The phone call came Friday 31 March 11am from Fiona (Jamie’s sister) saying the Doctors have recommended he jump on the first plane home due to his Mum Marjorie being extremely sick in hospital. Marjorie has been fighting stomach cancer since the diagnosis in November 2014 and was given three months to live. Two years and 5 months she is finally loosing the battle.

Thank goodness for our friend and travel agent Uschi who took my phone call Sydney time 8pm Friday March 31 during her son’s 21st birthday party being held at her home. Uschi came through and booked Jamie on Emirates the next day Saturday April 1 to Sydney.

We packed his bag, confirmed arrangements with the airlines, travel insurance company and contacted family and friends who would all support and care for him during this sad time. I said a very emotional good bye to Jamie at Mfuwe airport April 1 which was actually my birthday and I was lovingly supported and cuddled by Anna from Chipembele at the airport as I stood there crying when the moment came to say goodbye.

Anna said some very true words “it is times like this your family seems so far away” it was perfectly worded and described how we were both feeling at the time. We had expected this to happen though when it finally did happen it was so sad and we were both anxious.

Poor Jamie battled through 33 hours of travelling on aircraft and waiting in airports to finally land in Sydney.

The Doctors were right and fortunately Jamie, Fiona and his Dad Rodger were with Marjorie on the Tuesday April 4, 2017 at 1.52pm when Marjorie peacefully took her last breath and passed away.

I suffered great sadness and guilt for not being able to say my good byes to Marjorie and support Jamie, Fiona and Rodger. At the funeral Tim did an excellent job of representing our family and a fine job of reading my words (as below). Thank you Lauren for attending with Hugh our little grandson who reportedly brought a smile to everyone’s face, Robyn and Colleen who drove Mum and Dad to the funeral and Alyson and John. I know you were all there to represent me on this very sad day.

Here is my post of Facebook that evening:
Living in a remote area of Zambia has taught me over the last year that while money and possessions makes our life comfortable, it doesn’t make it rich. It’s the relationships we have with people that give meaning and richness to our lives. I want to thank all our friends and family for their support over the last tough week. I had a special toast to our beautiful Marjorie overlooking the Luangwa River last night . Your legacy will live on forever through our family

An email from my loving sister Robyn, you have always been my guardian angel.

From: Robyn Versluis []
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2017 14:35
To: Wendy Buckley
Subject: Re: I’m thinking of you

Hi Wendy,
Today, Your family were beautiful, spoke genuinely from the heart and honoured Marjorie. She would have been proud. Their love, grief and goodness were overwhelming- everyone was touched by it. Rodger, Fiona and Jamie spoke about the simple, daily life they enjoyed and valued together as a family, and the special times of rites of passage, moments which defined their relationships and lives. Gratitude and memories! Tim was so handsome and spoke so well on behalf of you, his and Jess’ little families; a really, really good job.
I spoke with a Fiona’s friends, Hutch, Rodger and others…. and Donald’s family had left before I realised it! I’m sorry. Hugh wasn’t really well and time with Lauren, him went quickly….

( We just arrived home now. Mum had to have her eye operation in the middle of the day, but managed the afternoon and evening well. It was a big, memorable day.( Because we arrived back at Moran after 6pm and they wouldn’t have saved their dinner, we took mum & dad to the RSL, which was appreciated, especially dad…he does like food! They both were so glad to have attended and mum and Rodger looked at one another when she walked in and he was grateful for it too.)

Wendy, Rodger spoke strongly and with simple honesty with me, Colleen and others, about how you were the best thing that happened for Jamie and their family, being so good about sharing the children and grandchildren with them, and how glad Marjorie and he were for lots of reasons, that you had been part of their lives! You may not have physically been in Warrawee today Wendy, but you were there in your message shared with us all, an integral part of their lives and happiness. You were part of the celebration of her life.
Lots of tears and a tender farewell.
I know that when you are back in Sydney in a few weeks time and you are hugging and sharing your emotion together, you will feel that they understood that you couldn’t be here and that it was ok, because you have given them much more.
Love you a lot. You’re amazing.

So glad to be with Roger Fiona Jamie and Tim. You were missed very much. Roger said the happiest day of their lives was the day Jamie met you because you brought so much love and sharing with you. A beautiful farewell with such a close family to Marjorie. Look forward to a new baby. Love Mum and Dad. Had eye injections today …very tired. Hope I was able to say what I feel.

My words spoken at the funeral by our caring son Tim….

I would like to introduce myself Tim, my Mum is Wendy Jamie’s wife who regrettably is not here today to say a goodbye to Marjorie. Jamie and Mum have been working in Zambia for the past year and sadly unable to be here in person.

I am speaking today on behalf of my Mum Wendy, sister Jessica, her husband Nick and their daughters Emily and Kaylah and my wife Lauren and son Hugh. Jamie has been in our lives as step Dad for over 24 years during which time we have all felt very loved by Jamie’s family Marjorie, Rodger and Fiona.

My Mum is very sorrowful that she is not personally here to be with you all today though she sends this message to Marjorie.

There are a lot of jokes about mother in laws in today’s world though I want to confirm Marjorie broke the mould and I was the lucky one, not only is she the Mum of Jamie my loving husband; Marjorie was the most supportive and loving mother in law a girl could ever wish and here are some examples.

1) Why? she is the Mum of Jamie and raised him to be a kind, lovely , sensitive and modern day guy with the most positive outlooks on life you could ask for. We are not sure where the balls skills came from – Rodger?

2) She raised Fiona to be the most generous, loving, kind and supportive sister in law and loving Aunty to Emily, Kaylah and Hugh and soon to be a 4th granddaughter.

3) She showed an admiration and endless love for Rodger Jamie’s Dad.

4) Our granddaughters Emily now 7 and Kaylah 5 would visit Marjorie and she would take them to garden to pick flowers, buy them finger buns and put heaps of butter and not care if they only ate the icing made them feel so loved and important. And our son Hugh arrived 20 months ago and Marjorie could not wait to meet and cuddle him. She showed unquestionable love to all her step-grandkids.

5) I found it always easy and rewarding to have Marjorie over for a meal , Marjorie did not have a love of cooking like I do though she did love to eat and was always excited and appreciative of everything I ever served. There was never a bad meal with Marjorie’s as long as she didn’t have to cook it!

6) I want to send a special message of love to Donald , Marjorie’s brother, Elaine his wife and Andrew, Prue Sophie and baby ? and Ian and his family in the UK and her life time friend Joan, the marjon ladies, the neighbours of Milford Avenue and all her friends who made her life complete.

7) I (Wendy just checking you are not confused!) believe your children are a reflection of your parents. Marjorie I adore your son more and more through my life and I want to a say a massive thank you for giving me your Jamie and being part of your family’s life for the past 24 years and beyond.

Marjorie, we all want you to know that your legacy will live on for many generations through our family which includes our kids and their families – myself Wendy, Tim, my wife Lauren and our son Hugh , Jessica, Nick, Emily Kaylah and their new baby Hart girl soon to arrive.

You will be deeply missed by us all as being one of the kindest, loving and most caring Mother in laws, Grandma and great Grandma and we will all cherish our time with you forever.

Love Wendy ….We love you very much and wish you peace.