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‘Morning’Β 

Week 36: morning 

I opened two gifts this morning. They were my eyes. I feel blessed to wake up every morning to appreciate a new day when it is denied to so many. Jacob taught us to be blessed with everyday you’ve been given and to treat it as though it may be your last. Don’t stress about the housework and the dishes in the sink, they can wait. Do the things that you’ve always wanted to do, write that bucket list and start ticking some of them off. Start that hobby you’ve always wanted to but have never had the courage to try. Sometimes it’s even worth getting up that extra bit early just to see the sunrise and witness the start of a brand new day. 

With the word ‘morning’ I can’t help hearing the song by Cat Stevens called ‘Morning has broken.’ I remember learning to play it on the recorder at primary school as a youngster and can still play it today. I remember hearing the song be sung at church at school and on Sunday. It was always a favourite to singalong to. I had it played as a hymn at my wedding to my husband in 1987 and as I’m writing this entry it happens to be our 30th Anniversary. 

At Jacobs funeral I had 2 teachers from his school sing and play the saxophone when a particular part of the mass happened and on the order of service they were meant to sing & play ‘Amazing Grace’ but by accident the song they performed was ‘morning has broken.’ It was a perfect mistake. My aunt who was also my God parent had that song played at her wedding too. She had passed several years before Jacob so it was a nice to think they had a connection even before they had the pleasure of meeting each other in the spiritual world. 

So as I wake this morning and enjoy the breakfast provided on the Canadian tour my husband and I are travelling on I give thanks for this day. To be provided food and drink in such beautiful surroundings, among new friends that have become like family is something to be grateful for. To be able to travel, to see new countries and towns. Some never get the chance, so I’m taking Jacob with me and scattering him a little in the places I feel he’d like to have travelled had he had the chance in his lifetime. 

What I wouldn’t do to be able to wake up one morning and saying the featured word to Jacob on waking up on a new day just as I do to his dad and siblings. Nothing really stops me of course but I do in a different way now. He’s the last thing on my mind before I close my eyes at night and the first thing on my mind in the morning and it will be like this for the rest of my life. With Jacob’s guiding love from afar I will try my best to start the morning with a smile 😊 ‘see miracles in life everyday.’ Good morning everyone. 

‘Messy’Β 

‘Messy pool hair, really don’t care.’ If I left off the word ‘hair’ in the previous quote, the sentence would be a better caption for my photo of ‘messy’ for the 34th week of the 52 moments, recapture yourself photo prompts. During the winter months our pool looks really messy and unkept. Not like the once inviting crystal clear haven for cooling yourself down on a summers day. The harshness of the changing months drop leaves, sticks and dirt onto the protective blue plastic cover. It looks neglected and univiting. But it won’t take long to get her back into shape for summer. A few weekends of dedication to bring her back to the glory of her heyday. 

When Jacob was in treatment the poison was delivered through a port called a Hickman’s line. This port prevented him from swimming due to the risk of infection. It was just an effort to keep the protective dressing dry after a shower and a bath yet along a quick dip in the pool or ocean to cool down which was prohibited. It was a long hot summer while he was on treatment and nobody really felt the urge to go in the pool that summer as they felt it was unfair to enjoy the pool when he could not. He occasionally sat on the steps not letting the water reach the port. As he lost body weight the pool became too cool for him just to sit there as the layers of fat around his bones were being depleted from a once 96kg frame. 

In the summer just only a few months after we’d lost our beautiful brown eyed boy if I went into the pool to cool off a rush of guilt would fall over me. For Christmas that year we gifted each other with pool toys to bring a little bit of joy in our dark time as it had been a long time since we’d had fun in the pool with laughter skipping over the yard and being carried into the house. I’m lucky I have photos of videos of all the fun the pool has provided us over the past 17 years. 

A little bit of TLC is what we need. My husband will work his magic with adding the ingredients like a recipe for a cake, stirring the leaves and sediment on the bottom of the pool like scrapping the mixing bowl with a spatula and watching the water turn from muddy to clear. It won’t be long before we’re diving through pools of clear water towards summer. 

