Wendy Bartram was greatly loved and cherished. I spoke with Wendy’s carers, some who had been by her side for 30 years. Carers who, when speaking about her, cried, laughed and told the stories of Wendy’s many antics and jokes, her kindness, joy and stubbornness. I also spoke with Wendy’s family via Zoom who, for health reasons, couldn’t be there in person. The family had entrusted the ceremony to John Costello and Lee Young from Vivocare who did an amazing job.
The carers chose the opening song by Wendy’s all time favourite artist, Elvis Presley. I Did It My Way.
Wendy was a woman who was deeply loved, generous in nature and contributed to your lives through her joy, laughter, and her cheekiness and naturally, as she was only human, she could also be very challenging and stubborn! All of these qualities she will be remembered for.
My mother wrote a book, titled Carla, about Wendy and her right to live a normal (and amazing) life, and the struggles and joys of her developing years, and these words of hers ring through the years: “Through every disaster, through anguish and grief, what was it in my life that had remained intact?
Love. Love, exemplified in many ways.
Love, the one constant, changeless thing never taken from me.
What but love had given me strength to endure? Beyond its manifestations at a human level I knew it as a deep river, flowing constantly beneath the surface of my being. That all-pervading, never failing love was at the core of my being.”
Those of us who were lucky enough to have Wendy in our lives recognise the truth of those words, for that love was part of her, and will live on in our memories of her.
Wendy’s mum, Grace, was a prolific writer. She wrote a book about her daughter, and used the name Carla to protect the family’s privacy. In the book, Grace recalls many stories of Wendy’s growing up: swimming, snorkelling, listening to stories with her sisters, building cubbies, climbing on ropes, enjoying the swing and trampoline. Grace wrote, ‘A whole decade was to pass before I understood that, quite accidentally and marvellously, Wendy was being constantly given the most excellent therapy, that her central nervous system was daily being bombarded with intense stimulation, and that this was repairing the damage done by her enormously difficult birth. It was also overcoming the effects of that unacknowledged extra chromosome.” (pages 25 & 26)’’ The family never lost an opportunity to teach Wendy about the world she lived in. Grace wrote, “Wendy was a successful human being. She loved and was loved.” There are many more stories throughout the book that offer deep insight to the joys and challenges that the family experienced.
Wendy’s sister, Jeannie shared with me that Wendy wrote cards to herself and, as we know, Wendy loved to party and to give herself a pat on the back. These cards she wrote to herself could be inspiration for a way of living, a way of being kind to oneself. Wendy wrote…
“Dear Wendy, Happy 37th birthday my sweetie. Have a great party and go wild. Love, myself”
And in a Christmas card, Wendy writes, “To myself. Merry Xmas. Congratulations of being so wonderful and brave…So happy Christmas and think happy things. Love Wendy”
Thank you for being here, for your kindness and presence and, in Wendy’s words, may you think happy things.
May peace be with you.
The carers chose this beautiful song, You Are My Sunshine by Zach Bryan for the close of the ceremony
To Watch the Livestream click here. Funeral Director: Leonie Watson, Barefoot Funerals, Bellingen. Held at Karangi Crematorium