10 May 1948 – 14 September 1998

28th of September ’98

Dear Rob,

After you called me last night I felt just so sad and lost for words. Not being able to comfort a friend is just so awful, you feel totally inadequate.

Today is a public holiday so I drove north to this little patch of beach nobody seems to know about. The wildflowers are out in their glory and I picked up an armful of colour — so robust — so colourful — so fragile — I felt this was the right way to say my goodbyes to Hazel. I put a lovely piece of flute music on from Quantz and driving through this lonely bushland felt you would like this setting for her too.

On the beach I watched those flowers float away maybe just like you and the children had watched Hazel float away. So irreversible and then there are only memories.

You know, our society doesn’t really teach us or train us to deal with the loss of a loved one. I felt this so much when the young son of my friends died.

The ancient tribal people do this so much better — they give you some thing to hang on to. They believe that the spirit will be with you as long as you talk about and sing about and remember the person that has gone. This is such a lovely way of comforting the soul.

It was a cloudy day out there and the flowers floated into the sunny patch and then the surf just carried them away and I felt Hazel knew how much she is loved and missed by all.

You’ll like this spot up here, it’s very special: a few weeks ago I came up here to watch two whales play in the surf. A mum and her calf and it was just great. So exciting nad so beautiful, I’m sure she would have loved this too.

See, I think that’s how she speaks to you now, through music and the paintings she left you, what a wonderful person, I think Josh is right — it isn’t fair — how are you little people meant to cope with this if we grown-ups find it so hard?

Dearest Rob, nothing is going to make you feel better — just time will make it easier, and maybe the knowledge that all your friends feel the pain in your heart and can not do anything about it and that adds to our sadness.

I feel so bad for having been such a bad letterwriter, all of you have always been in my heart, but you know there is always time for a call or a letter — and then there is no more time and you run out of tomorrows. That is so upsetting. My thoughts are with you all, you have to give each other the strength to carry on and fill each others’ hearts with love.

Sharing your loss and your memories,

With love,


Erika was a friend of Hazel’s and and an old friend of mine.

Last Updated 19 September 1999