Tuesday, September 7, 2010


(Waratah, telopea speciosissima, in bud, early this morning in the garden)

Yesterday at four o'clock, from high up on the tip of Point Piper, we were staring across a silvery blue haze to Manly. It's one of those rare magic spots where you can see the harbour as as basin, and the dimpled water reflected the gently lowering sun into a million tiny rays of light.

A small crowd of family and friends stayed mostly indoors, talking, telling stories, remembering, catching up, all those things you do at a wake, or remembrance, or a celebration as it's called these days. I don't know why they were so stuck inside, unless that was where the food, drink, and most comfortable chairs were. They didn't all live with views like this, surely not. There was a northern terrace, and a parterre with lavender in full bloom beyond. Overhead on a high pergola a Wisteria was just showing early signs of colour, and even higher above it was a huge Jaceranda in early bud. Imagine in a month I thought, or a stinking hot Sydney January day, under the dappled light with a gentle northerly breeze off the water wafting up the slope. Maybe it was just too beautiful outside, too beautifully sad.

Anyway, I arrived with little B under my arm to a small gasp from the room. It was quite an entrance, down a semicircular stone staircase, past a human sized marble antiquity necessitating a nod, to a room full of upturned faces to see who had rung the bell. It's Bearsy! Most wore black, or variations from sombre greys to black, and there were even men with black ties. It seemed strange for someone who if they leant anyway at all inclined to the Budda. But then S knew about these things, and they wore what she wore, literally for some; she had her own label. K wore black; he always does.

There were no speeches, no tears, no regrets, but only happiness for a life pursued to the end with enormous style and an intrinsic elegance which defied even the ravages of chemotherapy.

What was special was the genuine regard everyone held for the other. But our common link had just left us and while we swore to keep in touch, swapped contact details again and again, I wonder. She had a power, even a command, and drew people together from the most unlikely sources, family, new friends, old friends, from business, from neighbourhood, from doggy walks in the parks, and now here was her human collection, except now she was gone.

I think adoption papers have been signed for B, K saw to that, but hand over is not til the end of the week, so we have him still, 'Mummy's best boy'.

1 comment:

Smorg said...

Thanks for sharing this, mate. Quietly dignified even when you must be feeling rather down.

Wising you and bearsy all the very best from the other side of the ocean.