Happy 2020

It’s been a busy day around here. My parents, in their usual awesomeness, have had the kids since Tuesday afternoon, so I’ve had 2 full days and nights to do whatever I choose. NYE was spent with Frith’s mate Ben which was exactly what I needed – a few drinks, easy conversation, a couple of rums at midnight followed by some Brooklyn Nine-Nine. NY day was spent with Kate, and we watched shows and movies all. day. long. It’s been years since I’ve done that, and it was just what I needed.

Today it was down to business. I completely went through all of the kids toys (except the Lego – I only had a day not a month!!!) and sorted and culled and organised to within an inch of my life! With the help of my friend Chris, and a visit from my friend Alison (bearing gifts of Prosecco!!) I got the two rooms and most of the living area done. It felt like such an achievement. I also checked the mail late in the day and received my very first 40th gift and card from my dear friend Kat. So so special.

I’m completely shattered tonight. I microwaved some leftovers, had another glass of Prosecco, and kicked back to watch some Parks and Recreation. I watched it years ago and it’s like an old friend I like to re-visit from time to time. Tonight’s episode was when Leslie and Ben get married. I actually blogged about it the first time I saw it 3 years ago!! (Scroll to the end for wedding photos 🙂 ) I bawled again, because it is just the sweetest episode, and it got me thinking about how we all need a Ron and an Ann and a Ben and Leslie and a Chris and Tom and Andy and April and Donna and even a Jerry in our lives. And I am so fortunate to have them all; to have you all.

I have so many people holding me up and keeping me going every single day with messages of love and support and encouragement; I have people who love my kids and want to spend time with them and teach them things; I have people who will let me vent and complain and whinge and get things out of my head; I have people who let me ugly cry on them, getting snot and tears all over their clothes; I have people who I can depend on who come through for us time and time again.

I know how fortunate I am to be surrounded by some of the best people around, and I want you, need you to know how grateful I am to you all. Thank you and I look forward to an incredible 2020 xxxxx

Full Disclosure

I’m not doing great.

Last night I felt so sick I was in bed by 8:15pm and asleep by 9pm. I was exhausted and completely over everything. This morning the kids were actually amazing. They were helpful and kind to each other, but I was still utterly spent. We walked and scootered to school, and I dropped the boys off at kindy. As we got to school, Chance realised he had left his show and tell at home. I was irate. I had reminded him about it before we left, and yet he’d still forgotten it. I could feel the tears coming. After huffing and puffing about it being his responsibility, I told him angrily that I would go home and get it for him. Tears were escaping my eyes, but I hid behind my floppy hat and sunnies.

I prayed I wouldn’t run into any of my lovely school mum friends. (Sorry ladies 🙁 )

I went home, grabbed the bag and drove it up to school. When I dropped it off, I was kind and loving, as I would like the kids to be with me and each other. I told Chance I love him and that I would see him in a couple of days.

So I’m not doing great.

But it feels good to say so.

I’m working closely with my psychologist and my GP. I’m tired of feeling this way; this lack of hope and joy is kind of a buzz-kill. And as I’ve mentioned, it’s easy for me to hide, as I’m good when I’m with people. But not so good when I’m just with my kids. I get tired and frustrated and irritated and I wonder if I’m always going to feel this way; I wonder why I feel this way and what I can possibly do to turn things around.

It actually pisses me off greatly, being pissed off (seemingly) all the time.

Thank you to everyone I’ve been leaning on more so than usual.

I listened to the Armchair Expert episode with Brene Brown on the drive down to the Gold Coast today. Side note: I’m in love with Dax Shepard. Oh my heart! And my head! One of the heart and mind-blowing moments I had was about how to be a fully functioning member of a society, it’s not about being completely independent, it’s about being someone on whom others can depend.

I used to be that person. For better or worse, that used to be a huge part of my identity; of what defined me. I was dependable; I was available to help out; I was always looking for ways to be of service to others, and it filled my tank; it filled my heart; it make me feel useful and valued and loved.

That is a huge part of me that I feel like I’ve lost in the last two years.

I also lost the identity of being a wife.

To say that I’m having an identity crisis is putting it lightly. Yes I’m a mum. I feel like that is my only remaining identity. And that is really hard. I love being a mum. LOVE it. But I can’t just be a mum. I need to regain some sense of myself.

