Flashback Friday

June 2015, this was us. Frith trying to play video games with Chance (4) playing Lego on his lap, Quinn (2) stealing my bikkie, and 6 month old Darby making his presence known 🙂

I just noticed that my coffee was finished, yet Frith hadn’t even touched his. Situation normal. I always drank my coffee fast, (I still do) as I like it hot, whereas Frith liked to make it last as long as he could. There was also probably kahlua in these coffees, I’m not going to lie. When I’d make Frith a coffee on the weekend, he would ask “is it special?” to which I’d respond “you’re special.”

Silly stuff, but to be honest that’s the stuff that makes the bulk of a marriage. And still makes me smile.

He died with a full moon in his hands

On New Years Eve, there was a full moon. I remember sitting on Mum and Dad’s deck, looking at it, soaking it in, thinking about our deck in Rocky and the number of times we had sat out there and watched the moon come up over the mountains.

I was thinking of Frith and wondered if he was thinking of me too. We had been texting during the evening. Just fun, silly stuff. He was sending me photos of him and our friends, I was telling him about the very adult conversations I was having with my parents and their neighbours.

I looked at the moon and went to bed just after midnight.

Frith left this world early the next morning, probably while the full moon was still up. At the start of each month, as another full moon rises and casts light over the bay, I breathe it in. I see Frith in it’s beauty; it’s magic; it’s stillness; in it’s peace.

Four months on, I realise that a full moon will now always remind me of him. I picture him holding it in his hands, as I hold him in my heart.

An open letter to Missy Higgins

Dear Missy,

Gosh I don’t even know where to start. You have been such a huge part of my music life for such a long time now, and you still continue to amaze and excite me. Ever since you were Unearthed back in 2001, I have followed your career. I was at your very intimate album launch at The Zoo for The Sound of White in 2004/05 with just you up on stage. What an incredible gig.

I also saw you at The Tivoli among a few other places over those early years. Your songs All for Believing and The Special Two actually inspired me to get back with my ex in 2006. As it turned out he wasn’t “the one” though, I don’t blame your songs for me giving it another go 🙂 I came to see things more clearly, in hindsight, when I heard your cover of Stuff and Nonsense. It could have been written about that relationship.

It was your song Steer that reminds me of the man who ended up being “the one”. It was played a lot on FM radio at the time we got together, so whenever I hear it I think of our early days, all loved up with nothing but time on our hands and dreams in our hearts. We married at the end of that year.

Though we were very limited in our musical abilities – we both played bass (poorly) and karaoked for fun (I used to do a pretty mean rendition of Scar that still gets talked about) – we always had music playing in our home.

Most recently, your album The ol’ Razzle Dazzle got played a lot. So much so that our three eldest children (of four) got to know the words and would sing along to Hello Hello, among other songs. It wasn’t until months after I’d started playing that album that I really listened to the final song, Sweet Arms of a Tune. I was in love. It is so beautiful and it touched me so deeply. The bitter sweetness of it is truly marvellous.

I’m sorry to tell you that I lost my beloved husband, Frith, on New Years Day this year to suicide. There have been so many songs that I hear now that remind me of him and our wonderful 11 years together. But the other night, driving home from a friend’s place, with my sweet children snuggled in their car seats, I put that album on. When that song came on, it hit me really hard.

He told her when she played
Wings sprouted from her shoulder blades…

Frith used to call me his angel in our early years together.

… oh and how she’d longed to say, that she’d missed his troubled ways
and if she could she’d do it all again
Sometimes every word has been used
and there’s nothing left to do
but hold the one you can’t have in the sweet arms of a tune

… now he’s sitting on her floor
she’s playing all the minor chords
wishing so damn hard he’d kiss her like before (
I wish this more than anything)

Cos sometimes every inch of you is bruised  (I wish I knew how he was feeling)
and there’s nothing left to do (was there something I could have done?)
but hold the one you can’t have in the sweet arms of a tune
yeah hold the one you can’t love, in the sweet arms of a tune.

Your words just floored me. I’ve heard them a hundred times before, but the other night I heard them in a new way. I’m holding on to Frith so tightly with every one of “our songs”, and I can tell you, there are so many. And this one just got added to the list.

I’ve been a bit out of the loop with new things this year as you can imagine, and I just saw that your new album came out last week. And ironically the first song I listened to from it, while writing this, was Cemetery. It’s a great song by the way.

Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. I will keep listening and will make plans to come and see you live again some time.

Yours in the sweet arms of a tune,
Renae

Flashback Friday

This was the photo shoot for our 2016 Christmas card. Frith would always set up the timer and would take about 100 photos (1 per second) and we would hope to find a good one to use for my annual Christmas mailout.

For the first 100, we got the framing a bit wrong! Otherwise this one could have been the one!

