Flashback Friday

The night we first kissed. 25th November 2006.

I was at a work conference and I snagged him a ticket to the conference dinner. He had just arrived back from 10 days overseas the day before and insisted on coming to see me. This is where we, for want of a better phrase, finally hooked up. We hit the d-floor, a slow number came on, and he went in for the pash. Yeah, super classy. My work colleagues were very mature about the whole thing.

If he saw this outfit now he would find it hilarious. Loose shirt, no vest, and super daggy tie. And I was in love. The start of something pretty darn amazing.

I don’t cry myself to sleep

I can’t. I just can’t.

I’m scared that if I start, I’ll fall into the giant chasm of despair, that’s waiting for me ever so quietly, patiently, and I’m not sure I would have the strength to claw myself back out.

I can’t think much about my new reality. I just can’t. How can I acknowledge the fact that the kids are going to grow up without their Dad? How can I even contemplate the idea that Darby and Julius will have absolutely no memory of Frith? And that Quinn will only have snippets and stories and photos? And that Chance’s heart will always be a bit sad and heavy with the absence of such an amazing Dadda.

I just can’t.

You say that I’m being brave and strong. I feel neither courage nor strength; it’s just my survival and Mama bear instincts getting me out of bed every day. I do it because I can’t bare the thought of the kids losing me to the grief that simmers just below the surface.

Don’t make me imagine my life without him. We had plans. We had dreams. We had ideas. We had choices. And we made them all together. Don’t ask me to now make them all on my own.

Don’t tell me my husband is gone for good.

I’ll tell you I’ll deal with it another day.

10 things on the 10th

10 things I never got to tell/ask Frith

1. That his best mate bought a Kia family car. I knew Frith would have given him so much curry over it and it would have been hilarious.

2. That he was enough. Right there and then. That he was enough.

3. I never got to share my awesome password that I made up for my main password list that is the MOTHER of all awesome passwords.

4. That I would have done anything to make him happy. If I could have.

5. That his mate and I had talked about sending him on this awesome medical camping trip in Tasmania this year.

6. I would have asked him if there was anything he thought he might like to do differently in our life.

7. That the school the kids now attend is “allergy aware” instead of “nut free”.

8. That we could have had a simple life and been perfectly happy.

9. I would have told him to be a teacher for a few years. Like an actual teacher in a school.

10. Could I have ever thought to ask him if he had ever ever thought about ending his life? I don’t know.

These are not regrets, or things that keep me up at night. Some of these things do weigh on my mind a little, but I’m trying not to feel regret over them. It’s just how it is.

Frith in his natural habitat ❤

Flashback Friday

This is waaaaaaay way back! Circa 1980. I’m the teeny tiny bubba, maybe a month or two old? And that’s my brother, about 18 months old, with Grandpa and Nanny.

If you’re new to the blog, you may not know that Nanny, who was my Dad’s mum, was very special to me. She and Grandpa both passed away in 2011. I’ve blogged about them a lot over the years, but this post  probably gives you the best idea about what kind of amazing lady she was.

I can just imagine, when Frith got to heaven, Nanny marching over and saying to him in her thick Russian accent “Come here I shmack you.”

Give him one from me too, Nanny. Then take good care of each other xxx

Today I went to the dentist

It seems like such a dumb thing to do. My husband died two months ago and it occurs to me that I’m due to go to my dentist for a check up. Frith used to make fun of the fact that I would book dentist visits when I came to Brisbane on holiday.

But he’s my dentist. He’s the only dentist I see. Sure I’ve tried other dentists but no one measures up to mine. I’ve been going to him for over 20 years and he’s the best.

So I made an appointment. Life goes on doesn’t it? I thought it best to get it out of the way before health insurance premiums change next month. I still think about practical things like that, even though I think it’s crazy to be thinking these things at this point in time. It’s just who I am. Mrs Practical.

I guess that’s why Frith always found it amusing, but he wasn’t surprised. He knew who he married.

I had to get a filling today. My first one in years. I didn’t want to talk about Frith and why I am living with my parents, and thankfully he didn’t ask. He’s a good dentist but/because he doesn’t do small talk. I just had to keep it together for the needle and not start crying.

Mission accomplished.

The last time I booked a dentist visit on our holiday, Frith came in to town with me and Chance and Quinn (about 18 months ago) and took the kids for a wander around town. While he was making fun of me, instead of getting defensive I joked that I’d also booked a pap smear and a colonoscopy while I was at it. Just to really cut loose on my holiday.

That was in July 2016. We were all down here for Frith’s PhD graduation ceremony and I think we stayed for over a week. It was such a good week too. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Life goes on.

I’m feeling sore and sorry for myself so I’ve also booked a spa pedi this evening thanks to a voucher from my gorgeous friend. That’ll cheer me up a little bit for sure.

This is the photo from that week, at Frith’s grad ceremony ❤❤❤

A slow learner

I had a face-palm moment this evening. I’m totally spent. I’m the most tired and exhausted I’ve been all year, and it’s been an exhausting year. I feel like I’ve been super snappy and impatient with the kids, which makes them snappy back, and the situation always escalates.

