#411 Life & Family

It’s the simplest, and most non-complicated of gratitudes.

It’s something everyone reading this blog has, and yet not many of us give thanks for it, often, or at all… that is until you go to a funeral.

Today I went to a funeral.

Nothing makes you humbler, brings you down to earth, sets your priorities, and shows you what really matters in life, like the death of someone you know. And when it is someone who had a young and loving family, and who still had so much more to see and live for, it is especially heartbreaking.

I don’t need to tell you the scenes: it was devastating. I broke down. Everyone did. And at the end of the day, driving to pick up baby girl from my parents place, I reached across and clutched Hubbie’s arm: “I love you so much.”

We should all be so, so grateful. I know I am. I am alive, I have my Life, and I have the blessing of having a Family – nothing could make me happier. I am the richest woman because I have that, and I could almost end this blog, this whole carcrashgratitude online journal, right here…

But I have so much more to be grateful for, and I will spend my life looking for all the ways.

But the above gratitude? That wins it all.

 

#406 Coffee Walk Life Reflection

This post has very little to do with the frivolity and luxury that a coffee walk evokes. And I don’t mean to put down any serious coffee drinkers out there with those words (myself included), but really, this post is less 1st world luxury, and more about the serious humbling nature of Life and Death.

Late last night Hubbie and I learned that a man we knew, a family friend, had died on the weekend. He had been in his 30s, a little older than Hubbie, with two beautiful little kids, and a loving wife.

This man died due to a horrible, horrible disease. The same disease that took Hubbie’s Dad away.

Our hearts broke at the news. Of course, with a terminal affliction such as this, death becomes a thought that makes space in your head quite early on, cleaning up the floor and moving stuff away so it can become a prominent feature in the living room of your mind.

But, he was young. And strong. And had so much to live for. We really hoped, that he at least, for the sake of himself and his family, would be one of the lucky ones to survive.

But… bastard disease.

This morning I walked in-between my two work colleagues to grab a coffee. The sun bathed us as we crossed the road to the sunny side. I thought of him, this man that was no longer walking on Earth. It had been days since he had left us all. He could not see the beautiful sunlight streaming down upon us. He could not bath in its beauty. He could not see the light sparkling off the rippling water, and he could most definitely not walk out to get a coffee.

My quiet reflections humbled me. Here I was, doing the most simplest of things, something that I was always so grateful and happy to do… and this morning, it just meant so much MORE.

We are all so lucky. If you are reading this, take a moment and show some gratitude that you are even still here on this earth. Life is so fragile, so fleeting, so flagged by chance, that I thank my lucky stars every day, that I am here with my loved ones.

Be grateful. Be grateful for it all. For it is all beautiful.

#392 Quick reflexes

So, I’m glad I’m here writing this to you.

I’m so glad I’m alive.

And no, I’m not being melodramatic. I was nearly wiped off the road today, and my quick instincts saved me.

A colleague at work mentioned those ‘Sliding Doors’ moments after I told her the harrowing ordeal, and that just freaked me out more. Imagine if I had been going a bit faster, the guy could have, he really could have…

…Rammed into my left side and thrown me against the concrete wall of the Monash. Doing 100ks on that freeway, and then having to slam on the brakes, and swerve very abruptly towards the concrete wall, is NOT FUN.

I wondered: imagine? What if? Was I meant to get into an accident? Did I avoid getting mashed up – my real fate? Was that my ugly destiny?

I can’t think like that. In fact, I actually can’t. As a glass half-full gal, I believe that what is meant to be, has been, and that is, I miraculously avoided a huge collision and definite injury because, I’m meant to be around here for a while longer.

Call it fate. Call it intervention. Call it timing. Call it circumstance.

I’ll call it quick reflexes. And I am bloody well grateful for it.

 

#306 George Michael – his role in my life

I stared at my mobile in shock. “What?!” I demanded the word, my eyes popping at what was before me.

Hubbie was concerned “what happened?”

I stared at the message bestie had written to me. ‘George Michael passed away.’

It was sadly fitting that the message came from her. George Michael was a favourite and prominent musical figure in our teens. Careless Whisper, Too Funky, Freedom and I Want Your Sex were regular sing-a-longs. I even think I have the handwritten lyrics to Careless Whisper given to me by bestie, stored away somewhere in my old room at my parents’ house.

What a year. First the shocking passing of Prince – and now, George Michael? I had always believed I would see him one more time, at least…

So many memories, so many life anthems. Each of his songs brings a different vision, a different story or place to mind.

