Three women

To honour three women who have died recently I decided to have a day doing ‘stuff’ in their memory.

I ate pie and croissants for breakfast (for Maria), I wore bright red lipstick ( for Helen)and I’m spending my day reading poetry (for Ania). Not all the things that I would normally do, but it is that kind of day where I feel a bit topsy turvy. Three deaths in a week.

Maria Govic died yesterday. Mother of my friend, Anne, grandmother to Marianne and Simon. She was a lady who loved to dress up, to have fun and look after everyone. I only met her a few times; usually a nod and hello over the front fence. People would stop and admire her garden in North Fitzroy. She was from Croatia originally, the matriarch of an immigrant family. She was good and kind and loyal. It was in her honour that I ate a buttery flakey croissant followed by a slice of lamb and rosemary pie for breakfast. I didn’t feel guilty at all. I think she would have approved of such decadence.


Photo by Piero Istrice – unsplash

Helen Edwards volunteered at the City of Melbourne in Tourism Services. She was understated, modest and fun. Her speaking voice was calm, low pitched and beautiful.She always wore a touch of red and in winter a jaunty beret. Sadly, it was at her funeral that I got to know more about her. She was the child of emigrants from Germany who ended up in Australia. Helen was a mum and a worker and a skier. In Helen’s honour, I brought out the red lipstick that I only wear for special occasions – usually when I want to feel powerful.


Photo by Erica Murdoch

Ania Walwicz was a teacher at RMIT. So many people have written about Ania since the news broke of her death that I feel hesitant to say anything else. She was a poet, a writer and performer. Ania was a teacher who danced to the beat of her own drum; always kind, encouraging and open to anything. Again, Ania was the child of immigrants from arriving in Australia when she was 12.
In her honour, I have been reading poetry all day. I have been rereading class notes and the photocopies she made for us. ( one memorable time, the entire class got A3 printouts as she hit the wrong button and didn’t want to waste paper)


Photo by Erica Murdoch

These three women did not know each other and in many ways were worlds apart. But they all had in common, tenacity, grit and great spirit. They were humble and unassuming and probably felt that they had not made a great deal of difference in the world. They all had many people who loved them deeply and I don’t know what is better than that.

Goodbye Maria, Helen and Ania. You will be missed.

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