Tonight, I was just too tired to argue. Anytime they did something that frustrated me, I just honestly didn’t have the energy to react. So I kindly spoke to them, and the response has (obviously) been a much smoother evening.

I know this guys. I’m pretty sure most parents know the theory, but the practice is hard, because parenting is a tiring and monotonous job. But then I likened it to being an adult in an adult situation, and what happens when you fight with your partner.

I happened upon this blog post the other day, that I wrote about a year ago. The general gist is that I was (finally) learning that the best way to deal with conflict in marriage is with kindness. Which is really hard sometimes when another adult pisses you off, you just want to give them the finger and tell them to get stuffed. Sure, a good old fashioned fight with some yelling and huffing isn’t the worst thing from time to time, but before things escalated in an argument with Frith, and before I got defensive, I started to really try to diffuse the situation with kindness and understanding, and pretty much every time, it was a winner.

And it’s the same with kids. Only they haven’t learned the latter approach. They are still of the screaming/defiant/stomping/crying method. It’s up to me as their mum to respond with (somewhat firm) kindness. Any time I respond with yelling/annoyance/frustration/threats, things escalate and I always have a battle on my hands to bring them back down.

Tonight, as I was feeding Julius off to sleep, the three kids came downstairs, and after Chance and Quinn couldn’t find me, they went to their room and started colouring in. I was waiting for Darby to come into my room and wake Jules up by jumping on the bed to keep me company, so as he walked into the room, I greeted him with a whisper of “Hey buddy! How’s it going? Would you like to gently sit on the bed and wait for me to finish with Jules, and then we can read a story together?”

The response? A whisper of “okay Mama” before he sat down quietly on the edge of the bed. That’s when I had my ah-ha moment. Honestly it was the sweetest thing. Normally I was yell-whisper not to disturb us, and he would always, in an act of defiance, jump on the bed, while I imagined him giving me the finger and telling me to get stuffed.

It is SO hard, sometimes seemingly impossible, not to lose my cool when things reach crisis point, but I really hope I can remember this evening, and that it serves as a reminder to me that my kids are just little humans that have to be taught big life skills. And now it’s up to me to do that.

My awesome foursome

Flashback Friday

How could I possibly not share this collage of Darby at 6 months old.

First food faces are the absolute best aren’t they?

And how can I possibly not share this one too, taken just a few days later.

And look at our little nugget now. Well, not so little that’s for sure! Still making us laugh with his antics, and still has a heart of gold.

2 months today

I don’t do boots, but I do do Docs. (ha ha. do do…)

And Docs be Docs.

And I be in love. I bought these today and thought of Frith the whole time.

Honey, you were the king of boots and the king of cool, when you weren’t being the king of the nerds. We bought these RM Cuban Heels at the local Lifeline for $20. (Yes, $20, not $200). And you rocked them for three-and-a-half years. I still have them now.

May 2014

You are always in my heart and soul. Of my shoe.
Keeping it punny just for you.
And rhyming too!
I love you xxxx

Tonight I had the end bits

Frith’s favourite part of any cooked meat was the end bits. Juicy yet crispy, meaty yet fatty, and just all delicious goodness. I would always serve them to him, to show him in a small way that I was thinking about him and that I loved him. He appreciated this small gesture, and devoured those end bits with a big cheesy grin.

While we lived at college, after a few months the cooks got used to him asking for the end bits of roasts, so they would put a pile of them aside just for him. It was really the sweetest thing. I remember one time they piled his plate so high with them as a bit of a joke. I can’t remember if he ate it all, but he would have given it a red hot go.

Tonight I cooked a roast lamb and decided to serve myself the end bits.

I can totally see why they were his favourite. I devoured them myself and started thinking about all the meals we shared over the years. SO many meals. SO much food. And so many people we shared them with.

I still can’t believe he’ll never eat with us again. That doesn’t seem right to me. I found his BBQ the other day and wondered if it would ever be lit up again. The kilos upon kilos of meat that he cooked in that thing is immeasurable. It’s times like this that I just want to ask him what on earth was he thinking in that moment of pure madness. There were so many more good times to be had, and now I’ll have to have them without him.

The numbness and shock is wearing off, and what is left is frustration and sadness and anger and desperation and everything in between. At the end of the day I have nothing left to give, and that’s when the kids need me the most. Thank God for my parents being able to step in and help with stories and bedtime, and for my wonderful family and friends who are helping out in many other ways. I hate how frustrated I get with the kids when they take ages to go to sleep. It was hard enough when Frith was around; now some nights it seems impossible.

I wish I could say I was doing better, but I feel as though things are going to get worse for a while, before they improve. It’s like I’m slowly thawing out and things are hitting me in a much more real and permanent way.

Like those end bits of meat. And finding his boots. And looking at photos of him with the kids. And not knowing how or when to tell the kids what actually happened. I’m tired of talking about it, but don’t feel like I have anything else to say, or the energy to say it.

So instead I will write. I will make plans that, even though they don’t include him, would excite him and honour him. I will make photo books for the kids. I will keep his memory alive, as there was so much good in him and so many wonderful things that will never leave us. And I will say goodnight to him every night, wherever he is.

But most of all, it just occurred to me, I will give myself a break, and time to just be with these feelings. Yeah. Just be.