10 May 1948 – 14 September 1998
Subject: Hazel
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 21:27:14 +1000

Dear Robert, Josh and Zoë,
As Anna has said to you already today words seem so inadequate and wanting when I try to communicate both my heartfelt sympathy and my own sorrow and sense of bewilderment.

Yesterday I was on an excursion with Year 7 to the Botanical Gardens and memories of Hazel came uncalled but insistent across the day. I remember her as such a vital person whose alert and inquiring mind found interest in everything from patchwork to roses, receipes from a kitchen in Tuscay to Barbara Blackman’s latest book. These are some of the things I shared with Hazel, but one memory in particular comes to mind from one of our early trips to Sydney when Josh was still "little oosse" and in nappies. We had been out on the ferry upriver and an unknown number of guests were due to arrive within the hour. Hazel was as yet unsure as to what we would have for dinner but with supreme optimism sallied forth to buy the necessaries. Even though the first two places were shut, Hazel was unfazed and remained confident that the required ingredients would materialise. They did. I will remember the fun we had, the hilarity shared and Hazel’s calm unflappable optimism.

My other somewhat sadder memory is of Hazel last April when Jono, Angela and I came up for a flying visit. I appreciated her interest in the changes in our lives and felt deep admiration for her courage and acceptance of an early death.

We have decided to plant a tree in our garden for Hazel, a native frangipani, Hymenosporum flavum. It looks like any other tree for most of the year but in November it bursts into flower. Beautiful small burnt orange flowers that have a strong and all pervading perfume which comes as a delicious surprise. We feel that this is a tree that will be symbolic of Hazel’s courage, grace and spirit that was so obvious in the last years of her life.

All my love my thoughts are with you all from Sue.

Sue is Jono’s wife and Thomas and Anna’s mother.

Last Updated 3 June 1999