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In Memorium
Esme Nasir - Mokak
1937 - 2000

Esme Ethna Askine Nasir, also known by her married surname of Mokak, died in Brisbane on the 4th October 2000, and was brought back to Darwin where she was buried in the Darwin General Cemetery on the 11th October. The cemetery is also known as the Old Darwin or McMillans Road Cemetery.

On the 31st August 2005 a simple and moving ceremony was held at her grave to bless her newly-installed headstone. The ceremony was organised by Esme's children, and attended by many of her family and friends in Darwin. It was held on the day that Esme would have celebrated her 68th birthday.

The blessing ceremony was conducted by Father David, who then hosted an informal morning tea in the gardens of the Catholic Chapel dedicated to St. Martin de Porres, part of the Holy Spirit Parish in the northern Darwin suburb of Wanguri. The chapel is patronised by a mainly Aboriginal congregation, and Esme was part of the congregation for many years while she lived in Darwin.

The grave stone of Esme, newly-installed the day before the blessing.
The stone is made of 'red samoka' stone, and was
crafted and inscribed by Jan Fikus of JF Stonecraft Pty Ltd in Winnellie.

Family and friends gathered in the shade at the cemetery for the blessing.

People placed their floral tributes around the headstone
in preparation for the beginning of the ceremony.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

(sung at the opening of the blessing ceremony)

The ceremony: Father David blesses the headstone, with the coolamon holding the holy water symbolizing Esme's care and love for her children, family and friends; and the holy water being sprinkled over the headstones and the gathering with a palm frond rich in the symbolism of the church and evocative of Esme's tropical home.

Jesus exclaimed 'Come to me, all you who labour and are
over burdened, and I will give you rest.
Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I
am gentle and humble in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls.

(a reading from Matthew 11:25-30 during the blessing ceremony)

Esme's favourite song is sung by some of her friends:

Pearly shells from the ocean
Shining in the sun covering the shore
When I see them
My heart tells me that I love you
More than all the pretty pearly shells.

(sung during the blessing ceremony)

Esme shares her resting place with her son Fabian, stillborn at Darwin in 1959; while the grave of her daughter Fatima, stillborn in 1970 is just opposite her and next to the grave of Esme's brother, George Nasir, accidentally killed in 1969. The headstones for Fatima and Fabian were also blessed and their stories remembered.

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

(recited at the closing of the blessing ceremony)

The shared remembrance of our lovely mum and nana, sister and aunty, cousin and friend, overcame distance and adversity to bring a peace and happiness upon us all.

After the ceremony everyone gathered together. Esme brought us all together on this sunny day, and we shared in her grace.

Kimberley a-calling, in the accents of an ancient land
Sure when Kimberley's a-calling, this is one heart that obeys
Range land and river, winding far and free
Challenging forever, with its magic and mystery.

('Wind of Freedom', Pigram Brothers Jiir album 2001)

Family and friends gathered at the chapel after the ceremony to reminisce and once again enjoy Esme's company as they shared in the food that everyone brought along, including a delicious warm damper with golden syrup.

A few days after the ceremony, the sun setting,
a gentle breeze carrying the scent of frangipani,
the tranquillity of the evening gave reassurance that all was at peace in the garden.

Selamat tingal, nakula jarndu
Sayonara, slo'n', galliow nyundu

(the farewells sung by the women of Broome
as their men sailed out each day on the pearl luggers)
('Saltwater Cowboy', Pigram Brothers Saltwater Country album 1997)