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So many familiar faces. So many names from the past, changed bodies, changed people. So many I had never met, still wouldn't. Such a breadth of influence.

There aren't too many people who get Tim Costello outlining their biography at their funeral and performing the committal, have condolences from Senator Kate Lundy, and the ACT health minister and various other politicians, whose name will be entered into Hansard, and who also have punks and goths dancing in the aisle as the coffin is lowered into the fires. And yes, dancing. With tears in their eyes. Aveline would have appreciated it.

The speeches were great -- covering her time in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne. I'd helped write one but stepped back in the end to smooth over difficult relationships, and I'm so glad I did. Halo's introduction and contributions made it perfect and her delivery was exactly what the thing needed. Grant and Renée, who were very close to her, spoke last, touchingly, saying goodbye yet again in a week full of so many goodbyes. I wished her mother and brother long life, part of a Jewish tradition I think Aveline would have appreciated.

All day, I kept wanting to tell Aveline about it all and she wasn't there to tell.

A few of us went back to my place before the wake, vodka martinis and shots of chartreuse. Changed clothes.

The wake was everything it was supposed to be. I wasn't much in the mood for dancing when I got there, so I sat downstairs and downed cocktails, talking with Jack and various people. Then once, heading upstairs for some reason, I heard Liz and crew playing guitars and singing on the landing. I joined them and we sang for ages, songs of protest, songs of farewell, songs of power and love and sadness. Liz got Kate and Morgan to sit down and listen to the song she'd written for them, and in it I heard all my love for Doug, who has left already and who I miss so badly: "It's cold where you are… stand tall, stand strong, together" (I may be misquoting, but those are the lyrics I remember). It's been in my head for days now.

Upstairs, I finally felt like dancing. It being a Mistress's wake, there were naturally floggings going on in one corner. Topless punk dykes dancing in the same place as ethereal hippies. Yes, Aveline, you did cross borders and barriers, didn't you? Towards the end of the night, Jaffa collapsing in my arms and Carla coming to help me support her, sobs and pain. So many people realising the fragility of humanity and the shortness of time, me apologising to Mark, Ruth approaching me, Nigel and I having a heart-to-heart at 2 in the morning on the landing.

We stumbled out into the night when the club closed and off to Chinatown for noodle soup, me and Chaedy, Ben, Nigel and Kate. Home at 4 and I'm drunkenly on the phone to Doug in the US.

Where to now? asks the night. Where to next? whisper the shades of decisions past. Sleep claims me. It is Lughnasadh, the festival of harvest, the time of reaping, the funeral games for Tailitu. Life goes on.
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I spent this morning doing "needed things" as Doug calls them, a good way to keep occupied. And I've come home to read the growing list of tributes to Aveline and lost myself in memories of her.

I wish I'd gone to Arcanacon to play Children of the Revolution, now. I haven't been to a roleplaying con in years, but it would have been a great tribute to her.

Yesterday's shock is wearing off and today, sadness creeps in along with a sense of blessing for having been someone a person as amazing as Aveline counted as a friend.

Many people are saying that Aveline's commitment to politics and revolutionary zeal have spurred them to act. She and I inspired each other at this, I think. I feel I have a responsibility to her to make good my decisions to pursue my activism professionally rather than just on the side -- like her work in Canberra as a speech writer for a Senator -- whether it's editing a political magazine instead of one that encourages the usual consumer stuff or working for an NGO in some capacity. Her grasp of Marxist and anarchist theory was second to none; mine is outdated and I think I might set myself a refresher course to take up the mantle. I have something else to learn from her, too: she was as political as me and more radical, but inspired others, whereas I think I often put people off and seem like I'm lecturing. If I can channel her acceptance of others, her leadership, clarity and coherence, and in my turn inspire political engagement, I will honour her memory in the best way possible.
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My good friend Aveline ([ profile] abiuro) had a brain aneurysm on her birthday last Thursday. She was resuscitated, but the doctors turned the machines off this morning and apparently, she died quickly. She was 39.

She was a fabulous woman: political, punk, pink-lover. And yes, somehow she made all those things go together: hot pink mohawk and "Barbie's a bitch" T-shirts in pale pink. We used to walk by the Merri Creek every week talking about the world and how we were going to change it. She had been to Canberra to do a Masters in Strategic Studies and her next project was finding a way to get to Russia and work on stopping the sex trafficking trade.

She hand-sewed me a beautiful embroidered blue cat for my new apartment with the beautiful blue walls. It's utterly gorgeous and I will now frame it and take it with me to to US rather than store it here. She was a powerful, smart, right-on woman who didn't take shit from anyone. It's appropriate that her last journal post is about going to see rockin' bands for her birthday. I said to someone that it was sad she never made it there and he said, "how do you know she didn't?".

I wrote this for her when she moved here from Canberra, but it's just as appropriate now:


she is standing in thrall to the tempest
she has nothing to lose but her hide
she knows all the tricks and she's seen all the hicks
and she's secretly crying inside

her skin is a rocking horse palimpsest
she has nothing to give but her throat
the hum of the trees and the buzzing of bees
and a smile like an overblown coat

so she screams when the wireless plays songs from the west
and she throws away needles and pills
she's done with the dolls and the blonde gangster molls
and she packs up and heads for the hills

Bye, Aveline. Whereever you are, give 'em the works.

(Thanks to [ profile] ozgenre for the picture (taken by [ profile] kitling). His beautiful eulogy is also worth reading. Thanks for sharing that, Craig.)


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January 2011

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