Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Seeing the good stuff and the glass half full! x

You never forget where you were or what you were doing when someone you love dies……when life as you knew it changed and there is no going back to your ‘old’ life.

When my only sister Tarnia was killed, it was during the Olympic Games in Sydney.

    My sister Tarnia and me...

So for me, I always associate the Olympics with her death.

And even though watching the amazing driven athletes strive to reach their goals does interest me, its always tainted by my memories of what we were doing and where we were at…and how life turned from one of carefree days into weeks of endless sadness.   And questions of why, and watching my family suffer, at a time when most of the country was overcome with excitement, in awe of the athletic world.

So for me, the Olympics will always be tarnished…a bit like a bronze medal!

In the morning when I’m in the shower, I tune the radio in to ABC Australia and listen to the latest news from around our country.

This morning it was all about the closing ceremony for the London Olympics and how the Olympic flame has been extinguished.  The radio announcer talked about how it would be reignited again in 4 years in Brazil.

And as I washed the shampoo out of my hair, I contemplated, as I always do…”I wonder where I’ll be in 4 years when the next Olympics is on?”

It’s this habit I have, of procrastinating about the future and it makes me feel vulnerable…the wondering…and the realization that anything is possible…life, death, change…..

It’s a constant battle of striving to focus on each day instead of looking too far ahead.  And it takes work to center my thoughts on the present, but if I do, I find I appreciate the little things in the here and now….like…..Dempsey in her new school uniform! :)

Seeing my baby looking like such a little lady just fills me with pride and makes me pinch myself at how lucky I am to enjoy such special moments!

And to add to the ‘newness’ going on in our humble abode that fills my blue cup with sunshine is………TEDDY! The new addition to our family…who Dempsey named with seconds!! :)

Teddy looks like a toy. He’s just the cutest little puppy I’ve ever laid eyes on…with the sweetest nature…even if his bottom is leaking all over the house at the moment!!! :)

Even Peter is under his spell….although he doesn’t like to admit it!!! :)

There really is nothing like a puppy to bring out the best in us human beings. The smiles and laughter Teddy has brought into our house in the past week has been like therapy.

Dempsey is besotted with her new little mate. And my sister’s twins Emerald and Charlotte are loving him too.

It makes me smile to stand at our window and watch Demps and the twins run down our hill with Teddy in tow, laughing and enjoying themselves with not a care in the world.

I’m learning from these girls, my nieces Emerald and Charlotte…they are an inspiration.   Their happiness, positive attitude….their spirit that shines through with enthusiasm and vivacity is refreshing. Their resilience to what life has dealt them floors me sometimes.

They don’t have their mum around…they have no idea what a Mum is.

What it’s like to have had their mother molly coddle them, hug them, sit with them like I do Demps and talk about their day….they do have their Dad, who does an amazing job…but there’s no-one like a mother!

But they don’t seem affected…..they are walking talking evidence of how we can and do survive any tragedy or challenge we are faced with.

The example these 12 year olds set for me, demonstrates how the human spirit can persevere and carry on through life and be happy, no matter what our circumstances, or what we’ve suffered. I always get a lesson out of being utterly ‘happy’ with what I have when I’m around them.

Sunday night we went for our usual Sunday drinks with Tone. And as us adults were sitting enjoying a red wine…Emerald appeared and asked her Dad if she should start dinner?

Here was my gorgeous niece, who at 12, was prepared to cook spaghetti bol for the whole family!

And as I watched Emmy wander back inside the house, I thought of how proud Tarnia would be!  How absolutely amazing it is that these girls seem to have their mums love of cooking…I quietly smiled to myself and wished Tarnia was here to enjoy these little moments that I have the privilege of enjoying.

Yes, having them around our home and in Dempsey’s life is a gift.

The gift of appreciating and being strong and of seeing the ‘good stuff’ in life...that the glass can be half full if you work at it....even if you are dealt some ‘bad stuff.’

And I guess that’s one of the gifts that grief gives us over time…that knowledge…and knowledge is power in my book.  It helps me put one foot in front of the other if I’m having a bad day…and on the good days….makes me want to dance……… :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Beginnings x

I love the above quote, a line out of a Tim McGraw song…it sums up how I felt when I left the USA last week.

