20 June 2018, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Rockingham WA, Australia
Before I begin on behalf of our family I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to the Ladies of Bethanie - it was always so obvious to me how much you cared about Mum and right until the end, you were unwaveringly kind and compassionate. We are so grateful to have had you there for Mum and Dad and wanted to acknowledge how much your kindness meant to us all. Thank you.
To Father VJ, thank you for offering Mum support over the years and for giving her the last rights - it was beautiful to listen to you and pray with you as your words shepherded her through her final moments.
Thank you to Emily for your courage. You are our hero. Thank you.
Thank you also to Eileen and Gerrard McMorrough who provided me with light when I was in total darkness. I will never forget this.
To all who have attended today to celebrate Mum’s life with us, thank you. So many familiar faces here today - she would’ve been so chuffed.
So, to the wonderful Marie, Ibu, Sunshine
For as long as I can remember, I felt like Mum loved me deeply and unconditionally. It’s been truly humbling to have been loved so much for my entire life - it was her greatest gift to me because she taught me so much just by loving me.
When I was a kid I always remember the school holidays - Mum was always so happy to have us home and I remember never being bored - whether it was big days at the beach or in the pool or wandering through an art gallery when I got a bit older, she was always so thrilled to spend time with me - I’ll never forget that. She was my first real friend and until the end of time she will always be my best friend.
As I grew older our relationship naturally morphed with us and I understood more about her as a human and how she’d made her way in the world. It was my honour to get to know her.
I never laughed more than when I was with my mum. She was always cheeky, irreverent & naughty - when I heard her tell a nurse to feck off in her final days, I’m proud to say she was also completely unrepentant.
She was a glorious human being.
We had some great adventures together - so many fun times like when we would go to Bali and she would be at the plane door ready to get off before the plane had even finished taxiing in for landing - or how when you gave her a gift you’d know if she liked it or not if she asked for the receipt. In later years I just gave her the receipt just in case because in her words ‘I like it now but I might not tomorrow’.
She was incorrigible.
Other great moments came when we were just sitting on the couch nattering away or, on the phone making each other laugh when one of us was a bit down. Little moments that will mean so much forever.
There were pivotal moments in my life where she gave me amazing advice and wise counsel. At times she had made choices in her life that others didn’t agree with so she taught me to be sure of myself and the choices I made - that I didn’t have to justify myself to anyone.
She understood my need to move to Melbourne and often comforted me on my guilt about leaving because she felt that way about coming to Australia and leaving her family. She understood this and whenever I wailed about it, she always comforted me and said ‘my darling, you are exactly where you’re meant to be’. And in the very tough times, this still rings in my ears.
There will never be another woman like her.
So now that she’s gone and I’m away from home, the nights seem a bit longer so I find myself awake wondering what Mum is doing right now.
What does her world look like? I find it really comforting to think about this so let me tell you how I think she’s going.
On arrival Mum would’ve been welcomed by her Mum and Dad, her Granny and sister Vivienne all of whom she missed deeply her whole life. Great Aunty Nan with the booming voice and heaving bosom will also be there - she was lovely and terrifying in equal measure.
As she arrives Mum’s smile will be lighting up the room. She always had an incredible smile so it’s seems right that she shares that with who she’s with now. Her nickname was Sunshine so now, she will be sunshine itself I think.
Mum will have perfect vision - she will see luscious trees, plants, the clear blue ocean and lots and lots of flowers. Frangipanis, succulents and palm trees. The scents and sights of which will delight her.
Her hearing will be perfect as the birds herald her arrival.
She’ll hear all her favourite music - Neil Diamond, the Fureys, Andrea Botcelli, Andre Rier who she had a massive crush on, and there’ll be some Indonesian gamelan in the background, the sound of which she loved waking up to in Bali.
Mum will be feeling no pain.
She’ll feel the breeze on her face and the kisses of her family around her. I suspect she will be dancing because that was something she always loved doing so I expect a decent amount of booty shaking.
She will walk unaided and freely.
But now to the all important question
What will Mum be wearing?
Without doubt, she will be wearing a hat. Something big and glorious. And she’ll be loving herself sick in it but at the same time, she will be worried if her hair looks ok.
She’ll be wearing a sarong, tied up at the front but the jury is out on whether she’ll be wearing any underwear - she was quite fond of having the wind in her willows on a warm day so that’s anyone’s guess right now - and good luck to her on that score.
And I know that would make her laugh her head off that I mentioned this.
She will quickly find popularity - she’ll hang with the bohemian crowd to talk about art and all things creative whilst looking down on us all - maybe moving plants or making pictures on the wall wonky or helping me finally grow a frangipani in Melbourne - she’ll be throwing us clues and gifts from now on I believe. We just have to be on the lookout.
Wherever Mum is, it’s a warm day, every day.
She is never cold and her heart beats fiercely.
And she is happy.
So what’s he legacy?
For me, it’s her big heart, her always seeing the bright side of life and the good in people. How she would always say hello to people she didn’t know just to brighten their day, and hers. I find myself doing this and loving it as I get older. I will think of her when I sip tea from a beautiful China cup and saucer and every time I rifle through my massive scarf collection and, when I look in the mirror I can see her. What a gift that is.
Her love of art flows through me - I see beauty everywhere I go and she taught me that - to find beauty in the little things.
She’s passed on her love of cooking and entertaining so the house is always full of people which I love.
She was a true traveller - she boarded a ship as a very young woman with my dad and two little ones and moved to the other side of the world. I’ve always found that truly brave and to have had adventures as many and as long as she did, she’s inspired me to travel the world as much as I can. Meet people, try new foods, new music and new cultures - what an amazing legacy.
My job now is to honour that legacy.
But the big question is: will she make good on her threat to haunt me?
God, I hope so.
So mum, I guess this is where I get off and you move on down the road.
Towards the sunshine.
Thank you Mum
For loving me
For raising me
For protecting me
For believing in me
And, for being my friend
Thank you for everything.
You are my best friend and I will love you forever.
This is not goodbye, it’s just an intermission until we meet again.
I love you Mum.
Mind yerself now