‘taste your words before you spit them out’Β 

Lots of articles, stories and links have been coming up on my Facebook news feed about bullying in different case scenarios which has got me thinking about my own experiences with this new age ‘deadly sin.’ The old phrase we used to say in the play ground doesn’t quite cut it in this day and age – ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’ It goes way beyond the teasing we used to get at school. The Internet, smartphones and the like make bullying much easier through Facebook, email, Twitter, snapchat, Instagram etc. Bullying has transformed from being delivered in a physical way towards a more mental insult. The ramifications of cyber bullying is more likely to lead to depression, self harm or for people to question self worth which are some of the leading health issues among young people at the moment.
I suppose I was taught about bullying at school when I was young but the subject came more under the topic of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ I’m sure I can’t remember it as being as scary as it is today. I may have got teased for my choice of say a lunch at school that wasn’t everyone’s taste or the way I played hand-ball (my lack of eye/hand coordination) but must have been able to shrug the feelings of embarrassment and disappointment off by having had a positive upbringing in a loving family who helped guide my current morals and values in life. I survived my childhood and grew a bit of thick skin to the occasional tease.
Nursing, my first passion of a career I so desperately wanted and succeeded in following,  is one profession known for bullying. Many have experienced acts of ‘horizontal violence’ from colleagues often driven by leadership hierarchy. I didn’t escape this either. I was humiliated at my workplace as I was pinned up again the wall in the corridor of the hospital in full view of everyone by a person in a superior position for speaking up in defence of myself, I was only telling my opinion and the truth as it was. As a mature aged student I changed my career from nursing to early childhood education. During my studying years at university completing my degree in early childhood education I was intrigued and saddened that this profession too had a statistical story to tell as well. I read a really interesting article by Louise Hard, a senior lecturer teaching leadership and management and wellness and wellbeing at the university I was studying at. She introduced her students to the ‘crab bucket mentality’ in a workplace environment, particularly early childhood. If a new person came into the centre with bright eyes and fresh ideas and shared their desires of change the ‘crab bucket mentality’ would come into action. Have you ever been crabbing down the beach searching under rocks for crabs and placing them in a bucket? Ever noticed that if one crab worked it’s way to the top to escape the others would pull it back into the bucket. That one new person in their new environment full of new and exciting ideas is that crab trying to reach for the top of the bucket. The crabs pulling them down are the colleagues who are resentful of change or think they need to knock them down a peg or two. These types of bullying experiences can make you stronger in character depending how you face them. I am very fortunate that I work with a brilliant team of individuals who bring out the best in me. 
I was fortunate enough to be aware of my children being bullied and I’m forever grateful for our relationship in which they came to me for advice and guidance when they were hurting. I’m very proud that they turned out to be very fine well adjusted young adults. I hope some of my beliefs, morals and values have been passed down to them and they can share them with their own children. Wouldn’t it be a nicer place in the world without bullying! I work with our future generations in early childhood education so I’ve got an important role to help shape the minds of the young to develop the social skills to prevent and stop bullying. I will continue to take advantage of teachable moments. I will teach the children respect and empathy and set a good example and be a positive role model. Isn’t that what all parents want to teach their children?
Jacob was proud to be part of the Wollongong Diocese ‘Fix You’ anti-bullying video production that was filmed at his high school. The video is an anti-bullying learning and teaching resource to provide information and strategies for teachers. Jacob’s dream of becoming a cinematographer was a little bit more palpable for him by giving him the opportunity of being in the video. For the cinemaphotographer behind this production was the very person that took Jacob under his wing as his personal apprentice on many jobs which further ignited his passion. Jacob in fact bought this very talented man’s camera. The one that Jacob used in his own films on his YouTube channels and the one I’m using in his absence – capturing the world through his eyes through the lens of his camera, keeping us connected in the hope he sees what I see. I am very proud he will be still helping others without physically being on earth anymore because of this video, doing his bit to make it a better world to live in. As I watch the video tonight I will pause it on his beautiful face with his afro hair and cheeky grin and say ‘I wish I could have fixed you’ (by taking away the cancer).

‘Consciously becoming…’Β 

To look at in a photograph I am still the same as I was before Jacob getting sick. My name is still the same. I still smile with my whole face and my laughter lines turn into a few wrinkles as age gets the better of me. I laugh the same (and so does our bird Chilli). My eyes are still that grey/blue colour. My hair never really changes, mousy blown/light brown with srcunched up curls the easiest style to manage. I am a wife and mum to four beautiful young adults – 3 on earth and 1 Angel in Heaven.

