We all have our own stories of Maria, rather than tell mine, I’ll do the following, besides I despise eulogies and wont be doing one.

Maria told me that she disliked the word “journey” when it was being used to describe her illness. “Ali” she said, “It’s not a fucking journey, it’s a fucking fight” and we went on to joke about how she was going to kick it’s arse. That was almost a decade ago.

If Maria’s body had been able to keep up with her spirit I’m sure she’d still be with us. With supports in her corner of the ring to wipe her brow, offer her the smelling salts, and give her an occasional pep talk. She adored her amazing friends, family and relatives that wouldn’t let the fighter down, and constantly supported her desire for the bell to go ‘ding’, to dust herself off and get back in there, they helped her when it was time to get dirty and for the gloves to come off, they helped whenever Phil or any of the kids needed a hand or additional support, they stood her back up, put some Vaseline on her cuts, and pointed her back toward the ring. She loved that.

I’m pretty confident if her body had a bit more fight in it, she would have kept going round after round after round. I can imagine worn and weary boxer getting up at the count of 9 time and time again even more clearly when just a few days before Maria died, gravely ill and very poorly, a medical person dared to ask her if she had her “end of life plan in place” and with a roll of the eyes and a wry smirk she responded “Fuck off” and in doing so summed up her attitude perfectly.

Aside from being my little sister, aside from being better than Siri at reminding me when there was a birthday, anniversary or other significant day on the horizon, aside from the cheerful “hello Ali !” each time we caught up, she was simply one of the most courageous people I’ve had the privilege of knowing and I’m going to miss her even more than I realised.

I’m also pretty sure she still holds the title, despite the illness beating her body in the end, it never got her spirit… ‘Ding Ding’
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”http://alandee.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2601.jpg” target=”_blank”><img class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-889″ alt=”260″ src=”http://alandee.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2601-200×300.jpg” width=”200″ height=”300″ /></a></p>