Today was the day that my family buried our mother.
In an emotional roller coaster we got through it.
It was terrific to be reunited with my brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces.
What a day. I might blog about it later.
For now, here is the Eulogy that I gave about the life of my mum.
Thanks to everyone for coming here today to celebrate the life of Evelyn, to some of us she was a sister, a mother, an aunty, a cousin, a friend.
To Brian she was the love of his life for over 60 years, a couple that were as close to each other as you could get.
Evelyn’s sister Eileen is also here today, there are many stories that Eileen and Evelyn shared over a cup of tea and a slice of a boston bun.
I wanted to acknowledge by name each and everyone one of the children, partners, grandchildren and great grand children, however, Father Pat said to keep this under seven minutes and there’s just so many of us…
Evelyn was born 1929, just down the road at Glenthompson, she was the 4th of 6 children born to Harold and Lena Hadden.
Her siblings, Eileen, Ada and George, Jimmy and Jeff moved about Western Victoria as their father was a blacksmith and he moved to wherever the work was.
Evelyn went to school in Glenthompson and Beaufort, and finished off at the high school in Hamilton.
After school she worked at the High Tone milk bar and then for a while at the Pixie Deli.
Her future father in law would always joke with her that he would bring in a box for her to stand on so she could see over the counter.
This was the time that Brian and Evelyn met.
They were both in a group of friends that knocked about together, made up of school and work mates.
Brian discovered that to win Evelyn’s heart he had to cut another bloke out of the picture to get to her.
The first time that they went out was to the Regent Theatre, Evelyn managed to get a free pass from the Deli where she worked.
It wasn’t a ticket to the regular seating, but to the upstairs area that was normally more expensive and something that neither of them would normally be able to afford.
It was in 1948 that Dad popped the question to Mum and then in this very church on September 24th 1949, they married.
The reception followed at the Hollywood Cafe and so began their lifelong marriage and love for each other.
It wasn’t too long before the first child was born, Evelyn quickly discovered that she relished the role of mother and she wanted more.
Over the next 17 years she was happy to stay at home and look after her expanding family, with a rest in hospital every 18 months or so.
When Dad’s sister Lois died, Evelyn also welcomed into the family Jack and Lois’s three children. For a number of years she cared for them after school.
She never stopped doing things, Evelyn loved to sew, making clothes for all her children.
She had a Singer knitting machine that she would whip up many jumpers on.
She was keen on all manner of craft and for awhile was very keen on hobbytex, adorning almost every single hanging space in the house with her handiwork.
It was no mean feat to cook and feed that many mouths on a daily basis.
While we were sitting around talking about our mother during the last week, we tried to work out just how many dinners she put together for Brian and the 11 children.
Over a 17 year period we worked it out at about 155,000 individual meals that she served up, and on a roster basis that’s how many dinner plates we washed.
This never seemed to daunt Evelyn, not only did she prepare three meals a day, she also baked most days, there was always a constant supply of biscuits, slices and cakes.
She seemed to thrive at Christmas and for many years we had at least 75 mouths to feed over two shifts for Christmas Day.
With all the washing, ironing and mending going on, keeping us lot in line so that Brian could get his sleep for his shift work meant Mum had to be strong when it came to discipline.
In a motion faster than the speed of light she could take off a slipper and before we started to run away from her she could hurl that slipper with pinpoint accuracy.
Legend has it she perfected the curve throw,
and even though we might duck and weave
she could hit you on the back of the head even after you’d darted behind the green bush.
For most of our time growing up, we had no car.
It wasn’t until Mum turned 50 that she got her license.
And then only after Brian said he would buy her a car if she got her license.
Evelyn was your classic little lady driving a big car, barely able to see over the steering wheel. But a marvellous achievement for someone who had never been behind the wheel.
With their family all grown up and gone from home, it gave her more free time, you’d expect her to relax, but no, she went out and got a job. Cleaning.
It wasn’t long until she retired and her and Brian began to travel.
She would never miss a bit of an adventure, she would scramble over rocks, take walks and swim, she loved swimming. Brian said she’d swim in a puddle in the back yard if she could.
A move to Queensland happened after they won Tattslotto, they had been making the trip north for several years, so it seemed like a good idea.
They lived there for about 8 years until Evelyn decided that she didn’t want to be buried on the Gold Coast, as she didn’t know anyone in the cemetery.
Back in Hamilton Evelyn and Brian made their home again, they continued to travel and they also welcomed their children and grandchildren into their home.
As the years went past they moved to Eventide, determined to live for as long as they could independently.
And here we are today, talking about the life of the Matriarch of our Family.
The woman from a family of 6, a mother to 11, grandmother to 30, great grandmother to 15.
She was our wife, our sister, our sister-in-law, our mother, our mother-in-law, our aunty, our cousin, our friend.
What a remarkable woman.
With a strong belief in her God she firmly believed He would look after her and Brian and her family.
Evelyn leaves behind a big legacy.
She loved her husband, loved each of her children and then their children and the great grand children.
She always took a great deal of interest in all of us, always keen for news about what was happening in our lives.
We can honour her life by remembering her.
Tell her story, the story of humble beginnings, the daughter of a blacksmith that raised 11 children, she maintained a family home and a family life.
From all of us, good job Mum, thank you.