But first, the memory my sister tells me. She is a teen, in the 80s. She and her bestie are at the airport. Wham steps out of a car; they turn, and wave up, to a large group of them. Directly at them. A swarm of fans push up against them, squashing them against the front rail they are up against. Later that night, she is in a fan picture on the news behind the newsreader who is reporting on Wham’s appearance in Melbourne.

She was the first George Michael fan in our family. I naturally followed.

Bopping to the beat of Too Funky. It was my internal anthem as I walked, my inner music that I used to repeat to myself to raise my confidence as I went through my early teens.

Then as I got older, that anthem got replaced by Flawless. In the car, volume on full, powering through the streets with George beside me ( 😉 )

Faith. Like seriously, who in this world looks cooler than George in his toe-tapping skin-tight jeans and aviator sunnies. I don’t care his sexual orientation (um, Ricky Martin obsession anyone?) but that man is damn! good looking.

gm-faith

My Twisted Lyrics series over on SmikG is inspired by a misheard Careless Whisper lyric, posted by an online writer who wrote that instead of hearing the correct “Guilty feet have got no rhythm!” they heard “I must admit I have no rhythm!” That error made me LOL so much, and stayed with me for so long that many, many years later, I decided to implement that misheard lyric thread into my parent blog.

My first few months of coffee. Maybe 5 years ago now. On a Saturday morning, making myself a fresh cuppa as I watched George Michael music videos, and literally jumping out of my skin with dance to the song “I’m Your Man.”

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I LOVE that song. I can’t explain to you how much the beat lifts me up, quite literally.

Amazing. When I bought the single, I played it on repeat, for an entire weekend non-stop. I could not get enough of the melody, his voice, and the words

“I think it’s amazing, I think you’re amazing.”

2010. His first Melbourne concert in 20 or so years. Bestie is with me. Our teenage dream fulfilled. He calls us Sydney, multiple times. We scream, in both horror, and shocked amusement at him, jumping on the first raised level of Etihad stadium, with 1000s of others, the concrete slab actually rocking against our pressure.

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(A photo I took on March 3rd 2010 at Etihad Stadium)

That night he sang many of my favourite songs. We rocked to the classics, he did awesome club-versions of Flawless and Spinning The Wheel, as well as his Wham, I’m Your Man 80s fuelled dance-hit. He also performed a song that I had not as yet fallen in love with…

 

When I later, only days after the concert, fell deeply in love with A Different Corner, I was shattered. I had heard the most beautiful voice singing the most heartbreaking and beautiful words to the most dreamlike and woeful music, and yet I hadn’t appreciated it fully at the time, because I had not yet fallen in love with everything about the song.

I always thought I would hear him perform that version live again. I was convinced I would, and that I would cry, as that song has made me cry so many times before.

53. Only 53. I’m still in a huge amount of shock. People are talking of 2016 as a shocker of a year, and until this happened today, I was a staunch defender. Yes, every year has its ups and downs, and yes, another of my faves, Prince passed earlier this year… but I was adamant that this year wasn’t a write-off, and that there was good, much good to be taken from the past 12 months…

It’s too early for me to make a call. 4 days until the end of 2016, and I just don’t know what to say. Two musical legends have passed, and life just isn’t the same. The world isn’t the same without them in it. The genius, the amazing talent that inhabited this world, is gone.

George Michael will live on, there is no question about it. In our hearts, in our memories, on our screens, and on our radios…he will not fade away.

But we are sad. I am sad. So, so sad.

Because he, is Amazing. Too Funky. And quite simply, Flawless.

“I think it’s amazing… I think you’re amazing.”

R.I.P George Michael 1963-2016

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#296 What he said

His Dad died. He was 31 when his Dad passed away at 61. Healthy and fit, vibrant and strong. His Dad passed away, and though the battle was long, it still took everyone by surprise.

I know he was a grown man when he lost his Dad. With a wife, and soon, a baby. But still. It was his Dad. And when his Dad passed, he lost not only his Father-Figure, but a best mate. An idol. A drinking buddy. A shared car enthusiast. A shared music lover. A shared dancing partner. He lost, a lot.

It was really, really, really hard.

It still is.

So when he speaks now, know that he’s gone through a lot. He sees life differently. He says,

Life will never be the same.

He will never be the same.

He doesn’t take crap anymore. He makes the most of everyday. “We’re all gonna die one day,” he says nonchalantly. He says it so neutrally, yet he lives each day as full as possible, with wishes, hopes and dreams, thinking BIG while working long hours, making lists of what he wants to do with his life, and looking forward to coming home to his family at the end of each long workday.

