10 May 1948 – 14 September 1998
Two memoirs by Zoë -- one twelve weeks after Hazel's death, the second four years later.
Zoë aged almost eight writes (on 7 December 1998):
All about Mum
Mum allwaysed enjoyed Australian gradening. She put me and brother into music lesens.
I liked Mum. She was good maned and thought abuot uthers not just herselth. her favarit sport was tenes. her favarit tree was the Gapnes Maple tree. She asoe liked flowers. But her favarit flowers of all were me and brother. [drawings to be scanned]
Mum asoe liked going to rsives at circler key [Rossini's at Circular Quay]. We went to Mugy [Mudgee] and Baingten [Barrington] with Mum. Mum was atest [an artist]. Mum always did the right thing. Mum ust to go Bird Woching with Dad.
This is mum. [sketch to be scanned]
Zoë aged almost twelve writes:
I have chosen to write about tragedies and disasters.
The biggest change for me and my family was when my mum died of Cancer, four years ago. It was Monday, and brother and I used to go to piano practice after school. Pat, my aunt and Hazel’s sister, was down from England helping around the house because my mother could hardly move.
Pat would take us to piano, and this particular Monday we were at practice when we received a phone call from my dad (Robert), who had taken the afternoon off to be with my mum.
The phone call said to come home quickly, there was something wrong with Mum’s breathing, and I just remember running out the door thinking: there is nothing wrong with her -- she is probably just coughing. How wrong I was.
When we got home, my dad answered the door. He didn’t look right, and when we were inside, the living room was dark, the curtains were shut. There were candles everywhere and my mother’s favourite music was playing. We had arrived just in time to say good-bye. I didn’t know what to do, I was scared and confused; everyone around me was crying. I was not. I ran up to my room and waited for the doctors to arrive. It seemed to take forever but finally they arrived. There was nothing the doctors could do. One of them took me back to the school to see my friends.
My family has learnt to cope with this tragedy in many different ways. 1. We are all here for one another, so we are not alone. 2. Mum does not feel any pain. 3. We should remember all the good memories. 4. Good things come out of bad things, like I wouldn’t know my aunt the way I do if this tragedy hadn’t occurred; and lastly it’s okay to feel sad about Mum dying.
Zoë wrote this in late October, 2002, in Year 6 at Ascham School, as a school assignment.
In context: Pat and their eighty-one-year-old mother, Ada, had arrived from England in late November, 1997, for a two-month visit, but after Hazel’s remission ended stayed until the end of March, when Hazel’s other sister, Joan, and her husband, Ken, arrived for a long-planned first visit to Australia. Pat then returned to help and stayed for a year, until April, 1999. She has visited annually since then.
I had taught a subject that started in early June, 1998, for ten weeks, but after that time I was with Hazel until the end that Zoë describes above. On her return from the Sacred Heart hospice, in July, Hazel had been sleeping in the living room, where we had put a hospital bed for her. Family life continued around her, as she got weaker. We were recording Hazel’s life story, and had got up to March 1993 when she died.
The piano teacher was (and is) Joy Fisher. The music was a CD of Enya’s that Hazel had taken a liking to. The two doctors were Phillip Cameron, our family doctor, and Kate Grundy, a palliative-care doctor on secondment from New Zealand, who took Zoë up to the school. (She arrived about fifteen minutes after Zoë did.) Hazel’s oncologist was Michael Friedlander.