Saturday, June 30, 2018

The funny thing about grief....

The funny thing about grief is it’s not so funny.

Nineteen years ago today, on a cold winters day, in the freezing air of an operating room, I became a mother.

The doctor held up a screaming red baby, my baby, and told me with a smile we had a daughter. The little girl I’d always dreamed of.

We named her Savannah Beverley, and in that moment, I knew I was the luckiest mum alive.

Fast forward to today--today is Savannah’s 19th birthday. But she’s not here.

I haven’t seen her sweet smile or almost violet blue eyes since she was four and a half. 

Today, like every birthday, it seems grief is my nemesis.

Every year I watch the date creep up on the calendar. When I book in appointments or see advertisements on tv. Its one of the only days of the year I know my nemesis awaits. But every year I am optimistic. “Maybe I’ll be okay this year,” “Maybe the tears won’t arrive.”

Its confusing and exhausting to have to wonder and worry how I’ll feel on her day as I don’t like being sad.

Who likes crying?

Who wants to feel sad?


But this morning, I woke to rain on our tin roof. I turned on my phone to see Peter had text me a photo of the sunrise in Darwin where he is. No words, just the beautiful image of a dawning day. Our daughter’s day.

I started sobbing and couldn’t stop.

Why does grief invade like a parasite on these days like none others?

The solid ground I usually have turned into quicksand today. I cried like I didn’t last year, or the year before. And I let it sit with me to try and analyse why? Why couldn’t I put my sadness aside? Why couldn’t I stop? But I just couldn’t.

This isn’t my first rodeo with grief. Every year I think I know what to expect, but every year it surprises me. And I have no control over it, which is one of the worst bits.

How do you control a feeling that mirrors the love you had for someone?

How do you control the wishing that Savannah was tucked in her bed, waiting for Dempsey and I to bring her presents in?

Well you don’t. You just let it work you over like a punching bag, in hope the feelings may lessen. And today, as the day went on they did.

Lessened because of beautiful friends who remembered my baby girl, with texts and messages. Lessened by Dempsey’s hug. Lessened by love I’m lucky to have from my people. It’s a simple and as complicated as that I believe.

Mid morning the dog barked to a knock at the door. My beautiful friend Carol sent 19 delicate, baby pink roses for Savannah. But when I thanked her she said she didn’t plan the 19 roses—coincidence?

And that’s where the little things that aren’t little things started to open me up to see the beauty inside the grief. That maybe today my baby girl is still around. Reminding me to smile and to be grateful for all I have. There is a force in friendship. A healing hand, an invisible hug.

At lunchtime, Dempsey chose where we’d eat out. As we strolled in the door, a smiling waitress touched my arm and led us over to – Table 19. Coincidence?

Dempsey was a bit weirded out by this. She found it strange that we were seated at a table with her sister’s birthday number on it. But I didn’t!  It brought me comfort and made me wonder….

When we got home I felt a little better – no tears. Was it the sugar hit from the coca cola or does the day get better as it goes on?

I still couldn’t anaylise it. But I did notice the rain had stopped. And a rainbow was staring at me across our lake. Again, I had to wonder--was this another sign from Savannah?

As I stared at the rainbow, I scrolled through the emails on my phone, and there, staring at me was an email from Savannah’s little BFF Amber, when she was three years old—who doesn’t know today is Savvy’s birthday.

In Amber’s words; “ Hi Dee, this is Amber! I just got my tattoo and it came out amazing, I am so happy I was finally able to get it for Savannah. I just wanted to show you how it came out! I hope all is well. Love Amber."

And the funny thing about grief is, it can be funny, weird, unusual, and surprising, but as much as it’s my enemy, it’s also my teacher. Teaching me I’ve survived another birthday missing my little girl with curls. That Dempsey helps heal my heart and that friends and my people hold my hand on days like today with their messages of love and encouragement that Savannah was here, that she was loved and that they will always remember.

