Victoria's obituary to Luiza

Victoria stood up in Luiza's big living room in her fabulous coloured tights and excellent outfit. Luiza's big, colourful fantastic artwork adorned the walls. Luiza's body lay visible in her beautfully painted coffin, behind Victoria. This is what Victoria said.

Hello everybody and thank you for coming here today to share with us this time to say goodbye to Luiza. A mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. This is the type of send off she would've chosen, at home, her bush property.

Everyone here knows that Luiza was a devoted mother who loved her children deeply. The care that she took is evident when you look at Laila and Rami and see the strong, intelligent talented, beautiful and compassionate adults that they have become. You are both well on the way on your paths to your own glory. Well done and may the way be fruitful and untroubled.

As you know Luiza comes from a large Catholic family, a religion we all gave up as soon as we were old enough to understand. I'm pretty sure that our dear, sometimes grumpy father wouldn't have chosen to have so many kids but then perhaps I wouldn't be here, so good on you Dad.

Our dear mother is still here though. The matriarch, the glue that holds this family together. Strong, resilient, tenacious. Everyone is deeply saddened that you should bury your own daughter. You are ninety this year and may there be many more birthdays to come. Love you, Mum.

Luiza was the oldest sister, six years older than me. As a child I looked up to her. She was beautiful, nice, had lots of cool stuff and was a good drawer who loved cats and music. Always the snappy dresser, as both our parents were, often wearing clothes that she had made herself. She was a good swimmer too; we lived close to the Nepean River and we all spent a lot of time in the water there, but also she was a successful swimmer at our local swimming club, excelling particularly at breaststroke.

We didn't see Luiza for a couple of years in her early twenties, during which she had some mental health issues. I was glad when she came back to us and enjoyed catching the train to the city on the weekends to stay with her, loving the bohemian lifestyle and wondering if I could ever be that groovy.

As well as her achievements as a mother she became a very good artist from an early age. She went to art school in the radical seventies, and was a prolific worker, developing a unique style that is evident around us today. Deeply imaginative and a great colourist. She loved colour and chose beauty over function any day, which I often found annoying; you cannot find a good basic metal mixing bowl in her kitchen, only huge heavy, wildly ornate ceramic ones. Nor is there a single piece of dull furniture, crockery or cutlery. Her wardrobe is a riot of colour.

Of course, we all knew her as the belly dancer enjoying fame in Sydney as a younger woman. This talent has flowed straight into Laila who did literally grow up belly dancing and is famous now in her own right.

And of course we all know Luiza as the party girl, often the last woman standing. She was often my party partner in crime, and I will miss the fun times we had, with her grand sweeping statements that were sometimes total bullshit. She did however also display a keen understanding of human nature, often standing up for the underdog.

Luiza was also known as the Metal Mother when Rami started a heavy metal band with his friends; instead of saying, "Stop that you silly bastards!", she encouraged and nurtured them and let them practice in the lounge room. And because, with metal, all the equipment has to be six times bigger and louder than normal equipment, there wasn't much space for anything else in that room. She happily put in earplugs and went to all the gigs and Terravorus became the scourge of the neighbourhood.

Luiza has good friends in the Thai community and when she found out that Tang, who couldn't be here today, was in an abusive relationship, she made intricate plans to help Tang, indeed save her and get her safe passage to Nowra where she still lives. Luiza did this with complete disregard for the possible consequences for herself. I was amazed by her bravery and diligence.

As with some artistic people though, Luiza was useless with numbers. Statistics, money, time. I was often sceptical of the figures that came out of her mouth. In her later years she also developed an irritating fondness for right wing politics and values. Never wanting to be normal and enjoying the shock value of her arguments.

So, to wind this up (hooray you might say), even though this is a very sad day, Luiza had what you might call a good death, comfortable under the professional administrations of our sister-in-law Karen, to who we are all deeply grateful.

She had a big life, so let's celebrate her and remember the good times and the bad. She would've loved the coffin and this get together, so enjoy yourselves. Thanks all again for coming. We love her and will miss her greatly.