One wedding and a funeral.

This is a guest post from my Dad. He had some words that needed to come out and I am humbled to host them here. Family, so worth embracing…..

Wicked Step Mum on the left. Dad on the right.

Aaron was my great-nephew. My niece’s eldest son. My sister’s eldest grandchild. He was 23 years old. 

Wet night. Slippery road. Skid. Telephone pole. A young life snuffed out. Knock on door. Police. Distraught parents. Universal shock in our large and geographically scattered family. 

Coroner. Funeral arrangements. Journeys from afar – Brazil, Thailand, and far-flung cities and towns. Gathering at the Church. The sombre hearse. 

The solitary casket the focus of attention. Stooped and deflated elderly relatives. Confused and clinging young children. 

Disbelieving parents. 

Two hundred beautiful but sad young men and women peers of Aaron. Standing room only. Both favourite and mournful songs strummed and sung by young relatives. 

Cousin Noel the priest. Beautiful eulogy from a tearful father. 

Disclosures of slowly healing relationships now punctuated.

Comforting quote sourced by a remarkably strong mother. “Don’t be sad because he’s gone – be happy because he’s been here”. 

Long drive to cemetery. Awkward silence at the graveside broken by loud sobbing and the incongruous rings of mobile phones. The casket is slowly and carefully lowered, festooned by flowers and accompanied by some of Aaron’s favourite possessions. 

The release of balloons and cardboard doves. Tensions in the crowd released as the balloons are whisked high and away by the Northeasterly wind into a welcoming sunny sky. 

A journey back to the designated pub near the water. Ties are loosened from necks clearly uncomfortable and unaccustomed to such restraint. Cold beer. Party pies. Sandwiches. Fermented and spirituous liquors. A growing sense of release and partial closure. 

Curious looks from locals watching the races and the football on big screens. Reunions of rarely seen relatives. Conversations with friends of Aaron. Stories both true and apocryphal. Memories of Aaron recalled. 

A new mood emerging. Closure beginning. 

Family is so worth embracing. A beautiful experience. Goodbyes. 

Talk of the journeys back to Brazil, Thailand, and far-flung towns. 

Undertakings to see each other soon and more frequently. Sic transit Gloria mundi “so passes the glory of the world”. 

Life goes on. 

Rest in peace Aaron.

Move forward six days. 
Amanda is my niece by marriage. Yesterday she married Anthony. She squealed with delight when I referred to them as “Antony and Cleopatra”. 

Amanda is a schoolteacher. Some of her students are at the church to see “Miss” in her wedding gown. A cool Autumn Sydney day. 

Anthony is a real estate agent. He is club rugby captain.  His late father was an icon in our village.  Universal happiness in another side of our extended family. Journeys from far-flung places. 

Gathering at the Church. 

Smiling and proud elderly relatives. 

Freshly scrubbed young children and show-stopping flower girls. Beaming parents. Many beautiful young men and women peers of Antony and Cleopatra “dressed to the nines”. 

Plenty of room in the church.  

Relatives from both “sides” unknown to and sometimes awkward with each other. Happy sounds filling the sanctuary. Family friend Rex the priest. 

Stunning bride. Handsome groom. Beautiful bridesmaids. Shuffling groomsmen. Endless photos. Bentley limos. 

Retreat to the restaurant near the water. Anthony’s late father’s mates – black belt drinkers – Warragamba (can’t fill him up) included. 

Much jollity. Celebration. Mountains of wrapped presents. Old acquaintances spotted and re-acquainted. Feasting. Curious glances from joggers and families with prams and dogs. 

Mischievous speeches from Anthony’s mates – some true and some apocryphal. The evening unfolds. Amanda floating around the buzzing room. Happiness everywhere. A modern bridal waltz. A beautiful experience. 

Antony and Cleopatra depart. Goodbyes. Journeys back to far-flung places. Life goes on. Best wishes Amanda and Anthony.

One wedding and a funeral. Two beautiful but contrasting family experiences each in its own way. Aaron happy and in a better place. Antony and Cleopatra seeking and surely finding happiness with each other.