Without the grief you wouldn’t see the gratitude--and like a bruise, my consuming hurt today will disappear—until next time--until next time.

Happy birthday Bubby! I miss you. x 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


What if life stayed the same?

If it got stuck like a scratched vinyl record and kept playing over and over--the same theme--the same moments--the same day? It would drive us insane.

We’d be bored.

We’d question our existence.

We wouldn’t value life lessons--our mistakes, our experiences or our successes, or what they teach us. How they build character—and resilience—and empathy.

Sometimes I’d love to be stuck in a day in the past. To relive some moments--like watching Savannah take her first wonky steps into my arms—or witnessing Dempsey’s first breath, screaming and red and beautiful.

But life’s not like that. There’s no way we can stop change, or life, or what a day will bring. And there’s beauty and hope in that.

As I watch Dempsey turn from a tween into a teen there’s so many gifts I didn’t get to experience with her sister who died. Like watching her at her concerts play her trumpet with so much pride as she taps her foot to the music—which makes me smile. Or seeing her rush into a café here in our small town and tie her apron up to help volunteer. I always sit in my car, watching her through the window and selfishy indulge in the warm feeling it gives me. Or even simply watching her giggle at a message on her phone, which she never shares.

After my sister died, and my mum, and my daughter so many changes happened with each death, I felt my life was out of control. The pain was relentless and the changes unstoppable.

 My nephews and nieces had no mother to kiss them goodnight. I had no mother to call and lean on and to help me get through my own daughter dying. And Savannah, oh Savannah, there were so many changes in my life that I lost my identity. I misplaced my life. But I also gained so much through these painful changes.

Grief builds character.

It makes us more resilient, stronger to face change.

And even though grief manipulates my life sometimes, I’m possibly a better version of myself because of it. And I’m sure if you’re reading and you’ve been through a life changing challenge then you are too.

You notice the deep pink in the sunset, and smile at seeing someone you love laugh, really laugh, or achieve, or try to achieve. Yes, grief is life changing, but sometimes it’s the yin to the yang, without grief in my life, I wonder if my joy would be as intense, or my determination as passionate or my mindfulness as present?

On Monday I took my sisters twins out for lunch. You see they’ve finally finished their schooling after thirteen years and they’re busy studying hard and sitting exams which will change and mould their direction in life.

As we sat in a booth at our local pub, with one of their brothers, I listened to them, talking over one another, laughing, happy, yet anxious about what the future and change will bring. Like moving to the big smoke and attending a University they know nothing about.

But their enthusiasm and happiness about change was contagious.

I smiled as I sat there listening to them grill their big brother about city life.

Change is a coming again.

I’ll miss my twins, it’s like they’re mine. Even though they’re not.  My sister would be over the moon proud!

In a few short months there’ll be big changes, for them, for me, for Dempsey and their dad. But I feel sure they’ll be okay. Knowing that grief has taught them too—to embrace change, to jump aboard the train of life and allow it to take them where it will and trust that all they’ve been through will help buffer them against any challenge they face, an invisible amour that will kick in when the chips are down.

And I know I’ll survive, and they will too—Emerald grabbed my arm and told me, “We’re so doing Sex in the City brunches with you in the city next year.” I smiled at that.

Life does alter and transform us, especially through grief.

But we adjust and we embrace—every day brings new light, new hope—and change x

**This post is for Matty's Mom who inspired me tonight x

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What if.........

Imagine just for a minute if you could be someone else.

If you weren't you.

If you hadn't had all the amazing stuff happen to you in your life...or the bad or sad stuff…if you're like me.

Would you choose to swap lives with someone else? Would you want to change your story?

This week, Dempsey has been on camp in the big smoke. It’s been difficult to cut the apron strings and not worry about where she is and what she’s doing, wandering around a big city….

The fear of losing her too simmers just beneath the surface, a deep seeded anxiety that I battle with, borne through grief and losing her sister Savannah. But I’m working on this demon. I know I’m a work in progress….and that’s ok too.

