*I don’t want to upset anyone with this post. You can chose to read or not read. This post is the text of the eulogy that I said at Jem’s funeral that was held on 11 May, 2011. I spoke after Jeremy’s three children – Sophie, Tim and Amelia, and before Dad and Max. Over 300 people attended his funeral. The church was packed which was just wonderful.

Jeremy died just after 2pm on Wednesday 4 May.*

Jeremy. My brother. As the only boy in a household of girls (apart from dad), he kept to himself. Head down. Quietish around the house. Played records in his room. We all knew he was bright though. When we spent a sabbatical year in England I went to the local comprehensive school and Jem stayed with my Nana and Gramps during the week and attended grammar school. He was bright and he was a bit of a dag. And that was that.

I was 14 or 15 when he left home to go to uni. Music first and then he thought he’d have a go at medicine. Yeah. A go. Got the university medal on graduating.

We all grew up. Life got busy. I moved cities. Marriages, kids, jobs, travels. Despite our best intentions we didn’t see as much of each other as we should or could have. Mum and Dad living in Bowral helped – a halfway point for dad’s famous BBQ lunches and family celebrations.

He hardly ever remembered my birthday, even though it was just before his. I used to text him reminders about mother’s day and family birthdays. I will miss his mad scrambles at Christmas. Jem and Max arriving on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, usually with a couple of big bags from DJs, a box of cards, rolls of wrapping paper. They would disappear into a room and then come out with a flourish, and pretend they had planned it all months before.

Always generous. Incredibly generous. And funny too.

When Jem got sick again this year, I was blown away by how worried and concerned he was for others. How was Max doing? Mum and Dad? The children? Honestly, if it was me, I think I would have become even more self-centred and selfish, but he never stopping asking and being concerned for others – if anything that care and love and concern increased as he became more ill.

In this horrible terrible time I have had the most wonderful moments. How often do you get the privilege of just hanging out with your sibling? I described this time to friends recently as a hard, weird but beautiful time. I have absolutely treasured the last months. Despite the pain. I took leave from work to just hang out with Jem. Met some of Jem’s wonderful friends and colleagues, met again old friends and over and over again realized how wonderful and wonderful and wonderful he was and is.

We had some pretty full and frank discussions over those last months. On death. On life. On love. Able to share our fears about the future in some small way. Again his love and concern for others continues to astound me.

As his illness progressed, I started reading about anticipatory grief. A lot of you will have read those wonderfully written email updates that Jeremy sent around. I am particularly sad that we will not get the opportunity to sit in the wintery Kings Cross sun (like the older well dressed citizens of the Cross – emerging like lizards).

In the last few weeks we watched a lot of bad tv – Judge Judy, Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt and his favourite – Air Crash Investigators. Pay TV. One of these shows is on anytime of the day or night. See – he’s a dag.

He’s still with us in so many ways. I knew he worked hard in lots of different jobs, but I had no idea just how well regarded he was by others. I knew he was good, but it’s wonderful that so many others feel the same.

As I said I would have liked to have taken more advantage of the anticipatory grief. I would have liked more time to take advantage of that. I think that Jeremy was so large in life that it’s really hard to imagine life with him not around. I am sad that we won’t get that time in the winter sun.

All peace and love to my most beautiful beautiful brother.

2 Responses to “Eulogy”

  1. 1 Jackie

    Such beautiful words Kate.

  2. Kate, my thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences, they have really touched me. I really feel for you at this painful time. Know that I am thinking of you and if you need anything, I am more than ready and happy to help.

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