Thanksgiving for the Life of David

There was a Prayer Service this morning at Mary Mother of Mercy Chapel, at Sydney’s Rookwood Cemetery, a Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of David.

David’s four brothers (two from Sydney, one from Tasmania and one from Melbourne) as well as his three sisters (the sister all from the Sydney area) had come. So we were able to meet all of them. David had been the eldest in the family. The youngest one, Anthony, had been looking after David’s affairs while David was in nursing home care during the last months of his life. He probably saw to most of the funeral arrangements too.

Our two daughters, Monika and Caroline, came with us to the service at Rookwood Cemetery. These funeral services get people together. A lot of these people we would otherwise never have met. Extended family members, neighbours and friends had come too. David had such a great family. Now that David is gone, it feels to us that maybe we won’t meet any of his family again.

Both Gaby and David were of course always part of our family life. However, as David’s health suffered more and more, he often did not come to our family gatherings any more. Gaby had known David for more than 30 years! Their lives were often quite turbulent. Now, I am sure, they are at peace.

We are never going to forget how David made it possible for Gaby to live an independent life in her own home. It takes a strong character to take on the responsibility to look after a severely disabled person as our daughter Gaby was. The strange thing is, that towards the end when David frequently had to stay in hospital because of disabling sicknesses, it was Gaby who more or less looked after him! She would visit him every day in hospital, taking her companion dog along too for the hospital visits. David loved this dog.

How did she do it, you may ask. Well, she was just a very resourceful person. Despite all her disabilities she was always full of life and did whatever was possible for her to do. She was a great talker. whereas David never talked much about his feelings. He would sometimes scream and shout when people tried telling him what to do. When I would say: David, you should go and see a doctor. He would just say: Mama, you worry too much!



From the car I watch Peter and Caroline how they try to find out the right way to the chapel.
From the car I watch Peter and Caroline how they try to find out the right way to the chapel.

It’s such a huge cemetery, you can really get lost.


Now Monik.a joins them in trying to find out the right way
Now Monika joins them in trying to find out the right way


In the end we made it to the desired chapel right on time.



13 thoughts on “Thanksgiving for the Life of David

  1. Wow, Aunty Uta…

    David & Gaby were so valuable to each other. Really, you can’t hope for any greater thing in life. Very sad, it always is, when someone goes.

    This is wonderful, to remember with honour.

    1. Wow, Noeleen, there’s so much to remember. Both had kind, big hearts. But Gaby was very demanding. It did get too much for David over the years. He just wanted to be left alone. He led a very unhealthy life over many years and often drove Gaby’s carers round the bend with little bursts of energy. But most of the time he would stay semi conscious in his room. A nursing sister who would come to see him after he had been in hospital for a while he would chase away. He would not visit his siblings any more. They just could not cope with him. The only person who could always cope best with him was his long time friend Steve. But even he could not do much for him after Gaby had died and it was apparent David could not cope on his own. However he strictly refused to make any changes in his living arrangements. until he collapsed ;last Christmas. Sheila, his neighbour noticed and called an ambulance. It’s very sad when someone ends like this.
      But I think he went peacefully. And this is a comfort. We do remember a lot of good things about David. He was the only person who would take on the challenging position of taking on a life with Gaby, and he did so out of his big good heart. I think he had the feeling that he could not desert Gaby. Yes, great honour to him! Dear, dear David and wonderful life loving and caring Gaby!

      1. Aunty Uta, thank you so much for this much more. Sounds like he sort of fell into disrepair in a way. His long term friend Steve sounds wonderful, yet it is sad, isn’t it, when no-one can stay close because you’re such a difficulty.

        Bless both their big good hearts indeed. It is a sad end, Aunty Uta, but I agree with you I think he went peacefully.

        It is so interesting, our various lives. I enjoyed your last few posts.

        Aunty Uta says: Thanks for this, dear Noeleen, thanks you very much!

    1. Thanks for your expression of sympathy, Pat. David has been sick for so long. We never imagined that he’d survive Gaby. He always surprised us by picking up again. Now he’s survived Gaby by a bit over one year.

  2. Sorry to hear about David’s passing. My thoughts and prayers to him and his family. It is very inspiring and touching to read how Gaby took care of him. She has a pure, genuine, kind heart. God bless you and your family.

    1. You are right, IT. It was quite amazing how Gaby always tried to be there for David. It must have been very difficult for her at times. Everyone kept telling her that David was too sick to stay at her place. He should be in a nursing home where he’d be given proper care. When Gaby died last year David refused to move to a different place. Any attempts by his siblings to help him were in vain. David just did not want to be helped!
      For as long as Gaby was alive, the house got cleaned by Gaby’s carers. The carers often had a hard time when David was in a bad mood. If something displeased him, he would shout at them. We often wondered how Gaby and the carers could cope with all this.
      The last few months of his life David received very good care in the Parramatta nursing home.. He was not allowed alcohol, cigarettes he could afford only very few and he had to smoke them in some outside area. He was able to wheel himself out there a few times every day. He could not eat very well any more. It turned out there was something wrong with his gall bladder apart from many other things. But he was not an angry man any more. He didn’t give the staff any trouble. I think they liked looking after him. For years
      David had always told me: Don’t worry, Mama!
      The youngest brother of David, Anthony, took very good care of David after he collapsed last Christmas. This is when he ended up in hospital again. During the two months in hospital they had to amputate his left leg below the knee.The rest of his life he spent in the nursing home. It’s good to know that he did get proper care there and was able to die peacefully.

  3. I’m so sorry for your losses… what a lot both Gaby and David went through…and I’m sure the rest of the family, too. It’s so good that David was well cared for in the nursing home.
    Isn’t that something…. David encouraging you …”Don’t worry Mama!”
    Again, I’m so sorry for your losses…even when we might think that we feel “ready” for losses, they still are difficult…tender and gentle blessings to you and your family…

    1. Thanks, Kathy, for this loving and compassionate comment. I have to catch up on reading your blogs, Pocket Perspectives. Did I get the name right?

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