Melinda Clarke, the much-loved former industry events organiser, passed away on July 12 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. More importantly, she was the much-loved wife of Jason Clarke, an investment industry entrepreneur, and the mother to their three young children: Maya, Martell and Hendricks. She was only 42.
A virtual ‘celebration of life’ service was held last Thursday (July 23), an artistic presentation set to some of her favourite songs, selected by her beforehand, and organised by her long-time friend and former colleague Adrian Yeak, who beamed the service from Osaka in Japan. Jason and the kids made a group live performance too. It was a moving tribute.
Jason, a former partner in the SuperRatings business with founder Jeff Bresnahan, met the-then Melinda Little when she started organising the annual SuperRatings conference and awards events. As it turned out, he was only human and the two hooked up, as they say.
As Adrian Yeak told the audience at her farewell, Mel had been a KFC girl, a fashion model, a dancer and the proprietor of a bookkeeping and accounting business before starting Mode Events. “But she wanted to be a mum and the best mum she could possibly be,” Adrian said. “The role she most wanted in life was as wife and mother… Melinda you will be forever loved, forever missed and never forgotten.”
As cliched as it sounds, Mel was one of those rare people who really did light up a room when she entered, with an infectious big white smile and more easy charm than most of us could ever muster. Regular attendees at a SuperRatings and Lonsec conference or awards event will recall that smile as they approached the registration desk, behind which Mel directed traffic, sometimes with a baby in a papoose strapped on board.
Mel also chose two poems for the service, reproduced below:
Gone From My Sight
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…
– Henry van Dyke
Death is Nothing at All.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.
– Henry Scott Holland