Lost and Found

My uncle Garry died this week, after 18 months of deterioration.  I was lucky enough to spend heaps of time with him and the family on my return from overseas. As a matter of fact, within a week of landing home, my time was taken up with hospital visits for both him and Mum.  Mum thankfully has settled, Uncle Garry just got worse.  I will treasure the time I had with him, in the hospitals and hospice, with his son Michael, daughter Susan, and wife Serry.  We were closest to this family growing up than all my other uncles and cousins.  Serry is mum’s sister, and theirs is some story too.  (See book “Serry and I” by Elfie Rosenberg published by the Makor Library).

It is a humbling thing, and an honourable thing, to help loved ones leave this world. Not necessarily with medications but with love and support to those around. With time spent in their company and the silent goodbyes. To the sharing of a time and place that allows us all to slow life down and appreciate what we have had together over the years and what we will continue to have, both in reality and memory.  It is a gift, this time.

I was there with Michael saying goodbye after Garry died.  When the spirit had left the body. Another honour. Another goodbye.

I was also privileged to be able to write and read the eulogy, and I got rave reviews. I may have found my calling.  The eulogy was made up of a piece Garry wrote about his own history, and my consultation with the family about what they wanted to say.  It was the word equivalent of the loving actions that surrounded Garry to the last.

I think of my Uncle Garry watching me and my footy madness develop over the last few years, the painting and the writing.  He was so not into football, all my Uncles from my Dad’s side, including my Uncle Bob, love their footy.  All came to this country as refugees/immigrants.  Uncle Garry was a builder and he built houses and a life for himself and his family.  They all did that.  But his attention was always to his family foremost, and sport of any kind never engaged him.  I would leave my art classes, just around the corner, and show them my latest.  My aunty was always impressed, I was never sure what my Uncle thought.

Until I returned from overseas, and visited him at Cabrini.  He was alone, sitting up, very weak.  He became incredibly emotional on seeing me.  I’d been away for six months, and honestly didn’t know if he would make it in my absence.  Luckily for both of us, he did.  It took him a full five minutes to collect himself.  I sat and waited, looking at my once strong, tough, most intimidating Uncle, finally collect himself.

He said, “Yvette, I owe you an apology….all these years I thought you were a bit of a flake… but I have seen how you helped your brother and Michael and now Sue, and I wanted to tell you I was wrong”.  He then went on to thank me.  He didn’t have to, because I was only doing what comes naturally and what was the right thing to do. This is my family.  I would do anything I could to help.  He then said that my sister Denise had always been his favourite.  When I left his room, I rung Denise from the corridor, and told her the story, proudly owning my flakiness and my second favourite ranking.  You see, with my Uncle Garry, you always got the truth.  No sugar coating.  I was as proud as punch of his acknowledgement.  Plus, I have been a flake.  I embrace my flakiness.

After the incredible last week, I got quite sick.  A good solid chest infection which has laid me low.  I put in everything I could until after the funeral and religious service of a minyan that night, having become the next generations elder, and then I collapsed.

So there was no Friday night footy for this flake, not in person.  Rina came and kept me company and we watched the thumping together. Collingwood did a number on the Saints.  The next night we watched the Saturday night Indigenous Game until I put on the 2009 Season review from the Saints.  Rina hadn’t remembered that in our powerful year of 2009 we’d been on the other end of the whippings.  This disc, sent to us by the club, gave an overview of the games, the special goals. For a half an hour, we were back in 2009, watching us win all but three games.  We didn’t watch the review of the Grand Final, I switched off after the tough as nails preliminary final against the Dogs.  The Saints were buggered after that game.

But we remembered then, the feeling of winning.  Watching Kosi mark and kick great goals all year, the players who are now all gone (Dawson, Del Santo, McEvoy, King, Gardiner, Goddard, Ball, Milne, Gram, Xavier Clarke, Raphael Clarke, Blake, McQualter, and Eddy).  The one new guy, Jack Stevens showing great promise, Riewoldt having a magnificent year.  There weren’t too many faces who continued.  From that group, we have Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna, Nick Riewoldt, Adam Schneider, Sam Gilbert (injured), David Armitage (injured), Farren Ray, Sean Dempster still trying his heart out, Sam Fischer (injured), Rhys Stanley, James Gwilt (injured), Clinton Jones, Jarryn Geary (injured), and Tom Simpkin (injured).

In 5 years, we have gone from the oldest listed players to one of the youngest.  We have played almost everyone from our list who isn’t injured.  We have an injury list to be proud of.  If those ten players come back next year with any sort of form, we will have a way better year. So as we look forward to a heap more hammering’s this year, I will remember 1966, 2009 and 2010 (except for the last matches of the year) and wait and watch my team improve.  I will watch all our new young men grow in confidence, learn from the thrashings and improve to one day be a team that once again gives out rather than receives all the pounding’s.

One day these players will be our champions: Jack Steven, Rhys Stanley, Seb Ross, Aaron Siposs, Trent Dennis-Lane, Dylan Roberton, Spencer White,  Tom Curren, Jimmy Webster, Terry Milera, Josh Saunders, Sam Dunnell, Tom Lee, Jack Billings, Billy Longer, Luke Delaney, Josh Bruce, Brodie Murdoch, Lewis Pierce,  Nathan Wright,  Tom Simpkin, Jack Newnes, Daniel Marksworth, Luke Dunstan,  Blake Acres, Eli Templeton, Maverick Weller, Jason Holmes, Cameron Shenton, and  Tom Hickey. A bloody good list.

Meanwhile, along with other supporters, I will keep the faith and know that time is flowing.

Yvette Wroby

1st June 2014


About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.


  1. “Flakiness is the foundation of wisdom.” (Y Wroby; Footy Almanac; 2014). I am submitting this to Wikiquote for attribution.
    Lovely piece. I like how footy manages to be both central to our lives and ephemeral trivia.
    I like Newnes, Dunstan and Steven. Stanley and Siposs have the makings of good players if they can move beyond their incipient flakiness.
    But it took us a while didn’t it?
    The West Coast Flake

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Flakiness is mandatory if you wish to write on these pages.
    Yvette, you have the strongest faith of all of us (for a flake) in people, religion and especially the future of your beloved Saints and the young recruits coming through the system.
    Just as I start to wilt after sixty years of non-success, it’s a good reminder to hang in there a bit longer.
    After watching the young Bulldogs take it up to Freo this afternoon, it certainly helps if I am going to maintain that faith.

  3. E.regnans says

    Another thought-provoking and insightful piece, Yvette.
    I’ve had quite the flakey weekend, myself.
    But it’s all temporary.
    Thanks very much.

  4. The Wrap. says

    Time will always flow Yvette, and like the Followers of all the original 12 tribes, keeping the Faith is the glue that holds us together.

    Take care.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Lovely , Yvette a quality article about the realities of life with your caring nature shining thru and then combined with your incredible faith and passion for your saints All the best , Yvette

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