GEREHU, PORT MORESBY - One never really thinks that someone like Grand Chief Sir Michael Tom Somare will eventually have to leave us at the end of his journey.
How can someone who is very much Papua New Guinea leave us?
He is us. He is PNG. The luxury that every child subconsciously takes for granted that, daddy is there.
But it's only when daddy is gone that, we realise the radar has snapped and we must manage on our own.
It is only when we are alone that we try to recall our father's counsel and wisdom. Why he did the things he did and said the things he said.
Although my personal interaction with the great man was minimal, there was one attribute that clearly resonated from his persona. Love for his people. All his people. Papua New Guinea.
He tried to weave us together, from the highlands to the coast and the atolls. Even to his last breath.
He is The Father of PNG. Our Papa who united us once in 1973 at self-governance, again in 1975 at independence and now a nation mourns in unison as one people.
Although different in certain respects, we all have our affinity and connection to this great man who was bigger than just his clan and tribe, larger than any region.
There would not have been a better person born of tribe in our land to unify us and cross the threshold of colonial Administration over to self-government and independence.
No bigger heart and none more tolerant than the father of a thousand tribes.
Papa, a difficult but worthy calling you took to heart from the start and made it your own even unto your final hour.
In the life of any nation, let alone one so diverse as PNG, there will rise only a rare few to stand beside you.
As we mourn his passing and celebrate his life, let us honour his memory by working towards unity.
He united us as a people, gave us an identity among nations and led us to be so.
The least we can do in honour of his memory is to grow stronger together As One People. He saw PNG as his own. No different from the children he was blessed with.
Only a rare few will have a seat beside you. A rare few. Every nation has theirs - we have you. In life and in passing, you are PNG.
Rest now Papa, you have run your race. Your legacy is indeed timeless.
Just as the mighty Wara Sepik, it will live on.