Friday, December 30, 2011

What will you choose in the New Year?




Which one do you give most attention too…which is most important to you?

Me, well I mull over the past a lot. It simmers away in my memory bank, like a slow cooker stew….and I try not to dwell on the ingredients, as it’s just that…the past. Has been, gone, changed, irreversible….

However, the person I am now has a lot to do with my past. And with grief or loss, the past plays a huge part in how you face your future.

The new year is almost here, and I find around this time I begin to reflect on what I want to change about myself in the days ahead to make me a better person, a better mum and friend to others. It’s like Mother Nature gives us a clean slate to start again on January 1…or try to anyway….it’s all about choice.

When Savannah was diagnosed with her terminal illness and we were told there was no cure…anywhere in the world for our baby, there was nothing we could do.....I felt powerless.  All choices had been stolen. 

But over a period of time and with the help of my amazing mum, I started to see I did have a choice.  A choice in how her last few months would be spent.   Outside in the sunshine, or inside in a hospital bed. Having books read to her or leaving her with a carer…there were choices.  And that was empowering.

And her death taught me it’s the present that’s the most important.  The here and now and learning to tap into my senses to enjoy what’s happening around me….to notice everything with grace.  And after a while you learn you can do this.  You can’t buy a smile, or bottle a laugh, or replace the touch of a hand…..they are beyond price!

Christmas day was all about family for me.

I made a conscious effort to spend a few minutes looking around our decorated table. Not at the silver reindeer candelabra that had his six antlers a blaze on our table. Or the fine red wine I had topped up in my crystal goblet.

It was the faces parked up at our table I noticed. They were glowing brighter than any candle ever could.

There was laughter from a few different generations of conversations going on…the grand folks, mixed with the Z Generation made for interesting listening…. :)

Demps teaching Brenda how to play Angry Birds...and my gorgeous Dad!

And watching Dempsey trying to teach Dad’s 75 year old wife Brenda how to play ‘Angry Birds’ on her new iPod that Santa brought was priceless.  

Yes, it’s all about engaging in life and surrendering your senses.  Smelling the plump turkey and listening, really listening to the banter…it’s seeing those smiles and feeling them in your heart….and squirreling them away….being thankful.

I see death, or grief like a pushes it's way into your life.

Sometimes it’s in control and you do feel helpless.   But boy does it feel good when you stand up to it….to make the choice not to let it destroy what’s left of your life......

Not having Savannah with us will always be painful....I accept that now. 

Every Christmas and every birthday or anniversary, or even a trip down memory lane will be hard.....what I'll never know about her is hard!  And that’s part of the package.   But choice is also part of the deal.....and choice or making a commitment in trying to achieve something, whether it's happiness or succeeding at a challenge does ingrain strength inside.  It gives you that push…or shove, to do better…or be better.

Christmas night was special to me.  I had my sister’s 16 year old son Fraser all to myself because Tone had taken the rest of the family to the big smoke.

For 4 hours we talked non stop about Tarnia...and life and love and loss….and making the right choices….and there’s a lot when you’re only 16! :)

Charlotte and Emerald the night of their Graduation....

While we were in Australia I had many special moments.

Like seeing my sister’s twin girls graduate from Elementary School. I got to buy their dresses, and do their hair…and witness their butterflies and excitement.  I got to spend time with my Dad and Tone and my sister’s oldest Alexander…precious times!

But yesterday, I had to say goodbye to all of that…to family and friends, and board the big bird and fly over the oceans back to the USA…without any of them. And it was hard.

Seeing the kids and Tone in my rear view mirror as we drove away on Wednesday night made me cry. And hugging my Dad and not knowing if I’ll see him again was painful.

However, again, choosing to be appreciative that we can even afford to fly home and see family slowly ebbed its way into my mind….and that helps.

A beautiful friend of mine reminded me that life changes, that’s part of the deal too. They also said “The weight in your heart gets a bit lighter as time goes on.” And it’s true, it does.  It’s all about change and choice and committing to keep that thought always in the forefront of my mind.

So my new year’s resolution will be to ‘choose’ to be happy…no matter what.  To try to entrust I’m exactly where I’m meant to be on this journey and to embrace whatever 2012 (OMG) brings.

Thanks to you for supporting my humble blog…It’s a privilege to read your comments.

Hopefully, I’ll look forward to seeing you next year..and whatever next year brings! Cheers! x

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grief and coping in the days leading up to Christmas x

In Australia we have some unique iridescent green beetles that magically appear around this time of year called Christmas Beetles. They seem to materialize out of nowhere…a lot like grief or feelings of longing do at this time of year.

