Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Celebration of Life.

Last October we lost 2 of our good friends in a tragic helicopter accident in New York City. Soni died instantly and Helen her partner of 10 years died in New York a week later, Sonis mum who was also in the helicopter died a week after that. The shock was unbearable and it felt as if they had disappeared into thin air, vanished from the earth. 

When Chef and I started seeing each other I had to be assessed for suitability by Soni and Helen - I passed the test with flying colours- but I was nervous, Soni was easy, Helen, it could go either way. Lucky flattery and charm got me through and I was given the stamp of approval.  Whenever we went to Sydney we would arrange to see them and Sonni, who had nicknames for everyone referred to us as the Hobbits from the Shire. They came to visit us a few times and it was always booze filled amazing food filled and lots of laughing and serious hangovers. 

On Sunday, 6 months after their death we all gathered, several hundred of us to farewell them. Funerals had been held, Soni with her mother in the UK where she is from and Helen with her family in NZ where she is from, but Sydney was their home. This was a memorial service and celebration of their lives together. The families all came for the service and there was so much laughter and tears. It was hard to fault Soni, she was like a tonic her mother said, she made you feel good if you had spent time with her. Not only did you want her to like you when you met her, but when she did she made you feel so special and loved. She would always make you laugh and people were drawn to her.  Helen was the opposite: tough on the outside and the words used most often on Sunday to describe her was brutally honest , but she was clever and encouraging and so very generous and so much fun. Anyone who knew Soni had so many funny stories about her and the things she said and did so there was a lot of laughter. But seeing images of them together and at one point hearing Soni's voice in a short video - everyone was crying. The words people spoke about them were so beautiful and funny and everything a tribute should be. 

Afterwards there was drinking, a lot of drinking, there was singing and crying and laughing and more drinking and as I was not drinking I was drying lots of other's tears. It was funny how many people we had not met before came and introduced themselves as they had heard about the Hobbits from the Shire and were excited to meet us, it was nice, the name being a reflection of Soni - in stature Chef and I are more like Margaret ( may she RIP) and Gough Whitlam than those little hobbits. 

It was a fitting farewell- they would have loved it, I kept looking for them as we were with all their friends and they weren't there. 

They have left a hole in so many peoples lives. 

They will be missed the only solace being they are together.

 I wish you all could have met them cos they were so ace. xx


  1. A beautiful post, Cath. It sounds like a very special day to celebrate some special people. I am sure that the emptiness inside you is still huge but it must have been an amazing day to share with mutual friends.


  2. an incredible post Cath of two incredible people it sounds like. Another fitting and beautiful farewell to your dear friends.
    biggest love to you xoxo

  3. Having recently come through a similar experience of losing three special people to one horrendous accident I feel for you deeply. It is good that the memory of their death was softened through the memories of their lives. It is also a help that, though you did not get the actual funerals where they lived, you were still able to have this where the people who loved them everyday could grieve too. I firmly believe in the resurrection spoken of in the Bible but that in no way diminishes the loss we feel now. The unfinished conversations, the little in jokes you had - all the things that exist between close friends. My thoughts are with you. Cherrie

  4. Beautiful words about a beautiful but terribly sad day. Thanks for looking out for me on the day - I hope you both are feeling ok...
    Love "Scrubber"
    (my Soni nickname - don't ask - it sprang from her making me clean toilets at Bacigalupo)

  5. I remember when you first wrote of this tragedy- so very heartbreaking for you all.
    Wished we could have all met them too Cath.
    Hugs. To you and Chef and Busy.

    p.s Glad you got Helen's approval :)

  6. oh cath, what can I say. I've meet you and I have to say you are the tallest hobbit I have ever seen!!! love to you. xx

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