Most touching Hughes tribute yet

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 01 Desember 2014 | 20.01

PM Tony Abbott pays tribute to cricketer Phillip Hughes, before the MPs stand as a mark of respect of his recent passing.

Phil Hughes on a night out with Neil D'Costa and Romina Di Federico in 2009. Source: NewsComAu

HE used a lingo which was almost impossible to decipher at times. And that was all part of Phillip Hughes's boyish charm.

Like when he'd say 'Meens, it's all good bruz".

"Meens", for the record, is Romina Di Federico, one of the closest people to Phillip Hughes — from his early years in Sydney to the tragic day of his passing last week.

Romina was married to Neil D'Costa, Michael Clarke's former batting coach, who brought Hughes to the big city from his tiny home town of Macksville, then coached and mentored him for years.

From the moment Phillip Hughes arrived in Sydney aged just 17, he and Romina Di Federico forged a close bond.

A pic taken of Hughes aged 17 in 2005. Source: News Limited

Any coach has to be a little tough in order to instil discipline, and D'Costa was no exception. That meant Romina was often the good cop to her (then) husband Neil's bad cop. To Phillip Hughes, she was something halfway between a de facto mum and a good friend. To Romina, Phillip was something halfway between a de facto son and a cheeky mate.

Always, no matter how high his star rose, Phillip Hughes stayed true to his friends.

"After he first played for Australia, he came back to Sydney and went to the Easter Show with my daughter Tara and me," Romina recalls.

Hughes and Neil D'Costa together in 2012. Photographer: Liam Kidston. Source: News Limited

Anyone who knew Phillip Hughes well might suspect that the trip to the Easter Show probably had a lot to do with his love of cattle, which Michael Clarke spoke about so eloquently on the weekend.

And yes, Phillip Hughes probably did enjoy casting his eye over the prize heifers and steers. But the outing was mostly about easy time with a family he knew and trusted and could always feel comfortable with.

Make no mistake, Phillip Hughes loved the high life, the celebrity, a bit of bling in his ear. He also loved hard work and real people.

"He was always so grounded. He'd come and have most of his dinners with us," Romina recalls.

"He had a light way of seeing things, even when things were tough. He just had this way of being playful."

A playful spirit, but he knew when to put his game face on. Source: NewsComAu

As Australia struggles to come to grips with the loss of a young man we've all come to feel we know this week, people close to young Phillip Hughes are enduring a different, more intense level of pain.

Romina Di Federico took to Facebook this weekend to post a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to Phillip Hughes.

We asked Romina if it was OK to republish that post, and she graciously agreed. We sincerely thank her for that, and hope you enjoy reading her brief but deeply touching words.

I'm feeling numb parts of me aching, resisting, trying to work it all out. Then I realise there isn't anything to work out. It is what it is and that is all.

This pic was taken on my 34th birthday. We had lunch with friends and family at Cockle Bay then went for drinks which continued beyond my memory.

We have been through so much together since Neil had bought you to live with us at 17yrs. You were raw and innocent, straight from the country and the big city was about to know you well. We laughed, we cried, we celebrated. We grew through all the ups and the downs. You always managed to laugh during the times I was being too serious, trying to be the 'responsible one'. You would grab me in a half hug and head lock saying 'Meen's it's all good bruz' and we would laugh it off. I really didn't get the whole 'bruz' thing, but I knew what you meant. You were like a brother to me and to many.

I remember when I first met your parents it was 2007 in our living room and Neil mapped out your game plan. Neil's vision for you was precise. At the time I was thinking that really sounds amazing but overly ambitious, 'could this kid really be that good?' Simply, yes.

I'm not one to grieve openly to write this post is taking some courage, to remain open and share as many others have done. I know this will help heal, to have others share their love and support. I will keep some of our memories close and the pics of us will forever be my keepsake.

My heart knows your light will shine forever but my head goes why is this so?

You were always greater and with your greatness you left us.

My friend you taught me plenty in our time together.

I will miss your smile, your courage, your talent, your hugs and the laughs and your being with us.

You've touched the world with your spirit.

Forever in our hearts you will live and in the night sky you will be the brightest star forever shining upon us.

Happy Birthday Phillip Joel Hughes from wherever you are today I will have a drink for you.

R x

And while we're talking about tributes to Phillip Hughes, here's our other recent favourite piece of social media.

Good onya, Hugh Jackman.

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