Emma, today on Facebook, your family has been posting photos of you in honour of the fact it’s been 20 years since you left us. Of course it’s been 20 years! Bloody hell, how did I not know that? I left Australia a few months after your funeral, which means I’ve been wandering for 20 years – that’s a lot of life I’ve wanted to share with you my friend.
|A photo of the photo I’ve had with me for the last 20 years. The “Inghams Chicken Saga” photo. I think we were 19?
When I found out you died, I couldn’t get my head around it. None of us could. How could you be gone? How could your baby girl grow up without you loving her as beautifully as you did? It was too much to bare, too, too much. Your wake was the worst experience I’ve had. None of us could grasp life without you in it. We cried and laughed that day, but our laughter had a bitterness to it. We didn’t want to face up to the fact you wouldn’t be around anymore, being a bloody dickhead, making US laugh. No, not you my friend.
I went to Nepal a few months after your funeral. When I got to the final point on my hike, way up near the Tibetan plateau, I sat there and had a conversation with you. I said “Emma, can you see what I can see? Isn’t it bloody beautiful? This world is a remarkable place” and then I went on to make a commitment to you, which I hold to this day. I promised you I wouldn’t waste any time living with regrets and always aim to live life larger than most people dare to dream. I’ve stumbled on that commitment over the years, but more often than not, I’ve held true to it, because your death taught me that life was unbearably valuable. I appreciate that.
When I look at all the photos being shared today, I go back into so many memories, from the age of five all the way to 24. When we were little (you at 47 Vermont St, me at 66), we played dolls or we fought – as all girls seemed to do. Remember the time you ripped my First Communion necklace off my neck on the bridge? I didn’t like you then. We kept that up for a few years didn’t we? Remember the fence we used to sit on in front of Wodonga Hospital? With Claire and Phillipa? Well it’s gone now, they ripped it down. That was weird. Shit we did some talking there didn’t we… hours and hours of talking.
|At Claire’s wedding. Your style was always unique
Then we went to separate high schools and you made a new BFF as I did, but it didn’t matter. We were always close, always there for each other, always dreaming, comparing boob sizes (I always won that one), dreaming of future men, dreaming of escaping Wodonga, just dreaming about the endless possibilities life could throw our way. I never dreamed you wouldn’t be there though, that wasn’t a dream I ever had. You were always part of my future, always.
You shared a dream with me once. It was a dream you had about me. I was on stage with a man by my side and I always remembered that dream, because you explained it so vividly, explaining the man in complete detail. The man you explained is Steve. The stage bit hasn’t happened but fuck, I wish you could meet him. He would LOVE you and you would love him. I can’t tell you how many times I say to him, I wish you met Emma. She’d make you laugh until you pissed your pants. You had that my friend. You complete irreverence for bollocks was always something I loved. I said it to him again today. He said “I know babe, I wish I did too,” with such sincerity. I speak about you a lot. You live on in a lot of people’s memories my darling.
And of course my boys. They would have adored their Aunty Emma, and I wish they got to meet you too. In fact, there have been too many experiences, too many moments, too many people, and too many dreams achieved that I wanted to share with you – those same dreams we dreamed up all those year ago that came to pass in one way or another. I know you would’ve loved hearing those stories, as I would’ve loved hearing yours.
Twenty years Em, 20 years and there’s still such a huge void in so many people’s lives, including mine. You were a special lady my friend, larger than life, and a filthy bloody bitch who I adored. I still can’t watch Beaches or Steel Magnolias without turning into a complete bloody mess mourning my great childhood friend. In fact, my mourning of your passing has never ceased and today, it happens all over again. You bloody moll!!
I miss you mate. I’ll always miss you. You were truly magnificent.
Yours, without the bollocks