A small slide show of photos of Mum and her Eulogy written largely by Moo with the help of Dad and myself…
My Nanna, Dorothy Batrouney, was a remarkable woman who always held her head high and gave endlessly to those around her. She was dearly loved by her husband, four children and ten grandchildren. I’m not sure any of us can really express just how much we will miss her and convey what a huge impact she had on our lives.
She was born in Rutherglen in 1947 on a warm October day to James and Mavis Lawler. Raised on a farm, she spent her early days playing with her siblings Isabel, Tods, Alan and Liz. Her Father was a contract shearer and away for days at a time, the chores were left to the children, feeding the sheep and chooks etc. There was no electricity in the area so things were done by kerosene lanterns or candles, night time was very quiet. Nanna attended primary and high school in Rutherglen, she used to ride a bike from the farm to the bus stop everyday to go to school. I overheard Auntie Isabel and Nanna complaining about the chilblains they collected on their toes from riding through the freezing puddles. At school Nana was the sporty type, excelling in netball as goal shooter, she played for the school and for the Howlong team. She was a fantastic goal shooter, and passed this skills down to her daughters and granddaughters.
Nanna left school at the age of 16 to work as a secretary at Wodonga Produce. It was here that she met Doug, in 1964, who was working for a wholesale firm supplying goods to the produce store. Nanna used to get a ride to and from Barnawartha every day to go to work. In 1966 she purchased her first car, it was a mini minor which she loved. Nan was lucky enough to get her license by driving the local country policeman around the block once, not quite the 120 hours you are expected to do today.
Nanna and Jidu married on the 27th of April 1968 in Chilton. They built the house together in what was at the time on the outskirts of Albury. The house was added to many times over the years with Nanna always having plans for changes or work to be done to the house every time we would visit. We all have very happy memories of going back there…to me it is the place I call HOME as it has been a place of consistency for me to build memories.
Nanna had four children: David, Sharon, Janelle and Brent, and they all treasure their happy childhoods. The kids were always encouraged to do whatever they wanted to and she always supported her children’s choices. Dad said she was someone who never said NO, especially to him, and that gave them opportunities to try many things in sport, music and education as they grew up.
They remember that Nanna was an early riser and always very particular about opening the blinds and making the beds each morning (she was famous for her bed making skills). She was known as Mrs B by her children’s friends and they were always made to feel welcome at Ross circuit, and they often stayed.
Although family life was centred in Albury, Nanna had no problem packing all six of them into the Fairlane on many road trip holidays over the years as the children were growing. Only Nanna and Jido could have the patience to put up with 4 screaming kids on their way to the Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour, Batemans Bay, Tasmania and many other places.
Doug was a member of the North Albury Apex club, and Nanna joined the Henpexians (the wives club), where she was also President for a period of time. They used to have functions and raise money for charity, they also did meals on wheels for a number of years. In her mid thirties the girls formed a netball team called “the plodders” and played every week for 3 years carrying on her skills as Goal Shooter.
She kept the family very connected to both sets of grandparents and their diverse backgrounds through regular trips to her family farm, to visit Nanna moocow, and embracing the Lebanese culture from the other side of the family. She loved her garden, and spent all her spare time working in it, she was great at growing lemons and passion fruits and of course the marrows to make Kousa. She also loved cooking and perfected some Lebanese dishes which the family loved to gobble up. I remember her always flicking through cookbooks and watching daytime cooking shows while taking notes.
When the children started school, Nanna started working at the auction rooms, doing the auction books. At weekends she was a full time taxi driver taking the kids to and from sports, each one at a different time and place. Over the years when the children were in school productions, she did a lot of sewing of costumes and worked at the school canteen. She also accompanied the 5th and 6th year classes on their end of year camping trips.
In 1992 Nanna caught the travelling bug and went to Bali on holiday then Fiji in 1994. In 1997 they flew to Alice Springs and toured Central and South Australia including a hair raising off road trip from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock – as always she kept her cool while Jidu and Dad got the car out of the deep sand several hundred of kilometers from nowhere.
In 1997 the grandchildren started to arrive and when Lewis was born in 2014 that made 10 of us. Nanna was the sort of person who drew children to her and we all loved to visit Nanna and Jidu. She always had time for us, whether it was sitting in the cubby house for imaginary tea parties or colouring in with us or teaching us to cook or giving us a cuddle, she loved all of us so much. The only trouble was that if you got Nanna colouring she would often continue long after us grandchildren had had enough.
Nanna’s favourite time of year was always Christmas. Every couple of Christmases the family managed to rally together and coordinate themselves to attend Nanna’s fantastic lunch. Christmas time at Nanna’s house was invariably hectic, with the lunch planning all starting a couple of days before with stressful chit chat about how to cook the meats. By the time Christmas day came around, the grandchildren would be running around making messes, ecstatic from the presents they received in the morning and Nanna and all the aunties would be in the kitchen trying to meet their 12 O’clock deadline. Christmas time was when she was surrounded by everything she loved. Her loving husband, children and grandchildren all celebrating together eating Christmas lunch and spending time catching up.
She also treasured her family and friends and would go above and beyond to make them feel special. She spoke to her children every day on the phone after they left home, this was still happening and will leave a large hole in their lives.
In March 2004 Nanna was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She battled for 12 years through several operations and many years of continuous chemotherapy. Nanna faced cancer with courage and positive strength. It is a testament to her character that she never let it get her down, it never stopped her from doing what she wanted. In my eyes, she was a hero, she was invincible.
Cancer gave Nanna a determined outlook on life to tackle it and much more. While on chemo she took on even more travel adventures, which saw her…..
- overlook the skyline of Manhattan,
- climb the Statue of Liberty,
- cycle the sites of Washington,
- cross the Golden Gate Bridge,
- mingle with the stars in LA,
- ride the rides at Disneyland,
- hug Minnie mouse and many other Disney characters,
- spend a week cooped up in an RV in America,
- feed monkeys and parrots in Malaysia,
- take a helicopter ride over Fox Glacier,
- sail around Milford Sound,
- go camping,
- drive across the Nullarbor plain….
….. all while holding on to her wig.
In the end the cancer beat her. It was a long journey and we would love to thank the oncology nurses, some of whom are present, for their love and care of Nanna over the many years of chemo and especially over the past few weeks.
Everything Nanna did was first and foremost for her family…whether it was keeping a brave face while Uncle Brent tried to break bones skateboarding the streets of Albury, smiling at Aunty Nellie to compliment her cooking, chasing after sheep on Aunty Sharon’s farm, and agreeing to go on too many holidays with Dad (as we all know 2 weeks with Dad is not easy)
Nanna would have have been at peace knowing that she was surrounded by her family. You will be missed but always remembered. Your humor, your understanding, your resilience and your love will live on inside us forever. We will always love you Nanna.