Last Saturday, 2 July, was my Mum's 80th birthday. Although she's no longer with us it was important to mark the day.
So, as we have been doing for the past 19 years, some of the Sydney-based members of the family ventured over to Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium at North Ryde. Bruce and I brought some wattle from our garden that after five years had finally flowered. My brother and his girls picked some home-grown St Patrick roses. We arranged the flowers near the plaque on her grave and sang happy birthday. Thirteen-year-old Eimear also said a little prayer.
And after we'd remembered her big day and said hello to Johnny (our Dad) who rests next-door, we headed over to the cemetery's cafe.
Some people might think it's a bit strange to have a cafe at a cemetery but it's not - it's a great idea as many people gather there for funerals and to visit their loved ones. And the best thing about the cafe at Macquarie Park is that there are gluten-free options. My gluten-free niece and I enjoyed a rhubarb cake with our latte and hot chocolate. Other choices were friands and orange almond cake.
If she was alive today, our mother Barby would have appreciated the gluten-free cakes as she was an undiagnosed coeliac. The cause of her death was lymphoma of the small intestine, which is one of the serious consequences of undiagnosed coeliac disease and not being on a strict gluten-free diet.
The Macquarie Park Cemetery and is open from 6am to 7pm seven days a week. It is located on the corner of Delhi Road and Plassey Road, North Ryde. The cafe also includes an extensive florist so if there's nothing flowering in your garden, there's plenty of choices there.
Happy birthday Barby.