Week 23: Afternoon
‘Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine.’ Well this was the case during our yesterday afternoon play date with my nieces and my friends young children. The wind chill factor gave us a need for winter woollies but the sun thawed us out as we played a game of tip, duck, duck goose and what’s the time Mr Wolf . The children found shelter in the giant trees nurturing branches as they swung upside down like monkeys. It was nice to see the young ones outside running in the fresh air just like I did as a child. I can remember playing games of red rover, elastics and hand ball. I’d build cubby houses in the thick bushes using big sheets of cardboard as the floor. We’d slide down the paspalum grass slopes on pieces of tin house for sale signs or cardboard. In our neighbour fish pond we’d float our plastic boats using the Lego people as our fleet of trustworthy sailors. I was glad to have grown up in the 70’s. I think I passed on my love of the great outdoors, being creative and using my imagination to my own children as they loved it too. My girls would bring home jars of perfume they’d made from picking all the various flowers in the neighbourhood and mixing them with a few drops of water – magic. My boys and their cousins loved to burn various materials using the sun rays with a magnifying glass and examine insects through the microscope. We’d search for the craters on the moon with a telescope trying to find evidence of life on another planet. My dad taught me how to fish, how to bait up, how to cast and fix the tangles that came with rods and how to gut them and cut them up into fillets to eat. I passed this knowledge onto my children too and I can remember being so excited over the best Mother’s Day present ever – a fully stocked brand new bait and tackle box and a fishing rod. My dad would bring a piece of rope with him in our car as we stopped for a bbq on our travels to make a swing for us or help us make a kite using twigs, newspaper and string. There was no wifi being outdoors during the afternoon, but we will promise you will find a better connection.
Week 22: ‘celebrate’
‘Your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of ‘you’ to the world.’ It certainly was a weekend that revolved around ‘me.’ I did celebrate myself in the fact that it was my 53rd birthday on Saturday. The celebrations started early with a family dinner on Friday night as I used a $100 voucher I’d won at a breast cancer fundraiser. This was just the beginning. When we got home my husband Pete gave me his present early as he knew I was going to be busy the next day. He had bought tickets for us both to see Cat Stevens at a winery in the Hunter Valley with accommodation to stay overnight. I also celebrated by buying myself a special gift from some of the sales of my book so therefor Jacob did his part in helping me give myself a gift in his absence. This gift I bought myself was a kayake. I christened it on Sunday on the lake in front of our house. It was a peaceful way to relax and recharge the batteries from the previous day that I spent on a winter wine tasting bus tour with my eldest daughter Amy. A friend had spoken to me on Friday and offered her tickets to the tour as her daughter had just had a baby. We toured 4 local wineries and sampled lots of fragrant and pleasing samples of the season. Just as my daughter and I were about to leave home for this event my son Ben gave me his present. It was a beautiful bracelet with 3 pieces of engraved panels on a delicate chain. I read the inscription and cried as the words held so much meaning. The power of words in a song can get us through so many turbulent and traumatic times in our lives. Lines from the song ‘to build a home’ helped ease and soothe a small part my son’s grief of losing his brother Jacob ~ ‘I held on as tightly as you held onto me.’ If you get a chance to listen to the song by The Cinematic Orchestra you would be doing yourself a favour. I was still crying as I put the bracelet on my wrist. As I enjoyed the day I smiled as I glanced at the 3 toned silver, gold and rose gold gift. It was at our 3rd winery we’d visited that I noticed that I’d lost the bracelet. How had I not noticed that it fell off? It wasn’t loose. I retraced my steps with no luck. I stopped a man who worked at the venue and left my details in the off chance that it may get handed in. I was so upset. Sometimes we aren’t meant to have beautiful things in our life for very long. I had it for a short while, it was mine and it was beautiful. The memory of it will last a lifetime. Just like Jacob.
After kayaking on the lake I travelled to Sydney on the train with Amy to capture the lights of Vivid. It was on this train trip that I got a phone call. A kind person had found my bracelet in the mud and handed it in to the same person who had taken my details the previous day. It instilled in me that there is still honesty and beauty in people in the world when there is so much heartache and anger in the world. The bracelet was meant to find its way back to me. I will get it repaired and wear it proudly as the words signifies the strength and love our family has shown for one another during the most difficult time of our lives and it will guide us throughout the rest of our lives as we learn to live without our beautiful brown eyed boy and celebrate each day we’ve been blessed with as this was his motto in the last month of his life. The joined circle and links of the bracelet will be stronger for being broken and repaired and it will hold us together forever.
