Friday, May 30, 2008

The end is the beginning

The aunties

The girl in the middle is me, somewhere in my twenties.
The woman on the right is my youngest auntie.
The woman on the left is my auntie's partner, also my auntie.

Whilst I worked out from an early age that books were entertaining, and my parents taught me that books were valuable, these two women taught me that you could live with books, out of books, and that poetry is not just for special occasions, but part of a balanced daily diet.

The auntie on the left died early this week, after a long battle with cancer. Today we are all heading deep into the NSW countryside to attend her funeral, chant a Buddhist prayer, and tell stories. I don't know as much about this auntie as I'd like, because, while I asked questions, I don't think I asked the RIGHT questions. Or listened as closely as I could have.

Today I'm going to listen to the stories. And mourn. And rejoice. And support the auntie who remains, who is like a life-mating bird that has found itself alone.


brazen's crafts said...

i'm so sorry to hear about your auntie :(

your aunties look so familiar though, i don't suppose they live in tumut?

from a lurker who found you through a food blog (but i forget which one lol)

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I too am very sorry, Duck. But at least it sounds as though the ceremonials will be done with love and thoroughness.

Zoe said...


fifi said...

Gosh. I have this mental image of you from when you posted that distorted shot from photo-booth . Funny to remind myself that you don't REALLY look like that...

You appear to be part of the family of my dreams, which has such people in it. I could DO with an auntie like that, and am infinitely sorry that one has left the world.

But as long as you draw breath, she is here: in your work, your thoughts, the wonderful words with which you articulate your world. And thus here she is with us all. Spreading ever outward and onward.

Sing for her from me. I love the way you think and write, if she has been part of that, I thank her for it.


Mummy/Crit said...

Take care &duck. Sorry to hear of your loss, and loss of opportunity. I like how your youngest auntie doesn't look all that much older than you. it's a lovely photo.

Beth said...

I'm sorry to read about your auntie's death, and I hope the funeral is a beautiful remembrance of her.

tigtog said...

So sorry to read of your auntie's, and your, loss of your other auntie. They both sound like women to treasure in one's life.

Ampersand Duck said...

karen: thanks for de-lurking! Yes, they are from Tumut. Well spotted :)

Fifi: the lost auntie was a fantastic writer and thinker, the left auntie a devoted reader. One needing rescuing, the other a rescuer. I have been lucky, and so has anyone else who has known them as a couple. We should all be so lucky to be that happy in a relationship, really.

Y'all: thanks. It was an amazing day, full of blubbing and hugging and incredible women-centred stories of friendship and feminist action. I met up with women I hadn't seen since my youth, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think the boys did too, which is a good thing.

Ampersand Duck said...

That line didn't work:

one needed rescuing, the other *was/is* a rescuer.

that's better.

brazen's crafts said...

i'm glad to hear that the day went well :)

but sadder to hear that she was someone i knew too (though obviously only as another resident of the same town. I think i know / knew your aunt on the right a little better. very small world. hope she's doing ok after such devestating times.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

ah Duck, glad that it was a celebration, sounds like there was lots of positive energy... the best way to get through (or at least start the process) the death of someone you love. thoughts'n'hugs'n'stuff.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your auntie Duck. It sounds like the funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life.

And what lovely things she taught you.

genevieve said...

Aah, there is too much cancer around, taking too many good people.
Youngest daughter's boyfriend and his friends buried their media teacher yesterday here in Melbourne - not quite fifty, leaving family behind also, obviously as well as some inspired students. I believe there was an invitation out to contribute to painting his coffin, so hoped it helps the young ones get through this awful time. I should have cooked them something sustaining yesterday, but was a bit stuffed myself and it didn't happen.
I am sorry I did not see this post earlier, Duck. Hugs to you and your aunt in lovely Tumut.