On your anniversary. I remember you with love.
Donna was born under a rare planetary alignment. In cosmic terms, Donna’s life was a galaxy and in that galaxy, we were all her stars. Like a true child of the universe Donna felt and responded to the push and pull of the planets, sensitive to the workings of the great forces of this life, in ways that many of us earth bound creatures could only wonder at.
For Donna, creation held more wonder than the stuff and nonsense of the purely earthly plane. She revered the wisdom of all feeling creatures past, present and future and held close to her the memory of the child she was and the beautiful and fragile child within all of us.
In many ways Donna is still as mysterious to me as the day I met her 20 years ago. However I remember that day with joy because I thought an elf had taken human form and come to make mischief amongst us. I still think that. The mischief that Donna made in this world, amongst us, the people she drew into her orbit, was the mischief of surprise. Surprise at her depth of loyalty, commitment to those she loved and the offering up of a kind of relationship that was as unique as it was unrelenting. Donna loved for life.
On us she bestowed many offerings. Incense for all occasions, smudge sticks to chase away our demons, prayers and mantras for our souls suffering, marri sap syrup for sore teeth, herbs, potions and remedies for the troubles of our time. Only Donna would perform reiki on a broken down Volkswagen. In her inimitable style Donna suspected the world of modern medicine and doctors of conspiring to steal our souls. Those bastards she said would be the ruin of the world.
Of all of her gifts to us, it is the gift of her life that we are here today to honour and celebrate. For many of you who experienced one of Donnas massages, you will know that the woman had a vice like grip. One Christmas Donna surprised us all with a family gift voucher for her massages. We draw straws to see which one of us would be the first victim. When Donna got a hold of you, she didn’t surrender easily.
Donna did not surrender the love she had for this life and the people whose lives she touched. She cared for many of our children and with the force and love of a Mother hen watched them anxiously as they grew into adulthood. When any of them tripped and fell or got tangled up and bewildered by the journey into adulthood, she suffered for them. To her, those connections were a gift and she treasured them and grew them as her investments in the universe.
Loving Donna is not for the feint hearted. At any time Donna could catch you off guard. Donna held our hearts and minds accountable for any traces of wounding that threatened us. Loving Donna was our act of surrender. Giving way to her determination to live on her own terms and to challenge us all to wear life like a pair of her multi coloured leggings. In Donna we had a talisman against growing old and cynical and crusty. For she loved that we loved her for that.
Donna would quarantine a rooster for sexual misdemeanours, Donna would make wishes for the health of our gardens, Donna could talk you into doing a past life regression with her and Donna would tell you that she loved you every time that she saw you. We were always reassured that our star was in her sky. Many times she would say how lucky she was to love the people in her world. Many times I would think…………this has nothing to do with luck but more the opening of our hearts to the kindest, gentlest soul we will ever meet.
Donna loved her time at the Aboriginal community in Yuendumu and the insights she gained during that time always stayed with her. She would speak of the Indigenous love of country as a love that she shared and felt priveleged to be part of. Donna loved this earth and everyday she expressed both humility and wonder at being a part of it. Her fire ring was built to honour and welcome the elders of our land and her garden reflected her love of wild and untamed beauty. Donna missed those she had lost and sought to keep them alive in her daily world. She would speak of her Mother and the daily conversations she held with her. With each passing of a life Donna would commit to honouring and remembering the best of them.
Donna honoured the living as well as the dead. Her life spoke of the rhythm of the past, the present and the future, with the hope that one day we would all be as one. She loved her Charles and would muse on her good fortune to be born in the same lifetime as this generous and loving mate.
In true Donna style she could be relied upon to take the piss out of anyone. We shared a mutual friend named Richard who she longed to embarrass. The occasion presented itself one day when he was saying something he thought was rather serious. Donna walked into the room and yelled out in her booming voice…….”Hello Big Dick!”……….and then burst into her wild laughter. Donnas laugh could break glass. She was always able to laugh at herself and never missed the irony in this theatre of life. Donna laughed and Donna cried and Donna expressed every emotion in between. And I loved that in her because she always expressed what I could not. To me, she was the most otherwordly, interesting, frustrating and mischievous person I have ever known.
It will take 176 years for the planets to align again in the way they did when Donna was born. At that moment another child will be born. That child I hope will offer the world again some of the mystery of life. That child will not walk amongst us however, Donnas stars. What Donna loved us for was our ability to see her in her beauty and uniqueness and in many ways it was our love for her that made us more than ordinary people. I do not grieve for Donna. I grieve for our lives without her.