Anyway, yesterday, as I arrived at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, where her classroom is to pick her up, I had half an hour to waste. I noticed a big green emblem, a familiar symbol, like an old friend, the green sign of Starbucks was like a beacon calling me in.

As I pulled open the grimy glass door, the bitter aroma of coffee hit me, along with the humming of small talk and the welcoming sight of muffins bulging with chocolate chips and blueberries staring at me through the glass counter. Over the noise of grinding coffee beans I ordered my flat white. The smiling girl in the green apron asking me my name to write on my cup.

And for a second I stood there and thought--what if I told her a different name? 

What if I invented a new name? A new name-a new identity? 

What if I picked up someone else’s cup and became them?

I know some days when Savannah was dying, watching her in pain and feeling so helpless, I would’ve stolen someone else's cup in a heartbeat.  But now?


As I stood in line, waiting, I contemplated this.

What if I had the opportunity to exchange all that I’ve experienced, exchanged in a second for one `that's filled with everything I desire, without all the sad moments of my life?

As I was picturing this, a notification lit up my phone. ‘Snapchat from Charlotte’, my niece. Her pretty face filled my screen with the message, ‘can't wait to talk to you about something that's happened’ and then it buzzed again, from her twin Emerald, snapping me  with a photo of a blister on her thumb from writing her English exam. And it made me think--if I wasn't me I wouldn't have them….

I wouldn’t be sitting here sipping my Starbucks, writing this on my Evernote app in the warm sunshine waiting for my baby to finish her class for the week at Etihad stadium.

If I wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have the absolute joy of Dempsey!

Watching strangers pass by, I noticed a lady with a leash with a guide dog in training, a pretty girl sitting behind me with Lucy on her necklace, smiling at her phone at a message she'd probably received. 

I realised they’ve all got different stories to mine….but I wouldn't swap my life for anyone's.

With its ups and downs, scars and memories, laughter and tears, I realise I’ve earned these invisible scars, and the laugh lines and the love my life is full of. They’re mine. And along the way, my experiences have taught me to be grateful and to notice the little things that fill my blue cup with sunshine that I wouldn’t have noticed before.

Yes, there's many gifts intertwined in our lives. Some good. Some bad. But these are our teachers. Educating us to grow and accept and to be mindful that in a heartbeat, life can spin on a dime. Changing the life you had into something so foreign you don’t think you’ll survive.

But you do.

Because these bites from our lives remind us to sip the coffee slower, and feel the sunshine warming your back, to listen to the laughter and to be grateful for our own unique experience that can turn challenges into lessons, gaining mindfulness for simply being alive…..they make us who we are!

What would you do….would you change your cup? x 

*this post is for Scott Davidson, who inspired me with his story x

Saturday, February 18, 2017

We keep this love in a photograph.....

Do you ever have a moment when something taps you on the shoulder to remind you life is passing by so quickly? 

I do….like when my daughter Dempsey leans up against my back, trying to point out that she’s almost taller than me….or my twin nieces who do this too….who now are taller!

And I know we can’t somehow hit the ‘pause’ button on life, but we can at least try and trick the clock…we can freeze it for another day!   

But how do we stop time.....with a photograph!

We can’t hit the pause button, but we do have a save button.  Save for later….save for a time when we may need some laughter, or tears.  Or a time when we need to return to a moment otherwise gone forever…….

And this week I’ve had a few reminders to take more photos…to capture precious moments that can be forgotton.  You see Dempsey got a guitar for Xmas.  She already plays the French Horn, Trumpet annddd piano, (which she wont play in front of me!).  So you can imagine my hesitation when she announced she wanted a guitar.  But Xmas morning, in a shiny black padded case, she was gifted one.  A good one!  One that should last forever. 

Xmas morning, I sat on the sofa with my steaming mug of tea, watching her awkwardly hold and strum it.  She’s got a long way to go I thought to myself.  Even if she will get a few lessons in her music class at school.....