Week 21: ‘around the corner.’ This is the view we get when we peek around the corner of our brick lower level story house. These two dogs are our protection for our assets, to keep us safe in our surroundings, to bark ferociously and warn off unlikely strangers and intruders. I may be fabricating the truth just a little bit. The truth I am telling is that this is the brick wall of our house, and the part that makes my nose grow like Pinocchio’s does when he tells a lie is when I described the dogs as ferocious. This photo tells the truth of who’s around this corner. I captured them sniffing noses and checking each other out as best mates – brothers from another mother as I crept around the corner. They would lick you to death and rub their heads on you leaving you looking like you’ve been through a snow storm with white fur stuck to your dark clothes. When my children have come home from late nights without a key and break into the back yard to sneak in the back way they actually have frightened the dogs and made them retreat to their trampoline beds in fright. They are loyal companions, offering unconditional love without ever wanting anything in return other than a friendly hand reaching down for a pat and ruffling the thickness behind the ears and under the chin. They are a constant companion in times of tears, sadness, anger and frustration and lift your mood accordingly. They make us laugh when we play our musical instruments like the harmonica and saxophone, they’d howl in protest – without knowing whether they like it or not. They’d howl as we sang songs at the table out the back at Christmas time. If you happen to open that gate they will think they’ve been let out to go on a walk down the lake, if not they just jump up on you in sheer delight for human company. We can trust our dogs to guard our house even though they are the most chilled hounds in the neighbourhood but we can’t trust them to guard our food. Good things are around our corner.
Week 20: ‘in the kitchen’ Looking at this big bowl of colourful and vegetable dense mixture to make spaghetti Bolognese makes me reflect on people’s comments and articles I’d been given to me saying that we could have cured Jacob’s cancer if he ate a diet rich in ‘this and that.’ If only we could have saved him by food alone. Jacob’s cancer wasn’t cause by his diet or poor lifestyle choices. Ewing’s Sarcoma is caused by a gene mutation between cells when they are changing with growth that is inevitable with youth and young adults. I must have fed Jacob well as he grew into his 6foot 2inch frame at 95kgs prediagnosis, and I continued to nurture him with nutritious food disguised in his milkshakes as his disease depleted his appetite towards the end of his life. If love and food could have saved him he wouldn’t have got sick in the first place. The secret ingredients to a mother’s recipe is always ‘love.’ We ate this yummy meal amongst our family and chatted together sharing stories from our day and we were thankful. Thankful for the food before us, the family beside us and the love between us.
Running a little late with last weeks photographic moment – ‘a collection.’ Looking back at the photograph I should have dusted 🙂 as I can see it amongst my husbands collection of DVD box sets and all the memorabilia that go along with those movies. The treasure chest is a special container holding maps, clues and special features, bonus’s and extra DVDs all related to the making of the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ with the newest adventure opening in Australia next week. My husband is I’m sure a borderline hoarder, not in the sense that he can’t throw things out he just keeps adding to his collection. Our family does have a love of movies with ‘horror’ being our favourite genre. So many memories of us all together watching the latest scary movie together with fingers and hands covering our faces as we anticipate a fright going to happen in the scene and we’d end up all asleep with the movie replaying the menu screen. Jacob had inherited his dad’s love of movies which inspired his career choice of becoming an upcoming cinematographer. They would both be terrific to have on hand at a trivia night to answer questions about ‘what was the name of that film’ or ‘who was the star in that film’….You never know what you feel like watching when you get a chance to stop and relax in this busy world of ours. But as I do chose one to watch I can’t help but to think ‘what would Jacob like about this movie.’ Life is a collection of those such moments ❤️
Week 18: Beginnings
‘And suddenly you know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.’ I’ve only been African drumming for a month now (every Monday night at 6pm for an hour) and I have had the pleasure of performing to an audience just after two weeks of practice. I know the video of us performing a song on the night isn’t technically a photo but I thought I’d share it with this entry. I’m 3rd from the left 😄 I won’t lie, I was scared at the concert but it was an excitable butterfly feeling inside of me just like the feeling I got when I was a little girl getting her first ride on a merry-go-round. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, just like the first time I slapped my first base and tone on the drum. My teacher said she witnessed that smile on my face when I first made music – she thought to herself ‘she’s hooked.’ And I was! I’ve always found that when I listened to particular instruments and songs an inner stirring of rhythm comes to life and it makes me feel, either physically by dancing, clapping, tapping my toes or swaying my body or emotionally by laughing, smiling, singing, humming and crying. I drum with several ladies who like myself have lost a child and we all belong to our local chapter of the compassionate friends group. We now play our beat on our drums in unison for our children in the hope they can hear, feel and see us all connecting together. I know in my heart that Jacob hears me play for him. I might lose the rhythm and beat the drum out of time but that’s what happens in the beginning. It’s the journey of the learning in the beginning makes it magical. Then one day you’ll look back at how far you’ve come and you can trust your ideas that learning African drumming was a wonderful idea.
Week 17: ‘next to me.’ I can hear the words of the song by Emeli Sande ‘next to me’ sing out from the radio in the car. These lyrics stir thoughts and feelings ‘When all I need is a hand to stop the tears from falling I will find him, I’ll find him next to me.’ I know he’s there beside me, next to me, surrounding his family in everything we do, in a spiritual sense and physical sense (as he is in his life size cut out). People may think we’re a bit weird in the things we do to keep him connected to our lives. We get Jacob out of his cardboard box (we can laugh about it and he would too) at every family function we have. We have photos taken with him, toasting him and sharing our love for him including him in everything we do. He will celebrate with us future engagements, weddings and births of new generations of family in this cardboard form – ‘next to me, next to us’ ♡ Over the years we will change in our photo’s with Jacob, we will age but Jacob will stay youthful and ‘forever 20.’