This was towards the start of the second round
This was when 2-year-old Darby ran off
This was where Frith was tickling Chance
This was when Darby got curious
And, if memory serves correct, this was the money shot
Frith always preferred photos of him where he wasn’t looking at the camera, and I just think this photo captured us all. I was pregnant with Jules at the time as you can see from one of Frith’s test shots 🙂

Wasn’t he a lucky fellow 😉

Frith was always passionate about taking photos, and our annual Christmas photo was always so much fun. He did take it pretty seriously though. Where I’m more of a “point and shoot and that’ll do” kinda gal, he would set up the lighting, take test shots, and make sure the final product was magic. And it always was.

I don’t know

How are you going?
I don’t know

How do the kids feel about it all?
I don’t know

Why do you think he did it?
I don’t know

How could he leave you alone with the kids?
I don’t know

Where do you think you’ll settle down?
I don’t know

When will you go back to work?
I don’t know

What sort of work will you do?
I don’t know

What on earth was he thinking?
I don’t know

Were there any warning signs?
I don’t know

What can I do to help?
I don’t know

These are some of the many questions I’ve been asked this year, and I don’t mind. Truly, as long as everyone doesn’t mind that I just. Don’t. Know. You don’t have to stop asking though, as one day I’ll be able to answer them. At least, most of them.

Solo week away

I’ve been trying to blog about my week away for over a week now, but I’ve been having some photo uploading issues. That and I’m addicted to The Crown. Moving on…

When the school holidays were fast approaching, I decided I really wanted to get away with the kids for a week, preferably with someone else on hand to help out. I then realised that Nanna’s 100th birthday fell on the middle Sunday of the school holidays, so if I was going to go away, it would have to be the Gold Coast. I jumped on line and found something fairly reasonably twice (reasonable after 2 glasses of wine on a Friday night if I’m being honest!) and just booked it.

So on the Friday in the middle of the school holidays, armed with my niece and brother-in-law (who drove the kombi), we set off down the coast.

I had rented a 3 bedroom townhouse on a canal in Elanora called Isle of Palms, and honestly, apart from being a bit on the small side, it was perfect. There was a lot of this:

Josie and Jacques only stayed until after the party on Sunday, and after that, it was just me and the kids, and my father-in-law 10 minutes away.

Even though I was a little apprehensive, part of me definitely wanted to know that I could do this whole “solo parenting” thing, so I went in armed with patience, loose plans, a positive attitude, and plenty of snacks, and gave it my best shot.

And you know what? We did all right. Better than all right. The place was just fantastic for the kids, and we got to spend a lot of time with “Poppy” (Frith’s Dad.) This was at our back door.

I did every evening on my own, and thanks to allowing them to watch TV every night while I put Jules to sleep, everything went really well and they were all out to it by 8:30pm each night. Which meant it was time for Commonwealth games watching with a glass of wine for me! Winning!

I was definitely exhausted by the time we were heading home, but I had booked in a sleep in for the Sunday morning, so I had that to look forward to. All in all an amazing week, and I would definitely go back to this place!

Flashback Friday

Frith all packed up and ready to drive the Land Cruiser during our move from Mount Isa to Rocky, January 2015. We met him there. He made an awesome playlist for the trip that I still have today. He was really into making awesome playlists. It’s comforting to listen to them now. Something else he left for me to remember him by.

Thanks again for that damn globe, Felix 🙂

Nanna is 100

I’ll let the photos tell the story… (mostly…)

My kids just love running around with their cousins, and their cousins are incredibly loving and generous with their time and enthusiasm. Such a gift.

Jules taking Uncle Jacques for a walk (one of many!)

Cousin love (second cousins? I don’t know. They’re all cousins to me!)
Nathan and Chance just hanging out together. This was roughly the age gap between Frith and Nathan (nephew) when they were growing up. My heart swelled watching them together.
“Quinn can I please take a photo of you?”
“Yep hang on while I get ready.”
Such a poser!

We had such a lovely afternoon, and as Darby lay asleep in my arms at around 4pm, I counted many many blessings in my life. Family, cousins in particular; all of whom came into my life, or were brought into my life, because of my love for Frith. Although he wasn’t there that day, he was never far from all of our thoughts, and he certainly brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart on a few occasions. He truly is always with us.

Flashback Friday

This photo was taken a year ago, on a work day at 7:11am.

“Can I do up your buttons Dadda?”

Already running late for work, Frith would never say no to his kids. No matter how long it took. Gosh I hope the kids remember this stuff. And if not I’m so glad I have these little moments documented.

And just to take the edge off, we were also dealing with head lice. It went on for weeks and weeks and the only effective method was conditioner + combing.

The three kids, (Jules was still tucked away in my tummy) every second day for 10 days. More than once!  Friggin nightmare!

An old story

This is an old story that I just remembered and wanted to document here.

Just after we moved to Melbourne, (2008!) I had to meet up with someone Frith knew who I’d never met. When we found each other, she told me “I knew it was you. Frith described you as “tall and pretty” and here you are!”

I replied with “really? That doesn’t sound like something he would say?” But she was adamant that that’s how he described me. I was still skeptical but let her think it anyway.

I asked him about it later. “Honey, just out of curiosity, how did you describe me to your friend?”

“Pretty tall…”

Ah. There it is. That was more like it. ❤