I was lucky enough to talk with Andre Roupp, a funeral director, on one of my podcasts. Andre is such a gorgeous, caring man, and seeing his post about filling the hearse brought back memories of Tahl's funeral.

It's unlikely that you would think about preparing a funeral for your child in advance - unless there was good cause to do so. For many of us that would be out of our realm of thinking - we just wouldn't expect to be planning for our child's death before our own.

So, to then organise a funeral is again surreal. I remember being asked how many people would likely attend? How the heck would I know????!!!! I shook my head saying exactly that. Even as an adult, unless you are exceptionally well known or died in tragic circumstances, could you say how many people would attend your funeral?? 

I guess the keyword is 'tragedy'. That is what draws people. People simply cannot believe that a young, vibrant life has been taken without warning, regardless of the 'how'. It is that that draws people out to make that extra effort.

So here are my thoughts about that time…

To be honest, I don't actually remember my dealings with the funeral home staff except to say that they were, collectively, a beautiful bunch of people. I felt well looked after, guided, and listened to.

So what are funerals for really? They are a way for those of us left behind to say goodbye to that precious person we have lost.

It is a double-edged sword - well it was for me anyway. On one hand, preparing for the funeral was a great distraction for me. It gave me something to focus on when I was otherwise rudderless. The flip side was that it was almost making it final that Tahl was GONE - and that was something my heart rebelled against.

Part of that rebellious feeling was to do the funeral 'my way'. I don't often put my foot down and insist on having things my way - but this just seemed a time when I had no choice. This was my beautiful girl's send off…

I let the funeral home handle all the notices and so on. Though I just knew instinctively that I wanted her actual funeral to be a celebration of her life. I didn't know how that was going to look, though because I was surrounded by her gorgeous friends, as well as my close family and friends, at home it just came together with everyone's help (and a ton of Rescue Remedy!!!!).

Though I do remember being asked to select a coffin and looking at them with a frown etched deeply in my forehead - lovely coffins but they were all so serious and proper. Tahl was definitely not going to be happy in one of those! So the choice, if I remember correctly (I was living with a brain full of cotton wool, so my memories were a bit dodge for the first 18 months - the imprints of events - no, but the timeline and some actual details are dodgy), was pink, blue or white. So pink it was. It was a special time for friends and family (when they finally felt at ease to do so) to leave messages on her coffin. Her coffin was also filled with many of her favourites… some of which had to be removed, prior to cremation, for safety reasons!!

So, there in the lounge, she lay surrounded by the most amazing floral arrangements in her pink coffin. I'm sure she was busy overseeing everything and guiding us to what SHE wanted. 

It was such a surreal time. I think I spent that entire week living outside of my body!!

As far as the eulogy went, I knew it would be tough though I couldn't let anyone else speak about my baby girl. This was something I had to do. I didn't know what I wanted to say - even right up to the morning. I didn't even know what I wanted to wear!!!!!

This was a major stress time for me. I knew the import of it and I desperately needed to escape for some headspace. That's the other thing. I am a natural loner. I enjoy my solitude and for days I was surrounded by people non-stop. Not only that, I felt I had to acknowledge and appreciate everything they were doing because it wasn't about me. It was about Tahl. Don't get me wrong. I was and still am hugely grateful - I just don't do people around me well. So that led me to be hypervigilant and I remember getting really stroppy about something (someone was probably telling me what I should do, lol) so I just grabbed my bag and walked out of the house, desperately needing to be on my own, to have some space to think. Nothing or nobody was stopping me!

So, I walked, or more like strode down the road (!!) towards town. I was doing this on my own.

Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a stepsister, Maree, who gets me better than I get myself. She understands my quirky nature so well. She gave me a few minutes to walk off the anger, frustration, fear, and immense heartbreak of the impending goodbye I was going to have to go through, then followed me. She allowed me to cry and rage and then asked me to hop in the car as it really wasn't safe walking along the 100k main highway in my state. Then she asked me what did I want? I told her I needed something to wear, and I needed to be left alone to work out what I wanted to say about my Tahl. 

First stop - get the clothes sorted. We literally walked into a shop, I saw a white dress with daisies on it and I just knew that was what I wanted. I thought it would be too small, but it fit perfectly. Then we teamed that up with a yellow overcoat. Perfect. No black for me (though I typically wear more black than anything else as a rule - work that out 🤔)

Then Maree dropped me off at a café so I could write my goodbye… 

The poor staff and few early morning customers must have wondered what on earth was going on as I sat there writing, remembering, writing again with tears constantly streaming down my face. I only had an hour so I had to make it count.

As a side note - as a side note I don't know what it is about my personality that makes me always do things on my own? I very rarely ask anyone for help. Or why I feel I need to do the impossible. I mean we had the perfect person at our disposal who would have done a fantastic job honouring Tahl - yet I just knew this was my baby and who knew her better than her mama? So, I would face up to doing one of the toughest things in my life and give the eulogy.

What is it about my personality that is so bossy as well? There I was back home, dressed ready to go, and directing everyone about what was staying, what was going, where was my bag, did someone have the balloons under control, what about her photo, who was going to carry her out to the hearse. I was on auto. Where's the Rescue Remedy - keep dosing yourself. You've got this.

Still on auto as I greeted everyone (until my ex and Tahl's dad thought that was the perfect time to say how sorry he was!!! Really???? I am barely keeping my shit together and you want to do this now??? GO. AWAY.) Then time to get this show on the road… (more Rescue Remedy

Our wonderful friend Krissie, who sings like an angel, welcomed her in.

There were helium balloons to be organised around her coffin with the beautiful messages from her friends who couldn't make it. My favourite photo of her on top, with her favourite hockey stick (she loved that stick!!!) and gorgeous flowers. Right - here goes. So, so many people everywhere. 

I see them yet I don't see them. 

I can't make eye contact with anyone. 

I just have to keep going. 

Keep busy. 

Make sure everything looks right. 

Move the balloons around

Don't think 

You've got this 

Don't feel 

You've got this


Okay the housekeeping is out of the way - my turn

I don't even really remember getting up there and what I talked about. I felt like I talked for ages as I had so much to say about Tahl to honour all the different parts of her life. She, we overcame so much together. 

Then a couple of her gorgeous friends spoke. Still keeping it together. Then the video compilation put together by Troy and David. Wow. They captured her perfectly. Then Krissie singing The Rose and then carrying her outside to the hearse through so so many people. I truly had no idea she had impacted so many lives ❤ Her school friends then did the most amazing haka - it gave me chills and was such a surprise. We halted to release the balloons and then they did another haka as we loaded her into the hearse and those who wanted to put heart lollies in with her (she was a lolly fiend!!!!). 

The irony of it all was then we drove around the corner and parked up as the crematorium was actually where we had the service!!! It was the weirdest feeling. All this focus, all this attention, and this was how it ended…

I was proud of the beautiful send-off we gave her. 

I missed having her at home. That space felt empty even though I knew she was right there with me. I remember loads of people coming to the house but that was me done and dusted. All the energy it took to keep it together finally left me and I just couldn't talk to another person. I just didn't have anything left to give anyone even though I was hugely grateful that they cared enough to come. I went and lay on her bed and had my friend from my school days come and lay with me and we just sobbed and talked…

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