Remembering Maree with Lorna Monaghan

I remember the day that I got the call from my best friend of 40+ years telling me she had been diagnosed with MND. Stunned in silence, processing those three words – motor neurone disease and not really knowing what it meant. I now know if you were to design the cruellest of diseases, this would be it.  

I would learn the grim truth that this disease would take my healthy, active, fun-loving, adventurous friend and rob her of the ability to walk, use her hands, speak, swallow and hug those she loved. Yet leave her intellect, sight, hearing, and beautiful sense of humour.       

I am grateful that so many of Maree’s friends and family rallied around her to support where they could. They all developed a kind a dance to get her in and out of cars, showers, and chairs. Everyone also developed their feeding and nose wiping skills, and I would like to reiterate that friends and family are the ones that matter the most in our lives.

lorna and maree
Maree & Lorna

We both grew up in neighbouring small country towns with our friendship being bonded through our parents from a young age. Maree had the uncanny ability to read my mind and knew exactly what to say no matter the situation with many of our conversions ending with us laughing uncontrollably. I loved nothing more than spending my time with her. We did everything together. She enticed me to move Canberra in 1983 where we gained many mutual lifelong friends. In our early twenties our paths had us both living in different cities, Maree in Melbourne, and myself in Canberra. This distance was no barrier to our friendship, we always felt like we were together, and we would visit each other as often as our work and family commitments would allow. We had many wonderful adventures and travelling through Europe together being one of our holiday highlights. However, we loved nothing more than spending Christmas holidays with family and friends at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast, a tradition that started over 30 years ago that we will continue to honour in Maree’s memory with her beautiful girls and their growing families.  

Maree possessed a love of life coupled with a great spirit that helped her to get on with things no matter how impossible they seemed. My life was truly blessed through our friendship, and I feel cheated that MND took her too soon.

 I miss her every day.

Congratulations Rebekah, Lauren, Kaylah and Ashley, your creativity and courage has led you into this new business venture, and I’m so proud of you all.

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