But this week, as I grabbed her bedroom door handle to tell her dinner was ready, I could hear music drifting out from under her door.   I stood silent like a stalker and listened.  I listened and I smiled!

And I got goosebumps! 

Through the door, I could hear her strumming her guitar, in tune, and singing…to Ed Sheeran’s song “Photograph.” 

And she was amazing! 

My little girl has taught herself to play this song from You Tube!  And it sounded beautiful!

I stood silently at her door, scared to move in case she knew I was there. 

I stared at the photograph of four year old Dempsey on the wall, and I listened to my baby, playing her guitar and singing.  And I felt so lucky to be her Mum!

However, as soon as I opened her door she stopped!  And of course, like any teenager, wouldn’t let me take a video, or a photo or play in front of me… matter how hard I tried to bribe her.   

But the song, ‘Photograph’ and her singing reminded me I need to take more photos. 

I need to remember to get out my camera and record these special moments that can take us back.  I know I have regrets I didn’t take enough photos of her sister’s four years with us.  I only have a limited number of photos…but so many memories locked in my mind that I can’t share with Dempsey about her sister and for that I have guilt.

                                    Baby Dempsey and her big sister Savannah

But going through a storage box from our LA home, I found a locket that was given to Savannah for her birthday.  I gave it to Dempsey because she was only one years old when her sister died....and told her I thought her sister would want her to have it!

When I went back to her room later…Dempsey was sitting on her bed, rolling the necklace over and over in her hand as she played on her computer.  I didn’t say anything….but I noticed.

And that night as I tucked her into bed, she had put the necklace on.  She hasn’t taken it off since!

                                                  Dempsey with her Savannah's locket on 

And this act of her not taking her sister’s necklace off tells me so many things….it pulls at my heartstrings, it warms my soul but most of all it reminds me that memories and keepsakes are important.  They’re essential to cataloguing or recalling moments and things that have meaning….just to us!

So I’m going to make the effort to capture as many photos as I can…for later…for her…for my nieces and nephews. 

It will be a return ticket for them… moments to revisit and laugh over…or brag about, or to make fun of….but they’ll have them…memories held, frozen in time….priceless!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Just Keep Swimming....... x

Yesterday, my sister’s daughter Charlotte drove to my house.  Yes drove!  She’s old enough now and has her learner permit.  I’m so proud of her.  I couldn’t wait to watch her drive out of my driveway…and of course not back into my garage door!  And as Charlotte slowly edged back and forth with the car, giggling, my brother in law Tone rolling his eyes from the passenger seat, she finally got it. 

She straightened up the car and drove slowly out of my driveway.  And in one of those strange reflective moments, with her bright yellow L plate stuck to the back window, I couldn’t help but notice the other bright yellow sticker on the car bumper under her L plate.  

 It said “Touched Be The Road Toll.”

I stood on our front steps madly waving and blowing kisses to Charlotte who gave me a big thumbs up.  I know she couldn’t see the tears in my eyes.  But it was a poignant reminder of life.   

One, how it goes on, that people do survive tragedy and thrive and two, that these little moments after grief aren’t little moments.  They have the ability to trigger such instant responses.  At a subconscious level!  The sun was shining, I was filled with a sense of such pride and happiness but in a second of seeing that sticker and Charlotte’s L plate I was reminded just how fragile and unfair life can be sometimes.  Unfair that it wasn’t my sister standing with me, so proud.   

So how do we ready ourselves for those triggers after grief?  

How do we ignore them, shut them out, block them, avoid them?   

Well I’ve learned you can’t!  It’s all part of the process.  A process they call healing…or moving forward.  But sometimes it’s like one step forward, two steps back! 

But with every shot of pain and recognition comes more resilience.  More strength….to cope when these sparks of grief strike.  I’m not scared of them now….well not as much as I was.