My weight is a bit more on the ‘chunky’ side as I’ve tended to be an emotional eater all my life. I eat when I’m happy, sad, bored and indifferent – an unnecessary comfort at times. I am the same friend I always was before. I still have the same sense of humour and drive the same car and work with the same people. I still have the same dreams for my children that I did before, for them to be happy, healthy and to lead a long life ahead with good fortune on their side. My dream for Jacob is a little more altered now, I still wish and hope that he is happy and healthy up there, watching and waiting for the day till we’ll all be together again.  “I wish people could see you when they saw me. I wish they could see why I’m better, kinder, richer, more whole. Because I met you and fell in love, and even though you’re physically gone, you’re forever one of the very best parts of me.” – Lexi Behrndt.
It’s what’s hidden beneath the exterior that’s changed:

  • I am a bereaved mum
  • I think deeper
  • I cry more easily
  • I understand more deeply
  • I hurt more often
  • I appreciate more quickly
  • I hope more desperately
  • I love more openly
  • I have reconnected with my creative side
  • I am beginning to ‘smile’ again – seeing miracles in life everyday

I can’t rewind the clock and become who I was before, I can only grow from what life has thrown along my path. I can lay down and refuse to take another step or continue as Jacob would want me to towards a bright future with his love and guidance from afar. I choose life “and though I’ll forever long for him, I need to tell myself this; it’s okay to love him by embracing life. It’s okay if over time, the love we share looks less like heartache and more like freedom. And I also needed to tell myself this; there is no shame in that.” – Lexi Behrndt.

As I venture into the unknown future – 

  • I’d liketo become an advocate, a voice for parents of youth cancer patients
  • I’d like to write a book to help others with their own grief in life
  • I’d like to live out the rest of my life to the fullest..
  • I’d like to think I’m making him proud with the choices I’m making 

…honouring Jacob with every step I take. 

I’m sure I will keep changing over the years. I’m hoping the days will get better, it will be easier to breathe, and I will let love win, as my memory will never erase him, nor the pain of his absence, nor the joy of his existance.

‘Beautiful mystery…’Β 


I am forever grateful that I have been Jacob’s mum for 20 years. But I long for more. I wasn’t ready to let go. I wanted to see him fall in love, get married, become a famous cinematographer and get his name in lights, become a dad, travel with friends, watching his mum, dad and siblings get a bit greyer in colour of their hair and to celebrate many happy birthdays. I saw his first breath and I saw his last although it’s not meant to be like that – parents shouldn’t outlive their children. 

I know he would have written several blockbusters, even better than the already brilliant ones we already have on his YouTube channel to watch. If you’d like to see creative talent in action tune into his two YouTube channels – CobbyFilms and JDScreens. I’m not sure how he created all those little skits on his camera that I’m trying to use in the ‘capture your grief.’ I really need to learn what all the buttons and settings are. I need him to be here and teach me. There’s so many reason for him to still be here. 
He would continue to become a beautiful new-age sensitive man, a man with good work ethics, a smiley faced adult who sees the positives in life. A sharp and snappy dresser – I remember his oncologist commented how she like his dress sense and he always looked really nice. I’d take him to see a James Taylor concert as he had lots of his songs on the playlist on his phone. I’d cherish more of those impromptu breakfasts and coffee catch ups on the weekends. I wouldn’t even mind being woken in the middle of the night to pick him up from a night out with mates after having that bit too much alcohol in his system to drive behind the wheels of a car. 
He has my smile, his dad’s dark complexion, the same curly hair as his sister’s Amy and Rachel, shares the same warped sense of humour as his brother Ben. We will forever have this connection. 
Our future has changed without a doubt and new adventures can’t be written down in Jacob’s page but in Lexi Behrndt’s words – ‘tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ I’m going to live the rest of my life living it in ways that would make Jacob proud and honouring his memory and keeping his spirit alive. He was here and he should be celebrated and we will gladly keep saying his name in everyday conversations – Jacob x 

