#1463 So close to royalty at the firies concert

I wish we were in Sydney tonight in the crowd of thousands, watching artist after group after band perform on stage to raise money for the bushfire catastrophe that has gripped Australia and the rest of the world over the last couple of months.

Did I say artists? I meant legends.

We only caught the last couple of hours of the show on tv, but were there in time to watch Adam Lambert and Queen take to the stage.

Anyone following my blogs knows what I think about Queen.

😍🤩

It was truly something special. My thoughts kept going from “how amazing is Adam Lambert” to –

“How can he stand up to Freddie Mercury?”

“Of course he can’t, he’s his own person.”

“But Freddie was the best.”

“But look how far Adam has come to be performing with Queen!”

To and fro, my thoughts, and my words to Hubbie next to me on the couch.

Then they put Freddie on screen doing his legendary operatic solo bit where the crowd copies him, and seeing him lighting up the darkness of the arena with his yellow outfit, so large and life-like, I swear it was like he was there.

😪

But then baby girl came into the room, and I was a little on edge.

As way of explanation… we haven’t quite spoken about death with her. She knows that if you do something stupid (like run out onto a busy road, get caught in a fire, or don’t put sunscreen on) you can die.

Things like that I bluntly drill into her. Shock effect to make her listen.

But real-life death, death of those around us? As far as she gets it from what I can tell, there are people ‘here’ on earth, and then there are people who are not… the in-between from here to there I think she doesn’t comprehend, and as for ‘there,’ the concept is all a bit cartoon-like for her, like Ursula the sea witch being stabbed to death in The Little Mermaid, or Mother Gothel falling out the tower in Rapunzel.

It’s all a bit exaggerated and other-worldly.

Add to that my first experience understanding death when I was about her age… and the thought of making her as sad and scared as I had been, was devastating to even consider.

So when this rock star princess of ours entered the room to “We Will Rock You,” took one look at Adam and asked “where’s Freddie?” I knew it was the perfect opportunity to break into a discussiom about death with her, and it might even just work, because Freddie, wasn’t part of our extended family.

But then again… with the amount we played Queen around the house, he might as well have had his own bedroom downstairs.

“He’s not here tonight honey…” I shot a confused look at Hubbie, who just shrugged. He’d previously said that talking about the death of a celebrity was the perfect segue into real-life.

But now he was looking as reluctant as I was.

“… he’s not singing anymore,” I ended. I waited for her to ask, but the question didn’t come. She stared at the screen for a few moments, before turning to our cat on the couch.

“Mister F, who do you like better? Freddie Mercury or this guy?”

OH LOL.

“Mama, who do you like better, Freddie Mercury or this guy?”

“Freddie.”

Off she went to the other room to ask Hubbie who had just walked off, and I heard his answer as short, simple and brief as mine: “Freddie.”

“Baby girl, who do you prefer?” I asked as she came back in.

“Freddie Mercury!”

He almost is like a part of our family…. so that conversation will have to wait, for another day.

But for tonight at least… Adam and Queen brought him back to life.

You can still donate to the bushfire relief here: https://firefightaustralia.com/

Thank you. ❤

#1317 Deep reflections at a funeral

A sombre post today. Still with some gratitude, but definitely, sombre.

I was at a funeral today. It’s that event on the other side of the spectrum that makes you think. The event on the opposite side? A birth. Something so wondrous and magical that it feels as if all of life’s blessings have fallen upon your lap.

But death. That which is inevitable but which we don’t speak of.

Although both birth and death make us reflect and think about life, nothing quite shakes our core and makes us think about how far we have come, like the end of someone’s days.

IT IS INEVITABLE. Yet we don’t think about it, we don’t talk about it. I stood there in the church today, staring at the great bright and glowing chandelier above our heads, underneath where I married Hubbie, and where years later we christened our baby girl… thinking deeply.

How would my funeral be? Where would I be? Would I want to be remembered there, in an Orthodox church, a place of many beautiful memories for me personally, or in a church that spoke of my Catholic roots?

The answer came to me easily and abruptly. Despite my deep respect for my husband and his traditions, I wanted to go back to where I came from.

I shared this with Hubbie in the car, on the way to the cemetery. He nodded.

“Fair enough.” But that wasn’t enough for me. I continued.

“Have you ever thought who will be at your funeral? Like, it’s going to be those younger than us, most likely.” I started rattling off names of those near and dear who were a generation younger than us. I got choked up thinking of others.

“What about my friends?” Who of them would be at mine… or would I be at theirs? It was too much to bear. Suddenly the tears were welling up in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks. “How will it be? Who will be there to remember me?”

