Kel’s Angels

Today is the anniversary of Kellie‘s death. All over the world, the people she impacted in life will be feeling a deeper ache today. 365 more days around the sun on this blue and green planet, in our little sector of the universe. For many of us she is our Supernova. A brief, brilliant miracle. A solar biker chick, burning trails in the galaxy.  Spinning on a dime and firing up the skies as she blazes past.

I think of lyrics from a song that has always helped my own mother-grief, Bright Star by the Indigo Girls. This song has always spoken to me and for me. Today I’m dedicating it to Kellie’s girl, Ash.  For me, it is the song from a daughter to a mother she has lost. I’m sure Ash has her own grief music closer to her generation!  I just wanted to share this one from my heart to hers.

Fare thee well my bright star
It was a brief brilliant miracle dive
That which I looked up to and I clung to for dear life
Had to burn itself up just to make itself alive

And I caught you then in your moment of glory
Your last dramatic scene against a night sky stage
With a moment so clear that it’s as if you’re still before me
My once in a lifetime star of an age

So fare thee well my bright star
Last night the tongues of fire circled me around
And this strange season of pain will come to pass
When the healing hands of autumn cool me down

-Indigo Girls ‘Bright Star’

Today I received an email from Kellie’s husband Mark.  He wrote to share the latest news of the Scholarship Fund they created in Kellie’s name. I love the idea of a legacy like that. Her passions, her generosity.  Here is what he wrote:

Hi All –
With today being the 19th of July, I thought it would be meaningful to celebrate our memory of Kellie today with an update on the scholarship.

Nicola was our first recipient who went on to achieve remarkable success in her final year with a GPA of 6.66, two publications, and several readings. Beyond this she was continuing to submit to larger journals. She shared how this would not have been possible without receiving the award. In short, the outcome for our 2016 recipient exceeded all expectations.

Luc, Ash, Ann, Charlotte and I attended the presentation event late last year at QUT where the 2017 recipient was announced. We have another very worthy recipient in James (picture attached). I am particularly pleased to understand James specialises in writing Sci-Fi. As part of his address, it was good and unexpected for Luc and Ash to hear Glen talk about Kellie’s passion and engagement in class.

As I think about Kellie’s legacy, the part that resonates (as I write this note) is how she never gave up exploring and sharing her passion for life with those around her.

Mark

The ‘Ann and Charlotte’ Mark speaks of are his new wife and new baby. The family is doing really well according to my sources, in case you were wondering like I did! Babies are magical joy bringers. Big love to the van Meurs. And big love to you Kel. Your angels are here doing their thing; your angel gift to those writers enables them to do theirs.

We miss you. X

Hand Writing

I’m aimlessly flicking through internet pages.  Feeling disatisfied.  I don’t even know what I am looking for, but I know there is something I need.  What is it?

My eye drops down my screen to my keyboard.

Ah.  That’s it.

I want to write.  Like an itch that wants a scratch.  Writing scratches the itch, but have I lost something in the switch to typing?  Is it the same for the reader?  Things written by hand make you feel so much closer to the writer, don’t you think?

It has always helped me, to write, whichever way I achieve it.  I used to keep journals.  One of which I considered, at 16,  to hold such sensitive material that I triple bagged it and buried it in the garden at my friend Anna’s house.  It didn’t. In retrospect.  It makes me smile that I was so anxious not to have documentary evidence… but still couldn’t destroy it! I have almost all of the rest of them. I even have a journal that I wrote to when mum passed away.  I couldn’t bear that she couldn’t hear me anymore, so I wrote words to her, just in case she might be able to read them from wherever she had evaporated to.

It worked for a while.  And then one day I just knew she wasn’t reading.  I stopped writing to her.
Well, not quite. “When I half turn to go, yet turning, stay…” (Christina Rosetti).
I still write in that book once a year.  On the anniversary of her leaving.  I take it to the place where her plaque is; pull weeds, leave flowers, write words and think about how preposterous it is that I have managed another year without her. The words are usually smudged by the time I am finished telling her what has happened in my year, but they’re out.  Sent on their way to find her, if they can.

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I don’t keep journals anymore.  I blog.  Which has a bit more direction, a purpose beyond the navel gazing emotional torrents of my adolescent angst.  It keeps me distracted from the ills of being ill; for the most part.  Which is interesting because I am generally blogging about being ill! I really love having a place to write, and people who read it.  It does my heart good.

But I wonder, will we leave behind any non-digital documents for future generations to find?  A sad thought whispers across my mind. Probably not.  How will our children find files of our writing if they don’t know where they are stored? If the passwords are gone with the time since they were used?  If the technology is obsolete? What will they extrapolate of our personalities from the fonts we chose?  Will they see us through the mass produced glyphs on the page?

Writing (and a love of beautiful penmanship) must be hereditary.  We’ve been sorting things out in a bit of a Spring thing around here.  The hubster hired a skip to dispose of the construction rubbish and then we thought we should do a cull.  Nothing like some time pressure to make you ruthless!  Getting rid of things is only possible for me if I get to hang on to some things too.  Happily, I found just the sort sentimental bits and pieces that rose above the rubble into ‘keeper’ land.  My grandmother’s school essay folio was there.  Some of my Mum’s old exercise books.  Those journals of mine.

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I rarely write by hand anymore.  Typing is almost a direct conduit from my brain, so it is easier.  But I have recently joined a ‘Snail Mail’ collective.  Like a group of pen pals who send each other real letters!  Astonishing.  So I’ve been actually hand writing a bit more lately.  Seeing the handwriting of my Grandmother and mother again, makes me think about the importance of writing by hand.  About the personality contained in unique letter formation. It’s an art.  Individual and special.

When did you last write a letter or a journal entry?   Do you think handwriting matters? Do you write like your mother or grandmother?  Do you keep cards and written mementoes?  Am I a sentimental old fool?