Trying to remember all the things

I fear my memories of Frith are fading.

I was trying to think of one of our silly jokes that we used to always do, and I can’t remember the punch line. It’s really frustrating me.

We used to do this other joke where one of us would say something like “want some chicken?” and the other would say “you’re a chicken”. It works with many things. “Have you seen my mouse pad?” “You’re a mouse pad.” See? So dumb and so versatile.

Once when we were unpacking after one of our moves, Frith asked me what was in the box I was unpacking. I said “Crafty shit” and he said “you’re a crafty shit.” Oh my gosh I couldn’t stop laughing. It still makes me smile as I type this.

That was a running gag between us for years. Anytime I was crafting, Frith would say “what are you doing” and I’d say “crafty shit” and he’d say “you’re a crafty shit.” And from then on, whenever we moved, I would label the box of craft with “crafty shit.” This was before the kids could read, thankfully 🙂

Whenever the kids asked Frith what he was doing, regardless of what he was doing, he would reply “making a sandwich”. The funny thing was, he pretty much never made any sandwiches, but on the rare occasion he ever did, the kids would be cluey enough to catch him out, and ask him. I try and do that too. When the kids ask me what I’m doing, I try and remember to respond with “making a sandwich”.

I’m finding myself desperately trying to remember all our silly bits and inside jokes. They are getting harder to recall. I’ve been writing them down as much as possible, but I know I won’t remember them all. And it seems the harder I try to remember, the more the memories elude me.

I just hope that they come back to me in other situations, in the years to come. I hope that I can be transported back to a memory with him; a sweet moment, captured in time by a dumb, off the cuff remark, that is in the depths of my heart, waiting to resurface, and to give me a little smile.

10 things on the 10th

10 more things Frith never got to do

1. Make his own boots – he found a course in Melbourne that taught you how to make your own shoes. The cost of the course girls buy a lot of boots…

2. Get a tattoo – he had chosen the artist; a tattooist down in Melbourne (he loved Melbourne) but hadn’t chosen the design.

3. Watch Lost and How I met your Mother.

4. Run for local office. That was something he had started toying with in Rocky

5. Do a guest post on my blog. Apart from announcing Chance’s arrival, which doesn’t really count.

6. Get the Lego Knights Castle. It was on my list to get him…

7. See the new model Delica. I think he would have wanted it!!

8. Teach Chance how to solve a Rubix Cube.

9. Read The Watchmen graphic Novel I bought him, or watch the movie.

10. Try 99% Lindt chocolate.

The Loneliness of Grief

It sounds like a good title for a book, don’t you think? To be honest, since Frith died, I’ve considered writing a book, and this is one of the titles I’ve thrown around in my head. It was inspired by something said by a fellow sufferer of grief; the wife of a doctor who died by suicide 16 months ago, who I have befriended and who has been such a comfort in my life this year. (Hi Sue x)

I was just sitting on the couch, trying to decide what to watch, and all of a sudden I was filled with the desire, the need to talk to Frith. The silence that fills this space, the void on the couch next to me, the absence of my companion, my partner in life, punches me in the face every so often. And tonight was one of those times.

Normally, I’m fairly present, and these moments don’t often creep up on me. I’m constantly aware of them, but they don’t take me by surprise, if you get my drift. For example, my brother-in-law, Jacques, is driving the kombi at the moment, and is staying with my mother-in-law, a kilometer down the road, and every time I drive past the kombi, I’m present enough to know that Frith isn’t nearby.

I know it’s because nothing here is associated with Frith, so I don’t have the constant reminders of him. If we were still living in our family home in Rockhampton, I would have a constant feeling of Frith about to come home, or listening out for him. In some ways I’m fortunate not to have that constant reminder that he’s not here.

Like I need to be reminded.

But tonight, I was caught off-guard, and wondered for a moment “where’s Frith and what does he want to watch, because I can’t decide”. And it stung. I don’t cry much, partly because I don’t have the energy left at the end of the day; partly because my life feels surreal and it’s easy to detach from the old and exist in the new. But I suspect it’s mainly because if I start, my heart breaks a little more, and it’s too hard to stop. There will never be an end to this loneliness and this grief, and the thought of having to acknowledge that is just too much right now.

Maybe one day.

