WITH long tables adorned with cupcakes of every flavour and colour and decorations of flowers, fairies and butterflies - six-year-old Bella-Mae would have adored the celebration of her young life and the life of her mother, Ivy Bowden put on by the Byron community yesterday.
Many of Bella-Mae's kindergarten classmates from Brunswick Heads Primary School attended the memorial service; playing on the grassy hill outside the Youth Activity Centre or helping themselves to another pretty cupcake, too young to comprehend the finality of the car crash that took the lives of their little friend and her mother Ivy, 26, last month.
The crash at the Alstonville bypass section of the Bruxner Hwy was not talked of in the memorial service yesterday; only joyful memories shared of a young mother and her beloved daughter, writ large on the slideshow that played throughout the ceremony.
Images of Ivy's transition "from sweet child to committed young mother", as one friend described her, and photograph after photograph of playful Bella-Mae were projected, drawing tears and smiles from well over 200 family and friends who had gathered to celebrate two lives cut short.
Ivy's father, Steve, described how lucky he was to have shared his daughter's and granddaughter's lives: "They both loved strongly and wholeheartedly," he said.
He told the gathering how, aged 22, he had welcomed Ivy into the world in 1987.
In 1998 Ivy moved to live with her father in Lismore, later they moved to Byron Bay to live with Steve's partner, Flo, where Ivy turned the change of location and schooling into an opportunity to do what she did best: making friends.
"Ivy was a great and loyal friend," her father said.
"And she forgave those who had hurt her."
When Bella-Mae was born in 2007, that talent for friendship was passed from mother to daughter, he said.
"Ivy and Bella-Mae were two of a kind; both little peacemakers," he said.
Ivy, who had been studying at Kingscliff Tafe, loved fashion and make-up and shared a love of dress-ups with Bella.
"Bella had a huge spirit; she was a glass half-full kid and she wanted to share the glass with everyone. When she met you she would add you to her list of friends."
As the rain fell gently during the memorial ceremony yesterday, Steve noted how appropriate the weather was: "Rain, like tears, falls down on us today..."
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