But I’ve also changed so much since Frith died. It’s not about feeling like my old self again; I have come to realise that will never happen. But if I can have snippets of my old self; moments; flashes of joy; that will be enough to sustain me while I get to know Renae 2.0.

Of course I will bring my history with me; probably even most of my baggage, but I’m hoping to offload bits of it here and there as I continue along.

Oh boy. What an unload. The people-pleaser in my wants to reassure you that I’m fine. I guess I’m not fine but I’m okay. And I’m going to get better. (I have to keep telling myself this.) And if I offer to do something for you, please let me! It will help me as much as I hope it will help you.

I’m off to a Hen’s night, then a wedding on Sunday. Big time tank-filling coming up. Much love xxxxx

Flashback Friday (on a Saturday!!)

Don’t judge. I’ve been busy. Also I generally don’t know what day of the week it is anyway…

Whilst in Melbourne (blog post to come. Also Orange trip blog post to come…) we headed down to Sorrento for a night to catch up with the splendid Aunty Alida and Uncle Wayne and family. I met these gorgeous rellies of Frith’s in Melbourne, back when we were only dating, and considering moving to Melbourne for Frith to study medicine. I knew I’d hit the family jackpot with them, and it made the decision to commit to the Melbourne move much easier for sure.

The family house at Sorrento was a place Frith and I frequented in our time in Melbourne, and this trip brought back so many memories.

Me and the fire pit circa April 2009. Pre kids.
Me with the same fire pit a decade later. With booze. 🙂

I love how, in this post, I’m all “oh I’m so glad I’ve had this holiday from my exhausting life of zero children and a reception job with very little responsibility and my nights of 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep blah blah blah.” Ha ha. At the time I’m sure I thought I was tired and needed a break. So adorable…

I also love that our nephew Nathan was there with us back in 2009, and again in 2019. Back then, as a 14-year-old, Frith was giving him wheelbarrow rides and teaching him how to light the fire. It was fun to reminisce 🙂

It was so great to be surrounded by family, with the kids playing together and being looked after by our little crew. One of Frith’s cousins’ husbands was taking the kids on trailer rides on the back of their ride-on mower. Unbeknownst to me, Chance asked if he could have a go at driving the mower. Jez so kindly gave him the guidance he needed, and taught him about a wide turn to avoid colliding with the tree. It was such a small thing to do, and Jez probably didn’t think twice about it, but for me, what I saw was my son who no longer has his Dad around, having yet another wonderful male role model in his life.

It meant so much to us both, in such different ways and I’m so grateful for extended family playing their part in our lives.

Thanks guys. You are all kind and amazing and generous and loving and wonderful, and we will visit again soon. I promise xx

Ripping off band-aids

Writing this blog post after almost two months of no posts, is an example of the band-aid ripping that’s been going on lately. I’ve taken some small steps and some huge leaps in my journey of moving forward over the last month or so. Some have been joyous, some have left me weeping. But all of them have been necessary and cathartic in some way.

Take today for example. This morning, I decided it was time to take the kids back to Hidden World Playground at Fitzgibbon. It was the last place the six of us were together as a family, before we dropped Frith off at the airport and he left for Rockhampton. Until today, I hadn’t been able to face taking the kids back, worried they might remember Frith being there with them; worried how I would feel.

Friday 29th December, 2017
Last photos together

There was nothing remarkable about that park visit. I didn’t even take any photos. If I had known it would be the last time we saw Frith, I would have taken thousands. We dropped him off at the airport around 3pm and he walked away.

Band-aids are kind of gross really. Necessary sometimes for sure, but one of two things can happen when applied; the wound underneath can start to heal and you can forget all about it and let it do it’s job. In this case you can go on with your life without any interruptions, and pick up where you left off.

Alternatively, the wound can fester underneath, unbeknownst to you, until you rip the band-aid off only to find an oozing mess of infection. In this case, it’s best to let it air out and not get it dirty any time soon. I’ve had a couple of messy rip-offs, but it’s important for me to realise that it’s good to know about the gaping wound underneath. Even though it’s hard to look at, and I now have more healing to do, it’s necessary in my journey.

I also find it strangely interesting. I was convinced that my high level of self awareness protected me from any shocks or unexpected emotions coming out of the blue, but boy was I wrong. It’s tempting to whack another band-aid on and ignore the issues; the energy to deal with the boil-over that has occurred is severely lacking; but in the interest of not going completely bat-shit crazy, I will continue to delve, and see what happens.

