Those of you who read us regularly will know that I recently wrote a tribute to my father less than three months ago. How cruel life can be at times, to be here again, this time for my mother, or maybe it is all part of the journey and something which many of us are facing as our pioneering parents pass away.
As I sit here and write this, a few days since my mother’s passing, I am still filled with a sense of shock and bewilderment. Yes she was unwell, yes she had been battling cancer for many years, but she had always pulled through, stronger than ever. She looked and lived like a person much younger than her 76 years. She was full of life and she wanted to live. She wanted to continue to engage and contribute to the myriad of conversations with people she had met and whom she continued to meet up until recently. She wanted to settle into her new apartment, where she had recently moved, to be closer to her children. She wanted to travel to Greece again.
My mother Theodora, known to many as just Dora, epitomised the true Hellenic spirit of a person who was socially and civically engaged. Whilst she migrated to Australia at just 7 years old, and spoke English without a trace of an accent, she identified herself as a Greek, it was engrained in her psyche and her intellect as well as her DNA.
I knew my mother had many friends and many acquaintances, but I have been surprised and humbled in recent days by the personal anecdotes I have received about how she engaged and had such a positive impact on peoples’ lives. There have been personal stories of emotional support she gave to friends who were at their lows and other anecdotes of her inquisitive intellectual rigour which drew admiration and inquiry from friends and peers. My mother enjoyed a good conversation and discourse in general. She was well read about history, culture and the arts, and thrived on discussion. If an Agora existed today, in the ancient sense, my mother would have been front and centre, debating and discussing politics, culture and the arts, and maybe even a little sport.
She made a significant contribution to our community as an engaged and proud Greek, sharing her knowledge and talents. She was an accomplished artist and published writer of both novels and food. My mother was always active and inquisitive, challenging herself at every step of her life journey. She made significant contributions to Neos Kosmos over the decades. In recent years she shared her well researched knowledge of food history and recipes.
In closing off this brief tribute, I think of the things that inspire me about my mother’s life and encourage all those who knew her, and those who didn’t, to continue the conversations with rigour, debate and humour. Be inquisitive. Be cultural. Continue to read, learn and travel. Never be afraid to voice your opinion, be proud of your heritage and the cultures of the world. Be a true Hellene.
We will all miss you Mum.
- Christopher Gogos is the publisher of Neos Kosmos.
The funeral service for Theodora (Dora) Kitinas-Gogos will be held at 11am at St Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church at 3 Epping Street, Malvern East, on 19 August 2019. Following the service, a celebration of life will be held at the Pier Hotel, 1 Bay St, Port Melbourne.