photo taken Christmas 2012.
We arrived to a heaving, sweating sea of purple – Tameah’s signature colour. There were hugs, tears, taps on the shoulder and it was lovely to see some old friends like Tameah’s great mate Lucas, who now lives in Melbourne. Earlier this morning, I had a call from Tameah’s Dad asking me if I knew anyone who lived in Fortitude Valley, as Tameah’s nose ring was at the police station. I’m not far from the city, so I drove to the cop shop where I watched a lady behind the glass do a whole lot of paperwork. Finally, I had the precious cargo in my hands, which I gave to the ‘white lady’ as soon as I arrived at the chapel. And just to give you some idea as to how much Tameah was and will always be loved – it was standing room only.
It was a strange occurrence for me, because I don’t do funerals. I don’t do funerals because I physically and emotionally can’t. I’ve been to dozens, and most of them have been my C.F friends who were taken far too young. By my own admission, I haven’t been to a funeral in at least eight years, just because I can’t. I’ve missed close friends official farewells, but I’m not one to believe you need to go to a funeral to say goodbye. I have my own little ritual for that. But today – right now – I had to be there for Rodney, Leanne and Tameah’s brother Jordyn. I had to be there for Aunt Wendy and her family, for Nan and Pop and her partner Ben, who only lost his own father three weeks ago. I was nervous, but once there, felt relieved. When we were seated, Ben’s cover of ‘Lullaby’ rippled through the chapel with such tenderness. A beautiful tribute to the love of his life.
The service itself was lovely, and after it was over, something really cool happened. We all walked outside and there were purple balloons for her nearest and dearest to write on. Nickelback’s ‘Burn it to the Ground’ blared from the chapel as we wrote messages on the balloons (I shared a balloon with Tracy, Brandon and Robbie), and we started singing lyrics like ‘that shit makes me bat shit crazy’, and I was tapping my heels into the grass – as was Tameah’s dad Rodney – singing along to the ultimate Nickelback concert song. Tracy and I had a laugh as we sang more dirty lyrics, and I remembered going ‘bat shit crazy’ with Tameah when they finally played this song at the concert last year.
We released the balloons, hugged it out with Lucas, Tracy, Brandon and Robbie (and a myriad of other people), then we made our way out the back for refreshments (yes, there was cake, in all of its diabetic unfriendliness) and other yummies. I saw some people with CF I hadn’t seen in more than a decade and exchanged hugs with lots of friends and family. I was glad to be there.
People go to funerals for many reasons, and today, some came to say goodbye, and others came to say, ‘see ya later’. Wherever she is, Tameah is keeping the drinks cold, with a rare albino snake draped around her neck and has the remote for the sound system in her hand. I hope she’s getting to know some of my old friends like Melanie, Ed, Melinda (now they’d be thick as thieves) and even Ineka. Tameah was such a gentle, but stubborn soul, so maybe she could get Ineka to love snakes too. I have sixty-five friends who have now died from C.F, so she’s surrounded by the best people she’s going to meet in her limbo-like state where she’ll stay until the right soul is ready to bring her back to earth – most likely in the form of a snake …
As Nickelback sings, ‘the drum beat carries on.’ Yes, it does …
Me, Rodney, Leanne and Tameah at Nickelback last year Such a happy night where Rodders got me back onto bourbon while Leanne and Tameah were backstage meeting the band.
‘You’ve gotta live every single day
like it’s the only one – what if tomorrow never comes?
Don’t let it slip away –
could be our only one, you know it’s only just begun.
Every single day, may be our only one,
what if tomorrow never comes?’
And that’s how we should live – like there is no tomorrow (with reason). There are no guarantees in life and very few certainties. Live and love wildly, say yes to what you want, say no to what you don’t. And always remember to breathe.