And I wonder how other people cope with these little set backs or obstacles?  Whether they’re part and parcel of grief or whether I’m stuck, or I have too much time to contemplate?  Or all this means is that the love I had for those gone will always prompt sadness sometimes?  Is it odd or normal to still feel this way? 

I’m glad its August as it’s the later part of the year where it seems I get a breather from all the reminders of those I’ve lost.  May was Mother’s Day.  June was Savannah’s birthday and July my baby has her birthday.  Which seems always overshadowed by her sisters.  And I hate that!

And all these special days prompt tears and wondering and questioning why?  Year after year.  Its like you have to deal with the difficult stuff for three days.  The day before, the day of and the flatness of the day after….the recovery.   But we do recover.  We regroup.  We mend.  And thats the true miracle of the human condition.    Just keep swimming as Dory said!

You’d think I’d be better at this by now.  But it seems grief is like an eclipse.  When it’s around, everything else seems to be shadowed.  Even the good stuff!  The triggers are just that, like someone has a gun pointed.  The best way to deal with them is to let the pain sit with you, or pour out of you.  Whatever works!  But I do know that burying the pain can create addiction.  And with addiction, unless you deal with whatever is causing the pain, you will never fix the addiction if you have one.

And the other night I watched a TV show called ‘Offspring.’  A scene in it showed one of the main characters celebrating her birthday.  The table was full of family, laughing.  She got up to make a speech, how it was the first birthday without her dad.  And in the scene she melts into a mess of tears.  And out of the blue, lying on my couch under a fluffy throw rug, I started sobbing.  And I couldn’t stop.  It was like someone turned a tap on.

I miss my dad.

I m i s s  m y  d a d!

That one little scene in a silly show triggered grief tears and set me off! 

But I wiped my wet face with the fluffy throw rug, took a deep breath and let the pain sit with me.  And you know what….after a few minutes, the sadness passed. 

However I still got up, grabbed a crystal glass off the shelf, and poured myself a red.  i know I’m a work in progress….and that’s ok too! X

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tapping those red shoes.....................

Pain can be our teacher....

Yesterday, Dempsey found a small purple velvet box in my sideboard drawer.  She wandered up to me very sheepishly with it behind her back and asked me if she could have what’s inside. 

“What is it Precious?”  I asked, wracking my brain to remember what was inside that box?

Dempsey smiled and slowly opened it, not taking her eyes off mine.  Inside was Peter’s mother’s ruby ring.

“Who’s is it Mummy?”  she asked.

I told her it was Daddy’s mother’s…..her grandmother’s, who died when she was only two.  Who we weren’t close with.

“What is it with me and Grandmother’s!!!  Why don’t I even have one?”  she asked.

I pulled her into me, wrapped my arms around her and kissed her head.  I told her that not everyone has a grandma, and that I know it’s not fair she doesn’t have any but that’s just the way it is.

It made me think how the school of hard knocks can certainly teaches us resilience….and some days acceptance of our ‘lot in life.’  But it is also a breeding ground for wishing for things we cant have…..impossible things, and that’s when some days can be torture and you want the sun to sink quickly so it’ll be a new day. 

Wanting things that will never be only gets you down and as difficult as it may be sometimes, you have to dig deep and look at what you DO have instead.  It’s a hard habit to nurture, but it IS possible….. 

Facebook is a great example of misreading other people lives and wishing for what they have!  It’s a platform that can easily trigger feelings of wanting what we can’t have, or wishing we had a different life. 

But is all that stuff that people carefully post an illusion?   

When I see my friends on Facebook posting pictures of their healthy kids Savannah’s age, or photos of them with their healthy mothers out lunching in the sunshine, it creates that perspective that everyone’s life is perfect, that other people have what I don’t.  And its difficult to try to change your way of thinking….but you have to, otherwise you find yourself spiraling into that place of pining for things that will never be.  And that’s detrimental to the soul…..

Everyone has the power within to change their way of thinking, to dig deep when you need to….