“I don’t need anything,” he says to his Mum tonight. “Those cars I love – I’ll sell them tomorrow. This great job – I’ll find another one if I have to. We just moved house – but if I have to, I’ll move in another 2 years.”

He goes on. “All those things are replaceable. I can change them whenever I want. After seeing what happened to Dad, I wanna change things as much as I can.”

“But,” he says with a hand raised in the air. “There’s one thing I don’t ever wanna change. My wife.”

I smile, and all of my soul smiles inwardly. I peek into the lounge area where Hubbie is sitting with his Mum. Grinning my face off.

Our eyes meet, and I nod in shared acknowledgement.

#192 Intimac-sex

I don’t how I’ll write this post through a Moet-induced coma. That says a lot about the night that has passed.

It is post 2am after all. I keep hitting ‘backspace’ because all the wrong keys are getting knocked about by my clumsy, tired, tipsy fingers.

It’s all a haze. A beautiful haze.

A happy haze. A drunk haze. An intimate haze. It’s great when we get to have one of ‘our’ nights: a night out, dinner somewhere, more drinks and music at home, put baby girl to bed, and then…

Us.

Us time. It is so needed and yet so infrequent in its appearance and availability. But when it does come, usually on a Saturday night, I love it.

I just asked him “would you be offended if I brought Chartreuse (a 50% or so alcoholic drink) upstairs?”

“Sir who?”

Like I said, I LOVE these nights.

It’s a throwback to how things used to be, pre-baby girl. Only now it’s better… because we have baby girl, but we’re also having these wild nights.

We can be intimate, close, and bond physically and emotionally. We can feel each other through a variety of avenues, explore, re-connect, and just look each other in the eyes and say “I remember.”

Nights like these end in the same way, no matter what path they’ve taken. Moet in the bedroom, cheers upon cheers, clinking glasses. Following the climactic end, we talk. And talk and talk. We talk of good, and talk of bad. I don’t know how many couples out there talk of death following their intimate moments, but we sure do. We go through what we appreciate. What we love. How we love each other. Baby girl. She is visible there on the monitor. We love her to the end of the world – she is our saviour.

And then death. His Dad passed away. What a solemn moment. We get teary. We cry. Life has changed forever. But we’ll do with Life, what we can. Clink glasses. Top up the Moet. More tears. We miss him.

Baby girl is the best. We live for her. Our Sea change house – we are RAPT. How we met.

He is my best friend.

I am his best friend.

We are still as beautiful to each other as we were 16 years ago when we met.

Love, loss, learning. Life and love. Let go. Love.

These are our wild Saturday nights. Staying up, reminiscing, re-discovering one another.

It’s all too infrequent, we need to do this more.

We love each other so much.

It’s all about the intimac-sex.

I can only write a post like this drunk. Drunk posts need to be written more often.

Real, raw.

Death, life. All is raw.

Like sex.

 

 

 

 

#128 Baby girl’s resilience

It’s probably the reason she slept a whole of 3 hours in a late afternoon nap the other day. We couldn’t wake her up, for about an hour, despite two loud TVs, rotating owls singing musical tunes above her portacot, all the lights on, and my incessant calls to her.

She must have needed it.

I was apprehensive coming home from work today. She had been put down for a nap, and I was on guard, wondering if the dry throat and cough I had woken up with this morning would also present itself in her.

She slept solidly for 2 hours. She woke happily. But when she called out to me, I heard the rasp. And then there were a few coughs.

She was clearly showing signs of the cold. The dreaded freaking Winter cold. The hardest month for me is always July, mid-Winter, and on this the first day of that miserable month, I woke up sick. With Baby girl sounding like she’s shelving a frog somewhere in the depths of her throat.

And yet, as the night wore on, it was ME getting weaker and crankier, baby girl happily dancing, playing and even eating all of her dinner. We wrestled a bit, and she proceeded to jump off her Dad’s desk and onto his lap (a really BAD habit). She is a picture of joy.

This girl has been a trooper before she was even born. Developing inside of me, my repetitive mantra to her was that she was protected. She was in my ‘cocoon.’ At a time of sickness and loss and death and deep turmoil and depression, she withstood all of that, and came into the world, a happy baby.

I am so grateful to my trooper. That was my nickname for her in my womb; that is my nickname for her now, and forever more. I see her prancing around, screaming with her broken voice at Daddy to wake up from the couch. She is not phased that her voice is like that. She could care less.

She goes on.

When I am whinging that I’m weak, and tired, and I have to do everything, I look at that girl and think ‘wow. What an inspiration.’

Chin up.