Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tribute to My Aunty Jean
As many of you know, I have just returned from Adelaide, a sad journey I made with my mother following the untimely death of my beloved Aunt, pictured with me, above. Although Aunty had just turned 77, she was expected to live a good fifteen to twenty years more as all the women in our family have aged well into their nineties, but sadly my dear Aunt was walking home from buying the Sunday paper when she was killed by a car reversing from a driveway. This is of course a most tragic and horrible end to an amazing life, but in spite of our sadness, horror, and shock, we are choosing to reflect as positively as possible on the life of this incredible lady. We have been greatly assisted in this matter by the wonderful Wayne Shepherd who delivered a beautiful service in the church aunty had attended for the last decades of her life. Wayne had also created the service for my precious grandmother who passed in the year 2000. I was not able to attend my grandmother's funeral, and I had never healed from that terrible sadness of being absent, I now feel that having met Wayne, and attended the church, that I can heal now, which is a great blessing. I would like very much, if you could take the time to read the eulogy I wrote for my Aunty, as she was such a unique and inspirational person, so, here is a copy....
Eulogy for Lillian Jean Boyd
Jean was born on January 8th 1934 at Victor Harbour. Her parents were Ken and Mary, and her younger sister Ruth was born in 1937. Jean's early childhood was spent at Goolwa on a dairy farm.
Jean has had a vision impairment since birth. Her sister Ruth started school at Goolwa and Mary was determined to have Jean educated but the school principal resisted. A new school principal was willing to assist when Jean was 10 years old. Jean's lessons came through the correspondence school in Adelaide and Mary supervised them at home.
When Jean was at a 4th grade level the work became too much for Mary who was not a trained teacher but had enabled Jean to read and write. At this point Jean dropped out of school but would resume learning later in her life. Unlike many children who dislike school and learning, Jean wanted to learn and Mary was determined for her to be educated and to have a place in the world.
During Jean and Ruth's childhood the family made a move to another farm on Hindmarsh Island. Here the girls were kept entertained by a wireless radio, card games, and imaginary games. They were also avid readers and books were popular and treasured gifts.
The family moved again to Norton Summit and at age 18 Jean was fitted with a hearing aid, and began to learn braille. To allow for this to happen, Jean stayed with her grandmother and aunts at Leabrook. The family were very generous and committed to commuting to all Jean's appointments and to the Institution For the Blind. This was really a wonderful act of devotion.
Once Jean mastered her braille course her education was further enabled.
Ours was a tight knit family and there were always many visits and travels together. Jean and Ruth were particularly close to their cousins, aunts and uncles. The family also lived through the Black Sunday bushfires which came in from Marble Hill.
The family then moved to Yundi. Jean continued reading braille and began a lifelong passion for penpal relationships with people from around the world.
Ruth bought a typewriter and remarkably Jean learned to type. She typed many of her letters to friends but as she could not read what she had written, she needed someone to tell her what she had last typed if she was interrupted.
Sadly in 1975 Jean's father became very ill and was treated at Daw's Road Repat until he died in April of that year. The Housing Trust offered Mary and Jean a home at Falcon Avenue where they both lived their lives out, making wonderful friends in the community.
Jean has enjoyed a very active social life with clubs and groups including the Blind Welfare Society, Blind Bowling, craft groups, her walking group, penpals, and of course her church.
Jean was a passionate cricket fan, always listened to games on the radio and also loved talkback radio.
Jean was also a mad keen photographer and one of the very special things about her collection of photographs is that we can see how she never took her sight for granted, she literally saw beauty all around.
Jean was an avid stamp collector and was incredibly knowledgeable about philately, an interest she passed on to her niece.
Jean was also very talented with her knitting, creating a great number of prize winning dolls dresses, scarves, rugs, and cushions at the Royal Adelaide and Melbourne Agricultural Shows.
Jean was also very charitable and a lady of great Christian faith.
It is very important that you know that we, as a family, believe that Jean has gone home to Glory, and is joyfully reunited with her parents, aunts, and uncles, and that God has blessed her greatly. We have also been beautifully blessed to have loved and been loved by her.