YOU have the ability to focus on the positives or accept what’s not to be, it’s how we interpret ‘our lives’ that matters….it’s those shitty days and shitty feelings that become our building blocks, stacking one block after another, after another, fostering strength and shaping our armor.    

And as my dad used to say, “There’s always someone worse off than you Diana!”  and it’s this mantra I quietly say to myself when all else fails…because there is!  And that, saying is sometimes my life raft… brings perspective and jolts me back into my reality of how lucky I am!

Yes, Demps doesn’t have any grandma’s and I don’t have my mother, sister or daughter here.  But I did!  And I DO have girlfriends and close people in my life who have stepped up and are there everyday, that call me and make me laugh.  That hug me and hug Dempsey….they are like my loved ones, even though they aren’t!     

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she realizes she had the power all along to take her home, just by tapping her red shoes....she just had to discover herself!

We also have the capacity to realize we can change our way of thinking….it’s there…it’s been there all along……

So today, I’ve been down in the dumps, wishing for things I can’t have but trying to remember my mantras and remembering the Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz reminding Dorothy;

“You’ve always had the power my Dear, you just had to learn it yourself!” X  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Happy trumps sad....always! X


Since last time I've written, I've had a birthday.

I hate birthdays.  Not because I turn a year older…..but because most of the people I love aren’t here to share it with me.  Birthdays after someone you love has died are never, ever the same!

This year, I was without another important family member.  My dad!

For as long as I can remember, on the morning of my birthday, it’s like I’m psychic.  I’d know the first phone call I'd receive would be from my dad, with a smile in his humble voice, wishing me a quiet “Happy birthday Diana!”

So this year it seems I’m psychic too….as I knew the phone wouldn’t ring, I knew I wouldn’t hear Dad’s voice, or share a conversation with him….not on any day ever again!  And it hit me hard.  It is like the reality of his death and him not being here has finally sunk in. 

And I was sad!  I was a blubbering mess!

I had the biggest pity party…..where tears came along, anger brought his frown, sadness brought the red wine and of course pity cheered me on…. 

By mid afternoon I opened a bottle of wine, hoping to drown out all these emotions that showed up ready to party.  And I managed to forget….for a little while…..

But I’ve learnt through my journey that delaying the heartache, or burying the emotions or using something to try and fix your grief doesn’t work. 

Yes, to go into battle with grief you have to armour up….whether it be with friends support, a listening ear, or through feeling the pain and allowing that to settle in your being and then seep out of your eyes in the form of tears. 

There’s no magic spell or pill that you can take to mend a broken heart.  It will always be broken….but sitting on my deck on my birthday, feeling sorry for myself, I noticed a flash of yellow pull up in my driveway. 

I heard the slam of 3 car doors and watched as my sister’s twins and husband came smiling around the corner with a shiny yellow box that said “Moet” in Charlotte’s hand.  Each of my sister’s daughters took a turn at squeezing me so tight, they managed to transfer a few stitches into my broken bits.

And I do have a broken heart….but…..half of it is still intact….and that half is an enormous muscle filled with hope and the ability to recognize and appreciate joy.  And I’m grateful that at least that half will always eclipse the broken bits.

I grabbed five of my mother’s precious crystal flutes and called Dempsey.  I told the girls I was going to share my beautiful bottle of sparkling bubbles with them….only if it was a sip!  YOLO I told them! J

Their faces lit up....Dempsey was a bit hesitant, but I told her a sip of French champagne is ok because its my birthday….and if we were in Italy, they’d most likely be enjoying red wine with their dinner at night….well that was my excuse anyway!  I wanted them to feel special and to create a memory where in years to come maybe they’d reminisce and say “Remember old aunt Diana giving us a sip of French Champagne on her birthday!”

And this week my baby has been on camp….the anxiety of Dempsey not being in my clutches is very real and it’s a demon I fight with….a bit like the emotions I battle on special days.  But I’ve been trying to trust in the Universe and trust Dempsey’s big sister will keep her safe….but it feels like someone has cut my left arm off.  The house is way too quiet!!

