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Clare’s Memory Book: last call for stories & craft-lovers

October 8, 2010 4 comments

Today, Greg put up a message on the We Are Praying for Clare Mennis Facebook site, calling for Clare stories. His message is copied below. Admin will also be incorporating comments from my site. Shortly, a few of us will be putting together a memory book, for Clare’s boys – which will be bound – hence, this **final call** for comments / stories / reflections / condolences / prayers / well wishes for the family. Maybe you have some photos or other pictures or drawings for the family. It’s special for them to see their beloved Clare through the eyes of others.

Greg Mennis:- I would love to hear all the stories. This one was great “The children from a class in year one each brought a flower from home
and put together this arrangement, along with shells and blue pebbles,
to represent one of Clare’s favourite places: Sandgate” Greg
4 hours ago · Comment · LikeUnlike · Flag

Greg Mennis:- Thank you everyone for all the help, support and especially prayers during Clare’s illness and since her passing. Please share your memories of Clare and what she meant to you. I would like them all collected and bound so that when the boys want to they have something to remember their mother with. This means so much to me and the boys. Thank you, Greg
6 hours ago

As you can see from the photo below, this is what passes for craft at my house. I can make Christmas trees look like cheerful Daleks (the mean robots on Dr Who). So, in all, I might not be the best person to bring onto a craft endeavour. Knowing my limitations, I’m extending an invitation to anyone who is craft-oriented, to offer their services in the making of this special book for the boys. If you have bits ‘n bobs that might lend themselves to a memory book, or have a little time or talent for such a project, I’d invite you to contact Sarah or Genevieve on the We Are Praying site, or send me your contact details through the Message box and I’ll put you in touch.

By way of update (and so we don’t have duplication of effort), Cathy Dunbar’s Tupperware party last Saturday has scored the family some nice gifts, including:

a picnic set, a water cooler & tumblers, a serving dish, & additional tumblers. On top of that, Carmen Rooke (our Tupperware demonstrator and also a Mum at St D’s) put a call out to all the other Reps in her team requesting donations – & she’s had a great response….

The spirit of Mary MacKillop, who is canonised this month, is alive and well: let’s not see a need and do nothing about it.

Have a safe weekend, and please, send in your reflections.

UPDATE: Some very touching comments have come through – thank you. Others feel understandably daunted by the task, so I wonder whether they could perhaps help us with little details, like:
What was Clare’s favourite (and why, if you know):
prayer
children’s book
Christmas carol
movie
place in summer
activity in winter
holiday
winter dish
cake recipe (include it!)
colour
saying
perfume
piece of parenting advice
flower or plant in the garden
craft activity
outfit …
You get the idea. It’s the details that will make the boys’ memory of their mother vivid. Maybe the next playgroup meeting could pass around a piece of parchment and pens, to record these little things that made Clare the person she was. Think back to your own childhood and what you remember of your mother – her slippers and apron, her cooking, the things she said when you were naughty or nice, the sounds and smells of the family home ….

I’ve also had volunteers come forward to help out with making the memory book (thanks, Cathy, Anita & Rosanna) and photos (thanks, Sam). Thank you also to the readers, (many never having met Clare) who continue to offer their Prayers.

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Categories: Life, Love, Parenthood, Religion

Clare’s day & how to help her family …

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Clare’s Rosary and Requiem Mass filled this church (Corpus Christi, Nundah), yesterday.

People found many ways to show they care. The children from a class in year one each brought a flower from home and put together this arrangement, along with shells and blue pebbles, to represent one of Clare’s favourite places: Sandgate. (Thanks Cathy Dunbar & Anita DiBartolo.)

The mass was poignant and beautiful. It was conducted by nine Catholic priests, who clearly knew and loved Clare, including her own brother, Fr Anthony Dunne. The strength, courage and composure of the family was remarkable and inspiring.

Admin for the Facebook page, We Are Praying for Clare Mennis, has invited me to link, so click through and keep up the prayers. There have been almost 400 visits to my own site, specifically to read about Clare.

People have asked me how they can help. Kara has been accepting meals on behalf of the family but needs someone to be a point of contact Mb. 0431942850 (perhaps texting will be better than swamping her with calls?). Alternatively, contact the school office and see if they can store and pass on the meals.

