Four Funerals and a Poetry Slam

It’s been a beautiful and busy week with four funerals and a poetry slam.

Last week on Wednesday 24th August the McMaster family said goodbye to Roslyn.

Roslyn McMaster

These are some of the words of remembrance before I closed the ceremony.

Roslyn’s kind, thoughtful and supportive nature will be how you remember her. She was adventurous and fun to be with. You’ll remember Roslyn working hard in the paddocks, relentlessly picking out the fireweed in the paddocks, chopping firewood—farming was in her blood and she loved everything about being outdoors in the garden—far better than doing housework which, we know, she just tolerated.

You’ll be reminded of her when you hold close her quilts or travel to familiar places that you loved sharing.  You’ll miss Roslyn’s humour, bright eyes and smile… and her way of bringing joy and happiness to everyone she met.  Roslyn will be remembered for her legendary scones, her sage advice, and the contribution she made to discussions… always putting a positive spin on things. She was a woman of common sense, integrity, fairness and tenacity.

Roslyn’s love and devotion were ever present in all she said and did.  She was an amazing wife, mum and the best nan ever. May your thoughts and hearts be nourished by Roslyn’s capacity to love and her deepfelt generosity of spirit.

The recording of the ceremony can found here. Dated 24th August 2022.

On Thursday, a large ‘flock’ gathered at The Jetty Beach House in Coffs Harbour to say farewell to the Sawtell Birdman, Peter Higgins, whose unexpected death was a huge shock to his family and community. Peter’s obituary can be found here from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Peter Higgins

From the Words of Remembrance for Peter:

Peter will be remembered for his love of nature whether he was walking in the arid desert country enjoying the thrill of sighting a rare Flock Bronzewing or the Gibberbird amongst the desert grasses; or ambling through the lush subtropical rainforest listening out for the lyrebirds, or on the beach spying birds of prey along the headlands… or at home, seeking out the cause of what was upsetting the Noisy Miners on the washing line.

Peter’s generosity of spirit and enthusiasm, his entertaining birdy nerdiness, his tenacity, passion and dedication, his care and silliness—will be cause to celebrate and grieve…because these qualities brought you great joy and because you will miss them.

The desert night may seem quieter, the beach a little more wild and the birds… what more can be said about the birds?  

May the square-tail kite, osprey or songlark… or the birds you cannot name… stir in you a sense of peace, thrill, joy and connection… and if you hear their song, or sight their presence and sadness stirs within you, may you feel lifted, gentlelike a feather weight, by Peter’s love.

On Friday 26th August, family, friends and community gathered to say goodbye to an old Coffs Harbour local, Henry Bray. The family had lived in the same house for 48 years in Bailey Avenue—a classic old neighbourhood—where there were gates in each of the three side fences, neighbourly drinks were shared weekly and community care sustained and nourished the close neighbours for years.  As part of the opening of the ceremony, I wrote,

When I visited Dave and Sam a few days ago at their family home in Bailey Avenue, I felt the sense of security and humble abundance that was their life together—a safe place of familiarity, of knickknacks and stories, of comfort and ease surrounded by caring and kind neighbours who have also lived there for decades. The Bray home was a welcoming place… the door was always open, kettle on and biscuits ready!

Henry Bray

Here is the link to watch the livestream.   Henry’s daughter, Sam, read, the poem, My Hero

And yesterday, the family of Daphne Rudd honoured the life of their 97 year old mum. A life story of adventure….

This morning we will share stories, tributes, photos and music that will give acknowledgement to Daphne’s long life. Being born in 1925, in the depression and growing up through the Second World War, she knew how to make ends meet, and she always made the best of the opportunities and lived a life of adventure. Daphne travelled extensively, had lifelong friendships and, as in every life, there was challenge and change.  Daphne was a goer—been everywhere, done everything.  

Here is the link to watch the livestream. Scroll down to 31st August.

The Coffs Harbour Poetry Slam. I was there on Tuesday 30th August. Some great poems and lovely people. The wonderful Jason John took out first place!

I’ll share my poem, Dead Awkward Conversation and the recording tomorrow!

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