Marchelly-with the jelly belly.

While we all meander through our years on this Earth; flicking through our childhood days of laughter and school, then leaping on into our teens with awkward body changes and mind-blowing thoughts, it’s not long before we are lobbed smack bang into our twenties where we generally find our soulmates and settle down into ‘our’ life. You quickly hit your thirties and you just expect to keep pushing on, growing wrinkles and grey hair, parenting a bunch of kids, or watching nieces and nephews grow up before your eyes,  and then grandkids come along and the rest is history. This is what we all expect. This is what doesn’t always happen…

The little blondie in this picture is Marchelle, my cousin. She was the extra to our ‘three’ for most of my childhood. A little blonde-haired smiling cherub in a sea of brunette and red-head cousins; she shone. Not just back then while we were young, but so too in her adult years. Always smiling and ready for a chin wag. A fiercely loyal friend, and generous to a fault, she was smart, sensible and witty, never missing a beat. She was Marchelly-with-the-jelly-belly to me.

My earliest memory of Marsh is changing her nappy, I would have only been 6 or 7 at most. We spent our summer holidays together in earlier years, I watched her and Lana on roller skates, and we all hung out at the pools during a Nyah heat wave; we ate huge watermelon slices sitting perched on the front porch in Hopetoun, juice dripping down our elbows, and we filled other days hanging around in Uncle Craig’s dune buggy parked out by the side, or across the road at Uncle Lyle and Auntie Betts house making mudd pies. We spent plenty of nights playing Triangles, card games and Spoons, up late at night and satellite watching under the beautiful night stars in the Mallee while laying on a mattress dragged out onto the lawn. I watched her get up to mischief with Lana on a number of occasions as they were always up to no good; one time covering their Aunts room in talcum powder. Marsh was a huge part of my childhood and later too we shared some special moments. Our families were close back then and we spent a huge amount of time together whenever we could. I will cherish those memories.

Marchelle lost her battle with cancer on Friday last week at just 35 years of age. We say or goodbyes today. I just don’t know what to say let alone how to feel about it. I hadn’t seen Marsh for ages, which wasn’t unusual but how I felt and feel about her hasn’t changed, ever. Even if circumstances around us had.

I am sad. I am somewhat numb. I am regretful. None of which compares to how her family are feeling. My heart is shattered for her three beautiful kids, her doting husband, her mum and dad, and her sister, all of whom she is leaving behind. None of this makes a lick of sense and is completely unfair.

She was a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a grand daughter, a cousin, an aunt and a friend. They’re all labels for where she slotted into the life around her, but who she was, was much more than those listed labels. She is needed, and loved, and adored, and respected. Her life was precious, cherished and dear and that will never change.

She was far too young to be dealt this card. Forced to leave her loves behind. The rest of her life stripped from her hands… only to be replaced with her brothers hands. Dan would have held her as they crossed the bridge to wherever they both are now. I am taking comfort in knowing that she isn’t on her own, and is with her brother, it’s the only thing remotely comforting about it.

Look after her Dan, you have a job to do now mate.

Sleep peacefully Marsh. ❤

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