Ti 22 (titanium)Β 

‘The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.’ I can still remember how that felt when my adult children were little and they would put the short chunky little arms tight around your neck to make them feel safe and secure and loved. I don’t think I have many photos that captured these moments but the memories hold the vision in my mind and heart. The years fly by so quickly and you lose those moments as they grow up and cuddles become a bit too embarrassing for little people, to do in public yet alone in your own home. Hugs and kisses were fine for birthdays, hello’s and goodbye’s in our family. Maybe a bit backwards in physically showing the love through touch but we surely made up for it in words and said ‘love you’ lots. I did feel the same arms around me again in different circumstances looking for strength, love, encouragement and guidance when I transferred Jacob from chair to chair as the disease had taken the power of his legs. I used to tell him it was our funny way to dance as I pivoted his feet with mine to enable him to sit comfortably. I loved those impromptu cuddles and hugs but hated it at the same time because it was a stark reminder of what the disease had done to his once strong beautiful young adolescent body. He had the most beautiful hands and I got to hold them as he took his last breath. Those hands once held me tight. I do think though since we lost our beloved son and brother we have become more aware of affection we show towards one another and more spontaneous hugs and kisses come our way.
I don’t have their arms around me anymore like the quote in the first paragraph, and I don’t have jewels. But I do have something just like a precious jewel that I wear around my neck and close to my heart. We had some extremely unique and exquisite jewellery made from the titanium rod that was put into Jacob’s leg to replace the space where the tumour was. He was very proud of his scar that the operation had left going from the top of his knee the his hip. A 6foot 2inch frame meant a very long femur bone. He would often laugh about the rod making the metal detector machine go off at the airport when he would travel. He never got the chance to try it out.

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We had to find a jeweller that would play and experiment with ideas of how to make memorial pieces of jewellery out of a metal that’s so hard. Our local jewellers took one look and said it was in the too hard basket. We had to search further. A good friend of Jacob’s said he had a jeweller in mind. Harry’s mum had used this jeweller to make them several pendants into quite an unusual shapes of two hands clasped together and did a fantastic job. So we set about asking him if he’d be willing to help us out. We corresponded by email telling him stories about who Jacob was so he could get a better feel for the person as he was making the jewellery making the end product more personal and individual. The jeweller Robert Young was honoured to be taking on such an emotional challenge to produce something that meant so much.
As it got closer to having a design we took a drive to Robert’s studio in Sydney. Amy, Ben and I took a drive early one Saturday morning to meet him with our own ideas of how you utilise the rod as turning the rod into rings became an impossible task. Ben had drawn and designed several pendants to wear on a bracelet or necklace. He welcomed us into his studio and shared with us his ideas of how the pendants might look like. Ben showed him his ideas too. We left there in complete satisfaction that Robert was going to make us something very special.
We asked him to make 20 pendants to represent the age that Jacob will be forever. He had to cut the titanium rod with a diamond cutter as it took all the teeth off the regular tools that are used to make his jewellery. He puts a lot of effort into each piece of jewellery he makes. In most of Robert’s jewellery you will see the word ‘love’ inscribed within the design. This is hand cut by using a jewellers saw that pierces the jewellery from one side to the other. Each ‘Love’ is unique, because each love is unique. The time, care and skill that goes into each piece of jewellery is all worth it for Robert knowing that his art found the right owner and will become a life long treasure.’ Each jewellery piece is a work of art that is indented to connect the wearer with meaning. The pieces are designed to be a timeless symbol of ‘moments full of meaning.’
Robert’s studio is situated in a pretty sounding name in a suburb of Sydney called Lilyfield. The road was called Balmain Road, which was another coincidence as both Amy, Pete and Jacob are avid Tiger’s fans and they were once called the Balmain tigers and we were in their territory so Jacob would have been smiling down on us for that. It was on this trip that I first heard the song 7 years that has become such a heartfelt number for me.
Because of Jacob’s interest in becoming a cinematographer the design of pendant became a shutter of a camera with a titanium piece individually set in the silver. When we received them all they were all very different as individual as a fingerprint so it meant more to you when you chose which one to wear. The hole in the middle would signify the loss and emptiness of not having him physically in our lives anymore.