And its funny, but last week, as Dempsey started to decorate our Christmas tree, one landed on her arm. She was mesmerized at its magnificent color, and that having a Christmas Beetle appear, must mean Christmas is almost here…

I do a lot of deep breathing this time of year….its not from over exercising, or meditating…’s the weight I feel inside my heart that our other daughter Savannah isn’t here to share this special time….along with mum or my sister Tarnia.

During the festive season, grief or challenges can make you feel isolated from others…..and that’s the reality. However, finding ways to look differently at what you do have, helps balance out those G moments!

Anyone who’s lost a family member, a friend, or a precious child feels that twinge of pain come and go. For me, it hovers around….makes me breathe in the big ones, as the days get busy with Christmassy things.

Different moments, like watching Dempsey hang her sister’s sparkling ‘S’ on our tree trigger the pangs, and I know that’s normal to feel this way….as long as the sad moments pass….and I can be thankful too…to notice the little moments that foster happiness and help the hurt to heal.

And as all things Christmas invade our life in the past week, there are many twinkling, fleeting, flashes of happiness that prevail over the sad bits in the lead up to the big day…..when Santa sprinkles the good stuff around.

And I’ve had plenty of good, great and grateful stuff mixed in….one was the adventure to pick out our tree.

Peter, Dempsey and me drove to a Christmas tree farm, with the help of directions from my brother in law Tone. Out into the country and down a dusty bush track to a plantation of them in fact.

And as I happily watched Dempsey stomp through the bushes, umming and ahhing over which tree, then picking out the prettiest one….like only a female can…a butterfly appeared.....somewhat out of nowhere...and landed on the tree Demps had chosen.

I had to smile….I like to think it was Savannah, approving of her sisters choice! :)

We also had a local church Christmas fete that was filled with fun stuff….all free in the spirit of Christmas…..I hope this photo makes you smile as it did me….watching my little daughter, draw in a deep breathe, and bravely jump into the we all have to sometimes.....

You really need to do what works for you this time of year. Whether it’s wasting time doing nothing but sleeping, or turning on an answering machine to get some peace….whether it’s over indulging in chocolate…or finding some serenity in some simple moments, seeing the beauty in being alive that helps.

I’ve had quite a few of those too with our family of swans that park up each night right at sunset, waiting patiently to be fed stale bread by Dempsey.

Having friends and family around this year will be like an invisible barricade of strength for me. 

I know they love me, scars and all.   And that helps me survive those sad moments that lie just under my eyelids and inside my heart.

The presents don’t matter to me anymore…just the love, the hugs, the hello’s, the sound of Bing Crosby’s Christmas Carols quietly playing….and getting to see Christmas through my child’s eye’s is what gets me through.

I’ll think of the many others around the world who are missing their loved ones, they also help remind me I’m not the only one missing someone.....

Yes, small steps, big breathes, appreciation and love will be inside my stocking this year....along with happiness.  I'll have the privilege of telling those I care about, just how special they make my Christmas and how they fill my blue christmas cup with sunshine!

Silent night,
Holy night,
All is calm……all is bright…..  x

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A G'day and a cuppa of comfort! :) x

G’day from Australia….finally!!!! :)

Our plane trip back to Oz was long, however I was reminded of the beauty of being up in the heavens....watching the sunrise over the wing of the indication of what was to come when our big bird touched down.

What can I say…’s kinda hard to find a word in the dictionary that measures up or encapsulates this feeling of being home with my family! I guess the closest one that springs to mind is ‘comfort’.

Everyone needs comfort…… whether you’re like me and sometimes need it on a special day, to soothe your sadness or just to up lift your mood if you having a Debbie downer day.

For me, coming home means facing some old memories, faded photos of past happy times and living reminders in my nephews and nieces of my sister who’s missing….who will always be missing….

However, the comfort in a hug or a smile, the slamming of car doors as I hear visitors arrive….or a “You look great!”….and the excitement of the kids to see, us balances out the sad stuff.

This trip, like last year, I’ve been challenged, as I always am, with the reality of how our lives are now….without mum, my sister or Savannah here.  It’s different when we’re in the USA, different in the way that I’m not constantly reminded with old memories and places…it seems easier some days.

I came across this anniversary card from mum...her writing reminded me so much of her....

