Delene was a friend. She was a sister. She was a crazy chick. She got diagnosed with stage 2 ductal invasive breast cancer – similar to Del. She fought the fight. When Del called three weeks ago and told me that Delene was gone I could not believe it. Neither could she. We miss her so much. This is what Del said at her memorial service. I will always remember riding up Steyn City pushing Delene and bawling my eyes out at the image of Lisa, who we lost a year earlier, on her back. I cannot bear to even bring myself to think about what Mr. and Mrs Mulley must be going through. I get tearful just thinking about it.
In memory of Delene (4 January 1979 – 18 February 2016)
[Read at her memorial service]
Last week Monday, Delene placed the following post on Facebook: “Some days you have to be fucking brave. Today is one of those days”. This accurately describes how I feel today.
One thing is certain: Delene had presence. You could feel when she entered the room long before you looked up and saw the huge smile and her love came bounding towards you. She had an abundance of energy that was profound and addictive. As another post on Facebook accurately described: She was tired of trying to cram her sparkly star-shaped self into society’s beige square holes. She chose to embrace her ridiculous awesomeness and shine like the freaking supernova she was meant to be.
The unintended consequence of this is that she leaves a hole… a gap. There may be a gap in your everyday, a gap in your weekend or a gap next to you where her bike is meant to be. There will be a gap at the next cow function, at the next cow party and at the next Rent-a-Cow. There is a gap on my contact list. There is a gap in my Whattsapp conversations. There is a gap where quirky humour use to be. There is a gap in my Facebook feed. There is a gap where stubbornness used to reside. There is a gap where her love once lived.
When sharing the story of Delene with someone this week, they shared an amazing insight. People die twice in this world. They die on the day that they die, and then they die again on the day that the last person who remembers them dies. Therefore, a legacy will only live as long as the memory of the last person that remembers you.
If we think about legacy like this, then her legacy is not what we do to honour her memory, but what we will be that honours her. Will we choose to be an inspiration, or a little more crazy? Maybe next time you will choose to not give up no matter what is thrown at you. Choose to be strong in any circumstance, to find more humour, to make friends more easily. Maybe you will choose to love Border Collies or to even rescue a Border Collie. Perhaps even you will choose to be selfless and always put others ahead of yourself. Maybe you will choose to never take one moment for granted and take more photographs and make more memories. Will you choose to enter races for everyone because they are disorganised, or pick up an army full of race packs? Perhaps you will wear a tutu so that people can ask why and you can tell them about the bravery of kids with cancer and the awesome work that CHOC does. Maybe you will choose to love differently and in abundance.
For me, this is the true creation of a legacy. Of her legacy. The impact will live far beyond the lives of everyone here.
As a final thought on the continuing of her legacy, I take a line from a song I heard on the radio this morning:
We can make it into something beautiful,
Yeah, we don’t have to try.
We can make it into something wonderful,
We’ll never say goodbye.