Today, 1 November 2011 we lost one of the most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to know. My mother's best friend, my last source of 'mother love' died today.
If I had suddenly turned into Smackwater Jack and shot down the congregation Eileen would have said that they must have deserved it and that I must have had a very good reason to do it. Her love and devotion to me, to her own two daughters, and to many many others should be the blueprint for all love; unconditional, it was full of warmth and humour.
When I was a very little girl, maybe two, my father hired a boat on the Hawkesbury and Eileen and the girls came up to visit with us for the day. At the end of the day we deposited them on a beach and motored off into the river and I, family legend has it, stood at the back of the boat wailing as loud as I could and crying out, "Eileen... Eileeeeeen... Eileeeeeeeeen" I was inconsolable until long after they were out of sight.
Another adventure, perhaps a little earlier in my life, was the day I tried to open her Grandfather clock and pulled the whole enormous thing over on top of myself. Someone somewhere was looking out for me that day as I ended up inside the clock body and unscathed... and crying out for... "Eileeeeeen"
When I returned to Sydney a couple of months ago the first person I wanted to see was Eileen but with her birthday coming up her daughter and I decided to surprise her on her birthday with my visit. I last saw her about a month ago on her 95th birthday. She was half blind, half deaf and clearly in failing health but still laughing, joking, flirting with the male nurses, and still more pleased to see me than anyone has been in several years. I was meant to see her tomorrow...
Not bad for 95!
I feel so very fortunate to have been special to someone as special as she!
I'm silent now but inside I'm still crying out...
"Eileen... Eileeeeeen... Eileeeeeeeeen"