December 7 will always be important – time to reflect on Martha’s life, and celebrate the person that she was to me. I don’t think either of us ever really knew or understood the connection that we shared. I loved her, supported her and honored her while she was alive, but now I can see more clearly her most special attributes: brave, independent, expressive, creative, kind, vulnerable – a truly beautiful soul. Those of you that knew her well would agree I am sure! She wasn’t perfect, none of us are. But the thing that I love and admire most about her now is that she was true to herself all along.
Born in to a family where business minded careers were most highly valued, Martha fought for her right to be her creative self. I’m sure she moved interstate to Noosa in order to cultivate that part of herself, and to be with people who better understood and honored what it is to live a creative life. I know that she completely loved “the sisterhood” she felt amongst the women who worked with her at the homewares store, Gibsons. They loved and supported her right back, all the way through her decade of breast cancer challenges, along with many other dear friends. As Martha always said, “the universe delivers”! She received the love and support she needed. While I am sure that there were many times when she may have felt that the challenges she was given in life were bigger than she could cope with, she always came through smiling in the end. Martha was small in body, but strong in spirit. She was mighty! She was special. And she was loved. So much. So very, very much. I think she knew that in the end, and then she could go in peace.
I am proud she was my sister and cherish the love and friendship we shared, especially throughout the breast cancer years. Sometimes together in person but mostly via many hundreds of L-O-N-G chatty phonecalls between Noosa and Sydney, almost always filled with love, laughter and plenty of tears too. That was the thing with Martha, she always wore her heart on her sleeve, so you were not left wondering where she stood! Her kind heart attracted so many good hearted people in to her life. She gave love out in copious measure, and it came back to her in many ways, shapes and forms over the years.
When Martha died, it really did change me forever. Much of me is the same as before, but a whole new aspect of myself was cracked open and began to grow too. In this new part of me, I have found a creative self I honestly never knew existed – not for 50 years! So that has been a gift. I value my relationship with myself and with others more strongly too. I see people for who they really are more clearly. To be honest, I have found past the few years to be REALLY hard. There have been many, many days and nights where I really questioned what the point of it all was, it was so hard to see through the black fog that descended and never really went away. It HURT to lose not one dearly loved sister, but two. It HURT to lose my breasts and go through those surgeries. And it hurt to lose my business and sense of purpose and self when pink zebra closed too. Really, it has been horrible. Not all day, every day, but bloody hard overall.
Through it all, there have been some really special people who have held out their hand and helped me, in big ways and small. Without those beautiful souls helping me and encouraging me along, I honestly believe I would not be here today. They helped me. Me, who never really thought I needed much help from anyone. Being able to ask for help has been a big lesson for me, to accept that sometimes you really can’t do it all on your own. Like Martha always did, I’ve found that asking for help is hard to do, but necessary, when facing some huge life challenges. Help does arrive from both expected and unexpected places. I’ve built so much internal strength too. And you do get there in the end. I am so grateful to those that have “helped my being” in recent years. Thank you to each and every one of you – you know who you are! All of those kind messages and reassuring conversations have made such a difference to me.
When Martha went into palliative care a few months before she died, it was expected that she wouldn’t last long. So we started a “running relay” of family members back and forth to Noosa to keep her company in her final days and weeks. Well, we thought it would be days or weeks, but Martha thought it was so lovely to have us all together that she stayed around for weeks and months! Each time I only packed for a few days, and then ended up staying way longer. So I bought some clothes to suit the warmer Noosa climate – loose tops, dresses, leggings, sandals – different from my then usual fashion business attire. At one point I said to Martha, “OMG Marts, my wardrobe is becoming so like yours, I think I am morphing in to you!” And she said, in her sweet way “Ohhh no! You don’t want to be me. You have to be YOU!” So I said, “well maybe I will be the best of me AND the best of you”. And I honestly think that is what has happened. I’ve kept the best of me, and taken on the best of Martha too. I’m proud and happy that a part of Martha lives on in me. I will always honor it and cherish it. Thanks for the gifts Martha! I know that she lives on in spirit with me, delighting in the good, soothing and guiding through the not so good, cheering me on! And guiding me along, to find my true path too.
Hooray for good and lovely sisters. Today especially, I honor and love Martha and am thankful for all that she was to me in her life, and all that she continues to be as I step on without her in person, but with her gentle, wise spirit alongside, always holding my hand. I used to text Martha when she was heading in to one of her countless surgeries over the years “I am holding your hand” and she would text back “thanks Sare, see you out the other side!” Now I think it has reversed – Martha is holding my hand, and I will see her out the other side of this life. But there’s still much more to be lived, so I’m getting right on and living it, honoring me and honoring the beautiful and mighty Martha too. It is such a comfort to know Martha and Lou walk with me, all day every day.
God bless you Miss Marts, our Noosa sis! That’s what I always called her and no wonder I always feel so peaceful when I spend time up here in Noosa, as I am again this week. There are so many people, amongst family and your many friends, who are especially loving you and remembering you today. Yes, love is all you need and I feel yours with me each and every moment. I will always carry you in my heart. Enjoy your well deserved “party in the sky”. I hope you are enjoying the show!