have more regrets from the things you didn’t do than from the things you did.”

“And to me that’s how we should live our lives,” he said, “to get out there and make the most of everything, not only out of love and respect for ourselves, out of love and respect for our friends and family, but even more so for the love and respect of our loved ones who aren’t here anymore. We need to pick ourselves up, carry on, stay strong and do it for them as well.”

Themed “Honouring Story”, the memorial service was organised by the San’s Spiritual Care Services team and sponsored by the San Foundation. It included special music, poetry and prayer. During the service, attendees were invited to place a rose on a wreath at the front of the church in memory of their loved one. The service was followed by afternoon tea at the Fox Valley community centre.

From left, Wahroonga church pastor David McKibben, Glenn McGrath and Dr Steve Stephenson.

Spiritual Care Services team manager Dr Steve Stephenson said the San’s support for families extended beyond the hospital walls.

“The memorial service is an extension of the care we provide to the families who have lost loved ones,” he said.

Former San CEO Dr Leon Clark expressed his appreciation for the event to chaplain Pastor Sid Griffith.

“In his capacity as a former chairman of the San Foundation who had traditionally organised the event and his regular attendance, he was impressed that the 2023 program was the best that he had attended,” Pastor Griffith said. “It was very meaningful to him personally and a tremendous credit to those involved in planning and presenting the excellent memorial service.”

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