10 May 1948 – 14 September 1998
11 September 1998

Hazel -

What a perfect name for you -- with a hint of enigma, neither green nor grey, something out of the ordinary, mysterious. Your character, your personality summed up in one simple word.

So many times I've sensed this mystery about you -- I felt so in awe of your beauty, your talents, your almost ethereal nature. I would feel very ordinary when I was with you, rather frimpy and plain. I loved to come and visit and see your latest creations, from painings to gardens. You were so enthusiastic about what you were doing and so happy to be able to share it.

Your beauty surrounded you; and yet in your complete modesty you were not even aware of it. Somehow you always seemed different, and I loved you for your vagueness, your calm, unhurried attitude to life. It was if you knew life was to be appreciated and not wasted on trivia. I would come away from you feeling uplifted, and refocussed.

I rmember so many special moments -- from before I even knew you, watching your house grow brick by brick, trying to figure out what would be going where, admiring your attempts to blend the old and the new. And then you just gradually appeared in my life. I don't know when or where, it seems that one day you were just there, and as if I had known you for ever. There was no feeling of having to get to know you, or learning who you were. You just arrived and became part of my life. And then little Joshua arrived -- I remember you and Rob coming over to introduce him with that stunned pride that is restricted purely to new parents. I felt you shred him with us, his birthdays, his development. And that special day when Zoë arrived, this little boy came to us, with nothing but a nappy and a bottle, and made our Christmas one to never be forgotten.

Zoë's arrival! I'm sure you don't remember, but I still have this vivid image of you leaning over the basin in your upstairs bathroom, in the middle of a contraction. I paddled across to hold you through the next one; paddled because the floor was awash with amniotic fluid. Such a primal event, without comparison. Through it I will always be bound to you. I will never forget the privilege of sharing such a private and intimate time and because of it Zoë will always be a very special person in my life.

And then the cancer came. Even with that, a blow that in itself would have destroyed a lesser person, there was dignity. You fought so hard, and so determinedly. Only once did you let me see you weaken and cry. Your strength inspired me then, as it does now. Your life will be short, so much shorter than you deserve. But in the time you've had, you've given so much, and you leave behind a wealth of friendship, talent and love. All of us are immeasurably poorer for your early going.

Goodbye, dear Hazel, dear friend. When you are ready, go in peace. Go knowing that as long as your beautiful children are alive, so too will you be. Your spirit will always be with them, and through them we will never forget you.

Thank you for all you have given me. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life.

I love you

15 Adolphus Street
NSW 2014
10 October 1999

Australian Bush Heritage Fund
GPO Box 101
Tas 7001

IN MEMORY: Hazel Church

Please accept this donation in memory of our friend and neighbour, Hazel Church, on the first anniversary of her death in September 1998.

Hazel came to love the harsh reality of the Australian bush, which contrasted so completely with the soft, gentle forests of her native England. She particularly loved the Blue Mountains of NSW where she spent many of her happiest last days with her partner Rob Marks and children Joshua and Zoë. She enriched all our lives.

Sue, and Jeff and Sam

Sue, Jeff, & Sam were Hazel & my neighbours and friends.

Last Updated 10 October 1999