Whereas here, especially this year, we’ve been moving into our new home….packing up mum’s old china and crystal and wrapping old photo frames in newspaper, and I wouldn’t be human if these things didn’t tug at my heart…but they also bring me….well most of them anyway!  I’m not so sure about the photos with the 80’s hairdo I found. :)

Last year, we purchased a 2 acre plot of dirt…on a lake.

A 2 acre green canvas just waiting for lodgers.  But we have to share on this land on the lake…however I don’t mind, because you see it’s with a plump pelican we’ve named Percy, a graceful family of black swans that actually do swan around, with 6 fluffy signets in tow.

There are a couple of baby bunnies that hop by each morning and nibble our grass.  And brown ducks that nose dive, shaking their booty at us, gorging on whatever inhabits our lake.

 Oh and I can’t forget the frogs…at night that’s all I can hear, no freeways, just endless croaking, a symphony of amphibians that serenade one another as the sun disappears. 

And all of this is framed with the lake, so calm, it looks like a giant mirror, reflecting a carpeted sky of endless stars.  Its organic magic from Mother Nature….medicinal and tranquil….and…comforting! :)

On my beautiful Mum’s anniversary, I thought a lot about her and wished she was here to see our new home…..

Mum with Savannah the day we arrived home from hospital

I imagined her with her elbow resting on our table, holding a glass of champagne filled with bubbles saying “Here’s cheers Darlin,” in a toast to health and happiness as she always did…..and I do now. :)

I stayed busy, with Peter having morphed into a Sergeant Major, piling box upon box at our front door for me to unpack, however Demps kindly interrupted, yelling from the lounge room to “Come look Mummy….quick!” 

As I rushed into the room, not sure of what I’d see…..there, outside our front window, stretched from one side of the horizon to the other, was the most magnificent rainbow…

It was like mum was sending me a not so subtle message that she knows I miss her so much, but more importantly, that she’s be thrilled we’re in our new home and ‘happy.’

And just like that, I felt reassured.  And while a rainbow will never be consolation that my mother isn’t here, I felt like she was watching down from heaven….sending me a sign.

I carry the best of my mum inside my heart…she wouldn’t want me to be walking around sad, and I always keep that in mind.

We’ve managed to recreate happy hour in the Southern hemisphere, with Friday night drinks in our new serenity.

My sister’s twins had a sleep over all weekend…to Dempsey’s delight…and mine! 

Mine that I get to tell them stories about their mum and me growing up.  Like how we’d squeeze into bed together and she’d tell me the Turnip story….or that she’d once had dinner with us around our table, while they were in safely tucked inside her belly waiting to be born. 

They both mutter a small hummph and smile.  I hope it gives them comfort, to learn things about their mum that isn’t here.  I know I get a lot of comfort out of their bony butts sitting on my lap, and the similarities to my sister in their pretty faces and mannerisms……

Watching Dempsey, Emerald and Charlotte is food for my soul, however I can’t help but feel there is always one little one missing in Savannah. I often imagine the 4 of them together, when they stand side by side.

And it’s funny, I’ve been baking bread with our old Panasonic bread maker, dusted it off and fired her up….on Saturday, the house was filled with that doughy smell of freshly baked bread!  As I pulled the loaf out of the tin, Charlotte commented,  “Do you know Diana, the smell of freshly baked bread is 8th on the list of comforting things to humans!”  Her comment made me smile…..comfort is everywhere it seems, if you are aware of it….

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, with lots of Aussie laughter echoing through our new house.

I’ll be intentionally building new memories, that I’ll store…like cookies in a cookie jar…a jar I can dip into anytime, that’ll offer up some crumbs of comfort when I need them…I’ll store the new one right beside my old jar of memories…that sometimes, I like to indulge in…but sometimes…the lid stays on tight….and that’s ok too…..

As we say in Oz….catch ya later on matie! :)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flying back in time and a book review x

It's been hectic in the Doyle house, phew!  You see tomorrow night we’ll be boarding a giant metal bird that will carry us across the ocean…..home….to Australia.

It’s amazing when you think this 400 odd ton of tin, that’s held together with nuts and bolts and rivet’s can even get off the ground! I like to believe all the love and excitement and spirit that will be on board, in the souls of the passengers help to get her off the ground. :)

And a few days after we arrive it will be my beautiful Mum’s anniversary.

And its weird, but in coincidental ways that sometimes just seem to pop up, I’ve been sent a book to read and review called ‘Under the mesquite” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. I didn’t get any money for doing this, just the thought from the publisher that this book may be endearing to some of my readers, something they can relate to that might help them.

