Monthly Archives: May 2016

“A Letter to Jacob”

Hiya my beautiful brown eyed boy. I’ve just enrolled in a free 4 week online course called ‘illuminate – lighting the path to photographic healing….’ guided by a talented photo mum & mentor Beryl Ayn Young. I will be exploring how photography can help deal with the all the emotions by taking photos that capture the grief from you not being here on earth with us all. The first task is to write you a letter so this is it x I’ve just got back from a cancer council all day lovely high tea put on by Leanne MacKay, the lady who put together your fundraising trivia night and she pulled off another great successful day to raise money for cancer research a subject close to our hearts x it’s a bit chilly now as it nearly winter in Australia but we haven’t got the heaters out yet, so I’m chilling on the lounge with a blanket over my legs as I write this on my iPad. I turned on the tv and guess what’s on, the movie ‘Blended.’ It must have been a sign that you’ve been on my mind a lot today & everyday & night in my dreams. I just heard Adam Sandler tell his little girl ‘the thing I miss about her (his wife) is telling her how much I loves her’ and it bought tears to my eyes. Can’t wait till I hear our song from this movie ‘it’s nice to be alive.’ Oh how I wish you were ‘alive.’ But you will always be ‘alive’ in me.

For the first task of this course was taking self portraits. I have chosen to use your camera. Hope this is ok? I know it was your pride and joy but I will take good care of it and try and learn how to use it to take some beautiful shots (not necessarily of me) but the scenery and atmosphere that is captured in the shot. With the first photography assignment I have to explore self portrait – thanks to your sister Rachel she captured what I will share today (although they are far from glamour shots – wrinkles and all) The first picture I took was standing in the bath with the vanity mirror door open so I could catch my reflection with your camera in the shot. You loved a deep bath – all of your 6ft 2 frame soaking in the bubbles. I hated how the disease robbed you of the simple pleasures of soaking in the tub.

The second photo was me sitting in your cute little car that sits on the roadside missing you just as much as all of us. We can’t bare the thought of getting rid of it as its a part of who you were, all the imperfections for all to see (a broken window, a sunken in seat, spare change near the radio, McDonald’s wrappers on the floor) just how you faced your fight with Ewing’s Sarcoma. The spiders have taken up residence in your side mirrors, and this you would have hated as you always looked like a ninja warrior when you walked into a web. Luckily we still have your YouTube movies ‘Stuck’ and the sequel ‘Stuck 2’ to watch, featuring your little purple car.

The third photo was me having a swing at the park across the road from our house. The very swing that you videoed eerily swinging in the darkness and used in your YouTube teaser trailer called ‘Abandoned’ that you made with your cousin Luke. But this time there was someone in your swing, it was me with my feet reaching for the Heavens, to you.

The fourth photo was me at Warilla beach. It felt right to take a picture of the beach as you are now part of the sea – my Pisces water sign baby. ‘Mambo no 5’ (photo number 5) was taken with our doggies ‘Ozzy and Axl.’ You’d love to sit outside by the pool and trees in our backyard with our beloved pooches who’d repay they’re love in big wet kisses. I have tried to match my photos of the week with some of yours from your albums that carry across the same theme – bath, car, swing, beach and wet doggy kisses. Connected in a sense…

The hardest thing of looking at these photos is coming to the realisation that we will never be able to take anymore precious moments with you doing all the things you loved in life. What we have is what we’ve got, there will be no more. But I will always think of you as I press the button on the camera. Like the little note that we left for you as a parting gift – ‘capturing the chaos and creativity in Heaven through the lens of his camera.’ I hope you are proud as I capture the world through your eyes through the lens of your camera and see what I see.

‘Snapshots are stills of life in motion….capturing moments in time….’ Wish we had more time as it wasn’t meant to be this way. Children (I know you technically not a child at 20 years of age, but you are still my baby) aren’t meant to go before parents its against natural order. Till we meet again – I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

I just heard our song on the movie x the one you took your last breath to 😦 yes it’s nice to be alive – but not without you. It just hurts so much.

Stay golden pony boy (a line from the movie ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’)
Love forever and always – mum

‘Cheese’ and smile like you always used to say when you took a picture when you were little x

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“when you wish upon a star…as dreamers do”

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On this day the 4th of May (May the 4th be with you) someone had a dream, a dream of scripting the successful story of ‘Star Wars.’ In Walt Disney’s own words ‘A dream is a wish your heart makes.’ George Lucas must of had a few wishes in his heart to bear the fruits of his dream. He founded Lucasfilm and sold it to The Walt Disney Company – so the two were connected by their love of storytelling to be enjoyed on the big screen. I felt compelled to write my 5th blog today as in 10 days time (10 is my favourite number) I will be attending the absolutely wonderful organisation ‘Dreams2live4’s ball.