An account has been set up for donations towards a family holiday to Tasmania. Greg mentioned that he would love to be able to take the boys to Tasmania because Clare loved Tasmania so much and it would mean the world to her. It was then when the “take the boys to Tasmania fund” was born. If any of you would like to contribute to the “take the boys to Tasmania fund” please deposit into the following account:
Account Name: IMS Service Centre Social Club
BSB: 014-015
Account: 547627907
Bank: ANZ
Under the DESCRIPTION field when you are transferring you will need to put in “Money for Clare” or “Tasmania” or something similar. For further details please contact John on 0448 841 483 or john.lives.here@hotmail.com

Tupperware parties have been held in earnest (thanks Cathy D & Mel) and the hostess gifts are being donated to the family (contact Carmen Mb.0403 825627). Any reps with spare product to donate are invited to contact Tupperware manager, Natasha Y. or Carmen. Every little bit is going to help (4 boys!). Anyone else who thinks they might be able to help in some way, might like to click through to the FB page and message one of the Admins. If you know of other projects underway to help the family, please put details into the Message box and they can be added to the post or comments.

Admin for the Facebook page, We Are Praying for Clare Mennis, is also warmly welcoming people who’ve published Clare stories or comments on my site, to copy and paste their kind words across to the FB page also. If anyone knows of a neat way to copy across the original posts & comments, please let me know.

Everyone’s thoughts, prayers and efforts are greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: Mel M (yr 1 St D’s) will be holding the next Tupperware party on Friday, 22 October, 2010
Time: 7pm
Venue: [contact Mel for details] Chermside
Mobile No: 0404 153 001.
If you’ve been needing any Plastic Fantastic, please consider adding it to this order, even if you can’t attend the party itself.

Categories: Life, Love, Religion

Clare.

October 5, 2010 1 comment

In the past day, more than one hundred and fifty people have visited this site to read about Clare. That says something about the person.

I hope the thoughts and prayers of those readers comfort Clare on her journey home and warm the hearts of her family and friends. God bless.

Clare’s Rosary and Requiem Mass is at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, 6 October, 2010). Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Categories: Life, Love, Religion

A note about Clare

October 4, 2010 9 comments

By now, children across Queensland have been safely reinstalled at school for the last term of the year and parents have uttered something that loosely resembles a prayer of thanks.

But at one school on Brisbane’s northside, the dynamic this morning was different. Parents found out that one of their number had passed away on Friday morning, leaving behind a husband of fifteen years (and one week) and four young sons: the eldest being in year 4, and the youngest around 2 years old. Clare died at 1 a.m. on Friday from complications following a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. She was diagnosed last year and had been in and out of hospital since, but everyone had always expected that she’d be home again soon.

Today, people were too shocked to say much of anything. (I’ve had since Friday to ‘process’ the news). But what I do hope is that when people find their words, that they share them with the family. No-one really knows the right thing to say, or when, or how to say it; but I suspect that the greater tragedy would be to say nothing at all.

Clare was in the year above me, both at primary school and high school. Even though we didn’t know each other during those years as such, we met again when our children started at the very same primary school together. All the way through school, Clare had a quick and generous smile for everyone and it was that same smile (and irresistible, throaty laugh) that greeted me almost two decades later. I suspect that Clare touched a lot of people without knowing, without even trying.

It’s not unexpected that people will say nice things about the recently departed, however, even if you tried, you couldn’t find a single negative thing to say about Clare. She really was that good. When she was in a conversation with you, she was totally in that moment with you. She gave herself over to her family, entirely. She gave herself over to her faith. And she never complained about anything, or anybody.

While she was in hospital, she didn’t let on how much pain she was in; nor how it felt when her own baby had trouble recognising her with tubes and without hair. No. Clare, in her usual cheerful manner, would send me a message asking how my new chickens were going. Clare was never dying: she was living every moment.

Clare was a truly magnificent person. I hope people find as many ways as they can to tell Greg and the boys that.

R.I.P. Clare.

P.S. If people would like to share their Clare stories or offer words of support – feel free to click on the comments box and I’ll ensure the messages get across when the family’s ready to receive them (or do it on Clare’s FB page if it’s ok with Admin). Sometimes, it’s easier to write it than to say it. And sometimes, it’s easier to read it, than hear it.

Categories: Life, Love, Parenthood, Religion