Simone’s Story. Our sister Simone loved to travel. She was away more than at home. She was the “free spirit” of the family. The rest of us had settled down, got married, had children, but not our Simone. The kids adored her as she was always coming back bearing gifts from some distant place on the planet with the most outlandish stories attached to each gift of how she acquired them.
When I got a knock on the door one afternoon from our local policewoman, I just knew it was not good news. She told me Simone had died while trekking in South America. I was devastated and I didn’t know where to start. I rang my brother and sister and broke the sad news to them. They came round immediately and we just hugged and cried. My brother Steve had just attended a funeral for a mate’s dad was really impressed by the care provided to this family. So he got on the phone to his mate and was given the phone number of Swanborough Funerals.
The lady on the phone was so understanding and she put us onto Brian their repatriation specialist. We didn’t realise it at the time but we had chosen the best. Brian had many years of experience in repatriation. He took down all the details he needed and handled everything from there. From the travel insurance company to consulates and airlines, Brian made sure our sister was repatriated home. We didn’t have to do anything.
Now our Simone was no ordinary girl. She was colourful, passionate, and eccentric and a traditional funeral was not going to work for our baby sister. While Brian was busy organising Simone’s travel back to Australia, Esther took on the task of organising “Simone’s Bon Voyage” her funeral – This is what we wanted her funeral service to be called. It means “good journey” and is what you wish someone when they are travelling to a new destination. We wanted her journey to the next life to be a good journey. We knew she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes scattered on the Ganges. Esther referred us to Anne a wonderful celebrant from the Sunshine Coast who practised similar beliefs to our Simone. She came down to Brisbane to meet with us and with Esther to organise the service.
We decided to hold her funeral service at Walkabout Creek overlooking the Enoggera Dam. We chose an eco-friendly wicker casket for Simone. At “Simone’s Bon Voyage” everyone wrote messages of love on luggage tags and then tied them with jute to her casket. This captured her love of travel perfectly. It was far from a formal affair. People would intermittently stand to speak of the Simone they knew and the kids drew pictures for their favorite Aunt to place in the casket. Her chanting music, which we used to give her such a hard time about while she was living, brought us great comfort as she journeyed into the next life. We lit candles, we shared stories and we celebrated our beautiful sister’s unique personality. People wrote messages on luggage tags and tied them with jute to her wicker casket.
At the end of her farewell we walked her casket through the rain forest track to the hearse. The wicker casket was now covered in luggage tags with precious messages of love attached. We were sending her off on a new journey. As the hearse departed butterflies were released into the ever after. We all called out and waved “Bon Voyage Simone” as the hearse left.
Our sister got her wish. We booked a trip and spread her ashes over the Ganges on the first anniversary of her passing.
We miss her terribly and still half expect her to simply appear as she would do after her long trips away. We love you Simone.
Swanborough Funerals – we do not have the words to thank you for the way you cared for our Simone. You went above and beyond for us.
The Whitton family.