Week 42: Love
As our family gathers at my sisters house to celebrate our dads 81st birthday we enjoy the banter back and forwards of conversations, laughter, singing and tears, as we share memories of days gone by and remember fondly of the people who are missing. My sister’s immediate family is only represented by her husband, one son and herself. Their other 3 boys are away in Wales playing football on contracts. My mum & dad are immensely proud of the family the two of the produced and smile at the unfolding of the day. My brother and his 2 young daughters laugh and giggle at my sisters 6 month old yellow Labrador pup as they get kissed and nibbled as they sit on the grass within easy access of the puppy’s excitable antics. There is another empty chair that gathers dust and that spot is for Jacob. His presence is felt larger than life as his cardboard stands proudly near the gathering table where the food is carefully laid out for all to share. We’ll all have a slice of my mum’s yummy fruit cake (with no peel as the grandchildren don’t like it) and her simple vanilla sponge cake and sing the ceremonial happy birthday song with a nice cup of tea, or coffee, or a beer or wine – whatever takes your fancy. We always end up with way too much food enough to feed an army and we all get to take the left overs home to consume through the coming week. We have a family recipe on days like these: 3 cups of forgiveness, 1 gallon of friendship, a pinch of hope, a spoonful of laughter and endless LOVE.
Week 41: friends
I know I’m late with week 41’s entry titled ‘friends’ but I wanted a specific photo that summed that word up. I could have chosen lots of photos that suited the theme but none of them spoke volumes like this one does. This photo captured lots of empty wine glasses that had just toasted lots of young people who’s lives have been lost to cancer including my 20 year old son Jacob at the 2017 Dreams2Live4 Feather Ball. Dreams2Live4 is an Australian wide charity that delivers wishes and dreams to people living with metastatic cancer. Jacob was lucky to have been given 2 very special dreams of his own. It is a night for us to pay it forward in honour of Jacob so others may be granted a dream. The friends on the table are the team of Jacob’s nurses who cared for him in his fight to be cured of his disease. They saw him at his weakest and lowest point of his life, they did everything in their power to make him comfortable. These friends became more like family, a lifeline on speed dial on your phone at desperate hours, a shoulder to cry on, someone to share your heartache with, to laugh with, to create with as we decorated the ward for Christmas.
One particular friend is the CEO boss of the dreams2live4 organisation. Louise followed her sister Annie’s dream of this organisation coming into existence. Her sister lost her battle with cancer before she got to see the magic that her dream was creating. In her memory the organisation is growing and thriving. I have promised to support this wonderful charity in honour of Jacob on all of his earthly celebrations like his birthday, Easter, Christmas and his angelversary and this night was another one of those occasions. There are 3 other people enjoying the night on our table and they belong to me too in the manner of my offspring! Jacob’s siblings. Amy, Rachel and Ben are my children and I’m proud to call them my ‘friends’ as they reach young adulthood and who are continuing to develop into such beautiful human beings (I’m a bit biased).
Although we don’t see these friends that have become like families as often as we’d like, we all lead busy lives but we keep in contact via the usual ways – online, but when we do catch up in person we pick up where we’ve left off as if the last time we met was yesterday. They’ve seen us at our lowest point in our lives and being around them makes us feel better as they accept us who we are – after all it’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our lives that matter. Here’s the Irish toast we shared for our ongoing friendship that came about because of Jacob – ‘never above you, never below you, always beside you.’
Week 40: plugged in
I know that jumper leads don’t really plug but they seem to suit this weeks theme within my mind this week. By connecting them to another car you can interpret and vision them as being something plugged in for a purpose. These jumper leads have been plugged in quite a bit over the last few days charging a little bit more life into Jacob’s car. His car sits lonely on the road as it did throughout Jacob’s treatment and passing two years ago this week. I was hoping to let the little car have a new lease of life and have a driver to call it’s own if only for awhile for my daughter Rach to use till she got a car. It served her well for a few days then refused to start. You see the car is old. It is the same age as Jacob was at his passing – 20years, a long time for a car and yet such a short time for a human. We are hoping it’s just the battery and not anything expensive to fix so we don’t have to part with something that was so special to Jacob.
He bought it with his own money from his part-time job for $1,000 before he’d left high school. It isn’t the most masculine looking car tinted a purple/mauve with a repainted white bonnet. His mates loved that car too. I bet they have lots of memories of adventures in the car as they rocked up at the drive through at Maccas paying for the food with his debit card and then laughing that they all ended up knowing his private PIN number. As I open the car door and sit in the driver seat I feel him there. The car still smells like him. Everything about it brings memories flooding home. It was featured in his movies on his YouTube channels. The body work on the old girl isn’t what she used to be and holds her bumps and bruises with pride. Jacob reversed out of the drive way into another car as he went to the shops to pick up some milk – this was bump number 1. Bump number 2 the damage went unnoticed for awhile after a car sideswiped it out the front adding further dents to the existing ones. Her bumps and bruises tell many stories just like all of us.
I hope these little jumper leads can bring long wanted life to the old girl yet again. We are not yet ready to say goodbye to her. But if it’s her time to go the timing is more of a coincidence as the car is the same age that Jacob passed and her problems started within days of his anniversary and then we’ll have to let her go. As I captured this photo through the boot of the hatchback you can spot an unplanned and mystery capital ‘A’ on a pair of tiger striped gum boots. You see it was a sign from Jacob for they are his sister Amy’s gum boots in his car and they are the patterns of Jacob, Amy and my husband’s football team – the West Tigers. Jacob’s given his approval that it may be time to let the car go. These jumper leads have been connected and sort of plugged in and have served her well in keeping her road worthy over time.
Week 39: evening
I like the evening to say thanks for the day I’d just been given. I like the natural progression of life slowing down after a busy day, particularly on a weekday. Weekend evenings are even more special. No set time limits on weekends, go with the flow kind of days. The colours in the evening skies are equally as beautiful as the way the day begins. What a wonderful open and closing ceremony that happens with the magic of each day.
In a photography workshop I was shown how to capture pretty cool shots during the evening and I try and dabble with the techniques now and again. I couldn’t pick just one photo of this particular evening on the jetty capturing my daughter and her boyfriend Adam who had just returned from a holiday in UK and Europe for 10months, so any excuse being in their company was magic on any given evening. Their images in one photo appear as ghosts as they were moving as I captured it. Nothing beats having family around you. This has become more paramount since the loss of Jacob from our family tree. My nurturing drive kicks in overtime and mother hen wants to keep us all under her wings in the fear of loosing one of her eggs. But I will rise just like the stars in the evening sky and search for him in the stars, moon and colours knowing Jacob will do everything in his power to help keep his family safe from afar. I know for a fact that he was part of that ghostly image of Rach & Adam.
‘What a nice night to have an evening’