Laugh, laughter, contagious laughter, repeated themes in the conversations I had about Gaia.
Clara’s voice lifts as she remembers the laughter. She recalls her sisters and Mum had visited her:
‘There was a lot of laughter, always, really infectious laughter… you know, when your sides hurt, you don’t really know what you’re laughing at half the time, but you’re just laughing endlessly at stuff.
I have a sense that we all used to grab onto each other and just start laughing. I remember one time when Gaia and Maya came to visit me in Southampton with Mum. We were all just sat on the sofa in the lounge, well Gaia and Maya were laying on the sofa, just laughing, I don’t even know why, but it was contagious and I ended up not being able to stop laughing.
There was so much laughter’.
She continues describing how Gaia had a physical comedy about her, remembering when a song came on Gaia dancing to the song and making faces along with the music. One particular memory was a holiday in Crete together and Gaia and Maya would put on David Bowie and lipsync to Bowie songs in an exaggerated way:
‘It was so, so funny. I remember specifically her laughter. Her sense of humour was hilarious, she was so funny, she could always make people laugh’.
In my conversation with Maya she gets a bit wistful as she recall’s Gaia’s humour. She comments:
‘Most of the time she was funny without even trying… but she was also witty, quick, she found it hard not to be funny. It was hard sometimes for people to take her seriously, but not in a bad way, she was just so funny.
[Maya’s face relaxes as she remembers a memory, she continues]
She was so funny, constantly cracking jokes and making people laugh, sometimes it was impossible to focus on anything else’.
The conversation with Kim and Talia also touches on Gaia’s humour. Talia remembers how Gaia was ‘very, very funny with contagious laughter’.
‘I don’t think she ever got the recognition she deserved, she is a very spirited young lady and very, very funny… very quick to see humour… if Gaia found something funny, she’d begin to talk about it and she’d start to laugh… laughter would build, it would get very contagious and then whatever she is talking about is forgotten and it quickly transferred to how funny she is…
She is funny. She was funny. She had a natural ability to make people laugh. She had planned to write a stand-up routine…’.
It was an abrupt, jarring, change of tense as Kim brings herself back to why we’re talking.
Gaia will never write her stand-up routine, but I hope by sharing some of these memories and intimate glimpses into Gaia’s family life with you that you’ll all gain a sense of Gaia and her humour, albeit alongside a painful realisation of what her family, and we as a society, have lost.