It’s true, we all take different paths in life, and no matter where we go, we take a little bit of each other everywhere!

We left LA last week and as the giant jumbo jet shook and its engines roared as we took off from LAX, I got emotional, a few tears rolled down my face. 

Dempsey stared out the window at the twinkling lights of LA like a fairyland until we were surrounded by the black abyss of the ocean… “Los Angeles is gone Mummy, I can’t see it anymore!” She said!

It was just a tad hard to leave the only home I’ve known for the past twelve years…to leave the house with so many unforgettable times.

The only real house Dempsey has known, from a baby of six months old.   The carpeted stairs that Dempsey took her first steps up…the four walls of our lounge room that soaked up our sadness, watching our daughter die… and our back T, a simple plastic table that holds so much laughter and love from different friends and happy hours on a Friday night. 

But I’ll take a little bit of that and those people everywhere with me now....and thats the beauty of memories.... :)

My friend Mary and me

It felt weird to turn the corner in our street, knowing I won’t be back…leaving all that behind.   But Peter will be home Saturday, and I know I’ll see our friends again one day….

Life is meant to change, no matter how hard we resist it, or fear it, we have to take a big breathe and embrace it!

It’s what propels us forward and creates direction and forces us to reassess what we want…it helps us focus on the important things like family and friends and love…the things that hopefully never change.

Change forces us to try new things and be open to new friends and new experiences…and I’m ready…raring to go…to see where this path leads, bumpy OR smooth! :)

We are home!

Back in Australia!

And it feels like a warm hug, like my blue cup is brimming with sunshine…even if we have been thrust into the midst of winter here and the fog is dense in the morning over the lake surrounding our house. Nothing could dim my spirit!

                   My friend Andrea at another goodbye send off

The week before we left California was full…and when I say full I mean frantic…but fun, filled with overwhelming love from my friends I was saying goodbye to…and watching my baby say teary goodbyes to her little girlfriends who have been a big part of molding my precious one into who she has become tugged at my heart.

I told Dempsey not to be sad…that she’ll see them again….and I had to remember my words as I too hugged and told my girlfriends…”I hate goodbyes, so I’ll just say, see you when I see you...so kiss me and smile for me, cos I’m leaving on a jet plane…don’t know when I’ll be back again…” :)

My beautiful birthday girl...and yes that dog is real...he almost looks like a toy! :)

We had Dempsey’s 10th birthday party…with puppies and pretty little tweens who are like sisters to my baby. When I tucked her into bed she told me, "Thank you for my party...it was the best party yet Mummy!"

I managed one more magical catch up with my friend Rose.

She came to our house this time…in all her glory, with gifts and an artist’s sketchpad and a bag of colorful paints.  You see Rose has a special hobby, where she paints peoples feet, then stamps them in a book.  Then you write a message beside your print.

Dempsey was a fit of giggles as Rose dabbed colorful paint on her pinkies…needless to say, her Mama wasn’t much better! :)

 And after we’d stepped on a blank page, Rose washed our feet and said a prayer. I felt like I was being baptized all over again…it felt cleansing!

Rose’s book was filled with footprints from all over the world, many from Ground Zero where Rose volunteered, from strangers…and…Fire Fighters. I felt privileged reading some of the poignant writings on the pages.

                  Rose's artistic hoof! :)

I miss Rose already......but the world really is a small place with the internet…and I’ll certainly take a small piece of Rose with me now.....and smile when I think of her.

So our new life starts here, back in the sun burnt country, the land of meat pies and mates and crisp country air….and my dad and my brother and Tone.....and my sisters kids...who all squeezed me so hard I think they bruised a few ribs…but that all adds to the magic and feeds my soul with Happy with a capital H…instead of the sad stuff! :)

I know I don’t have any control over my destiny, nobody does…what we think and hope and what ‘is’ are all relevant, however life surprises us sometimes with what the universe thinks we can cope with, or need or points us in the direction of where we need to be…

The important thing to remember is I do have choices in my attitude and choosing to be happy and making every day count, for Dempsey’s sake, and my own.

So I hope I can blog more now I’m home about our adventures Down Under..our new chapter...and carry what I learnt and the love from those who’s lives I was lucky enough to brush with no matter how big or small a meeting....as this wonderful big ball of life rolls on….

Cheers! x :)