16 July 2006

In memory of Francois Hugo

Our son, Francois Hugo, 21, died in Zurich on 5 July 2006.

No words work to describe how hard it is to write this last entry here.

Thank you everyone for being part of this place and to those who have written to us.

Peace be with you.
I have considered pulling the plug on this blog. Our life has been so centred on helping Francois all these past 18 months, and maybe even longer.

Now that he has died, I am left stunned. The wheels of life continue to turn while our world is stopped.

In Zurich where he lay in a small hillside chapel, church bells rang each hour and rang each quarter hour, rang and rang through him and through him and through him until he came here to Hobart to be buried. We could see the Swiss church from our friend's house where he died, where I flew to, where he had died so quietly and suddenly. Could see it in the dawn; could see it in the evening. And the moon that had followed Andi as she had left Paris to come home, the same moon rose there too over the forest to shine on the garden pool where in the day, dragonflies bit at the water, needle-sharp. How can a death be in the midst of such beauty, so flawless. How can he be so vanished.

Andi has just walked in to sit on my lap, eyes large with tears these three weeks later.

Visitors call. They call with flowers, with cake, with food, with biscuits, even strangers. They phone, they email. They stop by on the pavement outside. Cards arrive and arrive. Waves of them fill the house. A friend phones from Engliand, last seen thirty years ago. How she heard I forget. Jos phones from New Zealand. I do not know his voice anymore though we were engaged some 35 years ago. He is so sorry.

Words ease and ease and ease.

One dear friend Sue companions me through the stages of grief that she herself knows so well, her emails helping me each night anticipate the next day, anticipate the hard steps to take. Steps me ahead of the day through what to expect, that it is good to view the body, and there he is, my boy, my gentle child so peaceful. His beautful musician hands folded, not quite cold but cold. I place a Swiss Air soft aeroplane toy near his hands, he is a child though 21. This was three, no two weeks ago. So pale but calm.

Through my high German and our friend's English and Swiss German, we must choose his path homeward. When we next see Francois in Hobart, he is become Moon Man, other. It is as if he has grown up. He looks wiser. He is even more asleep, and so very very tired. He is priestly even, now not in white but in jeans covered almost fully by satin white, but his eyes even closed have such a faraway look. The next day when I see him it is easier. We tousle his hair now he looks more like our Francois. That is the last touch.

There is nothing dark nothing black in any of this. This death is not terrifying. It has no dominion. He is the Lord's now and now no evil can befall him or come near him.

The Lord is my shepherd. And his.
My son is become the Lord's.
From his earthly to his heavenly father's arms.

Giles has borne so much. Trying to revive his dead son for 45 minutes not believing this is final. Phoning me in anguish from Switzerland:
Anne, Francois is dead.

That was the morning of 6th July.

It is now 27th, or 28th.

What is important now is that I close this blog, close the leaves of my life until they reopen in another way.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

There is no north or south of any line that I can see ahead except deep imaginings of prayer.


11 July 2006

Short story competitions to enter in 2019

Thanks to the Australian Writers Centre, here's a list of s hort story competitions to enter in 2019: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/...