14 September, 2005

five hundred and twenty-five thousand, six hundred

How do you commemorate something you'd rather not even think about? But how do you deny something that will be a part of who you are for the rest of your life? What the fuck does "one year has passed" really mean anyway? The seasons have performed their never-ending dance, and we now dwell under approximately the same kind of sky.


Ten random memories... a year of matermunkey:

September ~ 1995. After shooting scenes for a movie we were making for school, my friends and I had settled down to watch Twin Peaks all night. In the early hours of the morning, my parents came out of their room and announced that matermunkey was in labour. A few hours later, I had a baby sister.

November ~ 2002. I rushed out on the first day it was released (in fact, the day before) and bought the Extended Edition of the first Lord Of The Rings film. We watched it as a family. Matermunkey loved it, and it became something of a tradition. We watched it together many times over the following year. The next year, the day it came out, we watched the Extended Edition of The Two Towers. (She never got to see the third one.)

December ~ 1993-ish. As we did every few years, we hosted our extended family for Christmas Dinner. Matermunkey - while working full-time and raising children with patermunkey - prepared for weeks, creating a fully decorated cake, seemingly infinite amazing food and decorations, and the infamous centrepiece of the Christmas table: the Truffle Tree. There were constant dramas, as nothing ever goes according to plan. The melodramatic tension and the easing laughter combined as always, to make our home dynamic and wonderful.

January ~ 1996-ish. Every year during this period, our whole family (including many of the extendeds) would celebrate New Year's Eve at Jamieson. Matermunkey bought marshmallows, sparklers, party-poppers and champagne, her unerring sense of fun and drama making it impossible even for cynical teenagers to deny the excitement. We pumped music out of our cars and sat all night around the fire. When midnight came, we popped champagne, played with sparklers like little kids, and honked the car horns to wake up the whole valley.

February ~ 1985. My first day of school. Matermunkey packed me up with my Fraggle Rock school bag. I stood proudly on the front porch while she took photos to commemorate the event.

March ~ 1997. I was getting awarded with a Premier's Prize for my achievements in Theatre Studies at school. It was going to be presented by the Evil Jeff Kennett. My parents had recently purchased a new car, but it was uncertain whether it would be ready to pick up in time for our trip to Government House. Matermunkey phoned the dealership and - half tongue-in-cheek, half earnest - demanded that they make sure the car was ready. It was. When matermunkey really wanted something, people rarely said no.

May ~ 1987-ish. Several of my school friends were at our house for my Birthday party. We were playing the Milton Bradley game "Beetle". Some of the kids had yet to spin the "body" space on the dial (which, according to the rules, you have to do before you can begin). Meanwhile other kids were almost finished. Matermunkey allowed the kids who hadn't started yet to skip the first step and go straight to having a body, so they could enter the game and catch up. I was furious that she was letting them break the rules. I had a tantrum and threw stuff across the room.

June ~ 1994. I did my year nine science project at matermunkey's Microbiology lab at Monash Uni. She taught me to plate out different kinds of bacteria into petri-dishes of agar gel. We then spiked each one with a different type of disinfectant to see what product would best hamper bacterial growth. When writing up the report, she helped me make it look and sound like a University-level document. I got an A+ for the project.

July ~ 2001. It was less than 24 hours before I was leaving to go overseas for eight months. I had yet to even begin packing. I had spent the night before getting drunk and stoned with my cousins. I was half-hungover, and half still wacked-out. I spent most of the day melodramatically flailing about, not knowing what to do, procrastinating and in denial that I was leaving the country tomorrow. Matermunkey laughed at me, and I laughed at myself too.

August ~ 2004. Sitting by the pool, at Magnetic Island on our last full-family holiday, I suddenly noticed how "old" matermunkey had become over the previous few weeks. 'I'm so tired of being sick,' she said to me.

September ~ 2005. And now here we are. Somehow, though it seems inconceivable, we have all been trundling along for a full year to-the-day without matermunkey. I can't even begin to number all the times in the past twelve months that I've wanted her advice, her comfort, her company... to tell her about something that's happened, a film I've seen, something somebody said... and for the tiniest fraction of a second I've believed I could, and looked forward to it ~ only to realise that's impossible, and it never will be possible again.

It's hard to know what else to say. So in the simple, immortal words of John Lennon:

My Mummy's Dead
It's hard to explain
So much Pain
I could never show it
My Mummy's Dead




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