A not-so-Rocky visit

It had been 18 months since I’d been to Rockhampton. I had planned to drive up with the kids mid last year for the school holidays, but realised about a month before I was due to go, that it wasn’t a great idea, and that even though I had said I would do it, I was allowed to change my mind. So again, this year for the mid-year holidays, I’d planned to drive the kids up for a visit. But it just didn’t sit well. Every time I thought about taking the kids back, and the emotions it might stir up, I just felt ill.

So again, I canned the trip. For them, anyway. Instead, I got some cheap (ish) mid-week flights and headed up one Tuesday morning, and home Wednesday night.

I was still dreading it. I had no idea how I would feel, seeing the house again; seeing other people in our house; seeing friends again who I hadn’t seen in ages. But thankfully, the house looked amazing and the tenants who had just moved in a few months ago really love living there. How could you not love a house with a huge deck and this view…

Our view for three amazing years. I really do miss it some days.

I caught up with some friends and got a great night sleep, which really is what it’s all about when I go away. I feel like I got a good mix of catch ups and rest, and didn’t cram too much in. It actually wasn’t as emotional as I thought it might have been, and now that I’ve been back on my own, I’m much more confident to take the kids with me next time.

Until next time Rocky.

When life gives you lemons…

…just order a shit sandwich, a Gin and Tonic, and dive right in.

These are lemons from my lemon tree. They are huge and juicy and I love having a citrus tree in my garden. When I started writing this post in my head a couple of months ago, the tag line was “when life gives you lemons…. share them with your friends” and it was going to be about how in the past 18 months I’ve shared a lot of my life-lemon moments with my people. Oh and how I’ve also shared my actual garden lemons with them too.

The point I think I wanted to get across was that the more people you have in your life to share your lemons with, both theoretical and physical, the less sour your life will be.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in such a mood, on and off, these past 10 or so days, that the post in my head took a turn for the cynical, and here I am. You see, on Sunday, my back situation started steadily declining, and by the afternoon I knew I was in a bit of trouble. Monday I spent in bed resting, but around 5pm, it went into one hell of a spasm and I just thought “of course.”

At 4 in the morning, when I had three kids in my bed and couldn’t sleep, I was messaging my friend in the UK (hi Kat!) and said “Without sounding completely hopeless I’m not even bloody surprised. I’m just like oh yeah. That seems about right” to which she responded “Sucks when you start to get used to the shit sandwiches”.

I couldn’t quite figure out if it was sad and cynical, or actually kind of dark and comical. I just wanted to give a big old “up yours” (my new favourite emoji, BTW) to the universe and be done with it.

Thankfully, with the help of some good drugs, my back was okay to fly and I had a marvellous trip to Rocky. And maybe it’s not a bad thing that things don’t rattle me much these days. It’s not like I’m waiting for shit sandwiches to be served to me on gold platters, it’s more that when they are, I can stomach them without too much drama.

And while life, and my tree, keeps giving me lemons, I know I have a whole bunch of people I can share them with. Maybe even in a G&T or two 🙂

Weekend Wonders

I think I’m still recovering from a very eventful weekend, and it’s Thursday, so we are already preparing for the next weekend!! Darby’s Godfather, Uncle Felix came up from Orange on Friday morning to Monday evening, and it was jam-packed with goodness!

It’s always a good time when Uncle Felix visits, like this time, and this time among others, in the past.

I had been making a to-do list for us to work on, with bits and pieces around the house that needed to be done. I bought my first power drill (woot woot!!) and in between making snacks for the kids, eating good food and drinking Prosecco, we got so much done!

Of course, there was plenty of time to play!

Friday night is always movie night!!

We hit the op-shop together on Saturday, for old time’s sake, and instead of the kids pestering me about buying crap, I directed them to Felix. Let’s just say he made a sizeable donation to Lifeline that morning, and our toy boxes are a little more full…

We had an awesome afternoon at home, after Uncle Jacques and Chance rode their bikes, and Felix ran, from Mum and Dad’s place. It’s about 10km and the weather was perfection!!

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, then headed up to Maroochydore to visit Felix’s family who were staying up at Cotton Tree. The weather was just as incredible, and the kids had two big swims in the pool, and we had a trip to the playground.

Felix’s Ouma then took us all out to dinner at an amazing Japanese restaurant at around 6pm, and the food was great, but the company was even better.

