A River to the Sea—Running Free

Two Strong Hearts

I always take a few conscious breaths when I come to stand at the lectern or at the front of the ceremonial area. I pause a moment to connect with myself, the guests—right to the back of the room, and to the closest family at the front.

With the Celebration of Gail’s Life, I began the ceremony by acknowledging the opening song that we had just listened to.

The lyrics of the opening song by Johnny Farnham, bring to mind the power of a strong heart, ….reaching out forever like a river to the sea, ….running free.  

We come together to celebrate the strong and loving heart of your Mum, your sister, Aunty, cousin, your Nan, your neighbour, your friend—we come to honour Gail’s loving heart that will touch you forever, like that connection that exists between the river and the sea, …and in Gail’s inimitable way, always running free.

After the welcome, I spoke to their pain of Gail’s sudden death.

As we gather, we will honour your mourning and also, your disbelief. Gail’s unexpected and sudden death has been a huge shock for her family and for those close to her. Even now, it feels surreal at times. There may be… naturally, regrets and, at times, possibly anger that there were no last farewells, no opportunities to catch up one last time; a yearning that you could have seen her one more time.

This gathering is just one way you can grieve as a family and community; to know that what you are feeling is a natural part of loss and mourning, that you are not alone at this time.

Gail’s brother and her three children each wrote a beautiful tribute that they asked me to read.

Excerpt from the close of the ceremony:

Gail was often the life of whatever was happening, even at a wake she’d still find a way to get people to have a chuckle or a laugh. So, I imagine Gail would be saying to you now… it’s time to go the Toormina Hotel and catch up with good friends and tell a few good stories.

Rest in Peace Gail.



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