Dreams2live is an absolutely wonderful programme that make dreams come true to people living with metastatic cancer. These dreams can be holidays with family, meeting idols and many more fabulous experiences. It gives the people something wonderful to look forward to and to take them away from the hospital environment of chemo, radiation, Drs appointments, scans and the agonising wait to get the results. Dreams2live4 started out as someone’s dream and that special someone was – Annie Robinson. Although I have never had the pleasure of meeting her, I know her vision has touched so many lives and it would be far too impossible to count them all. Annie’s dream of bringing joy to others while going through their worst imaginable nightmare came true with the help of her sister Louise Mahoney who continues her sister’s legacy. Louise is now the Chief Dream Maker and my son Jacob was fortunate enough to have two of those precious dreams during the toughest fight of his 20 year old life.

Our family first met Louise when Jacob was at Prince of Wales Hospital getting treated for metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma. We were in the tv room when she sat down on the lounge with pen in hand writing down his dreams and aspirations in life, the things that mattered, the things that made him smile, taking the time to know his story. She left us with a task of coming up with a list of things he’d love to do or be part of. This gave us a happy distraction, coming up with all the ideas of what he’d like to do. In October 2014 we heard the most wonderful news that Jacob was going to get an opportunity, thanks to the hard work of Louise and the team of dreams2live4, to work on a film set as he so desperately wanted to become a cinemaphotographer. He was invited to go onset in Sydney as they filmed and produced the movie ‘Truth’ starring Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace etc. Jacob’s sister Amy escorted him to the set and shared the experience on her Facebook – ‘Having a good day on the set of ‘Truth’ with Jacob Wieck. We got here at 11, watched Robert Redford shoot a scene. Had lunch at 5. Now waiting for Cate Blanchett to shoot a scene. Then one more scene and home time. Jacob is having the time of his life 😊 he hasn’t stopped smiling.’ It was a dream experience. He was even asked back on the set for another day and he was considered family to the cast and film crew. Unfortunately Jacob never got to see the movie, it was released during the week we laid him to rest. We received lovely emails from the Australian ‘Truth’ crew on hearing of Jacob’s passing. Brad Fischer, one of the producers had said that he will always think of Jacob as part of the ‘Truth’ family and that the director James Vanderbilt had reminded us that the picture of Jacob and Cate is on the notice-board in Mary Mapes offices and is clearly visible in many of the shots and that he will always be a part of the movie and be seen in it. We watched the movie proudly once it was released at a screening of it at an outdoor theatre at our local botanical garden with the sweet smell of honeysuckle and jasmine in the air. There was one shiny bright star twinkling in the sky as the title screen came on and we knew it was Jacob.

The second part of Jacob’s dream was to have a weekend get-away with 4 mates in Sydney in January just before his surgery to remove his tumour. They bought themselves trendy new suits to go out in style to do Jacob’s favourite thing – go to the movies. They watched the last film in ‘The Hobbit’ series at a gold class theatre, watching it in comfy seats eating food and drinks like kings. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch certain movies without thinking of my brave boy and his love and knowledge, he was a walking – talking IMDb. In the same sad year we lost Jacob, we lost another two beautiful souls Ash and Chris and they had their own dreams fulfilled. After seeing how much pleasure the ‘dreams2live4’ dreams gave Jacob, our family made a promise that on celebrations like Christmas, Easter and Jacob’s birthday we will donate his gifts in money in honour of Jacob to the programme so other people suffering metastatic cancer can get to enjoy their own dreams – ‘paying it forward.’

I know this is a really far fetched dream and I know it is quite impossible for it to come true but if for a moment we could play out a part in a movie, I would love to be Adam Sandler in the movie ‘The Cobbler’ and to be turned into whoever’s shoes he puts on. In a heartbeat I would put on a pair of Jacob’s size 13 shoes just to see him staring back at me from that mirror, to say hi, to hear his voice, see his smile, and to tell him how much we love and miss him.

We all have dreams that are the illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. In several of Walt Disney’s classic movies we can see dreams being wished upon. Cinderella dreams about going to the ball and meeting her Prince Charming and Pinocchio dreams of becoming a real boy. I’m just like that little girl who has dreamt of going to a ball (the Dreams2live4 ball) and I am so looking forward to catching up with so many amazingly beautiful people there who have touched our lives and have become like family during the time we spent in hospital. ‘So when you wish upon a star, makes no different who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you….if your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme, when you wish upon a star as dreamers do…’ My dream is that I hope there comes a day when cancer is just a zodiac sign.