Ruth facing death, 2016
It is very hard for all of us to hear the story of someone we loved very dearly facing death, and especially one who died before old age.
However, this story must be told, and told again. Every single person interested has, either, asked me about the quality of her passing, or in their hearts wanted to know that answer. Ruth had a good death, be comforted with that knowledge. Ruth faced her death realistically, selflessly, and in the greatest love for those she held dear.
I knew 2016 had not had been a kind year for many. It has been ruthless. Not only for us in this very, very, small part of the world, but in places like Aleppo, Berlin, Nice. In a 2016 list of the ‘Countries That Suffer The Most’, we have Tanzania, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Macedonia, Madagascar, Hungary, Haiti, Cambodia, Armenia, and in first place, Bulgaria. This is not a sermon. This is exactly how Ruth thought and felt. Ruth was not one to worry about making our country great again. Ruth loved her family and friends deeply, but Ruth was a cosmopolitan, a humanist, and an advocate for social justice and mercy.
Ruth was not a saint. We don’t honour her by making her a saint. Ruth was human, and I loved her for that. Our family and friends loved her for that. Part of her humanness was that she died too early for us, and many were angry about that. It was not fair. Nevertheless, Ruth showed us how to bear the pain of her passing.
Those who had the privilege of spending time with Ruth in her final days will never forget the wicked sense of humour, the smile which always brightened room, her piercing eyes, and the greatest of all qualities – how she united family and friends into her love.
Ruth died at home on Saturday 17 December 2016, at 9.45 in the morning.
If you are looking for Ruth, find her at home…in the hearts and minds of family and friends.
Louise Moore-Jouir met Ruth at a workshop in Melbourne and later became a close friend to Ruth from the time of the Jane Street house community in West End. It was through Louise, and Judy Collins, that Neville caught up with Ruth at Jane Street, having first met through another mutual friend, Stephen Yates. Louise and her partner, Josh, had a close bond with Neville and Ruth as a couple. There were many parallels in our lives, courting, marrying and having our first child, all in the shared times of our late 20s and early 30s. Neville and Ruth shared a house with Josh and his brother once, with Louise a regular house guest. There was the special bond of a professional ethos, with Ruth as the community worker and Louise as the social worker. As two families, we both had our own Melbourne sojourns, and the Moore-Jouir family were also our favourite Melbourne visitors and sharers of celebrative wine and spirits. Louise provides a wonderful narrative of our fond memories in joyful times, and in the challenges of young families.