This page is sacred to the memory of Michelle Therese Hogan.
‘…To ask a prayer, to stir a memory.’
[Click on each image to enlarge; click again for close-up.
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May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
As many of you know, I’m Des Hogan, Michelle’s BABY BROTHER, quite literally her ‘baby’ ‘brother’ and I’ll explain what I mean by that.
Today I’ve seen a lot of Hogan, Byrne, Colbert and Moar faces. They will know that when a large family does anything together, they will move in what I can only describe as ‘chaotic synchronisation’.
Now, with any luck, there will be a particular member of the group whose first instinct is to assist the weakest of the group as their first priority. As I was unable to walk, talk or make a cup of tea, Michelle was the one to assist me, and therefore I spent much of my childhood viewing the world from Michelle’s hip – much to the detriment of her lower back!
Following the Horsham days, Michelle made her way to Adelaide to pursue her love of journalism; again for the purpose of ‘shining a light’ and ‘giving a voice’ to the under-represented in our society.
Michelle was highly intelligent and very strong. Some could even say ‘cunning’. This was proved in Adelaide where she desperately wanted to get a job at the paper. Michelle quickly worked out where the journalists worked, but more importantly where they drank! After some time working out who was who, a beer and a robust conversation – with a man in a grey suit – Michelle had her job.
…Michelle’s time in Adelaide saw her marry Craig (and the arrival) of both of her two beautiful daughters, Myra and Elanora. Then ‘Shell’ and the two girls spent some years at the farm with countless others moving in a ‘chaotic synchronisation’.
Upon moving on to Sydney, and then on to Port Macquarie, Michelle married ‘Big Nick’, and they welcomed ‘Solomon’ to the world. Although he no longer looks like a little “Buddha”, (due to his second-row physique), his beautiful demeanour suggests that this is, in fact, the case.
‘Shell’ then moved further up her beloved coast and purchased a beautiful historic cottage, constructed of rare red-wood, on one of the earliest selections in the Kempsey area.
Following her diagnosis of amyloidosis, which required her to live in Sydney for treatment, she often spoke to me of her desire to return to her little cottage, garden, and her lovely little community in Kempsey.
In Sydney, Michelle was very lucky to have the support of her children, and especially lucky to have her very good friend Cyndy share her house. I know Cyndy would never expect any thanks, but Cyndy, please know our family forever owes you a great debt of gratitude.
I would like also to thank Judith Taylor for her support over the years, even though she was unable to travel here today.
Battling amyloidosis, ‘Shell’ looked to the nurse on duty and said, “What do I do now?” The nurse replied, “Go home and be the best Nan you can be.” And that’s what ‘Shell’ did, and was a wonderful Nan to Izzy, Eli, Bec, Will and any other kids or adults in her vicinity.
Over the past 12 months, Michelle and I were on a mutual path of personal growth and learning. Michelle realized that she was always one to ask “Why?” Why certain people were treated that way? Why was it OK for this, or that, situation to occur, and we do nothing about it?
Michelle had also found great comfort and joy in writing. These two factors make great sense when we consider the words of the American short story writer Grace Paley, when she said, “the writer is nothing ………. but a Questioner.”
I, like everyone here, would love to read more of Michelle’s writings. However, lucky for us, as it turns out, Michelle was also a poet.
We have had a poem of Michelle’s printed on the back of the booklet you have, and so in closing, I would like to invite Ellie to read another poem by Michelle (in) which she also explores the nature and concept of time itself.
The poem is entitled: “Time will tell, but what will it say?”
… “Shell” I love you, darl, and I thank you for spending your time assisting me.
The Poem by Michelle that was read by Ellie is as follows:
Time will tell – But what will it say?
Time: such a tricky thing
It can stretch
To the length of a
Rain-filled seven days
Time has many
Some allege, It, is Money
It is Not.
It is more
It cannot be hoarded
Nor can it be exchanged
For No Man
With the Child
Withstand the test
Others are Honoured
I bid mine
Sometimes I serve it
But always and
I am out of it
– Michelle Hogan.
“The time of our lives is now
and without the smallest imaginings
We should know
We are all time travellers.”
– Michelle Hogan (booklet p. 12)
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