Cara died a short time after she had successfully received a heart transplant. Cara was a courageous and beautifully wild young woman who was an advocate for HRI and organ donation. She was just 39 years old and had her wedding dress ready to marry her fiancé on the 28th October 2023.
I stood up to the lectern towards the close of the opening song, Know Me Well by Roo Planes, and began Cara’s ceremony with the first two lines from a credo, the Holstee Manifesto, that she loved.
Wendy: ‘This is your life. Do what you love and do it often.’
I can imagine Cara reading you the rest of this credo with a big smile and an enthusiasm that lights a spark within you. That you might truly hear: ‘This is your life. Do what you love and do it often.’ Cara Clare Curan did what she loved and she did it often: she lived her life fully, beautifully, courageously and she lived her passion.
When talking with family and friends, one of the key threads that is woven within all the stories is Cara’s presence, her way of being, her strength, wisdom, compassion and humour… a connection where you came away feeling inspired and loved. Today we celebrate the ‘magic sparkle’ that Cara shared with each of you and also give space for the deep sadness and grief that is present– everything is welcome here. The family have asked if I would read the eulogy that they have written.
Cara was born on 21st June 1984 at the Crown Street Woman’s Hospital Sydney, just ten days after her nanna Dee Dee had passed. It quickly became apparent that Cara was very sick and was transferred to Prince Henry Hospital. From that day on, Cara became the fighter we all knew and loved. With operations on day three and day six and another at six months, Cara’s fighting spirit was well and truly established…. (Note: Cara was born with congenital heart disease (CHD Pulmonary Atresia).
Tributes from her fiancé, parents, sister, bridesmaids, close friends.
After the photo reflection:
Grief can be a roller coaster, with ups and downs within the same minute, the same hour. Grief can feel like it’s always present, and then, in quiet moments, also take one by surprise – a song, a memory can surface and before you know it – it’s a great unravelling. We may wonder what we can say to take away this pain, resolve the questions, the ‘what if’s’ or try to fix it… However, as family and community, we can listen, and not try and fix grief. We can offer our quiet, caring presence especially in those difficult moments. It may feel uncomfortable, awkward and yet, we can speak Cara’s name, recall memories.
This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop;
they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over-analysing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Life is simple.
Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them,
So, go out and start creating. Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.
When I read the tributes that were to be spoken in the ceremony, I asked Cara’s dear friend, Jas, if we could break her tribute into two parts. One to be read as part of the tributes and the other to be spoken just before the Words of Remembrance. It was perfect.
Jas: I invite you to close your eyes…. bring an image of Cara into your mind’s eye. Recall one of your most treasured memories with her…recall the sound of her voice… her beautiful eyes… where it was that you were… what music was playing? Recall her smile… her unbridled laugh… Maybe she had glitter on her eyes, dancing at a festival…. maybe it’s the memory of one of her countless acts of kindness and compassion…or the joy and sparkle she would bring with her into a room .. Connect to her spirit within your heart… let it blossom with a thousand petals. Anchor its roots and take life so you can carry her with you.
Let’s keep her spirit alive. Let our hearts beat strong for her. Let her life inspire our own.
To take the leap of faith. Go on the adventure. Fall in love. Try something new.
Bring the people you love together. Often. And register as an organ donor.
Because life is short and all too precious. But Cara has shown us it can also be full and magical.
Cara will be remembered for the love her fiancé, Pav. Pav the Rock. Pav meant the world to Cara and for Pav, Cara was his world. (To Pav) The 28th of this month, October, will always be the anniversary of your marriage, that wasn’t celebrated with Cara… And we acknowledge the pain and grief of this …and honour your devotion to each other, living side by side, day and night, being best friends, and a support, one to the other for nearly a decade. You were her beloved, as she was yours.
Cara will be remembered for the love and appreciation she held for her mum, Cath, dad, Tom and sister, Tia. For the times you sat by her side and held her close from the day she was born. She was deeply grateful you gave her the space she needed to fly.
Cara will be remembered for her love of her friends, young and old; and her wide reaching community and followers. You gave her strength, encouragement and a zest for living.
You will all miss her hugs, her laugh, phone calls, messages, the stupid memes in the middle of the night, her humour and her stubbornness.
You will remember Cara for her strong heart, her fearless courage. For always doing what she wanted to do, in the way she wanted. Cara’s way!
You will remember Cara for her broken heart, her tender heart, her vulnerability, her sensitivity. Her willingness to bring whatever she could from her experience: tears, frustration, acceptance, fun, curiosity… to help others. She was a passionate educator and advocate. She was a warrior woman.
You will remember Cara for her wild heart. A huge heart that couldn’t be made small.
You will remember her imperfect heart and her new heart and the challenges and strength it took to live a life packed full of love, compassion and courage.
Cara was a wild heart with a gypsy soul. May she rest in peace.
You can watch the ceremony here
Articles about Cara’s wait for a heart transplant:
Registering to become a donor is easy…