Remember the time

There have been many stages to my grief this year. First there was shock, followed by a long period of numbness, overlapped by sadness, with some frustration, pity and bewilderment thrown in. If I’m honest, I’ve allowed myself a lot of sadness for my kids, and not a lot for myself. It’s been too hard.

There has been a lot of anger in my heart lately. A lot. It has definitely taken over the sadness; perhaps as a coping strategy. Self preservation of you will.

But tonight I allowed myself to remember some things about Frith, that I only I ever got to experience. I allowed myself to remember times when he was running late for work, all dressed up in his vest and tie and boots, me in my daggy pjs and dressing gown, hair all over the place. He would say goodbye to me, and I’d give him the biggest, longest, lingering kiss. It would stop  him in his tracks; he would be in a trance (yes, I was that good) and say “hmmmm can I stay here with you all day?”

I allowed myself to remember the quiet moments with the kids, when he didn’t know I was listening; his soft words, his cuddles, the endless number of stories he would read, or the countless times he would read Fox in Sox. He knew it by heart.

It was his birthday on Saturday. He would have turned 37. We had a family day filled with potjie, Lego, music, wine, a fire pit, movies, pjs, a skateboard, lemonade, lollies, Savanna Cider, and cheesecake. In case you don’t know, Frith hated cheesecake. But we all love it, and we all have our own memories of trying to make him like cheesecake over the years 🙂

Here was our day. Lego before…

Ice cold Savannas
Cousin cuddles around the fire
The skateboard
Brotherly love
The Lego, finished, hours later
Amazing beef cheek potjie!! Served with polenta. Thanks Ma!
The cheesecake (there was also home-made sticky date pudding and orange polenta cake that were, quite frankly, outstanding!!)
I know I’m allowed to be angry, and sad, and everything in between. But I also know it’s nice to remember some good times for myself, and not just remind the kids of all the wonderful things he used to do for them, and with them. He did a lot for me. We did a lot together. He loved me. And I need to remind myself of that every day, to keep his memory alive. And perhaps to help soften the anger that is sitting in my heart.

Finding Joy

I’m ready to laugh again.

I was at my friend’s family picnic lunch yesterday, and one thing I noticed immediately was there was so much laughter. About silly things, fun things, funny stories, banter between cousins and aunties and uncles and siblings; just so much laughter.

I wanted in on it. But it was really hard.

I still sometimes feel as though, if I’m seen to be having fun, it dishonours my grief for Frith. I feel like I’m not supposed to be having too much fun, or laughing too hard, or playing too silly with the kids.

I feel like I’m a prisoner to my grief, but it’s also mostly self-inflicted.

I still miss Frith every moment of every single day. No one denies that.

I still love Frith with my whole heart, and I ache for him. No one thinks otherwise.

I still wish with my whole heart that he hadn’t left us so young, and that the kids still had him around. Everyone knows that.

But the sadness is eating me up inside. It strips my patience and makes me constantly cranky with the kids; it has taken away my ability to laugh loudly; it denies me a light-hearted conversation about my beautiful husband, because I feel I need to inject some sadness, just so people still know I’m hurting.

You know I am. I know I am. But I’m ready to have some laughs. Frith made us laugh so hard and so often. It’s time to bring those moments of joy back to life.

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,

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.

A hundred things a day

I seem to be going through phases of struggling with particular things. Some of them pass, other times they just get added to the pile of things that are making life harder for me.

In light of recent events, I would have thought that I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff as much; that I would know what was important and what was worth getting upset over. But no. I just get frustrated and annoyed at pretty much everything. All the time.

Other drivers on the road, the kids doing kid things at a glacial speed, or the lady before me in the line at the cafe today who took an age to place her order because she changed her mind 18 times and seemed to order for 18 people, and then, bless her cotton socks, when she went to pay, she wanted to let her two primary-school aged kids use their own money for their food, so she wanted to split the bill.

Give. Me. Strength. It was all I could do not to give an audible sigh of exasperation and storm off in a huff.

I used to tell Frith everything. I would regale  him with the most stupid stories when he’d get home from work (like the one above). And if they were particularly note-worthy I would text him during the day to fill him in, or give him a chuckle. I would tell him little anecdotes about the kids and text meaningless crap every single day.

