There is a lovely suburb in Sydney known for its federation homes, immaculate gardens, and Italian pastries! This ‘little Italy’ of Haberfield is a great place to soak in some Italian atmosphere and delicious cuisine. Our two children love the library there (and the gelato!), so we spent a morning in Haberfield during the recent school holidays.
As we were driving home, we passed a group of people wearing black, hugging, and talking outside a church. It was clear they had just attended a funeral.
I noticed one lady walk away from the group to pluck a small bunch of rosemary that was planted near the footpath. I watched her twist the thin leaves between her fingers and lean in to breathe in the aroma before looking up to the clear blue sky.
Rosemary, the plant of remembrance, seemed to beckon this lady to her own quiet moment of remembrance.
There are moments in life when distractions slip away, allowing the heart to clearly see what really matters.
It can be in a moment of bliss, in the flow of inspiration when life feels light and clear. It can also be in moments of sadness and loss.
When celebrating the life of someone dear to us and feeling the preciousness of our existence, the heart seeks to live better and love better.
In late 2020, I sat with my Aunt to guide her spoken greeting for my Mum’s Story Collection. In a friendly ‘interview,’ my Aunt talked about her memories of Mum, their shared childhood, the games they would play, times with their parents and extended family, travel stories, the songs they would sing together, the fun they would have, their similarities, and their differences… Although my aunt’s health was declining, I was able to capture her memories in this precious voice recording.
Almost a year ago, my wonderful Aunt passed away. We will always have her recollections, but almost more importantly, we will have her reactions to my questions! Her laugh, her quick-witted jokes, her quirky way of weaving song lyrics into her daily dialogue… We will have the timbre of her voice in this relaxed moment, sharing words just for her sister. My mum, in these hard times of grief, can hear her sister’s words when she needs comfort or connection.
When I started The Story Collection, the optimistic romantic in me wanted to focus on love and the power of someone knowing – right here and now – all the ways in which they are cherished. My focus was not on all the ways this audio gift could leave a legacy.
But life isn’t always about optimistic romance. Sometimes life is horribly hard, laden with disappointment, uncertainty, fear, loss, and grief.
In some ways, The Story Collection is a joyful eulogy for the living, a moment for someone to be able to hear about their life, from others, talking about the memories, love, and friendship they have gathered so far in their life’s journey.
The legacy of audio storytelling is wonderful for future generations to hear about lives lived before them, but the legacy is also in the here and now, with the connection of voice and story from those we love.