I am not really sure where to start. I have so much to say about the last couple of weeks. I walk around all day thinking of different things I would like to tell you and go to bed at night with ideas rolling off my tongue. If only I could publish my thoughts. When I sit in front of this screen I seem to forget them all.
Saying Goodbye. Wow – we have said many goodbyes lately. I guess I will start with Mick’s Memorial Service which we hosted here at Chardy HQ on Friday. It was absolutely lovely. The weather was perfect. Around 85 people attended. Can you even believe this – 85! We live in the middle of nowhere for goodness sake and that is how many people came to pay their respects to this beautiful young man. Most people would have travelled for 3 hours or more one way. Our ex-cook, you know – the one we miss so much who was with us for 6 years – Aileen & her husband Brian – drove for 15 hours one way. Straight through on Thursday, arriving in the dark and stayed for less than 24 hours. So they did a 30 hour round trip, left on Thursday and were back home by Saturday night. It was just so great to have them here. And what about our other friends who travelled just a little bit further than Brian and Aileen – Meags and DJ, we couldn’t have done it without them.
Mick’s Aunts, Uncles and family friends flew up too. Ian & Di, Peter, Helen and Noel. What a massive day they had getting here. Leaving Ballarat at 3am, driving to Melbourne, flying to Mt Isa and then hiring a car to drive 5 hours out here – all in the one day, and they managed to arrive in daylight. It was so great to have them here even if it was only for 2 nights. We were still a blubbering mess saying goodbye to them when the time came.
It was wonderful to see so many people make such a huge effort to say goodbye to Mick.
I am still gobsmacked at the amount of work that went on here at Chardy HQ over the past couple of weeks. I have never seen anything like it. So many people, working so hard. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of their help. By yesterday everyone had left, we had said our sad goodbyes and waved everyone off with eyes full of tears and hearts bursting with love for old and new friends who now feel more like family. I hate goodbyes at the best of times, so can you even imagine what it was like this time.
I walked into the Station Kitchen yesterday at smoko time. Made myself a coffee and said “where the hell is the cook and why hasn’t she made smoko?” Of course by this I meant where is Susan (Mick’s Mum) and Anne (Georgie’s Mum – our Jillaroo) who took over that kitchen and pumped out meal after meal over the past couple of weeks. Feeding a minimum of 15 people most days and nights, often more. I wanted to know who the hell was going to cook for us now and remembered it was me. I guess it is time to try and get back into some sort of lonely routine without my girls. Who am I going to laugh with now? Who am I going to boss around? Who am I going to cry with? Lucky I still have Georgie & Gabby, where would I be without them, they have been my rocks for the past couple of weeks, ever since this awful nightmare began. So thanks Georgie & Gabs, I couldn’t have done any of this without you!
Nev (Mick’s Brother) and Mr Chardy have worked tirelessly the whole time. I am not quite sure how they are still standing. Nev has been so strong, organising all sorts of things that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Mr Chardy hasn’t stopped once either and is a little lost now without his main man Mick.
The kindness that people have shown to us over the past couple of weeks has been amazing. I know I keep banging on about it but it is true. The people we have had here have felt like one big family. Everyone chipped in, be in cleaning, chopping onions, baking slice, washing windows, making up rooms and beds, washing windows, mowing, trimming hedges…. they were all happy to help. We are just so lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives, I still can’t believe it. So many nice people. It restores your faith in human kind.
Two friends who I keep leaving out and perhaps just take for granted are Mr & Mrs Savvy B. I don’t think I have told you how unreal they have been. Their offer to help was immediate after Mick’s accident. They kept calling to make sure we were all ok. Then come Sunday I knew I had to call them and ask for help. You see that was the day Pete, Susan and Annabel were arriving. Complete strangers who had lost their son. What do you even say to them? Do you offer a cup of tea and some fruit cake? Do you sit down and talk? I just didn’t know how to do it. I called Mr & Mrs Savvy B (who are our best mates and neighbours) and they were here within 3 hours. Mrs Savvy B sorted me out and we got everything ready for the arrival of Mick’s parents and also stayed for 2 nights. Of course all the worry was for nothing, because Pete, Susan and Annabel were like family as soon as we hugged them. I will be forever grateful to Mr & Mrs Savvy B for all the support they have given us and Mick’s family. We couldn’t have done it without them.
It is amazing what you can do when you switch to auto pilot. You just get on and do things, you just have to. We are stronger than we think we are aren’t we? If someone had have told me 3 weeks ago that soon I would be hugging the grieving parents of one of our staff who had lost his life I would have said you were crazy and that I couldn’t do it. If I was watching a friend go through this I would wonder how the hell they were doing it and tell them how unbelievable they were. I would say “I don’t know how you do it, I could never do that…..” But here we are…. we have done it – we just had to! We have laughed, cried and hugged each other. We have made that much food and fed so many people. We managed to cater for 85 people on Friday and had food to spare. I know that Mick’s family are incredibly strong, wonderful people.
So thanks Mick for bringing us all together. I am sorry you had to leave us to make this possible. I am sorry we had to say goodbye to you so we could say hello to so many wonderful people. Isn’t life funny, how things work out. I am sorry we had to say goodbye to you Mick to make me realise how thankful I am for my healthy children, to meet so many new people, that your uncle who just happens to be a vet was here to help Rosie our dog. We think she was actually suffering a broken heart, and has come good now, but what are the chances that a vet is on hand at the exact time Rosie is ill. They say everything happens for a reason and I believe this. I am not sure the reason you were taken from us Mick and I don’t like it one little bit, but thank you for bringing everyone together. Please look after your brother Nev, your beautiful Mum and Dad and of course your sister Annabel…. and please watch over Mr Chardy – who isn’t sure what to do without his mate and right hand man.
Thankyou and goodbye. xxx