HUNDREDS of people joined the Marshall family at Freshwater Creek Cottages last Thursday to farewell Victoria “Tori” Marshall.
The Best Day Ever celebration honoured Victoria’s optimistic outlook on life and was named for her daily proclamation, “This is the best day ever”.
The roughly 400 people in attendance at the celebration were colourfully attired in honour of Tori’s effusive spirit and heard from Tori’s family members, close friends and work colleagues.
Tori’s father Peter recounted Tori’s early life, where she overcame open heart surgery as a new born, before travelling the world with he and her mum Kate. Tori was born with Down syndrome and the open-heart surgery was not the only health challenge Tori would face in her life.
In 2012, she suffered a stroke that left her parallelised on her left side. It didn’t stop Tori, though, who after 12 months of rehabilitation had full use of her body back.
Peter said that only Tori – who, after a short battle with illness, died on Anzac Day, aged 22 – could manage to have the anniversary of her death acknowledged on a day that would feature 21-gun salutes and minutes of silence.
He asked those in attendance to reserve a small thought for her on future Anzac Days.
Kate recounted many touching examples of Tori’s character.
She said Tori was someone of such high spirits, positivity, humour and intuitiveness that she had pondered in the days since her daughter’s death if Tori might have been an angel or something else otherworldly, with a nature so sweet that family and friends had only been permitted to have her in their lives for a short time.
Tori’s siblings also spoke.
Her brother Will and sister Izzy shared many amusing anecdotes from their life with Tori, ranging from wearing capes on the backyard cricket pitch to her occasional struggles with language, which often led to hilarious conclusions as Tori found a way to express herself. Once, when she’d tried six or seven times to say something was Canadian, she said “Actually, maybe it is Italian after all.”
Her sister Alex spoke of the positive impression her sister left on anyone who met her and the lessons that everyone could take from Tori’s honest approach to life.
As an example, she said if there was one cookie left on a plate at a social gathering, most people, even if they wanted the cookie, would refuse it out of fear of being impolite.
However, if the last cookie was up for grabs and Tori wanted it, she’d take it without inhibition, and happily share it with anyone else who wanted some.
The lack of inhibition was a key theme of Tori’s Best Day Ever; as was Tori’s bravery.
While not afraid of singing and dancing in public, or telling things how she saw them, Tori feared many things, including flying and hospitals.
Alex said Tori taught her bravery was not living without fear, but living well with it.
Tori had a bright future as an actor. Representatives from Back to Back theatre, where Tori had secured a number of roles, spoke of her immense talent and her unique aesthetic that became apparent, as it does in all actors, they said, when she refused to do certain things the director asked of her.
Media presentations from Back to Back theatre, the NDIS and the Marshall family shed yet more light on Tori’s character, the full, happy life that she had lived and the bright star that the community had lost well before time.
After the service, attendees got to work doing what Tori did best, singing, dancing and entertaining each other, making sure that despite the sadness everyone was feeling, Tori’s farewell was another Best Day Ever.