The inner circle of close family met at the mouth of the river on the outgoing tide. They held hands and then scattered Sue’s ashes into the water followed by fresh frangipani’s. The ash covered the surface and sank, the white and yellow flowers bobbed up and down on the way out to the vast ocean.
It’s a big task to organise an outdoor memorial service and Sue’s daughter, Sian, pulled together the resources to create a magical ceremony to farewell her mum. And the weather stayed fine as the afternoon thunderstorm clouds built up in the west and passed right by. Here are some excerpts from the Celebration of the Life of Sue Foster.
Opening Song: Stevie Nicks—Landslide
Dear family and friends, on behalf of Sue’s family, I would like to welcome you as you gather to pay your respect for the life of Susan May Foster also known as Sue, Susie, Granny Sue Sue, and Floss.
We come together in this sacred place of beauty and stillness, here, on Gumbaynggirr Country, a place Sue loved. We’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place and pay our respect to the Elders past, present and future.
Let us take a moment to feel the land beneath our feet, to look at the sky, breathe in the fresh air, and …feel the nurturing calm of this land.
My name is Wendy Haynes and I will be the celebrant today.
Today we will share just some of the many memories and experiences you have of being with Sue. This gathering is just one way you can grieve as a family and community; and also celebrate and give thanks her life; and offer support and care for Sue’s family at this time. It will be a mix of emotions and thoughts, a time of joy and sadness, tears and laughter… and lots of music as Sue wanted.
Sue loved a good outdoor ceremony. She loved to wander over and watch beautiful outdoor weddings… and it is in this spirit for her love of ceremony and garden settings….and her mermaid genes…that her family have chosen to be here by the water, with the flowers, the picnic blankets, and afternoon tea.
Sue was a beautiful, amazing woman, a loving and devoted partner, mum and granny, and a compassionate nurse and dear friend to many. She was loved, and she loved her family and friends.
Sue wanted lots of music and it took a while to settle on how we would fit six or seven pieces into the ceremony. After much deliberation, we narrowed it down to have one piece of music for reflection. We were in a magnificent location for people to look over the river while we listened to I Pray by Saritah
There were four tributes and then Sue’s partner, Greg told some beautiful stories of their time together followed by another track Third Planet by Modest Mouse.
Ed Sheeran—Castle on the Hill
Fleetwood Mac—Landslide (Again!)
Sue’s letter (to her family) mentioned having a dance for her, and while it may not be a traditional setting for dancing the family would like to honour her wishes. The family would like to invite you to dance or, if that’s not your thing, you may just wish to move your shoulders, move from side to side… while we listen to Sue’s request, Cherub by Ball Park Music
There are two baskets of frangipani’s … the family would like to invite you to place one in the outgoing tide, the river to the sea… you may wish to offer a prayer or blessing for Sue and her family as you place the flower in the water while we listen to another one of Sue’s favourite artists, Archie Roach as he sings One Song. “Don’t forget where we come from. Mother Earth will always hold you. And we are born of just one song.”
Thank you for your presence. May peace be with you.
Placing of Flowers in the Water song: One song, Archie Road