It does matter

I don’t often read the news, but every now and then I scroll through and get sucked in to clicking on headlines. I came across this story today, and my immediate reaction piqued my interest, so I did some further delving into the depths of my mind, and here’s what I came up with.

In my opinion, It matters how people die.

For those playing at home, the article is about the Good Samaritan in Melbourne who stopped to help a motorcyclist who had been hit by a car, and she was hit by another car while assisting, and she died. This in itself is an absolute tragedy. Had it been five minutes earlier or later, she would most likely still be alive right now. Just one of those horrendous “wrong place at the wrong time” moments.

What I read today, was that the motorcyclist who she was trying to save, and who also died, was a “career criminal” and had been arrested for speeding and other driving charges.

My initial thought was “he wasn’t even worth saving!”

Woah.

I don’t know if it’s the shite year I have had that prompted that graceless response, but even I was shocked by the harshness of it. I guess unconsciously, momentarily, I put myself if her family’s shoes for just a second. She was 27 and left behind a seven and five year old. The injustice of it stung me. The what-ifs are deafening.

Then I wondered, would it be easier for the family if she was saving an upstanding citizen, with no criminal record, who left behind a loving spouse and kids of his/her own? Or does that fact that she was selflessly trying to save a fellow human being, because that’s what we should do matter the most? It’s easier to want to save people who are just like us, but what about the unsavoury characters?

That’s what Christian grace is I suppose. Loving those who have done nothing to earn it.

And yes, this has to do with Frith and Etienne as well.

For the past 8+ months, with a select few, I have been continuously discussing the lead up to Frith’s death; what was he thinking? What could we have done? When did this start? How was he feeling? Why didn’t he reach out? And the aftermath; what do we all do now without him around?

When Etienne died, of a suspected cardiac episode, there was no place for those conversations. It was just a horribly tragedy.

It does matter.

The heartache that we are enduring, that the boys’ family are living every second of every day, is monumentally unfair. We/they don’t deserve this, but no one does. No one “deserves” anything in this life, good or bad. Some people work hard and get to grand places, but they are no more or less deserving than someone else who works just as hard and can never catch a break.

So what do we do with this unfairness? Do we let bitterness creep in, and take over our lives? Do we continue with the what-ifs? Do we acknowledge that other people have a rough deal as well, and we are just part of the unlucky bunch who drew the short straw? Do we keep asking the “why” and “how” questions until we are driven to the brink?

Do we accept that we will never have answers in this life? And that the only way forward is to keep putting one foot in front of the other?

Maybe we need to play the hand we get given, and accessorise the life we have.

I don’t know. I just know that, to me, it matters how we live this life, and how we leave it.

Got Gastro?

No? How about the flu? A cold?

It seems like almost everyone I know is affected by one or more of the above. Gastro has passed through this household (pun intended) in the past week, and we have all been affected in some way, with Jules the final casualty today. Mum has a flu she can’t shake, and my cold is making its way to my chest, hopefully on the way out of my system! I have gotten sick more in the last nine months than I have in the last five years I’m sure.

BUT! (Pun intended) I’m VERY grateful that I was able to attend and thoroughly enjoy the two weddings without any illness. I really and truly am so glad about that. And to top off my gratitude, my back is starting to come good, and I can start moving more, again. Once I get rid of this damn cold that is…

Darby’s Godfather Felix is coming for a visit this weekend and we all can’t wait! I have pre-warned him about the house of illness, but he assures me he is still coming 🙂 It is always nice having visitors, and the kids really love having him around. As do I of course.

We are heading to Lake Cootharaba for a few days next week, with a bit of camping and a bit of Airbnb action, so there will be packing for that to do as well. Hoping to have a fairly low-key weekend otherwise, so we can all recover. It has not been any fun around here this week I can tell you. Lots of self-pity from this gal right here.

So that’s me for now. If you are unwell, I hope you are on your way to wellness again, because being sick is the absolute pits.