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Jacob’s pendants took several months to be completed but it was worth the wait. We picked them up on a cool rainy June day and were in awe at first site of them. In a little black box with a splash of red ribbon to pull the box open (red was Jacob’s favourite colour). We thanked him with a hug as we felt he’d become part of our family as he was putting so much feeling and emotion into the pieces of jewellery he was making for our family and some of Jacob’s friends.
We shared our photos of the jewellery on Facebook and wrote our own words of how much the pendants meant to us and I share photos and words here. I wrote – ‘such a bittersweet piece of jewellery x but it’s absolutely beautiful, because it’s a part of you ❀ (made with your titanium rod in your leg. I love how we can spin the circle camera shutter around the cord. Made by a very talented jeweller in Sydney, Balmain (Tigers territory) called Robert Young and it came in a little black box with red ribbon (red’s your favourite colour)

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A beautiful piece of jewellery that will always be a part of you. I will wear it with pride and will always remember you when I do. Love you forever, miss you always xxx Amy

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Got Jacob’s pendants today they are absolutely beautiful and definitely will hold a soft spot in our hearts, we will always have you close to us and always have a part of you. Made with your titanium rod that you were very proud of. Each one is individually cut so they each have their own story. Love them – Rachel

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I would like to thank Robert Young jewellery for going above and beyond to create this precious piece out of the very hardened titanium steel that supported my brother through his life’s endeavours. He has now passed on parts of his strength to help us with endeavours of our own. We are forever grateful Cobby. – Ben

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Robert made us 2 other pieces of jewellery to add to these 20 pendants. He shined up the tip of the rod where you could see the nail holes going through the rod and wrapped red wire around it.

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The other very delicate little piece of jewellery was made using a little wire that I found amongst Jacob’s ashes and I said that it reminded me of the wires he would talk about being at the back of his teeth after his braces.

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As I write these words on my iPad I’m tapping away with one hand while the other hand spins the pendant around the cord like the ‘circle of life.’ I’ll hold you in my heart until I can hold you in Heaven.

Thank you Robert Young

‘Gratitude is the hearts memory…’

Miracle challenge 11, choice no.3 – write a story using the words struggle, shadow, silence

William Shakespeare even had his own struggle with grief as he wrote these words – ‘my grief lies all within, and these external manners of lamment are merely a shadow to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul.’ He does describes it well but I’m not sure I would describe it like that as ‘grief’ is very individual and it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ experience. If I was to describe my grief since losing Jacob I would rather choose other writers words who are just as wise as Shakespeare. I often quote Lexi Behrndt’s words as well as another equally talented writer and artist Francesca Cox as their words float like musical notes through your whole body and your own heartbeat for the melody – ‘life’s so messy, so hard, & miraculously, still so good.’ Sometimes in life you have to have a damn harder, closer look at the good in such times and be grateful’ – Lexi Behrndt.
I completed a 30 days gratitude photo challenge on Facebook in November last year, just over a month after we lost Jacob. I thought it was a  good time to have a look around me and see the things through a bereaved mother’s eye that I’m grateful for in my newly upturned world. A friend of mine was doing this challenge and I had been enjoying looking at her photos, so I thought I’d do the same πŸ™‚ After all that had happened over the past year it might be a pleasant experience taking a deeper look into the things I am thankful and grateful for. As this challenge was over 30 days, I apologise now for the length of this story. 30 photos and quotes that will hopefully inspire you to look closer in to your own life at the things you are thankful and grateful for. Francesca Cox’s online course for bereaved parents called ‘facets of grief’ invites you to explore ‘gratitude’ as well so I was more than ready to take a real close look at life around me.

Day 1: HOME – “Home is where our story begins” I guess mine started here in Dovercourt, United Kingdom on the 10th June, 1964 (photo taken in my first home in the backyard)

 

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Day 2: INSPIRATION: “when life gives you lemons bite them and make a funny face” πŸ‹ that’s my funny inspirational take on life

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Day 3: LOVE – love you Toffee, Mungo, Chilli, Ozzy, Axl & fish x

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Day 4. Colour: Happy and colourful were my girls in their first colour run this year…..”Life is about using the whole box of crayons with all the beautifully different colours” & I love creating with colours πŸ™‚