Hubbie reached out his hand to hold mine. “Don’t talk like that.” If anyone had thought of death, and of how grief took hold of your body, it was Hubbie. “Don’t think about it.”

And that’s what we do, don’t we? We go back to not thinking about it… not talking about it.

But like I said, death makes us think. And so it should. It makes us take stock of things, do a life inventory as it were, to see what makes us happy, if we are using our time wisely, and who we are spending that hard-earned time on… all sage questions, and things we should consider more often.

It made me think of those around me. Was I surrounding myself with the best people possible? Those who had my best interests at heart and made me happy? Would I be happy, at who turned up at my funeral?

So today I used this time to think. To contemplate and reassess what is around me. Put things in perspective. To remember to stress less, and LIVE MORE.

Because I have time. If you are reading this, YOU have time too. Take the event of death of a loved one as a most humble and sobering reminder to wake up to the signs of life and make sure you are on the right track… every day is a chance to start anew… every day is a chance to make your days count… and every day is a chance to make your life worthy and satisfying.

Make your relationships with your loved ones count. Surround yourself with the best people possible. Not just because they might be at your funeral… but because they should already be in your life, too.

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Photo by Simeon Muller on Unsplash

 

#1283 My new furry friend

I haven’t written too much about the feline addition to our family. To be honest, I am a bit hard on Mister F.

I know I am being totally unfair. At the beginning I would constantly reference him to my childhood cat… let’s call her ‘Incredible.’ Incredible was a beautiful tabby. She was smart and friendly, with a touch of cheekiness and strong foundations in dependability, and was so obedient. Oh my. She never misbehaved or did anything wrong, and easily became the favourite cat of my parents too.

She was, quite simply, Incredible. 

She wouldn’t even meow when she wanted to be let out. You would just notice her gone, and then find her by the back door waiting for someone to come along and see her.

Incredible had a strong sixth sense too. I remember a few times in my late teens when I came home, and she was sitting on the front porch step, waiting for me to walk up even though I had been in Hubbie’s (then boyfriend) car for 10 minutes, having some kind of argument.

She sat and waited patiently.

I remember another time in my early teens, when I came outside to the back step and started to cry. Something had made me very sad. And she just stayed there with me. She didn’t meow for food. She didn’t do anything to suggest she wasn’t aware of my state of being… rather the way she went silent, sitting by my side and just being there, showed to me that she knew.

She was there for me.

It was a very hard day when I realised she wasn’t eating. I immediately knew something was up. A vet visit discovered a tumour, and it had spread inside of her. She was subsequently put to sleep.

My childhood best friend of 11 and a half years was gone.

I can then be forgiven for taking so long to get another cat. 16 years in fact.

I didn’t realise how much of Incredible was still in me. How much of her I still mourned when we got Mister F.

Mister F would jump up on the island bench… repeatedly – “Mister F! How dare you! Incredible never did that!”

Mister F started scratching our couch – “Mister F! Stop it! You’re so stubborn! Incredible always listened to us!”

Mister F would not eat, shock horror, cooked chicken – “If Incredible was here, she would smash your meal! You don’t appreciate good food, pft.”

Chicken was Incredible’s favourite.

But I’ve realised I have to lay off Mister F. I have to give him space to be his own cat.

I have to give him space to be his own kind of Incredible.

Today he showed me something that twigged something deep inside of me. I had come home upset about something, and sat on the couch quite despondent… he reached his paws up to the couch, before jumping up next to me.

He didn’t just stay there though. He went further, placing his paws on my legs, as if to say “hey, I’m here.”

I pet him. Sure this cat wanted attention. But again and again he came back, resting his paws on my leg, and I couldn’t help but think, ‘there’s something here.’

Just like that day on the back step with Incredible, now I could see Mister F’s sixth sense… there was something incredible happening.

Mister F was there for me. And he got in quite close, leaning against me as I sat there, thinking.

We can’t all be Incredible. But in Mister F’s case, I think he is on his way to becoming Mister Fantastic.

#1020 The beauty in, and beyond life

Today in my parents yard, Mum told me something I never knew.

She pointed to a flower. A rose bush. And she had a name for it – her niece’s name.

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Mum’s niece, and my cousin, was a very dear person to us. IS a dear person to us. Although by rank you would expect her to be much younger than my Mum, her niece was in fact only a couple of years younger than her – that’s what you get when there are 8 siblings in the family, and my Mum is the youngest of them all.

Her niece was only a few years younger than her, because she was the daughter of the eldest of her siblings – in fact Mum was probably in some ways closer to some of her nieces and nephews due to the wide age gap between her and her eldest sisters and brothers.

