Remembering a colleague
On Thursday I took photos most of the day. I was with mum driving to and from Goulburn NSW for the funeral of a former colleague. I wanted to pay my respects to a lady who always delighted me with her energy. That day it was rather grey and wet to and from Goulburn, so try as I might, I was not able to get an image I feel is suitable for this post.
I can’t recall exactly when I first met her – was it 2002? I do remember walking back from the canteen at work and spotting a lady sitting in the visitors chairs, obviously awaiting interview.
My boss Jane went off to interviews. Upon her return, I said to Jane – you can’t hire the lady with the aqua jacket… she’ll be too loud. (After all, Marian took the office trophy for bright clothing.) Jane’s answer was short and sweet. I can, and I will, and you will behave yourself. I’m glad she did.
I can’t recall seeing that jacket after that day. Although I do remember clothes with splashes of bright yellow or purple. I walked into the chapel on Thursday to see a photo of her. Well, I’m sure it was her under that ernormous hat with purple tulle. I recall her organising us on Melbourne cup day; running the biggest morning tea; generally buzzing around us all with her fantastic smile, laughter and generosity. At the time she worked two jobs. Her second job was as a carer for a man with an acquired brain injury. I’m sure that her job description was limited to regular caring tasks – like helping to turn him during the night. Yet that wasn’t enough for her. She had such enthusiasm that soon she was cooking with her client; working in the garden and organising other activities. I feel sure that she got as much joy from these things as he did.
Some of my memories are of just the little moments. I recall her coming back from the kitchen with an armful of milk bottles which – to her horror – someone had put in the general rubbish rather than the recycling. With her around, there’s no way those bottles were going to landfill.
During the funeral her mother let go a little gem of a line. “I keep telling everyone… the more you cry, the less you pee.” Immediately I knew where she got her sense of humour from, and what a wonderful sense of humour it was. She will be missed.