John Edmond keeps the contents of his broken heart in a small ceramic dish.
With a weathered hand, he lifts the heart-shaped lid and yellowed newspaper clippings spring up and out - 18 of them now, one for each year he's been without his wife Susan.
When cancer ended their almost 50-year-old love story, John honoured Susan's dying wish to "remember me in my death, every year", by posting an 'In Memoriam' in the Mercury each January 29.
But his aren't borrowed words. John writes exquisite, original poetry for his beloved.
"Into the unknown you have wandered," he wrote in his latest poem, just published.
"I wondered if you know you have left behind a broken heart that will always love you so. I love you since we first met, I love you now, I will love you till the 12th of Never. Your loving husband, John."
Both Scottish migrants, both with red hair, John met Susan at her father's Unanderra home when he was 23 and she was 18.
He asked her to lunch and soon afterwards started sending her his love poetry.
"When I first met her, I used to write her a poem every day," John, 90, told the Mercury. "It used to drive her father wild.
"She kept them all and was very, very sorry if they disappeared, because she really loved reading them."
John smiles as he recalls Susan sharing one of the poems with his sister and his mother, the women with their heads together over the paper, giggling.
At a barbecue, a female friend once learned of John's love poems and after complimenting him, nodded towards her own husband and said, "he's never written poetry for me".
John's poems have otherwise remained largely secret. He has worked as a coal miner, a labourer at Tallawarra Power Station and a greyhound trainer, his burly CV belying a lifelong tender heart.
"When I was at school, I often got up in front of the class. The teacher would say, 'think about it for a minute, then give me a poem'. And I used to be very good," he said.
"I write in bed sometimes and some beautiful things come, but then I can't remember it!"
It became the couple's practice for Susan to write down John's words for him. Sometimes she'd name an object to get him started and set a time limit of five minutes for him to write in.
The couple married in 1968 and made their home in Farmborough Heights. They wanted children, but abandoned that dream after Susan suffered her sixth miscarriage.
The cancer diagnosis was a shock - a large, inoperable tumour in Susan's stomach.
John spent Susan's final three days at her bedside in Port Kembla Hospital before emerging to a stranger, darker world.
He says he lost his faith in God and his heart was broken so badly, his doctor diagnosed him with a bereavement disorder.
One of his earliest 'In Memoriams' captures some of the torment and disillusionment that defined those first years of grief.
"In the abyss of discontent we met and loved and then you went," he wrote. "The screaming silence since you've gone leaves me heartbroken and torn. Out of misery I proclaim after days do we really rise is there a place called paradise. I lost my faith but just in case I still seek the keys to the pearly gates. So don't clip my wings for I must fly so I can find you when I die. I'll love you my love, til the twelfth of never. Your devoted husband John."
"Everything we'd done, we'd done together," John told the Mercury.
"I couldn't go anywhere without, and she couldn't go anywhere without me. That's the way it was."
"I was that mad when she died. I lost my faith really."
He says he has found his way through the grief by following his doctor's advice to do the things he'd done before Susan died. That meant two hours spent in his home gym each day.
He also credits his neighbours with getting him through some dark times. Half the street seemed to turn out the night he took ill and had to be taken away in an ambulance.
New friendships have formed. John is planning get the old kitchen remodelled. Change comes, but it seems true love lasts forever or - better put - until the twelfth of never.
In Memoriam: some of John's words for Susan
Is there a paradise waiting, I doubt it. Will we ever meet again, I hope so. But I know we are born to walk alone, and if you find a soulmate, we are lucky. I was extremely lucky. I will love you my darling, until the twelfth of never. Your loving husband John
"Love is a hand held fast in your own, Love is a kiss the sweetest you've known, Love is a world that's shared by two, Love is wonderful, Love was you. I will love you til the 12th of never. Your devoted husband."
Its heartbreak without you, I can't explain. Memories are golden but they don't ease the pain. When the sun goes down and I'm alone I dream of things I can never deliver. I'll just keep loving you till the twelfth of never. Your devoted husband John
Our two hearts met, together we went to paradise, for 48 years we lived in the garden of Eden. I would like to send a letter but I don't know the way, I know we will never be as one until I come to stay. I will love you till the twelth of never. Your devoted Husband John