Anyway… they made memories, right? As you do when you grow up with someone. When I went overseas with my parents back in 1997, despite being initially heavily underwhelmed by the whole go-and-meet-people-I’ve-never-met-before process, that holiday holds some of the best memories of my life.

Now I was the one making memories. Not only with my cousin who was almost old enough to be an aunty to me, but her children, and grandchildren. As age would have it, her granddaughter was only a few years younger than me.

Big families can be highly fascinating.

Many years later, Mum’s niece came to Australia to visit us all here. We had a fantastic time showing her around our beautiful city, and I like to think she, had an equally memorable time.

She made memories.

While here, she got my Mum a bunch of roses…

The ones you see above.

Mum planted those roses. Not thinking much at all other than it being a permanent and beautiful reminder of her niece, who she had made so many amazing memories with, including other generations of the family.

As the unfortunate nature of life would have it, a while after Mum’s niece was back home, she got very sick and passed away.

.

So today, as Mum told me this, how she had planted this rose given to her by her niece, unknowing then of the future bittersweet nature it would hold, I was amazed. This rose bush was still growing, with one simple red flower, 13 years later.

Thinking of her, and the often cruel nature of life, makes me sad. I sit now, and think of her voice – deep and gentle – how she said my name – with love and tenderness – and how she laughed – gently yet giddy – and remember all of the wonderful times we shared.

I think of that flower… how it still grows… and I know it blooms, solely, because of her.

It still lives, therefore so does she.

In Memory of her… M. ♥♥♥

#1005 Grateful for all the shitty things

When death happens in the day, it’s hard to talk about anything else.

Death. Life. Death and Life, Life and Death. Both things trump pretty much everything else, yet we go on about the bullshit of day to day, the annoyances, grievances and grudges we hold like they actually matter.

They don’t. Like I said – Life and Death trumps all.

I heard of a death today. I didn’t even know the boy. Boy. That in itself speaks volumes. Not only was it a death, but a sudden, cruel and early exit.

But you don’t really need to know the person to feel sad, do you? Death in itself is scary and terrifying enough, but when it comes on so suddenly, and takes away someone that still has years and years and years ahead… it becomes so very heartbreaking.

It seems so very unfair.

There are about a million and one ways that we could die. Quite literally. Study biology and you will start to learn all of the diseases and bodily faults that can lead to our early demise. It is actually terrifying.

An accident, or an unlucky brush with the grim reaper, could be waiting for us at ANY TURN. Apart from hoping to God you stay healthy, you should also hope to God you don’t get hit by a car, a bookcase doesn’t fall on you, a tram runs into you, a flesh-eating bug eats away at your limbs and you eventually rot to death, a champagne cork pops in your direction and hits your temple, and, AND…

All the ways we can die are actually mind-numbingly baffling.

And yet, so many of us are LIVING. Day in, and day out.

We are in a sense, the lucky ones. The ones managing to escape death. That we are still alive today, and have managed to avoid disease and misfortune, and all the various ways in which our life could end, well that is a miracle. A true, unimaginable miracle.

We might be left behind, to cry, grieve, suffer as we experience deep loss, and wonder

“what is the point of it all?”

But still: We are the Lucky ones.

So today, on this day where I can’t think of much else but this fact, these are the things I am grateful for:

I am grateful I swept the floors.

I am grateful I mopped the floors.

I am grateful I changed the bed.

I am grateful I cleaned the toilet.

I am grateful that baby girl gave me attitude after kindergarten.

I am grateful we argued and she stormed off, slamming the door on me.

I am grateful, that harsh words were spoken to me.

I am grateful, that I spoke harsh words.

I am grateful, that I shook my head in disbelief.

I am grateful, that I sobbed.

I am grateful, that my heart broke just a little.

I am grateful for ALL of these things, all of these shitty, annoying, boring and fleeting things… because it means I’m ALIVE.

Because it means, I’m one of the LUCKY ONES.

And if you’re reading this, that means you are too.

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Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

#842 Scones and Schnitzel

It’s kinda hard to look for gratitude and try to find small things that make you happy in amongst shitty days, even more so when those shitty days reveal even worser days for others.

How can one complain about smaller issues when they know of family or friends in ill-health or distress?

It actually reminds me of what I used to say after my father-in-law passed away. Here I was, a new Mum to a beautiful baby girl, yet still completely overwhelmed by my new parent role and the life that came with it; and then there was Hubbie, equally besotted by her, while simultaneously still in deep grief over his father’s passing. And sometimes, someone, somewhere, would tell me they were having a bad day.

