After what he called ‘a rich and relatively happy life’, my beloved father Haydn Savage died on 24 September 2020, less than two weeks after his 85th birthday. Last weekend, we were finally able to celebrate his life with a memorial service in his hometown of Ballan, having waited until COVID-19 restrictions eased and my brother Julian could join us from NSW.
I wrote a small tribute to my father for Stereo Stories, the site that invites writers to share memories attached to music. Stereo Stories ‘is music and memoir, narrative and melody, story and song’. I wrote a piece for my mother Olgamary after she died in May. Follow the link below to read the piece about my father Haydn:
I told part of this story in the eulogy I gave for my father at his memorial service. The image below comes from the commemorative postcard (designed by Jennifer Turner) we had made for Dad’s friends in honour of a lifetime of thoughtful letter-writing. The photo was taken in 2016 at the National Gallery of Victoria in front of Ai Wewei’s work, ‘With Flowers’ (2015). On the reverse is a quote from Oscar Wilde: ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation.’
Speaking of Oscar Wilde, I have not been able to get the quote from The Importance of Being Earnest out of my mind, as irreverent as it is: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
I have lost both parents this year, though not for carelessness. Indeed, the saving grace was being able to spend time with both of them, caring for them, before they died, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne’s hard lockdown and the closing of state borders. For those unable to be with the people they loved as they lay dying in 2020 I extend my deepest sympathy.
In a strange way, I think lockdown has helped me to manage the grief of this sad, sad year. I was forced to do less, to see few people, to focus inward, to find joy in simple things. And I have my parent’s love to draw on, to comfort and fortify me.
Turns out the Phantom of the Opera was right: love never dies.
Vale Haydn Joseph Savage, 12 Sept 1935 – 24 Sept 2020