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Day 5: Happiness: “Happiness is not the absense of problems, its the ability to deal with them” – I’m happy to have Jacob’s special memory place to be finished, so I can sit in the family room & really feel his presence with lots of sentimental items. I would rather have him back with us than have this memorial space – but I can’t, so this is my best way to deal with the loss β™‘

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Day 6. Words: “The power of simple, artistic, creative, beautiful, descriptive, thoughtful words” – and you can’t beat great words in a familiar song….I waved to Barry Gibb (and he waved back) after a concert in Sydney with Pete a long time ago and he did a fantastic job singing all the hits……one in particular ‘Words’

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Day 7: Keepsake: Jacob’s year coordinator at St Joseph’s sent us a letter that Jacob had written to his future self several years ago at a school retreat & she was supposed to give it to him at the year 12 graduation. As he finished in yr 11 he didn’t get it. The teacher was cleaning stuff around & moving rooms & she found his letter & sent it to us. It was a lovely surprise but sad at the same time x but it is a special keepsake as it’s written with his funny sense of humour & he had a great sense of self. We have framed it & put it in his special place as a ‘keepsake’

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Day 8: Nature – ‘oh what a marvelous web we weave’ – enjoy the gifts of nature. I spied this little web while its creator slept curled in a leaf during an afternoon outdoors sipping a cold bevy with Pete & the cats πŸ™‚

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Day 9: Laughter: I went to the 1st ever Youth Cancer Summit in Sydney over the last 2 days & represented Jacob as he had expressed his interest in attending. The last session of the summit brought so many laughs & what a way to finish an emotionally packed & informative event. ‘A funny thing happened on the way to chemo’ is a book written by Luke Ryan (I couldn’t post his picture of his book for copyright reasons so I took this off the program of the event) he is a young man who has had cancer twice in his life at 11 & 22 (& he jokes to the audience that he will get it again at 33) he entertained us as he shared his own cancer ‘roadtrip’ with adversity & humour & he had me in tears, not from sadness but from laughter πŸ™‚ I’m buying his book now. Jacob would have loved his sense of humour too…

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Day 10: Music: Instead of photo here’s a video – harmonica playing “music to dog’s ears” (not…..) with music you are in control: > play the moments, II pause the memories, # stop the pain and << rewind the happiness

Day 11: Gift: “Everyday is a gift. Open it, Celebrate, Enjoy it.” And I’m loving my early Christmas present from Pete. Going to be some fun memories made while enjoying this relaxing gift β™‘ Thanks for all the gifts that happen in ‘Life’ x

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Day 12: Wisdom: Wise words from one scientist (Albert Einstein) to another lol!…..1. Follow your curiosity 2. Perseverance is priceless 3. Focus on the present 4. The imagination is powerful 5. Make mistakes 6. Live in the moment 7. Create value 8. Don’t expect different results 9. Knowledge comes from experience 10. Learn the rules and then play betterScreen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.19.56 PM

Day 13: Art: “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” This beautiful piece of art work by the talented photographer Warren Keelan was taken at Kendalls beach Kiama. I outbid my brother for this art work at a breast cancer fundraiser. We gave this just recently to the oncology ward where Jacob and Ash were treated at POW hospital Randwick in the hope that others can be transported away during their own treatment (if only for a brief moment) The art work is titled ‘End of Days.’ (end of days till the completion of treatment) I love the watching the sea on a stormy day…..

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Day 14: Routine: A simple ‘to do’ routine to follow everyday – 1. Wake up 2. Survive 3. Back to sleep. But I do enjoy my first coffee hit of the day πŸ™‚ even if it’s decaf lol!

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Day 15: Clothing: “clothing myself with the best character is more appealing than clothing myself with expensive labels πŸ™‚

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Day 16: New: carrying on where I left off yesterday with my silly clothing style – I can’t wait to wear my ‘new’ Christmas attire to try to be jolly in, as this Christmas will be the first of many things to come without our beautiful brown eyed boy to enjoy the silly season and celebrate with us x he would be shaking his head with a smile on his face when I put it on

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Day 17: Weather: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet” Amy and Ben enjoying a rainy storm outside, while Rachel prefers to weather the storm inside πŸ™‚ Jacob was too young to appreciate any kind of weather. I try and enjoy all sorts of weather regardless of the season

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Day 18: Food: Our Christmas table last year x this little saying may become our future ‘Grace’ blessing before we share our Christmas meal together. “Bless the food before us, the family beside us and the love between us…..’ Amen

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Day 19: Beauty: “Our hearts are drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see” – I always knew there’s a reason why I enjoy my bubbles πŸ™‚ Cheers!