And it’s in these quiet moments when you can’t escape, that all those grief emotions start to bubble up to the surface and you have to face them.  There’s nowhere to run….where do you run to? 

Who do you tell? 

Who wants to listen to someone who’s sad and down?  Nobody! 

So I’ve had to face a lot of buried emotions this past week…and it’s been exhausting, but I’ve feel like I’ve come through the fog, I feel like I’ve won a war! 

And last night, my sister’s girls had their Production at school. 

Emerald asked with puppy dog eyes if I’d please go!  And to be honest I didn’t feel up to it.  I just wanted to wallow at home.  But I went….for my sister!

And as I sat next to their dad and watched them light up the stage with their presence, beauty and fun energy…..I thought of my big sister. 

One of them is becoming more like her every day in the way she pulls faces, and how she holds her head….even though she can’t know Tarnia’s quirky little ways as she was only a baby when she died.

But there on that wooden stage was my sister…reincarnated. 

I was so proud to be there watching….also a little melancholy that Tarnia has missed out on so many of these moments. 

And it hit me then….that there is life in grief….that there can be happiness in sadness and that you can’t escape fear and pain anymore than you can avoid the joy and beauty in moments…. e v e r y  s i n g l e  d a y !  And that right there was my light bulb moment!

Yes, between the pauses of grief, beauty and joy shines through and fixes the broken bits…..there’s no safety net….but for every down moment, the UP one’s fill our blue cup with sunshine and give us strength and courage to face whatever life throws at us.   They sweep us up and carry us along, slowly mending our broken hearts and ensuring our smile will always return....  X 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The gifts...........

Grief is such a lonely place. 

When you’re in the thick of it, it’s like quicksand…there’s nothing that can help you. 

And I’ve found like a surfer, you just have to ride out the wave…….

And for anyone reading who’s in that place…that’s OK too…cos I’m here to tell you, it does get better………..

I usually find if I’m down, the next day I feel stronger….and I seem to get a renewed energy to face the world with a different outlook.  It’s bizarre, this concept, but it’s the roller coaster theory of being up and down…the high…and the low! 

Like Friday.  You see my baby went to the big smoke with the debating team.

I had to have her at the bus at 0730am stat!  Which was a far bit earlier than normal….but Dempsey was excited….dressed in full uniform, with her blazer and tie knotted perfectly in place and a smile on her face that couldn’t be wiped off.

I pulled up my car behind the school bus, got out and embarrassingly (to Demps) took a proud photo of course….to capture the memory.   

Then I got back in my car and sat there.  I just sat there, enjoying the moment. 

Through my windscreen I watched other parents come and go, dropping their kids off quickly.  But I stayed that little bit longer…watching my baby’s face, lit up with excitement and enthusiasm, chatting to her friends, making silly teenage faces as she boarded the bus.  Then I tucked the moment and the joy it brought to me deep in my heart, and drove off…..with Kings of Leon blaring through my car speakers, leaving the school bus behind in my rear-view mirror! 

So tonight I’m a little melancholy…I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s wishing for things I can’t have.

But I guess you can’t be ‘up’ all the time.  And it’s OK to be a little down sometimes.  As the down times make the up times so much richer.  The gift of grief has taught me that….it’s also taught me  

Knowing sad makes happy so much bigger and brighter.

Knowing how the lowest of lows feels means understanding up has to happen…it’s the law of gravity!!! J

Watching someone you care about achieve something they’ve worked so hard for makes success more rewarding. 

Loving and losing something so precious teaches you that love is all there is.  That it’s sweet and intoxicating….and addictive….and you finally g e t  it!

Life seems bigger and brighter some days!  Rainbows and sunrises seem more vibrant and breathtaking.  They just never get old do they?

