The funeral is happening as this post is being published. I wanted to share here, for my own personal record but also for you, the eulogy I will give today….
Growing up we were always a family of 10: 5 A’s, 3 B’s and 2 Senior C’s!
As my husband has already mentioned, one of the first things he learnt about our family is that we will get together for “The opening of an envelope”. Friends used to think it was odd that we, “the A’s” spent so much time with “the B’s” and that an invitation to a family dinner was an invitation to join “the 10”, not the 5 of us. Some of my friends came to know The B’s so well over the years, that they’ve been sending cards and sharing their memories and grief with me this past week. Some have even joined us here today to celebrate her life.
As a child, and as an adult, Aunty Di was, along with my Uncle, another trusted adult in my world; another source of utterly unconditional love, care and support and my brother and sister and I regard our cousin to be as our fourth sibling. I know Aunty Di considered my daughter, to be as a granddaughter, and she loved her as such.
My siblings reminded me recently of the many pikelet breakfasts we had with Aunty Di. She would let us help make the batter and then would make us pikelets in the shape of our initials. As we’ve talked about Aunty Di over the past week the baking memories have come through strongly, from all sides of the family.
Early last year when my daughter turned 1, I faced the daunting task of making her birthday cake. Again friends didn’t understand why I felt like this was both a very important, and very intimidating task. They didn’t grow up with an aunty who would make whatever amazing creation was requested and who consequently spent a good portion of the year thinking about which cake they’d like for next year!! I remember year choosing something quite elaborate. I can’t remember what it was but I remember looking up at her as she said “That’s very elaborate sweetie.” That of course, meant nothing to me and I so went on my merry way. It’s only now, as an adult (and having now made a couple of these cakes myself) that I realise that “it’s very elaborate sweetie” was code for “this is going to take a really long time and are you sure you don’t want something else?”. But, she made that cake for me, lovingly and gladly as was her nature, and the nature of her love.
I must admit that this past week has not seemed at all real. I can hear her, “Hi Sweetie”, “Hi Beautiful” and whether my eyes are open or shut my memory of her, the healthy her, is as real as if she were about to walk into the room at any moment. I am so thankful that she knew how dearly she was loved by us kids, and us by her. There are very few people in the world who will love you unconditionally. To stand here and know that she did, means more than I will ever be able to say.
Aunty Di’s influence has impacted spheres of my life that I didn’t even realise until this week, down to the way I speak to my own daughter. I grew up with Aunty Di and Ma calling my sister and I their “beautiful girls” and “precious girls” and only this past week have I realised why those phrases slip so easily off my tongue when I speak to my own daughter.
I promised her, a few days before she passed, that my little girl would know all about her great-aunt. It’s a promise that will be easy to keep as Aunty Di was so much a part of my life that I wouldn’t want anything but for that to continue, through the sharing of memories, stories and love.