going through box’s of ‘stuff’ when moving …what  to do ??

Not long after my nine year old boy died from a brain tumor,  I heard that  radio national abc were doing a program on ‘baby boomer funerals.  I wrote and email and sent it and the next day it was read out on national radio. It was an affirming and healing thing to hear.


This was the email that I sent.

Attention re ‘baby boomer funerals’

I want to share with you my difficult, awful and rewarding experience of bringing my nine year old home home from hospital for three weeks of palliative care and then burying him.

I live on a community of shared land in northern NSW. Within a remarkable short period of time, members of our community organized permission for a cemetery to be allowed on our land.

How to describe the agony of his coffin being made down stairs as Josh was bedridden with his brain tumor growing visibly bigger every day.

A neighbor and his son made and iron cross and rose for the lid.

A Buddhist monk painted an infinity circle underneath.

His father and other loving neighbors dug the grave by hand.

The grandmothers, his father and myself, cleaned and dressed his body and packed his orifices with wadding. Using ice and mosquito net we prepared him for an open day of meditation and prayer, Children decorated him with flowers. After this he went to the town morgue for four days

The day we buried him is rich and full in my memory . Seventy of us followed the coffin through the paddocks, knee deep through the creek and up to the ridge, the trail decorated with garlands of flowers and bamboo. The cemetery was decorate with boughs of flowering gum, stag-horns and large white flag with prayers painted on it. Every one was asked to bring a stone to leave at the grave. Akabella (our local a capella choir) sang, people spoke, read poems, more singing and every one helped to fill the grave.

For me, having rituals that mean something, inviting the community in, not having one stranger involved ..has made this unbearable eveIMG_2414nt a rich and full experience.

Honouring Joshua – a poem by Claire Hogan

Cicadas drone, as dense as the mist, painted behind the palms.

I feel feet on wood,

Nose of incense

and hear kookaburras and cat bird

Lewans’ honey eater.

I’m not meditating,

Im remembering the once

that I babysat Josh.

I thought, ‘what do I do with a two yr old, wild energy?

Then I went wild.

We sat on a mound of clay,

that waited for two year olds.

And threw yonnies into the new, concrete tank.

I knew that we might sully the tank.

Josh just knew it was fun!

And we played for and hour.

I sit , feet on wood.

Incensed nose.

A car bumps over the wooden bridge.

Linda cries from somewhere deep, and blows her nose.

Tazo’s nose chooses me next

we stand

I sit and pat and feel so honoured

feeling Josh’s presence

Hearing cicadas-voices-

footsteps scrunching on the gravel.

And guess what Josh?

There is no flies,

no mosquitoes. No midges.


One fly Josh,

but it flew past.

Bryan and Josh

Bryan and Josh

Tazo at the grave

Tazo at the grave




One thought on “Joshua

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