The book is fictional, however is based on the author’s experience, losing her mother to Cancer as a teen.

Under the mesquite” is about a young Mexican American girl, Lupita, who has to come to terms with her mother being diagnosed with cancer. It’s aimed at the young reader market, however I found I could relate to a lot in this book. It’s eloquently written with vivid descriptions of emotions that anyone who has lost someone could identify with.

There’s Lupita’s emotional challenges weaved inside the story as well as the courage she has to find to accept that her mother is dying. Something I could definitely connect with. She also touches on the trials and the complexities teenagers face while going through such a difficult journey.

In one part she states – “Everything’s wrong,” I say, wiping my eyes with the back of my hand. “My mom’s sick and she’s not going to get better.” I wasn’t planning to tell him about Mami, but once I start, the words stampede out of me, a herd of untamed horses breaking out of an unstable corral.”

The book is written in a verse style, like a poem and is easy to read.  The words flow and I found I finished this book in a few hours.  But the memories it provoked and the places it took me back to were comforting….and I like that about a book…I felt I could’ve written it about my experience of losing my mum!

So on Monday, I sat in my car in the sunshine, outside Dempsey’s school, waiting for the school bell to chime…reading and waiting and reminiscing with “Under the mesquite” on my lap.

In one part of the book Lupita describes how she's scared about her mother dying…how she wants everything to be back the way it was. And it’s true, we do want things to be ‘as they were,’ but that’s an impossible dream….

The author seems to touch on a lot of these yearning’s we have when faced with impending loss….and does so in a way that reinforces that these feelings are normal and part of the transitions we go through to reach a place of healing.

However further on in the story as Lupita works through her grief, she comes to understand that she’ll always miss her “Mami,” but that she’s going to be okay. She finds comfort in the mesquite and writing, where she can fill pages full of memories and hope, because she finally realizes, “that’s what Mami would’ve wanted.”

And that part of this beautiful book made me smile and sigh and forced a few tears to roll down my cheeks…inside my car…on a warm Fall afternoon….because that’s what every mother wants, for their little ones… be happy.  Whether they’re here or not.

I know if I had a phone line to heaven, that’s what my mum, who I miss so much would say to me today….to be happy and enjoy life, to have courage and not be afraid of anything that I might encounter on my journey.

And as written inside the pages of this book, like Lupita, whether you know it or not, you are stronger than you think….you put one foot in front of the other….no matter what…with hope….

So tomorrow night, we’ll be flying through the night skies to the land Down Under.

I know Mum’s anniversary next week will take me back to that roller coaster time of watching mum fade away….and will bring some always will.  However, I’ll also think back to some treasured moments I had the privilege of spent with my mum, where we talked about life and love, and that will warm my heart.

So last night, as my beautiful daughter and I cuddled up under the throw rug on our couch, talking about dinner with my dad, and how she’ll be playing tag in the garden with her cousins, Demps asked what the weather will be like in Australia........

I clicked on my iPhone app and studied what the weather forecast is there…Dempsey looked over and stated…

“It looks mainly sunny Mummy, but with a chance of rain!”

And I had to smile as I cosied up with her and added “Yes Precious, a lot like life…..” :)

PS; if you’d like to read more about the book “Under the mesquite” you can click on this link...I'll catch you from Oz :) x

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life is like a bubble! x

Before we head home to Australia, we always head out to Ontario Mills, a massive outlet shopping centre where the bargains are abundant. We pick out presents to take back and hand out. It puts a smile on my face to see the delight on the faces of our family and friends when they peek in their surprise goody bags….that’s if I don’t mix them up! :)

Peter already has our cases out with the present bags packed....

So on Sunday, we made the trek out to the Mall. And after carefully choosing gifts, the moths having fluttered out of Peter’s wallet, we stopped for lunch at the monstrous food hall.  We rested our weary  feet at a table next to a new attraction which caught Dempsey’s eye….and mine!  I guess I’m still a big kid at heart!

It was a mid size swimming pool with giant plastic bubbles floating around on top of the water…inside the bubbles….children!!!  :)   Bizarre right?   Eight bucks buys you five minutes of fun!

Peter and I watched Dempsey climb inside the deflated plastic cocoon as a huge noisy air hose inflated and stretched it out.

Peter and I scrambled for our iPhones.....filming Dempsey who was like a hamster trapped inside a wheel, trying to stand up then flailing about, giggling….it was cheap entertainment!

