I attended a funeral at lunchtime today. This was a funeral that was all the more sad and poignant due to the age of the deceased. She was 36 years old. She didn’t die in an accident, this wasn’t sudden. It wasn’t unexpected. But it hurts all the same, probably more than if we had lost her suddenly. You see, my friend Dara was anorexic. This was not a secret, and to be honest, it was so much a part of Dara’s identity that I think she was secretly terrified of getting better.

But there was so much more to Dara than a disease. Dara was a sweet, compassionate, caring person who only spoke positively of those she cared about. She was always smiling, loved children and babies, loved dogs, and always had a crochet hook in her hand. Her work was breathtaking, and she loved to make things to make everyone around her happy. She never crocheted for herself, only for others, and she was so fast and so dedicated that it amazed everyone.

One of the happiest days of her life – her brother Benji’s wedding.

Dara loved to feel the sun on her face and the heat in summer. She loved to walk for hours, loved to shop, loved to be around people and she loved to just sit and have her family and friends around her. She worshiped her brother Ben, and was so thrilled when he married her sister-in-law Tiffany. She was finally going to have a sister!

She loved going on “road trips” – to Janie’s in Perth, to small town fairs all summer and autumn, to Wakefield to see the little shops and have lunch by the river. She loved colour, art, beautiful things, and growing things. She was fascinated by everything around her, and she tried to awaken that fascination in everyone around her.

Enjoying the river in Wakefield – bundled up because it’s cold there in October!

Despite her love of colour, I most often saw her wearing black or dark neutral colours. I don’t know if she was trying to punish herself or if she just didn’t see herself as a bright, colourful person, but she really was. She brought colour to so many other people’s lives. For a person who always felt alone and unwanted, you should have seen the number of people who packed into the Temple today for her service. So many people loved her and wanted to help her.

A part of me is so angry because she wouldn’t accept my help, or the help of any of the many, many people who offered, but an even larger part of me is relieved that she no longer struggles every single day. She no longer has to fight, and can finally have peace and rest. A part of me also feels guilty because after some particularly painful conversations, we drifted apart and only spoke to each other online. Dara, I hope can forgive us for not understanding you, and forgive me for not being there when things got worse. I love you!

Warming up by the fire in Wakefield.
Dara Lee Greenberg
1976-2013
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