The kids were so well behaved. Honestly I was really blown away. There were only a few brain-farts during the day, and zero meltdowns which, after being awake and racing around ALL DAY, was a bloody miracle! The kids passed out in the car as we left at 7:15 and we got to listen to our own music and chat all the way home.

The next morning we took Julius’ new wheels, thanks to his Fairy Godmother Hayley, for a spin on the school drop-off.

And got through another bunch of stuff while we only had the two younger boys. When it was time to say goodbye that afternoon, the kids were so sad, but we are already planning a trip to visit Felix and his beautiful wife and baby girl in Orange in a few months.

I was pretty sad to see him go as well. Now more than ever, it is so incredibly important for me to fill my kids’ lives with amazing male role models, and I’m so fortunate to have people like Felix, as well as Uncle Jacques and Cousin Nathan (and others!!) who are such a wonderful influence and presence in their lives.

Until next time!!!

“I’ve never seen you cry”

I have written this post over a few hours and a few glasses of wine. It’s not overly edited, a little raw, and I’ll appreciate reading it tomorrow, and in the years to come I’m sure.

Today was really hard. Not all of it mind you. Parts of it were utterly lovely. I took the kids to Sandgate Uniting Church for the first time this morning for the 9am service. I had my game face on; I had done some research and knew a few names from my time working for the Uniting church over a decade ago, and being a leader at Sandgate UC Youthgroup 20 years ago (gulp). And I knew that there would be welcoming smiles and a cuppa and Monte Carlo bikkie at the end.

I went in, armed with a calm voice and a kind mantra to myself. Guys, the kids blew me away. They were so well behaved and apart from a few very minor brain farts from Darby, I was incredibly pleased and super proud of them. We chatted to a few people afterwards, and Chance and Quinn are even keen to go to Day Camp this year. Day camp is where Frith and I met (we were leaders) for the first time 20 years ago this coming July.

When we got home, Quinn melted down over something (seemingly) minor, which was followed by about 20 minutes of her screaming/crying/pleading with me to help her but not being able to tell me how. I tried sitting with her and talking to her but she was such a hot mess of emotions. We got there with distraction (I showed her old videos of herself as a toddler) and some soft words.

My tank had taken a big hit, and it was only lunch time.

We then headed over to Mum and Dad’s to celebrate Dad’s birthday (it’s tomorrow) and we had such a great time. There were friends of my parent’s whom I hadn’t seen in a while and they are such great people and wonderful company. The kids pretty much kept to themselves downstairs watching their new favourite show “The Deep“. I had such a great time talking to our friends and eating wonderful food prepared by mum and dad. Just lovely.

Then we headed home and Woollies dropped off my order not long after that. Quinn was being incredibly helpful with putting things away and I commented to her about how proud I was of her and how helpful she was being. I felt so relieved that we were done with the outbursts for the day.

But I was wrong. Boy was I wrong. At around 5:30pm shit went down. And the shit hit the fan. And then shit was flung all over the walls. You get the idea…

I can’t even tell you where it all went wrong. I think Quinn pushed Darby over to get past him to get to me and demanded to know what was for dinner. I asked her to ask nicely and it was on like Donkey Kong. There was hitting and kicking and screaming and demands and crying and more screaming. I kept as calm as possible, but felt utterly helpless and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t talk her off the ledge.

I told her that before anything else could happen, she needed to apologise to me for hitting and being rude. She is such a stubborn little thing. Just like her Dad. Frith rarely apologised to me when he really should have. So so stubborn and argumentative. She was wearing me down, and fast.

Then she took it out on the boys as well and I just lost my cool. Not at her, but something broke inside of me. I started crying a little to myself in the kitchen, starting to think about a few people I could call to come and give me a hand. Honestly, the neighbours must be wondering who the hell has moved into their street. It would be hard not to judge. I know I would find it hard if I didn’t know any kind of back story and all I heard were screams of “Mama!!! Mama!!! Pleeeeeeeease!!!!” (Please make it better immediately somehow.)

Then Chance and Darby were having a pillow fight in the lounge room and knocked a bottle of wine off the sideboard. I heard the bang and looked at the wine on the floor and fell apart. Not about the wine, clearly, (plus it had only split the cap and there was just a puddle, not a bottle of wine in a million pieces) but just the feeling of helplessness; of utter desperation.