As I watched her scramble inside the big plastic ball, I thought about how bubbles sometimes mirror life….and grief or adversity that’s put in our path.

Life can be like a bubble!

It can be delicate, fragile even, and sometimes our perfect ‘bubble’ or world pop’s! And when this happens we’re left with just splinters of our past world…. and we think our bubble will never be whole again.

Life loses its sparkle, it stops glistening like it once did....

I know after my losses, after Tarnia was killed, and Mum was diagnosed with cancer....and especially after we were told our daughter would die before her 5th birthday...I never thought life would be worth living ever again....I wondered how we'd go on?

But in time, through love from family and friends....reading about others bubble’s that have, and faith and joy and hopefulness….you learn you can blow that bubble back up…sometimes, even bigger than it was before!

You manage to puff yourself back up….slowly… breathe life back into your little bubble, and sometimes, it even becomes stronger than it was before…...more resilient to the bumps along the way….and then your bubble turns into one that can survive the harshest of knocks and whirl winds that once threatened it.

And like bubbles, kids can sometimes be our teachers. Demonstrating that in life, you can find joy and laugh again in silly fun things.

Dempsey has certainly helped me see the lighter side of life and made me appreciate that money can’t buy the ‘good stuff.’

But of course in a 9 year olds eye’s it can!   And of course the ‘good stuff’ for her on Sunday was this hot pink puppy balloon….also full of air! :)

And he’s somehow started to stalk us in our house…floating from room to room. He sorta stares at me with his ‘puppy eyes’ and his smile, like he’s just about to say "WOOF!" :)

And on your journey you may not yet be where I’m at inside my little bubble….but you will be…someday…baby steps, or baby breathes I say!

Sometimes, our challenges are overwhelming…and I know I can’t control when my bubble will pop, or explode next, but if it does, with strength and some deep breathes, I’ll continue to keep breathing and love wherever my bubble drifts to in this world.

In the meantime, I’ll let my joy and excitement over the right here, right now……and the thought of heading back to Australia to my loved ones in a few weeks bubble up to the surface and feed my soul........with whatever floats my way in the future, even if it is more challenges…..

Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue and you are facing some hard days ahead….. x

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Carving out a destiny.....

A mile down the road from our house an enormous Pumpkin Patch has been set up for Halloween. It’s a new addition to our neighborhood and one that’s turned Dempsey into a nagging machine…..every time we stop at the traffic lights.

“Pleeeeaaassase Mummy can we go?”

That’s all I heard for days, every time the lights turned red.

I have a habit of putting things off, it’s a thorn in my side, a flaw in my character….but when you’ve got a little voice like a scratched record badgering you, you finally give in.  And I am a pushover! :)

But I’m glad we went…some things I encountered at this dusty straw strewn Pumpkin Patch has given me a push….NOT to put things off.

Dempsey was like an eager beaver, rushing around, trying out the different jumping castles….mingling with other little girls who quickly became her new friend's.

And as I stood and watched her, giggling and hurdling over the blow up props, with hay in my shoes and grit in my teeth from the dust, I spotted another family….the young mother with a head scarf on. It was clear she was fighting cancer......I felt for her and her family and what she must be enduring each day.  And it had a huge effect on me. You see since my birthday I’ve been thinking a lot about my Mum’s cancer…….

I am now almost the same age as she was when she was diagnosed with breast cancer…which she did beat, however years later developed ovarian cancer……

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I like to believe my beautiful mum was sending me a message last Sunday, not to postpone things or procrastinate or put off appointments…..

While Dempsey scaled jumping castles, I sat down on one of the scratchy hay bales, watching her, reflecting on everything I was surrounded by....especially the lady in the floral scarf.

And I think grief, or loss or challenges have a way of prompting us to contemplate life more, to dissect it and question our destiny…along with seeing the richness in moments, the intense color in life… the vibrant orange pumpkins that were spread around that Pumpkin Patch!

We learn through our experiences, that, to a certain degree we can carve out our destiny…like Demps and I will carefully carve out the pumpkin we purchased last Sunday.

We put things off, we delay them…….”Tomorrow I’ll clean out my closet!”

                                                             “Tomorrow I’ll call that friend back!”

                                                             “Tomorrow we’ll carve out that pumpkin!”

                                                             “Tomorrow I’ll make that doctor appointment!”

But what if tomorrow never comes?

Or tomorrow, life changes…in an instant?

