There is no evidence anywhere that you even exist. No evidence of your death, no evidence of your life. Just a tombstone that reads
“May Jesus have Mercy on your soul”
Died in 1905, you were adopted by a family in New South Wales when you were a child, you have no family, yet here you lay, on the other side of the country, creating a mystery.
I long time ago, I was friends with a carefree and stimulating girl. She had some terrible things happen to her in her past, and unfortunately, the closer we became, the more I learnt how much this haunted her, and evidently, defined her as a person. Her escape was through drugs – hallucinogens, depressants, stimulants – you name it, she did it. She was older than me, at the age I was, she had a great influence on me. I guess I was always going to grow into this life; she was just a catalyst.
I was fifteen the first time she took me to see you. I don’t know if it was the influence of drugs, I guess I never will, but something about being with you always gave me comfort; I felt safe with you, like you were my guardian angel. She felt the same way.There were mornings after the night before, she would wake up in the graveyard, having made her way to you sometime in the midst of the night. You would talk to her, protect her, help her.
Although me and this friend no longer see each other, I still go and visit you now and then. I’m aware how mental this sounds – going to a graveyard alone at night and placing flowers next to someone who perished over 100 years ago, someone you don’t even know. You know that I don’t care though. Sometimes there are flowers there, and I know she’s never far away.
Something about you fascinates me. Who were you? What did you do that was so bad, terrible enough to pray for Jesus to have mercy on you? Where are your family? Why are you buried here, on the other side of Australia? If we had met in a different time, would we know each other? Would we be friends? Could I have helped you?
I guess there are some things in life we will never really know, or grasp an understanding of. You are no exception. Maybe some day I’ll meet you in heaven. Until that day, the visits will do me justice. Yours truely,
I thank God every chance I have that you are in my life.
To my favourite person in the whole world, Ian Cleverley, my father.
Five years ago there was a 50% chance you wouldn’t be alive in a year’s time. In 2005 you were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is a cancer of the lymphatic system, in which lymphocytes become abnormal - growing and multiplying uncontrollably, not dying as they become old - therefore the immune system becomes less able to fight infection. This type of cancer can spread to almost any part of the body, including the liver, spleen and bone marrow. I watched you as you underwent chemotherapy, as you lost your hair, your strength, your spark. You lost it all, everything, except your passion for life.
Never in this time did I let you see how much this affected me. I was terrified to lose you, I cried myself to sleep at night on a regular basis, but I never let you see me shed one tear. I had to be strong for you, even if it was only on the outside. You were weak and you were exhausted, but you never once gave up, and you prevailed. Just like you always do. So three years later as you stood before us at my sister’s wedding, not only alive, but healthy, you said something that finally brought me to tears. “One of the distinct thoughts running through my head as I undertook chemotherapy was if I would ever be able to walk my daughters down the aisle.” As I write this now, I am nineteen years old, and I have never had a boyfriend. You, are the reason. They say 9 out of 10 girls marry their fathers. Not literally of course, but someone with very similar personality traits. This was true for my sister, she brought someone truly amazing into our family, and even though I don’t plan on getting married at nineteen like she did, I will too someday. No one I’ve met compares to you.
I have seen nineteen years of your legacy. You have passed through death, sickness, setback after setback, and you have succeed, every time. The amazing thing, is that you were able to get through without ever putting yourself before others. I can only imagine what you have given to people at your work, your friends, even strangers on the street. You go above an beyond to make everyone around you feel special. Maybe I am giving credit to the wrong person. Maybe the credit for your accomplishments should go to your other half. After all, I credit her for so many things in my life. Allow me to give you a few examples. I credit her for my ability to get through everything life throws my way, being there for people in their hour of need, my determination for truth, and most of all, refusing to let what’s happened in the past define me as a person. This brings me to another introduction.
Roslyn Cleverley is my mother. Her childhood consisted of belt buckles and silent tears. I mention this only as a prime example of how people can learn from bad experience, and better the world by changing that, by breaking the cycle. What I am about to say sounds so cliché, but I really don’t care, because cliché’s are usually true and truth is all that matters. There truely is no better mother than you. The nights that you have held me; despite my chronic urges at pushing you away, you have been there for me through everything and you have never left me.
Daddy, you are an inspiration. Your hard work, passion and intelligence has given us so many opportunities. Mummy, you are my hero. Your heart alone has changed me for the better. I hope I grow up to be half the person you are.