They would quickly realise their words in my company, and apologise for complaining. They saw in me, in us, in our family, that there were far harder things to go through. To manage. To overcome.

But you know what I would say to them?

“Everyone has their own problems. You shouldn’t feel bad about yours, and feel guilty that they aren’t big enough to cry over. You are allowed to be upset, it’s your life, your problems.”

Sure, little problems in light of big problems become an awareness of the bigger picture, and that enlightenment is major in itself.

But we can’t all be in woe at the same time, can we? Then we wouldn’t have those others around us, less in woe, to pick us up from our sadness…

At this time of my life, I think I’m in a state of ‘less in woe.’

So I’m grateful.

But that isn’t what this gratitude post is about. That in itself is actually huge, more so because I know, and I have felt the comparison of being WHOLEHEARTEDLY in woe.

This is perhaps about the most trivial of things in light of today… baking.

For a week now I’ve been planning on making scones. They seem to make them for any given reason at baby girl’s kindergarten. Parents getting to know each other afternoon tea? SCONES. Mother’s Day? SCONES. Neighbourhood primary school visits? SCONES.

A possum jumps from the gum trees into the yard and shits all over the kids play equipment?

SCONES.

Ok so clearly I am bullshitting with you but you get my drift. I have not made scones in ages, well since we moved here really, and part of that has to do with

  1. kitchen reno, AND
  2. having half my kitchen stuff still in boxes upstairs because I’m waiting on one more damn cupboard (COME ON kitchen guys!) to get made.

I’ve forgotten half of what I do own in the way of bakeware and pans and the like, it’s been that long I’ve seen half of my things. But after repeated reminders by the kinder that both baby girl and I, really enjoy them, well I said to myself “I’ll damn well making them.”

You require next to nothing to make scones after all.

I really wanted to be grateful for them, really I did. And at the end, I was, for some brief moment at the end as I indulged in jam and cream upon pillows on doughy lightness that were apparently ‘café-style’…

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But the ‘before’ was hard, because baby girl was sick you see. I held her back from kinder, quite rich since THAT IS THE PLACE SHE CATCHES ALL HER WEEKLY COLDS FROM.

Not shitty much.

She was weak, tired, and developed a sudden ear ache during the day which had her retreating to the couch often to lie down. I had imagined us making these together with happiness… the most she did was brush the tops with milk.

And then the ‘after’… because as I was trying to enjoy my coffee/scone break, breathing slowly, ALONE, in peace, once baby girl had finished her babycino… I somehow spilt my coffee.

No, it gets worse. ON MY PHONE.

I swore better than a sailor out at sea. OH MY. Baby girl knows her Mum too well, and wasn’t afraid. In fact she came up to me and asked “Mama, you ok?”

Awww.

So instead of being grateful for my scones, the preparation time with baby girl which wasn’t special, and then the clean up which was devastating (I’d let dishes pile up half of the day), I instead became appreciative of something else.

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Hubbie cooked a killer chicken parmigiana tonight. He cooked it fresh, placed passata and ham and freshly grated cheese on top, grilled it in the oven, and it was THE BOMB.

The best part to him making it for us?

I didn’t have to clean it up.

(That wasn’t agreed to from his original contract, but from the day I’d had, there was no other choice).

Every time I complain about something going shitty, really I am grateful… because I do know better… I know better, that there is worse.

P.S My phone survived

#811 His shoes were made for dancing

He didn’t dance for a LONG time.

This was a big deal. Dancing was Hubbie’s forte. The way he effortlessly and magically glided to the folk music, his feet seemingly floating in the air, arms waving about in focused movement as if conducting the people and arena around him…

The love and passion were so evident on his face when he danced like this. It was pure joy and happiness for the music manifested, and the expression came forth as his body responded to the music, from the beam stretching from cheek to cheek, all the way to his tip-toes.

It’s all about moving on your tip-toes. There is NO OTHER way to do it, he would say.

So I knew then when his Dad died, that he would stay off the dancing for a while.

Because, not doing the things you love, as passionate as you might be about them, is one of the natural processes of grieving. Hell, you don’t want to do barely anything, let alone something that makes you happy, or used to make you happy, when you are so sad.

It was harder in his case to even contemplate dancing… because it had been a great love he and his Dad shared.

Father and Son. The image epitome. Side by side, arms outstretched, touching shoulders, as they moved in perfect unison, in big grand movements, sweeping their arms wide as they turned around, and kicked and jumped and paraded for all to see.

It was the perfect image of familial bliss. And it was.

But after a year of grieving, Hubbie still couldn’t do it. He forced himself here and there, but there was just no love for the act of dancing…

He stopped dancing. Cold turkey. Just, GONE.