Sometimes he would text back, and if I got a call I knew it was a slow day. If I didn’t hear anything it meant he was in theatre for the day, but I would just keep sending.

It’s been three months and a day, and the stuff I want to tell him keeps piling up.

He was the only one I could tell certain things to without feeling like a horrible human being. He was the one I could make awful inappropriate jokes to and not feel judged. There were so many dumb jokes we had together that only took one word or one look for us to giggle over.

I would bounce ideas off him, and make decisions with him about so many things. He was my go to, every time.

Not having that anymore has left such a void in my life. I have friends I can talk to of course, but you know it’s not the same. I’ve tried writing to him, but you know it’s not the same. I’ve yelled and cried and asked him why, but there is only silence.

I feel like I could burst with all the crap I want to share with him. Sure, he might know it all, looking down from above, but that’s not sharing, is it.

It’s just not the same. And it really sucks.


You let her go

I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in mediums or psychics. I don’t believe in fortune tellers.

I do believe in God. And I do believe in signs.

I’ve brought my laptop down to my new favourite cafe which is at Woody Point, while my nanny (who is a friend) is at home with the boys. This is the second time I’ve done this. My last two blog posts were written here.

When I arrived, I ordered my standard coffee, which many of you know by now is a small soy cap. It occurred to me that Frith actually put me onto ordering cappuccinos. He always liked to eat the froth and chocolate off the top before hitting up the coffee underneath. He took his time, and he would judge the coffee on the amount and texture of froth.

Our favourite cafe in Wangaratta uses actual chocolate shavings as sprinkles.

This was Frith’s 30th with a very baby Chanbe. See those sprinkles!!??


Anyway my point is, I used to order soy flat whites. And not long after we got together, I changed my coffee order to caps. And funnily enough, my froth was always better than his. He often had froth envy.

I looked on the lunch menu today and saw they had a beef brisket sandwich with caramelized onions on sourdough toast. I’ve just listed three of Frith’s favourite foods, and they are all combined here. He only ever cooked two briskets in his life and they were both the best meals I’ve ever had. Hands down.

One was in Rocky (September 2015)

And one in Cairns just last November.

This is what Frith would have ordered at this cafe, and he wouldn’t have been disappointed in the least. I don’t normally like to order things that I can (and do) make at home (I never order pulled pork because quite frankly mine is the best). I ordered it without a second thought and it was absolutely on par with Frith’s.

But here’s the thing. As the meal was placed on my table, the next song to come on was “Let her go“. When Frith drove our car full of stuff down from Mount Isa to Rocky, this song was on his playlist, and he told me after that trip, that when he heard it, he got really really sad and missed me a lot. It wasn’t often he would say things like this to me. He was very free with “I love yous” and “you’re so pretty” but telling me that he missed me was a rare thing.

It was nice and I always remembered that, especially when I hear that song. So in a way, I had lunch with Frith today. He was with me in spirit. And it was nice.


When I imagine Frith in the afterlife, the word that comes to mind is clarity. Frith always had so many conflicting emotions that he was constantly trying to resolve. He would get so annoyed at himself that he couldn’t just “be happy” with what he had, and where he was at. He knew it was futile, but he was always trying to do things/buy things/move places to make him happy.

Deep down he knew that he had to find happiness in himself, and unfortunately he struggled with that. And I truly believe that he now has full understanding of his earthly feelings; everything has come to make sense to him now, and he must have a sense of relief at having this clarity wash over him. And I wonder if he’s up there, looking down at me and thinking “honey it’s okay. One day you’ll understand as well.”

At least that’s what I imagine the afterlife to be. I’d never thought much about it before now, other than “yeah there’s God and there’s heaven” and of course it has made me question so many things, and I feel like I’m in a constant state of pondering.

I guess I long for the answers that I believe Frith now has, but all I have is an endless list of questions.

Flashback Friday

This time last year, I was rather pregnant, and about to hit up the Rocky night life for a friend’s hen’s night.

I’d had a fight with Frith in the afternoon about some meaningless crap, and decided to bugger off early to have some time to myself before meeting the girls. When I got home, he was waiting up for me and apologised. He rarely apologised to be honest, and this meant a lot to me. Gosh the things we remember…

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.