I let the tears pour out, knowing it was what I needed in this situation; knowing it was a perfectly acceptable response to my immediate and surrounding circumstances. You see, I’ve been on antidepressants for almost a year which have been numbing the pain. Before that, I was just running on adrenaline; keeping my head above water; keeping going for the kids; functioning at such a high and unsustainable level, that when I came down with a crashing thud in June last year, medication was a good option suggested to me.

Then when Frith’s brother Etienne passed away, something had to give and I started on the meds. They numbed me. They were doing the job I needed them to do, and it enabled me to just keep going with the kids; they enabled me to buy a house and move for the last time in a long time; they enabled me to deal with the big highs and lows the kids were having; but they also took away my ability to really feel those highs a lows myself. I have been on a slow simmer for months.

After talking to my GP, I have reduced my dose (which was very low to start with) by half, and I’ve felt more like myself these past two weeks than I have in years. It’s nice. I’m just chugging away on the half dose, and certainly feeling less cloudy than I have in a long time.

And it means I can cry.

I have not been able to cry for months. Not properly. In fact, one of the reasons I spoke to my GP about reducing my meds was because I had no avenue for release. When shit went down with the kids, I was like a pressure cooker with nowhere for the steam to go. It would just build up and I would get angry and feel out of control with nowhere for the emotion to go. I needed that release; I needed to cry and be able to move on.

So tonight I cried. I howled, all the while Quinn was continuously yelling “Mama mama mama mama mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”

Darby asked me why I was crying. He said “Mama it’s okay, the bottle didn’t smash!” Ha ha. He thought I was crying about the spilled wine. I kept crying. I didn’t say anything to him. The last few months of pressure was pouring out in tears and snot and sobs. “Mama why are you crying?” Darby asked again.

I could feel Quinn’s presence behind me; I could sense her apprehension; I could hear her quietness. I walked over and sat down as my cry subsided. I didn’t cut myself off; I was aware that I needed this, and that I also needed her to see it. Not to make her feel bad or to feel like she was to blame, but to help her understand that I am not a robot. To help her see that her actions had made someone she loves more than anything in the world, feel really sad.

Why are you crying?

I’m crying because I don’t know how to make you feel better and I get really sad when my kids are upset and I can’t make them feel better. I’m crying because I’m really upset. Maybe I’ll feel better after I have a cry.”

To be honest I don’t know exactly what I said, but I wanted to be as honest as I possibly could, while still being age-appropriate with how much I shared.

I’m sorry Mama.”

Followed by lots of hugs and soft words.

At dinner a few minutes later, the mood was light and calm. I said something along the lines of “what did we all learn today? Maybe we learnt that Mama sometimes cries too?”

I’ve never seen you cry before, Mama” said Quinn.

I certainly haven’t tried to hide my emotions from the kids, I just haven’t been able to get them out. Now they have seen me cry, maybe they will see me as more human; as more vulnerable; maybe a little softer than the Mama they have gotten to know these last 17 months.

I wish I could say the rest of the evening turned around after that, but after a disastrous bath session with the four of them in the tub, and far too much water out of the bath, I put them all to bed straight after, at 7pm. The three younger kids were out to it within 10 minutes, and Chance was asleep just after 7:30. I knew they were tired, I’m just glad they didn’t resist.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. All I know is, I needed the cry, and they needed to see it. And I am drinking the wine that they compromised. I’ve been dreading cleaning up the kitchen (only a mild disaster), but I’ve just realised that it can wait until tomorrow. I don’t need to put that pressure on myself.

That’s where I’m at this fine Sunday evening. At least the wine is still okay… 🙂

~ Drops mic. Walks away… ~

It’s been too long!

Hey guys! How’s things?! Gosh it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know I missed the 10 things this month; I was even going to do a “20 things on the 20th” yesterday, but missed that as well! It’s all been happening around here; up/down, good/bad/ugly, and everything in between!

Most importantly, Julius turned 2!!

This kid cracks me up. He is getting more and more communicative and adorable by the day. And so independent and full of ideas!! Still happy to (mostly) go along with the other kids, but he’s learning to stand his ground, that’s for sure!

I was pretty pleased with the cake I made for him too.

Chance and Quinn and I got so hooked on Lego Masters. What a great show!! I was super skeptical to be honest, but I loved how it really was all about the building and not about the drama. After putting the boys to bed, we would wait until they were asleep and sneak the TV on. It was lovely actually!