10 things on the 10th

10 things that make me go Hmmmmm……

And by hmmmm I mean a resounding eye-roll and long sigh….. (at the very least)

1. Paperwork

2. Phone calls to banks and insurance companies

3. Phone calls from telemarketers

4. Sick kids

5. Gastro

6. Colds and flu

7. Back pain

8. Interrupted sleep

9. Another month that has gone by, with the 10th coming way to fast.

10. This list

My four in onesies

Ooh my heart ❤️

Look I’m not going to lie. I can’t believe it’s been over 2 weeks since my last blog post, and this is a quick-fix for that. I was going to blog about The Whitlams song but I ended up just putting a post up on fb because it was the easy option at the time.

My back is still annoying and niggly, and I’m really needing to get moving again which is being delayed, but I’m getting treatment and it’s slowly coming good. Julius’ burn is healing very well and his “sleeve” doesn’t seem to worry him much. He has to wear it every day, with a break for a couple hours, for at least a few months. What a friggin’ champ. Can you imagine any of my other kids being okay and not whingey about it if it were them??? Or me??? Nopey nope nope.

The last two weekends saw me at two of the best weddings of my life, hands down, in every way. The first was a country wedding at the bride’s family farm for one of Frith’s best mates. It may have helped that I had four child-free nights, an 11-hour stretch of sleep, and adult conversations. But I think it was most likely all the wedding feels.

The second, on the weekend just gone, was for my dear friend of over 25 years, Beth, who married the love of her life, in their back yard at their beautiful house.

Both weddings had so many gorgeous, personal touches, and there was just so much love everywhere. I also met some new people and had some great conversations. I still find it tricky to know whether a) they know about Frith; b) I should tell them about Frith; c) if I mention Frith in conversation, which I often do, where it will lead… It’s hard to navigate sometimes, but honestly, everyone is always so supportive and loving and caring, so I needn’t worry too much. It’s just the balance of the time vs the place vs the circumstances, you know? There’s never a good time, but I also don’t want to hide that part of my life away if someone asks.

Anyway. Hello tangent!

I will give a more thorough report on both weddings, with photos, very soon, but in the mean time, I’m still here, still tap-tap-typing away 🙂

Pardon my French…

…but this week has been all shades of shite.

Well that’s not entirely true. We had Kris and Kate up for a few days over the weekend to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday and had a lovely gathering here on Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately our adventurous little Julius wanted to see how the hot water urn worked, and got burns down his hand and arm. After some time in ED on Sunday, we were referred to the burns clinic at Lady Cilento on Tuesday. He was such a trooper.

Tuesday morning I woke up and got ready for our train ride into the hospital. I felt my back twinge a bit but that’s not so unusual so off we went. By the time we arrived at the hospital I knew it wasn’t just a twinge. Again, Julius was a superstar (the drugs helped with the dressing change) and we made another appointment for Friday.

I was so grateful having Vicky, my friend and nanny and nurse with me to help pick Jules up and help me as well. By Tuesday afternoon and evening my back just kept getting worse and when I woke up yesterday, back spasms kept me in bed all morning. Every time I tried to get up, it was agony.

The pain killers I was on just weren’t cutting it and I ended up at the hospital. Unfortunately I have a feeling they thought I was just after more drugs (I do look pretty dodgy I guess) and basically just said

“yeah back pain is no good. Keep moving as much as you can but also rest. Have a nice day.”

I mean, I’ve had back pain before, but these spasms are truly something else. I have to take Jules in for his bandage change tomorrow morning, I have a physio appointment tomorrow afternoon and I’m supposed to be going to the P!NK concert tomorrow night. I don’t know that the concert will be happening 😫 But I haven’t ruled it out yet!!

I just have to make sure I’m better, or at least mobile, for my plane trip to Townsville next Thursday. I’m supposed to be away (child free) for five days to do a very good friend’s wedding.

Seriously, 2018? Enough already!!

10 things on the 10th

Will edition

1. Do you have a will?

2. If you don’t, go and organise it.

3. Now. Please?

4. The last 7 months and 10 days have been made exponentially more difficult because we didn’t have a will.

5. I now have a will. It had been on our “to do” list for a couple of years.

6. In the most awful time of my life, a will would have simplified things so much. I’m still dealing with the paperwork around Frith’s final pay from Qld Health (which would have been paid directly to me, had there been a will.)

7. Make sure your family has a will.

8. Hopefully it will just sit there for decades, and not be needed in your youth. But for your family’s sake, make it easier for them.

9. Make it a goal for before New Years Day 2019, to have your will in order.

10. Thank you.