This is my first taste of writing in the brand new year 2017. A year has passed without my beautiful brown eyed boy Jacob and we are now at 15 month since my hands touched his face and held his hands, my lips kissed his forehead and my words soothed his fear at the end of his life. Time keeps passing to a steady beat and there’s not many moments that he’s not on my mind. He’s in my thoughts, my heart, my memories and hopefully will continue to visit in my dreams. In the year that has just past I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled. Travel that involved plane trips and not just a casual car trip down the coast or into Sydney for a special occassion.
The first trip was a fairly long 7 – 8hr drive in the car from our house in Mount Warrigal NSW to Lakes Entrance in Victoria. A beautiful seaside resort and fishing port. It was my birthday present, a nice 3 day getaway in the cool winter month of June.
On to trip away number 2. Pete had entered a competition at the local JBhifi store buying a boxed DVD set. The prize was a 5 days all expenses paid holiday of three choices – Thredbo, Berossa Valley and Cairns. We chose Cairns. The competition was a Mother’s Day competition, you never dream that you’d ever win these sort of things – they always happen to other people. So we thanked our lucky stars for the welcome gift of travel and I secretly knew it was a gift from Jacob for his mum and dad to enjoy precious time to themselves. We flew up to Cairns from Sydney in 3 hours and arrived in the afternoon in 100% humidity. Included in the prize was activities to do while we were up here so each day we were occupied with things to do. We visited a butterfly farm, animal reserve, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation – Daintree National Park and Green Island to snorkel the reef.
The last trip of the year was a 2 week exploration of both the North and South islands of New Zealand in November. We hired a car and drove around to check out the beautiful sights in several major cities, capturing many new memories to cherish. Home just in time to begin the rush in the lead up to Christmas.
Rachel and her boyfriend Adam left the family home on Christmas Day just over a week ago to travel to America, UK and Europe on a 1 way ticket. The world’s their oyster as they travel and taste new experiences and culture of new lands. I’m trying not to be the nosy mum who wants to check Facebook to get updates of where they are heading and what they’re up to having just spent walking the Las Vegas strip seeing in the New Year with fireworks. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to travel when I was young too. I too travelled after leaving school, heading to the UK and Europe on a 1 way ticket. Pete had these opportunities too, just several years before we got married.
Amy was away from us for 3 years while she travelled in the UK and Europe working as a nanny for 2 families. Now back in Australia she has a plan of completing the Larapinta Trail, just outside of Alice Springs while she plans a trip to Thailand and Phuket. Ben has travelled too, to Bali after finishing school with mates to chase the surf. I’m sure more adventures are waiting to be written on the pages of his travel book in times to comes. Empty pages are just waiting to be written and filled with wonderful adventures. Jacob had his sights on travel too, he was making plans to travel to America for his 21st birthday with his best mate Chris who’s birthday was the very next day to Jacob’s. He was looking forward to travelling on Route 66 and many other iconic places on the map. I’m sure he would have moved to America one day as his career path would have taken him along that road of becoming a famous cinematographer. He would be going places.
Our last family holiday together as a family of 6 in 2014 we travelled to Hawaii for 10 days. We all had a great time and it will be a holiday that I will cherish deep in my heart. For on return to Australia Jacob was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma after complaining of a sore leg which we thought was because of being cramped in the seat as his 6 foot 2 inch frame didn’t leave much room to move. A small clot was the first diagnosis from the flight, but in hindsight the small clot was more likely from the tumour that was forming in his left thigh. Less than a month later after the holiday he was having his first chemotherapy treatment to cure him of the horrible parasitic disease that eventually took him from our family.
Jacob is with us every step we take in this different life we live now. Although he’s not physically here with us anymore, he works his magic to be seen and felt in everything we do and the places we go in our travels. We take his ashes and scatter him in our favourite places on land and oceans. Rachel is going to let him swim at the beach where I grew up in Dovercourt, Harwich. The waters all connect somewhere. We see him in rainbows, in colours, in all the creatures great and small, in stars, sunrises, sunsets, clouds and full moons. We thank him for visiting when we see feathers, dragonflies, butterflies and when the familiar songs come on the radio. We smile because of him and see miracles in life everyday.
We are thankful for the beautiful photos we captured on our travels and will continue to capture as life goes on and I know deep in my heart that Jacob did a grand job in trying to get his presence known and felt in the photos I will share with these words. I hope you can see the magic in the pictures and catch his spirit in action and I hope his siblings feel him close everywhere they go and capture him accompanying them in their travels too. Amy caught him when she snapped a photo of a beautiful red dragonfly in the Northern Territory (red is Jacob’s favourite colour). In the colours of the beach with the old blue tug boat, the sparkles on the water, the dragonfly that journeyed with us on the bus to Cape Tribulation, the memorial rock formation (a Cairn in Cairns) that Pete made by the beach without realising what the towers represented, the clouds that formed a photo of a baby in the womb, the Dolphins that came to say hello at the Bay of Islands, just a few to share.
Pete and I plan to travel again this year too in September to Canada. As we begin a different stage in our lives of gradually becoming empty nesters we will continue to love and grow with one another just like when we first met before the children came along. As our children continue to have their own travels on this earth, I just visualise that Jacob’s off travelling too, having his own spectacular experience wherever life is taking him as well as accompanying us on all our adventures as our very own guardian angel in travel.
“Wherever you go…go with all your heart” and I’ll carry my family in my heart with every step I take. Quoting from the movie Lilo & Stitch – ‘Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind – or forgotten.’ You’ll always be with us Jacob x