Since Sunday, not just at the Pumpkin Patch….but everywhere, it seems I’ve stumbled across scary and sad reminders of Cancer and how it affects so many lives.....on the internet, through social networking sites, through stories, and a lovely lady in Australia who’s fighting the fight….even today, a publisher has asked if I’ll review a book about Cancer in families.  And when these coincidences occur, I sit up and take notice…it’s prompted me to act.

So yesterday I picked up the phone and booked a Doctors appointment for a few weeks time in Australia. I’ve organized to have a breast MRI done.  It seems I'm in a high risk category and therefore am eligible for a rebate for the costly procedure.  I feel fortunate to be able to have this done, and know my mum would be pleased I've booked in.   And I don’t think I would’ve taken that step without all the little red flags…or, orange ones!

And speaking of orange…Dempsey chose the biggest pumpkin she could carry…I asked her what face we’d carve into it this year.  I suggested the words HAPPY instead of something scary.  And I had to smile at her answer…..“But we can do something scary Mummy, sometimes scary is good!”

And I had to agree, “Yes Precious, sometimes scary is good….”

Thinking of all the amazing women around the world who are bravely fighting a breast cancer battle.... their families and the lives they've touched x

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's in a birthday?

"For all the advances in medicine, there is still no cure for the common birthday." - John Glenn


The above words are some of the ones printed on my birthday cards last week. I had a fabulous, blessed birthday, how lucky I am!

But I do hate birthdays…well mine anyway. And it’s not the growing older bit. It’s that I can’t share it with some special people anymore, and I know that’s a common by product of grief, like the empty envelopes from my birthday cards that are scattered around the house.

I do struggle on special days…it’s like on one shoulder I have a Negative Nancy, feeling sorry for myself and crying…..and on the other, Positive Polly, who sees how very very fortunate I am to even get to celebrate another birthday….they usually duke it out, Nancy and Polly …but Polly always wins, in the end. I think my Mum taught Polly how to box…..

On my birthday it rained non stop all day.

I sat rugged up, doing university assignments, while above me our roof sprung a leak…dripping drops of water on my head.  And as I placed saucepans and dirty tea towels under the mess, I had to smile, it was like Mum was sprinkling the water on me, to wake me up and remind me to ‘Be Happy Darling!”

I did get spoilt. Peter bought me these magnificent blue topaz earrings which I’ve been eyeing off for 2 years now!

And flowers from my friend Trishie in Australia…they came with a box of delicious chocolates and a teddy bear attached…with a bright green bow, which of course Dempsey claimed!

I got phone calls and emails, texts, facebook messages and love…..from all corners of the globe….it brightened my day, even though outside was grey and gloomy, and, wet!

On Friday night, around our Back T, (our infamous table), my friends gathered, they came bearing gifts and smiles and hugs…my friend Mary made me a gooey chocolate cake and lit it up with so many candles we almost needed the fire brigade.(good thing one we had a fireman handy) :)

And as I looked around the table, really looked, at all my friends faces and the love and joy that was in the air, I felt so blessed, like the words on my cards –

Blessed – to have great friends

Sharing – thankful to be sharing my birthday with those that are here…right now

Special – how my friends made me feel

Fun – I had lots of it…thanks in part to the champagne my friend Ammar brought! :)

Wonderful – the memories, I got to create

Wishes – wishes that do come true, even if not all of them are possible

Happy – to be alive and enjoy these special moments

Love – overwhelming love, for Dempsey who was shining as brightly as the candles on my cake

Lucky – to have such richness in my life

Beauty – to see that amid all the gloom and doom sometimes, there is so much beauty in the world in the simple things in life

Yes, on my birthday, with the help of Demps, I did manage to blow out all the candles on my cake. I know I can’t blow out the bad stuff that happens or has happened.....however, I can look forward and remember all those words on my cards....and the more meaningful ones my friends had taken the time to write INSIDE the cards…

I've learnt, that unlike a wrapped present...where it's what on the outside thats important, the fancy wrapping with ribbons and sparkly paper…in life and on special's whats on the inside that counts….that helps you survive the hard days and move forward to the next with hope.

I also learned, even though Savannah wasn’t here to throw her arms around me....and my Mum didn’t gush down the phone line "Happy Birthday Precious" ........or that Tarnia’s card wasn’t waiting in my letterbox….life is full of special moments if you look for them.

Or that sometimes, you get by with a little help from your friends….

You can’t underestimate the power of a hug…or a smile....or the simple joy a bunch of brightly lit candles can bring on your birthday….Happy Birthday to Me! :) x