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Robyn's words for Maeve at her funeral

Maeve was a fantastic but unusual child, and she was not always easy to bring up.

Those who know her will remember some of her famous sayings, like: Give me 10 good reasons; Mum, you've told me to do two things, wash my hair and do my homework, and I'm only going to do one of them, so which do you want, its your choice; and the time she took me aside last year and said she wanted to discuss the possibility of dropping back to just three days a week at school. Maeve could not understand why we seemed to have such an obsession with clean clothes and shoes which did not have holes in the bottom of them. Once when a very respectable elderly Quaker was staying with us, he emerged into the kitchen and said, “Good morning”. She was lying upside down on a chair with her feet in the air, and she answered in a loud voice, “If it is a good morning, which I very much doubt”, quoting Eeyore. In the last dream she shared with me, an old bulgy woman was reading a book titled, “How to be polite while sleeping”, and to a certain extent I think that is how she perceived human life, particularly adult life.

Here are parts of Maeve's “creed”, as penned earlier this year:

Respect all creatures: because everything is important
Give help to others
Respect the environment
Anything living other than yourself does not belong to yourself.

For a variety of reasons, some conscious and some not, I relaxed in my parenting of Maeve about halfway through this year. This was the point at which I stopped trying to get Maeve to wear matching socks or even, to wear less socks. We then had the great, great joy of the best part of two months together overseas as a family. In Mauritius Maeve and I hiked 20 km together alone through the forest, from the central plateau down to the coast, and she shared with me her true passions: her fantasy world creations, animals, hiking, music, reading, nature, and what she called “being me”. Maeve was an incredibly self contained creature, very much at peace with herself and very happy in her own world and with others who could share it. She was forever busy either day-dreaming or creating or climbing or reading. Tara will miss their endless recreation of video sketches, and the tender patience which broke through at odd moments. We have a houseful of her artefacts: cats and sketches and constructions and shared stories, to draw on in the times ahead, and it may take us a normal lifetime just to comprehend who exactly she was during her very short lifetime here on Planet Earth.

On our last morning together, Maeve told me she had just had an unusual dream. In the dream we were returning from Ireland, and in a place where trains were coming and going. Beyond some gates there was a sort of train which was going through water.

Maeve told me that in the dream Frank and Tara and I were going to get on one train, and that she would be getting on the boat train with her imaginary friends Nut and Net, to go home.

When she told me this, Maeve was neither excited, nor afraid, nor reluctant about her separate journey, just very focussed and wondering. We enjoyed sharing the vividness of the images, for example of a bulgy old lady who lived in a blow up mansion which she could pack down into a suitcase, surrounded by pot-plants, which she treated like little children with great tenderness, “because they were each so precious”.

Two hours later I kissed her and waved Frank and herself off, and the next day I heard that she was gone.

When I heard that Maeve was dead, I was with my sister in the open space at Stuartholme, (Sacre Coer) in the trees and clouds. In the midst of the shock and horror I suddenly recalled the dream she had “given” me the previous morning. The dream sustained me greatly, because it gave and gives me a sense at the very least that her death was tied up with some glimpse-able pattern.

I don't know what the path ahead for me holds in this very different life without her day to day company and physical presence. I actually don't know how to finish, and will have to do so by simply thanking the universe for giving me the time I have had with her.

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