                                           Sunrise in my front yard last week...breathtaking

There’s no cook book like Nigella's that can publish a recipe on how to cook grief so someone can taste what it’s like…to understand how it might feel or what people deal with if they've suffered loss.  Only those that have been through it understand how it feels and smells and looks.

But after some time, grief can be a gift.  Well, it has been with me.

It’s taught me how to embrace life, even with its sometimes cruel consequences.  It’s taught me to cherish the small moments that I’m privileged with…like today with it’s winter chill.  That reminded me of mother nature’s bite, but also of her beauty with a sky full of marshmallow clouds that somehow made up for the cold winter’s day.

And I don’t think I’d recognize them if it weren’t for losing the most precious thing in my world.

Loss makes you understand that life is a gift, a privilege….something to wrap both arms around and embrace and to face with energy and gusto as tomorrow is not a given for anybody. 

Whatever it is…I’m grateful for it.  Cos tonight I’m thankful to be sitting here, with a rich glass of merlot…..the sound of frogs serenading me on my lake…Teddy dog at my feet, my friends and family only a phone call away.  

And my special little girl, sitting at her desk in her room, drawing with Derwent pencils under a halogen lamp, and gifting me with special moments, every day…..e v e r y day!

How lucky I am…..

Sunday, July 26, 2015

YOLO - What if we had an expiry tag?

What if we all had an expiry date tied to us on a tag?

What if you knew what your expiry date was?

Would you do anything different than what you are today???

Would you write a list of all those things you want to do???

It’s funny, but for anyone who’s been through a life changing event, it transforms
you… so many many ways. 

And at the time you can only see the bad if it’s a tragedy or a challenge.  You become bogged down and consumed with the “why me?” and the “if only’s.”  But over time, as you heal and become more resilient….and you start to understand the fragility and randomness of life, you begin to understand just how short life really is. 

You begin to want to suck the marrow out of e v e r y little morsel of each day, good or bad.

My friend who I wrote about in an earlier blog who was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years ago is doing great, however she’s been given the gift of recognizing life is short and random shit happens to good people, no matter if you’ve done everything right in life.

Anyway, this friend and I had a conversation on Friday….about how people live, or how we should try to  live….and we talked about what people would do if they had an expiry tag pinned to them. 

It’s an interesting concept.  It makes you question your mortality and your time or how you spend it…..and just what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life?

I know losing my sister, mother and four year old daughter have made me understand life is short….and there’s no guarantee’s.

And last night, my BFF and I were chatting….she’s tossing up whether to undertake more study.  YOLO(You Only Live Once) I said down the phone!

And it’s true….YOLO should be pinned to our chest too!

The gift of grief has taught me how to suck the marrow….how to get up and go and to not put things off.  To buy that bottle of Moet….or dance on that table!  To tell friends and family how much they mean to me….to take risks and to push myself.

                                                  yes that's me dancing on that table! :)

We’re all dying.  Every day.  But are we living?

Do we put off things because they’re too hard?  Or because we’re scared of rejection…or failure?  Or is it we just can’t be bothered?

Life is such a gift…and I know that’s clichéd, but its true.  I know it’s a privilege for me to wake every day. 

I know I’m absolutely blessed to have a daughter who’s happy and healthy….how things could be different, just by a twist of fate.  Knowing these things has changed me….they’re the remiinder….the kick and the sparkle that lights my spirit to make me take risks and live each day and appreciate what I have. 

My precious daughter turned thirteen this week.  Dempsey reminds me every day how life is passing us by so quickly…that time is ticking away and that this day will never happen again….so to make the most of it! 


And as I type I’m smiling, Dempsey just leaned over my shoulder and read what I’m writing, when she got to YOLO came the reminder that maybe I am getting old…..”Really Mummy?” was her response.  But when I asked what she thinks YOLO means….out of the mouth of my newly teen daughter came the wise words……”You should try all the things you’ve ever wanted to try.”  Maybe she does listen!

I have to sign off now….and go write my list….what will yours say?  X