Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Family 'Affair'

A continuation of  'Was it a Coincidence?'

On the night of 21 November 2006 at approximately 10.25pm I replaced the telephone handset. Death hung heavily in the air of the room in which I sat. My life had been forever changed; I had absolutely no idea of just how much. How could I say goodbye to 'the love of my life?' Jezz was my reason for living after the death of his Dad; he had been my focus. At the time of my cancer diagnosis in March 2003 I knew I would survive. Quite simply, I had no intention of leaving my youngest son an orphan. Was it a coincidence that he was almost 12 when he said goodbye to his Dad and 12 years later I was saying goodbye to him? I sat. I talked. I wanted nothing more than to talk about 'my child.'

Haydn held me and let me talk. Claire sat with us for awhile. She sensed there was nothing to be said or done, so she retreated to her room. I suspect she got very little sleep that night knowing exactly how much of my identity was tied up with that of my child. Claire and Jeremy had a relationship built on trust. She stood up to her Father when she felt the need to 'protect' Jeremy from Haydn. It was interesting to watch! Just as Haydn THOUGHT Claire could do no wrong, I KNEW Jeremy was always right! That's my truth and I'm sticking to it!

Haydn donned work clothes knowing full well that as Managing Director there was preparation to be done for our absence. It was 3am when he left the house. The sun rose soon after although it brought with it no joy. Time to book seats on a flight to Melbourne. Most of my personal things were at the farm. It would mean a trip to the farm before heading to Williamtown to catch the flight. I sat in silence for some time. The call to the airline left me feeling completely 'ripped off.' Good old Qantas, the Spirit of Australia! I was charged an arm and a leg for a booking based on compassionate grounds. Maybe money was not the real issue! The fact of the matter was the reason for making the trip.

Damian had asked me to find about 30 pictures of Jeremy for a video display. It was a mad rush to get to the farm, followed by the airport in time for the flight. I remember so vividly our arrival. We let the travelator take us up to where Damian and Jascha waited. I fell into Damian's arms asking 'How did this happen?' He simply said 'Mum, he's just a naughty boy!'

That nigh I had my first real experience of words coming into my head. Words that had meaning but did not appear to be of my doing. I definitely was in shock, not myself. As Haydn and I entered the kitchen the following morning I asked if Damian or Tyneal could help. I had been given  the words 'You are so Beautiful.' Damian laughingly asked where I had been hiding during the 60's and 70's as I was giving him the words of a song sung by Joe Cocker. Bingo! I explained that Jeremy wanted that song to be played for me. A real turn around! I was unsure! Should I do it? Damian put Megan in charge of music and she had a copy of the CD. After listening to it she gave her approval and claimed it was perfect!

Is it possible to have the pain of the worst time of your life eased by the love and experience of family? My beautiful Number 1 son, together with his future bride Tyneal took over the arrangements for the funeral service. Jeremy was still at the morgue at the hospital in Bairnsdale. We were together in Melbourne; a distance of 350 kilometres.  Was it yet another coincidence that Damian was employed by Tobin Bros as a Funeral Director's Assistant and I was preparing to become a Funeral Celebrant?

This was our first day in Melbourne. Damian had asked Tobin Bros if they would be prepared to undertake the service. That would mean several trips between Bairnsdale and Melbourne and yet it seemed 'just right.'.

So! We had one song from Jeremy to me. I had the following verse in readiness for the days that I would become a Funeral Celebrant, and was prepared to read it myself.  I had never thought it would be at my own son's funeral and yet it was 'perfect:'

A Child Loaned
‘I’ll lend you for a little time a child of Mine,’ he said,
‘For you to love the while he lives, and mourn for when he’s dead.
He may be six or seven weeks, or 24 years, or three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for Me?
He’ll bring his charm to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
You’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs who crowd life’s lanes I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labour’s vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call and take him back again?’
I fancied that I heard them say, ‘Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joys Thy child shall bring the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness; we’ll love him while we may
And for the happiness we’ve known, forever grateful stay.
But, should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.

We knew that there was much work to be done in readiness and yet, as a family we had the belief that with God's Grace, all things are possible.


Kaz said...

Chezzy don't even have words for this post as many tears this morning as it bring alot up for me,thank god for our families to pull us through this hardest time of our lifes..

Gentle Hugs.xoxo

Anonymous said...

Oh how my heart aches for you my friend. Such simple words packed with so much meaning & emotion...
Hugs & prayers from your Texas friend. said...

I'm sending you an email in a few minutes. You've been in my thoughts & prayers.


Alli said...

I have been expecting this post nearly any time now. I know what it feels like waiting for "That" day to hurry up and come and be over at the same time.

No worries my dear you have enough of your silent angels to hold you up! No matter what corner of the world we sit in, we are there for you!!

We are here......Love Alli XOXO

Sean said...

Oh Cheryl...such powerful emotion, taking yourself back to 'the day' and writing it down. Thinking of you and beautiful Jeremy, as the cold November weather begins to take it's hold here in Canada. Looking back to the early days often serves to provide ourselves with proof of our healing, however slow it seems. Entering a most difficult time, know & feel the love felt for you my friend, as Alli said.

Chez said...

My dear friend from Texas, you know only too well the suffering that comes with the loss.
Alli is so right about the 'silent' angels. Every day I give thanks for the gift of the friendships that have found their way to my heart. More in the past 4years than at any other time.
Bless you and thank you for sharing the journey
Chez xo

Maundering mutterer said...

Words have power, and you're using that power in a very positive way. May you be blessed. All my respect.

Samantha said...

Chez, that verse is so moving. I also read something at my mom's funeral, but that's a post for a later date since I promised I would try to write only positive posts during this difficult time of the year for me. :-) I can't wait to share it with you.

My family and close friends are what continue to pull me through my grief every day. We are lucky :-)

Chez said...

MM my wish is that I live long enough to get the words onto paper. Life is very uncertain these days. I am hoping for some of those 'unexpected' words from you Haha

Chez said...

Samantha I look forward to reading the verse you have. I really love verse and have found it very helpful.
Have I asked you about setting up a Memorial website for your Mom?

Chez said...

Brenda, as I am just finishing off the next post I have not managed to respond to your welcome email. Will do that ASAP.
Unfortunately, I am struggling somewhat with several issues which are a concern.
Thanks so much for thinking of me
Love Chez

Sami said...

Chez, you have not! Send me an e-mail at with more info! :-)

diane said...

It must have been a devastating time for you and your family.You have my sympathy.