Speaking of lovely, Mothers Day was really nice this year. I went out the evening before for my cousin’s birthday, and while Darby and Jules had a sleepover at Gran and Grumpy’s, I got a great night sleep at home, and Chance and Quinn got themselves up and put the TV on and let me sleep in until 9:30!! Had a nice catch up with Gran and Grumpy for brunch and then back home for rest time, movie time, gardening, and fish and chips for dinner. Then the seven of us watched Lego Masters together! 🙂

This was the view from our house the other morning!

I found an Easter Egg last week that the kids obviously missed in the egg hunt!! Bonus!!

We got a pet fighting fish that the kids named Jeffrey, after a character in a show they watch called Deep. The character is also a fish. The kids want guinea pigs, but a fish is even better!! 🙂

I think that is just about everything to catch you all up! I have a few blog posts kicking around in my head at the moment, but am finding it hard to get the motivation up when I have the time, and adding brain space to the equation… well….. it’ll happen some time I hope!

I don’t really want to join in the choruses of “I can’t believe it’s May already” but honestly, I feel like I’ve lost a year. I know I can’t get it back; I know I can’t turn back the clock, and I know I have to find a way forward, and to forgive myself for my unhealthy lifestyle, knowing it doesn’t have to be like this forever. But gosh it’s hard. Some days are better than others, but generally I’m just finding the day-to-day grind takes everything out of me.

I wish I could outsource my “self care”, but I guess that’s the point. It’s about putting myself first, if only for half and hour a day, to recharge, so I can be a better Mama, and a nicer person to myself.

Now I might have a quick nap before the afternoon shenanigans begins!

Aaaaaaaaaand Julius just woke up….

A Mixed Bag

And it’s not even the 10th of the month! Although it seems to be fast approaching! Ugh. In fact, it is May the 4th today, International Star Wars Day. A lot of random things have been popping in to my head the last few days. What better place to share them, than here!

I love my kids, and I love watching movies at home. However, I do not like watching movies at home with my kids. They get so excited that I’m sitting with them, that they jump all over me and ask a million questions. Hard pass.

The kids are watching Ratatouille tonight. As a rule, I generally don’t like when animals and people interact in movies, but I love this movie. I also loved eating some delicious pasta with sauce from my freezer, made with love by my lovely friends who visited a few weeks ago. Delicious thanks ladies!!!

Me and the lovely Sarah

I spent a whole day (finally!) yesterday, child-free and unpacking and organising and sorting my house and it finally feels like my home. As I was getting ready for my shower last night, I found a piece of Lego stuck to my boob. I remembered that earlier, I was picking stuff up, I found some Lego and didn’t have a pocket so I stuffed it in my bra. Classy as.

People keep telling me to take time out for myself. And I do try, but Quinn has been particularly clingy lately (and super feisty!!) so “me time” is often “us time” but I do love colouring in, so it’s quite lovely. Today we had a couple of hours to kill while Chance was at a party, and I wanted to hit up a couple of op-shops, and she didn’t want to, so I pestered her for an hour until she finally caved. Winning.

Julius turns two in two weeks. He is so hilarious and cute and a delight and funny and adorable. But he is also nearly two, and he is all that comes with that territory. And I’m being re-introduced to all the challenges that come with two-year-olds. The tantrums, the defiance, the lack of effective communication skills, the getting in to everything, the fussy eating etc etc. It did occur to me that this is the first time I have had a two-year-old without a newborn in tow, so that’s got to be a plus, right? RIGHT???

Look at that strut!!

Julius has also be sick on and off all year. Hoping to have at least a few weeks off from illness now please!!!

Poor Bubba 🙁

Anyway, back to the date today. May the 4th has a very different meaning for me these days. It’s the day that Dr Andrew Bryant Died by suicide in 2017. My mum showed me the article when it came out, as he was her doctor at the time, and I remember it really saddened me. The day after Frith died, I told my cousin about the article that I had remembered, and told her that I needed to somehow get in touch with this Doctor’s wife. And because it’s Brisbane, my cousin knew someone who knew the family, and days later, I had Sue’s email address. We have been meeting up semi-regularly (not enough!) ever since, and she has been an amazing support to me.

So, Andrew, I never met you, but you sound like you were so like Frith; always the life of the party, quirky, intelligent, and a very deep thinker, and so much more. I hope the two of you are out there in The Force somewhere, watching over us all.