Hi Sas and Douglas
Your move to Canberra in 2005 and then to Melbourne in 2012 was hard to accept, I had got so used to having you guys just a quick drive away. The times we would all spend together when the girls, or at least the ones that were in the Country or Sydney at the time, were very special.
Who could forget the day, when after perhaps; more good red than he should have had, John and I drove Bob home and he vociferously ordered me.
“Watch the corners, Bruce, the old bladder is not as good as it used to be”
We all watched in horror as the Bob we knew, faded away; he was forced to silently see his world of fun and good wine drain away, but we all loved him and I think he knew that.
Even today when John and I catch up, he often s reminds me of the times he as a good friend would spent time with the “mad Ingrey mob” his words not mine, but they are always delivered with a smile and a laugh.
I am glad you were in Canberra and had time to spend with your Mum and Dad in their last years. Ossie and Thelma were the epitome of goodness, my trips to Canberra for their respective 80th Birthdays, when they were in hospital and, for their funerals were the very least I could do, to show how much I respected these very decent people.
The last Christmas at your place in Canberra after Esme had died, it was so sad to see Ossie looking so lost and lonely, they were soulmates and I know you felt their loss so deeply.
Billy and I spoke about this as we drove to Melbourne the next day. I was wonderfully surprised to see how deeply he was moved, but Ossie and Esme never judged, and Billy was very fond of both of them. They and Bob had welcomed Billy into a family unit, that must have been so foreign to them, but never once was his presence questioned or he, not made welcome.
Of course, this always applied to both of you and I will be forever grateful for your graciousness.
God knows what Douglas has thought at times. about this very modern family he is so very much a part of and has assumed a leadership role of.
I was delighted when I was In Melbourne for Horrie’s Birthday in 2012, that I was able to spend some time with you both, as you searched for a new home. I don’t know whether I was any help, but I was chuffed to be asked and I had fun with you both.
It is wonderful for Horrie and Esty to have you close by, Nanny Sas and Poppy Douglas are certainly well established in those kid’s lives.
Thank god, envy has never been among my many weaknesses, I just really appreciate all you do for the kids, Jassie and Jorge.
Christmas 2012 was the first Christmas we had not spent together, since Sas and I separated in 1989, it was also the last one where we have not gathered as a family.
Billy and I had friends for Christmas lunch in Sydney but by mid morning, I was feeling a sense of separation. I rang Sas to wish you both, all the best and, a part of me was pleased she was also feeling a bit lost.
You guys have always welcomed me into your home and I think, we could claim some sort of a record for this almost unbroken chain of celebrating special occasions as a true, mixed family.
I was humbled, when in 2015, I was moving house and you both came up to help me through that dreadful time. This was so unexpected but so very welcome, you are truly very special people.
As I have slowly withered, you have both been there, not only for Billy and I but also for the kids.
A very large part of my aim in writing this interminable journal has been to play homage to you both, and; to celebrate what we have achieved as a family.
The skies may be getting darker but you guys have been a beacon of light.
As I reach the end of this ramble through over the years, I realise this is your story, as much; if not more than mine.
With love and gratitude