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Day 20: Friendship: ” friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life” I am truly blessed by having lots of people I can call friends πŸ™‚ and I thank them for coming into my life x and a hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away….

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Day 21″ Technology: “Technology is best when it brings people together” We are going to use Jacob’s camera over Christmas to capture those priceless memories through the lens of his camera, hoping he gets a real good glimpse of our togetherness x

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Day 22: Time: “Time flies….but the memories last forever….” The clock in the kitchen on top of the microwave displays the time, date and temperature and we can write a message on the top which then glows in the dark. It shines brightly at night when you come home late and it’s all dark – perfect nightlight.

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Day 23: Scent: “Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer on the beach….” I love the scent of the flower Gardenia, and here’s Rachel presenting me a leaf off our fabulous gardenia bush we had growing at our first home. The scent reminds me that warmer weather is on it’s way.

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Day 24: Knowledge: ” A teacher plants the seeds of knowledge, sprinkles them with love, and patiently nurtures their growth to produce tomorrow’s dreams.” Can’t believe I graduated 4 years ago with my Bachelor of Education (0-5years). Nice little motto to follow in the profession I work in, love the little ones πŸ™‚ going back to work in January

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Day 25: Comfort: “you can’t be present in the moment with others if you are not comfortable with who you are as a person” yep I’m the crazy cat lady πŸ™‚

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Day 26: Family: “Our family is a circle of love and strength. With every birth and every union the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger” all because two people fell in love….❀

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Day 27: Luxury: ” I cannot place the luxury of thought towards tomorrow as I am consumed by living today…” and that’s pretty much the motto we followed as Jacob lived his last few months. I still can’t believe this photo was taken the day before he passed away. Focusing on the day we were given – and if tomorrow came it was a blessing x

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Day 28: Work: “coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success…” I’m very fortunate to have loved both of my two careers – nursing & early childhood education. Both recent Christmas catch ups were fun. The only way to do great work is to love what you do πŸ™‚ not long before I’ll be back with the team at Smith Street for a brand new year 2016.

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“Creative people are curious, persistent, independent with a spirit of adventure and a love of play” – couldn’t just post one photo on this theme, with all the creative expression we have dabbled with over the last month in creating a beach themed Christmas for the oncology ward at Prince of Wales Hospital – had to share lots πŸ™‚ it was a nice time getting in touch with my creative side that I had forgotten about & I couldn’t have been happier decorating with these beautifully creative people – we even made the hospital newsletter & poor Rach got her first parking ticket (she’ll have a great reason to get let off if they have any Christmas spirit) couldn’t tag mum Jan Ling because she’s not on Facebook lol. Our efforts granted us a 2nd place in the hospital x going to try for 1st next year….Ash and Jacob would be proud of our efforts (Thanks for asking us to help out Cathy)

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Day 30: Self-Love: “self-love is making your physical, mental and emotional health a priority” In the New Year 2016 I will get more ‘physical’ and look after my mental health (without devil’s horns on my head) and be less of an emotional eater…a jar of vegimite?What was I thinking? I had my first kiss with Pete in that outfit at Bong Bong Picnic Races….Might not look like that by the end of 2016 but at least my my intentions were good πŸ˜‰

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I may not have achieved some of my goals in the above photo, but I have worked on my mental and emotional health and I’m sure writing has contributed to these areas, maybe I’ll focus 2017 as my physical change. I’m sure my grief with remain with me the rest of my life as it’s the price we pay for love. I will share some more of Lexi Behrndt’s  words again to round up my story of gratitude – ‘I could only be grateful when I realised I would rather have known you for a moment than never at all. I would rather endure this inexplicable pain of outliving you than to never have seen your face, spoken your name. I would rather be yours and you be mine, regardless, Regardless of the sorrow, regardless of the ache, regardless of the years I will walk this earth carrying you – not in my arms – but in my heart.’