Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Aunt Betty

Kate's great-aunt Betty passed away on Sunday morning.

Betty was the younger sister of Mavis Jean, my wife's beloved grandmother who passed away in February. For Kate's family, Betty was the last of her generation.

We went to Bendigo this afternoon for Betty's funeral. It was just a small family affair, short and simple. No fuss. Just as Betty wanted it.

From a child in Echuca, to a lady about town in Melbourne, to a farmer's wife in Marong, to an amusingly sarcastic senior citizen (you know . . . one of those cool old people we all hope we get to be), Betty always lived life to the full. It sounds twee to say it, but with Betty it was really true.

Her husband Jack died in 1989, and she spent the last years of her life in her little house in Kangaroo Flat, looking after her garden and her dogs. It was somewhere you could always go for a nice cup of tea and a chat.

(Actually, Betty and I bonded over our love of a nice cup of tea. And Betty's wedding present when Kate and I were married in March . . . was a genuine 50s anodised teapot. We use it every single day.)

Betty would sometimes drop in when we were visiting with Mavis. It was beautiful seeing the two sisters together. They would tell stories about being young ladies in Melbourne during the war. They worked together in a cake factory during the week, and came into the city every Friday night for the dance at the Town Hall. They would spend their shillings on new dresses, and their dance cards would always be full.

When Mavis died earlier this year, Betty didn't come to the funeral. But everyone understood this. She would do her grieving in private, thank you very much.

And last Tuesday she had a massive stroke in her home. When they got her to the hospital, it was clear that she wasn't going to recover.

In her final hours her family stayed by her side. She passed away peacefully on Sunday morning.

We'll miss you Betty.