Words spoken at Estelle's funeral ....
For those of you I haven’t met, my name is Melissa and I am Estelle’s eldest sister. Thank you all so much for being here today to honour Estelle’s life. I’m not ready to ‘celebrate’ it yet – how can such a tragic end to a life with so much more to embrace be celebrated. But I will honour her life, the life she had lived so very well.
I will share a few memories that I have of Estelle as my sister – starting with the day she was born. I distinctly remember waving Mum & Dad off as they went to the hospital and Dad telling us the next day we had a new baby sister called Estelle. As Mum will tell anyone who will listen, she was the “perfect baby” – she ate and slept – and the title “perfect baby” was one that she was happy to claim and remind any of us about quite smugly whenever baby conversations took place. I remember her sleeping peacefully in her little white bassinette outside under the apple tree in our house in Henderson and when I look at her white place of rest today I have to believe she is once more sleeping peacefully.
Estelle had long thick dark blonde hair as a little girl and I remember her having it tied up in piggy tails with multi-coloured ribbons – even as a little girl she was particular about things matching and being just so. Estelle also suffered from Asthma as a child and I remember her being whisked away to hospital during the night after having an asthma attack – being so young I was very frightened for her. That fear returned and was just as strong and frightening when I realized that Estelle’s place of work had collapsed in the earthquake.
There was six years between us I was always in a different school to her and by the time she had reached her teens I had gone to England and so there is a lot of time when I didn’t see much of her growing up. I do recall a conversation when at the tender age of 16 she had determined her personal style “sophisticated with a touch of elegance but with a natural look”. We all thought that hilarious at the time but true to form – that was the woman she became.
There are so many words to describe Estelle. She was meticulous, fastidious, committed, loyal, hilarious, and an amazing communicator. Smart, insightful, soft hearted. She was a list writer, was constantly doing a budget and always had a plan – it’s hard to know where to stop when describing Estelle.
In the last six months Estelle was the happiest I had known her to be. She was loved and in love and she and Jacob had great plans for the future. Hayley and I are just torn apart at losing you Estelle and not seeing you fulfill your hopes and dreams. We will look after Jacob, Shadow and Rosie – they are our family whether you are here in body or not. We know you will be worried about them.
Three weeks prior to losing Estelle, she and Jacob joined Hayley, myself and our families for the most fabulous “kiwi summer holiday” in the Marlborough Sounds. We had such good times. We ate well, drank well, played nicely. Estelle had some really good quality time with her nephews and niece. They loved their Auntie Stellie and telling them they won’t see her again has been horrendous. The weather on our holiday was outstanding and Estelle learnt how to kneeboard and man she was a tough chick. Justin my husband had given her the “how to kneeboard 101” talk and she was off. Hayley and I watched as she bounced all over the bay convinced she was going to come off any second and then you could see her suddenly straighten up and then she was flying ! where most people would fall off, Estelle’s steely determination wouldn’t let her. She remembered her instructions, put them into practice and was looking like she had been doing it all her life in no time. Being towed around on the biscuit took a little less skill but again she never came off and the grin on her face when she came into the beach was priceless and a memory I will hold with me forever.
When I waved her goodbye on February 8th I had no idea that would be the last time I would see my baby sister. When I reflect on that time now, I have to wonder if that was the universes last gift to us – a week of precious, precious memories.
The realization that Estelle was in the PGC building was one of the worst moments of my life. The time until we found her worse than that and saying our goodbyes, knowing that she will never make me cry with laughter again is gut wrenching. Her quick wit, intelligence and sense of humour was something I always admired. Her sense of the ridiculous was infectious and so often we would just not be able to stop laughing about the most inane things. I will really miss that.
I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why Estelle had to be taken away from us. We all needed her in our lives and the empty space in my heart is just cavernous.
Facing the future without her seems unimaginable but as with all things, we will endure and I know in time the pain will lessen.
My darling, beautiful, funny, smart, talented sister – I used to be so afraid of dying but I’m not scared anymore because I know now that when the day comes I will see you again.
My heart is hurting, my soul is wounded but I will remember you everyday for the rest of my life.
Rest easy darling girl. I love you.