It made me so sad. Here was a part of Hubbie that brought him so much joy, and yet he wasn’t doing it anymore, so strong was the loss and unhappiness in his heart.

“Do it for your Dad,” I would suggest gently. “He would be so proud to see you dancing on in his name.”

But my words were empty. The intention was meaningless, because the person behind the meaning, was not here anymore.

This year will mark 5 years from his Dad’s passing. And though there were some small moments over the past year where he danced here, he danced there, with some substance of meaning, a breadth of the passion he used to hold, signifying a subtle change to the Hubbie of old maybe occurring… tonight something happened.

He had the music on before we headed out, and was dancing around the house, “warming up.”

He made sure to have his dancing shoes on.

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And when a suitable song sang out over the dance floor, he took me… and he also took the arm of his Dad’s peer – a close relative and friend of his father’s, a fellow music lover and dancing companion – and he said “you’re coming with me. In place of my Dad.”

WOW.

I was on one side of Hubbie, looking over as the two of them made light of their feet. They danced and jumped around, hopping and skipping, and turning around with grins from ear to ear.

His late father’s peer stood proudly beside Hubbie, honoured he had been chosen to dance in place of such an important and influential person from Hubbie’s life.

And in that moment as I glanced over at the two of them making a scene, causing a dancefloor stir, and galloping around jovially, something in my heart tugged, and I teared up.

There was that smile.

There was the skip in his step.

The lightness of movement had returned.

He was dancing again, full gusto.

My Hubbie, was back ♥♥♥

 

 

#606 Being able to Give

I feel lucky to be a part of a community that cares so much about those less fortunate around them.

And I am grateful, that like them, I am able to give what I have to those that are in need.

It need not be heaps of money, pricey items or even the most expensive of commodities, TIME.

Helping how you can, in the smallest of ways as what it may seem like to you, is help enough.

I have been following an ongoing facebook thread in a local page I follow, of two women who take in unwanted/unused household items and clothing, to give to those unable to afford it, because they are experiencing some horrible hardship. The most common of unfortunate circumstances has been when someone in the family is sick, and therefore all of their money goes to medical treatments, rather than other things which usually a necessity, become a luxury.

So when the call out went to Summer clothing in girls items aged 3-4, I knew it was time to step up.

I went through baby girl’s wardrobe, looking for specific items to donate. As it is I have kept most of her clothes and parted only with some, for the main reason that there is a possibility that I could one day have another girl, and she could use many of these beautiful items.

Now having said that, I know that if I were to really have another girl, I would probably only use a very minute amount of these ‘recycled’ clothes, and buy the rest, from sheer want of getting pretty new things for her. I think really, I find it hard to let go of these clothes once baby girl grows out of them due to the memories attached, and I use the ‘recycle’ excuse as cover.

But I did what I could anyway, and popped some pretty things in a bag. I stalled at two dresses, and so thought best I call in baby girl for help.

“Baby girl, these two dresses… do you think they’re too small? Mummy was going to give some of your small things to a sick girl.”

Baby girl looked at the dresses, thinking.

Finally she settled, letting me know that yes, I could give away the two smaller ones, yet definitely do not give away the one on the right Mum.

Such a girl.

And that’s it. I was humbled by the presence of sickness and health, of love and sadness, and of introducing an important topic to baby girl… that of giving to those less fortunate, and the stark nature of Life as we know it.

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Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

#572 Westfield Doncaster shopping day no. 3

When I realised my opportunity today to go to Westfield Doncaster, I took it AND RAN.

Apart from some lunch, and buying some more pants for baby girl (she is at that age where after 4 wears there are usually holes in her knees) we didn’t do much…

Oh that’s right, we coffee-ed.

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It’s little moments out of my day like this that I appreciate so much.

It only lasts no longer than 5 minutes, and I usually have a sugar-fuelled toddler to deal with for a good while after, but I still cherish these beautiful Mummy-daughter memories.

I cherish them even more, in a world where I hear of death and sickness befalling those around me so often, so that in turn makes these small moments, HUGE.

It actually makes them, the best moments.

#558 Giving a much needed hug

Today I came through on the promise I made days ago.

Today I travelled across to the other side of town, and attended the funeral of one of my closest friend’s Mum.

I gave her a huge hug, we cried, and I told her we were there for her.

And in amongst this grim day, I had done my bit. I had done what I had wanted to do for so long, and I hope my presence did something for her… not necessarily to lessen her pain – nothing can do that – but to show her that she has people around her who care.

I was grateful I had come through for her.