Cape Town – “Her biggest love was Christmas and it drove me mad,” said Danielle Steyn, paying tribute to Meghan Cremer, her murdered friend and show jumper during a private memorial at Vaderlandsche Rietvlei Stables in Philippi this week.
“She would start texting me, ‘It’s this many days until Christmas’ messages from January already. And I’d be, ‘Meghan, we have just had Christmas!’
“June was one of her best months because she would tell us all it was halfway to Christmas. ‘I just want to decorate my horse and my cottage.’
“Then by the end of October her Christmas tree would be up. There was no one quite like her. That’s what I will miss. That and her compassion.
“No matter what she had on her plate she would be there for you in a heartbeat.”
Cremer was abducted two Saturdays ago soon after she left the stables, where she lived and kept her horses. Following an extensive search, her tied-up body was found last Thursday in a Philippi sand mine.
Cremer’s mother, Gill, family members and friends, several from Cremer’s home town of Knysna, gathered on a field at Vaderlandsche Rietvlei Stables for the memorial, which guests described as “laid-back and informal, just like Meghan”.
“More like a family reunion than memorial,” said one, while in the background, children kicked a soccer ball and grazing donkeys drew smiles amid the tears as they meandered in between mourners who ate ice creams from Meghan’s favourite shop, The Creamery.
Gill Cremer was heartbroken and unable to pay tribute to her daughter. “We still have a long way to go,” she told Weekend Argus.
“At this point we just want to put her to rest. We just need time. We saw her this morning, so it’s bit rough right now.”
She left the public words to family friend Neil van Hees, who said Meghan had four passions in her life: “Her horses, nephew Jack, ice cream and her spirit of generosity which was best demonstrated during Christmas.”
Friend Michaela, the daughter of Linda Mohr who manages the riding school at the stables and who was like a second mother to Meghan, said: “This farm is not going to be the same without her. Wherever you look, Meghan’s there.”
A friend from Knysna broke down in tears while paying tribute to Meghan’s “kind heart and fierce loyalty”.
Earlier, Van Hees pointed to the solace in the words on Meghan’s memorial shrine, which came from an almost premonitory post she made on Facebook on June 29.
Quoting US early childhood education expert Lilian Katz, it read: “Each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children.
“We must recognise that the welfare of our children and grandchildren is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people’s children.
“After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it.
“If one of our children is threatened or harmed by violence, someone else’s child will be responsible for the violent act.
“The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people’s children.”