Just sayin’…

March 18th, 2022Just sayin’…

I WASN'T going to write this, because it's all a bit too close, but Mum loved being in this column, even when she jokingly told me she was going to sue for some mostly imagined slander, so here goes.

I WASN’T going to write this, because it’s all a bit too close, but Mum loved being in this column, even when she jokingly told me she was going to sue for some mostly imagined slander, so here goes.
Last Sunday, March 6, 22 months on, we finally managed to hold a memorial day for Mum. And it was perfect.
She had always told us, for years, she wanted her funeral to be “big and sad”. “None of those jokey ones, Donna, I want everyone crying.”

Of course, Covid had not made the same promise as Kyle and I, and the funeral was sad but not big. Just 20 people and no gathering afterwards. (Mind you, we did stream it across Australia and the world and I know it was watched in America, Japan and England. Mum would have been impressed by that…)
So we planned on that day to hold a memorial, almost a year later on June 21, Mum’s birthday. Again Covid raised its ugly head and changed that with a lockdown. And so we decided by October last year all would be fine. I mean, how long could Covid last against a country with a vaccine. But it’s a feisty little bugger.
So the last ditch attempt was March 6 this year. If that didn’t work, I was giving up. I can be determined but also realistic. And you know when you telephone an older person, perhaps late 80s or early 90s, and they ask “Betty who, dear?” and you have to say “You know, Betty Kelly, one of your best friends”, that time is running out.

Anyway, the invites went out, with the request that everyone who attended was triple vaxxed and did a rapid antigen test on the day. And as the day drew closer Kyle and I stopped going anywhere or seeing anyone, pretty much our norm now, in case we caught the dreaded Omicron.
We also watched the weather with dismay. Mum had tasked Kyle with scattering her ashes many years ago, off Olivers Hill in Frankston. “Not from the shore, Kyle, from a boat, don’t be lazy.”
So we booked a hire boat but a couple of days out from the event they texted to say the weather was too rough and it was a no go. FFS.
But to the rescue came the Frankston Yacht Club. We were holding the event there and got in touch to see if they could find a volunteer to drive a boat out for us. Yes, they said, we can do that.
Sunday finally arrived and Kyle and I, my brother Rick and his wife Dawn, and our nephew Ryan, met at the boat ramp off Olivers Hill. As promised the boat was waiting and off we went to a spot just off the viewing area on the hill. If you know Frankston, you know where I mean.
Mum was a potter, of some renown which I can say now she is not here listening, ready to protest, and we had her ashes in a pot she had made with a very good lid. Making good lids that fit, that’s the hard part of pottery. And Alicia from Verey’s Funerals had very kindly transferred the ashes and put a light run of silicone around the lid to make sure there were no accidents. “Just make sure you take a knife with you to give it a bit of a slice through on the day,” she said.
So there was Kyle, on his knees on the floor of the boat, sawing away at the lid, to no avail. “How much bloody silicone did she put on?” he asked. Even the young volunteer driver commented “She’s a stubborn woman” in reply to Kyle’s “She’s not coming out!”. Of course, it worked eventually and we did everything Mum asked, along with dropping her pot and lid to the bottom of the sea where I hope one day some snorkler will find it and give it a new life. Oh, for 10 minutes while we were out there, just reminiscing, the wind dropped, the rain stopped and it was perfect.
Then it was off to the yacht club where about 50 people gathered to remember Mum. And it was lovely. We had a couple of speeches, looked at a great video and just chatted. For many of the older people it was the first time they had been out and about in two years and it made my heart swell to see them all, not just honouring Mum but enjoying an afternoon together looking out over the bay.
We stayed the night at a mate’s house and drove back on Monday, both feeling very light and happy. I guess it has been weighing heavily on our minds, my role to make it big, and Kyle’s to “sprinkle” as he says, Mum from the water “not the land”.
I was talking later to someone who had done something similar, after Covid dealt its hand, and we decided sometimes it is nicer to have some space to grieve and recover and then hold a happy memorial day – yes, with tears, but also with laughter.
I miss Mum every day but she is now where she wanted to be.

(If anyone feels they would like to see the video it’s at https://youtu.be/fHNAWlJ6wyk – she would kill me if she knew I was doing this!)

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