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


  1. Happy New my sister in law is receiving a kidney...a family is grieving...i just want and need to say...... "THANK YOU".....

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I can't imagine what your family must be going through. I'll keep you and your sister in law in my thoughts...I hope the amazing gift of life from someone else can change her life.

    I used to work as a nurse and I know when the organ donations came in, the grieving family somehow felt a small consolation that their loved one was still living on.....

    THANK YOU for stopping by and leaving your thoughtful thanks....

    Here's hoping 2012 is as great as it can be.
    Diana x

  3. Goodness I can't believe you have gone home already!! That time has gone so quickly. I am so happy to see you all had a wonderful Christmas. I wish you all a fabulous 2012.

  4. Thanks Katie!

    Here's hoping 2012 will be a happy year!

    Was great to be home, missing seeing my family, sorry we didnt catch up. Maybe this year.

    D x

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for this post and for the motto at the top of your blog. I lost my son two days before Christmas and I'm already worried about next year but for my family and I to be happy, we need to live in the moment and appreciate each other now.
    wishing you well,


  6. Dear Fiona,

    I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your precious son, you must be in the depths of your grief at the moment.

    You never get over the loss of a child, however you will get through that overwhelming grief that you are probably feeling. It does lessen however never leaves....or so I've found anyway.

    I hope you have many happy memories that in time you can remember. I know for a long time I felt I would never be happy again or laugh or smile...but slowly, with support and love and time it does creep back into your life.

    The death of your son will also gift you with the appreciation of life in time, and its a hard somedays, but with me, I notice things now I never did before, and appreciate every day I'm gifted with.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, it encourages me to keep writing. I will keep you in my thoughts,
    With love
    Diana x

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