He then said to me 'you are the best thing that happened in my life. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be who I am today. You saved my life and I love you so much. You are my best friend'. He tells me this quite often, but hadn't said it for a while so it was really nice to hear and I did just listen and didn't butt in. When he finished telling me I looked at him and said 'thanks Babe, I love you too' and he looked surprised and said 'what!? you are going to have a go at me!?' and I just laughed and said 'no - that was just really nice'.
When we arrived at St Helens he wanted to go fishing off the jetty with the boys. I was keen to go to the beach after the long drive, and usually Aaron would want to as well, but instead he insisted that we went fishing.
I now wonder whether he would've passed away earlier if we had gone to the beach instead of fishing as he would've been jumping in the waves and exerting himself. I hate to even imagine what that would've been like if my family wasn't with me when it happened.
He got the boys set up with their rods and then Harri lasted for all of 10 minutes before he gave up and said he's 'never ever, ever going to catch a fish'.
Kobe loved having a fish with him and kept yelling 'me caught one!', even though he never did.
After a little while Harri and Kobe both had enough so I decided to walk with them to the playground, to let Aaron and Jay fish together quietly.
When we got back from the playground Aaron was very keen to show me a photo he took on his phone of an undersized fish that he had caught and thrown back. It didn't matter to him that it was undersized - just catching one was exciting (not that you can tell from his serious face! He was trying to hold the fish and take the pic at the same time :)
When we went to St Helens I wasn't feeling very well, so that night I went to bed early and Aaron then came to bed a couple of hours later. When he came in he was tossing and turning and sighing and it woke me up. I asked him what was wrong as I could tell he wasn't very happy and he said that it was too hard being there, as there were too many memories of Noah there. He then said he hoped that when my family arrived the next day it would be easier and we would have a fun holiday together.
I told him I thought it would be easier once everyone arrived, and he then said he felt sad as he had been a bit snappy at Harri during the day. Since Noah passed away Harri's emotions are all over the place (understandably) and at times he really tests our patience. He then said that he felt like we needed to be more patient with Harri as 'his brother had just died' and we couldn't expect him to feel okay. I agreed and we both decided to work harder at being more patient with him and then went to sleep.
The next morning was Australia Day (26th January) and we laid in bed for a while with Kobe and laughed at him as he would pose for me as I took photos of him on my iPhone.
Anyone who knows Aaron well, knows that he is very 'unAustralian' at times. It doesn't matter if Australia is playing in the cricket or an Aussie is playing tennis. If he doesn't like them, he doesn't barrack for them. As usual he had his English cricket cap on and Chrish started having a go at him about being 'unAustralian', especially on Australia Day. Chrish needed to go buy a hat, so Aaron told him to see if he could find some Aussie hats at Chickenfeed on the way to Binalong Bay, so they could both wear them.
By the time we got to Binalong Bay the weather was turning bad, but it was still quite mild so we were all just excited to be there, and I was excited to show my family how beautiful it was there.
The bad weather didn't stop Aaron running straight into the water to throw his new skim ball around that he was so excited to use with everyone. He had also gone out the week before and bought an NFL beach ball to throw around.
After a little while the waves started to become huge. Aaron, Jay, Chrish and Alex were having an awesome time in them and were getting dumped a lot which made us laugh a lot. I usually sit back on the beach and enjoy watching them in the water, especially if it's cold but all of a sudden I got an urge to just run in and join them, which is very unlike me. I started to run in and yelled 'come on Nicki!' and to my surprise she ran in with me and we joined the boys in the huge waves.
Aaron looked at me and said 'you feeling alright!?' as he knew it wasn't like me to get in the water, especially on a cold day. I told him I just felt like coming in and we had a lovely time as I put my legs around his waist and he put his arms around me, so we could jump the waves together. Right then Aaron said 'My heart is being healed having your family here'. It made me smile to think that just the night before he was saying it was too hard being there, but now he was so happy to have everyone around.
After a while I got out of the water and tried to warm up on the beach. Aaron also got out and started to throw the NFL ball around with the boys (big and small) and before we knew it him and Alex were back in the water, jumping in the waves again. All the kids (and adults) were shivering on the beach and were keen to go so we kept gesturing for them to get out. Kobe even went to the waters edge and yelled 'get out Daddy!!' which made us laugh, as we joked about how it's usually the adults telling the kids it's time to go. The next thing we know Aaron is giving us 'the forks' to tell us to leave him alone and he wasn't getting out. We all had a big laugh and then after a few minutes we started to pack up to leave.
He came out of the water and I remember saying 'sorry honey - it's just too cold for the kids to stay any longer' and he said it was okay. He then told me in the car that he said to Alex that you can't waste days like that, as tomorrow there may not be big waves which is why he decided to run into the water again.
For tea we decided to make a big lot of spaghetti bolognaise and Aaron sat and joked about how 'unAustralian' it was to be eating an Italian dish on Australia Day. All day the 'unAustralian' jokes kept on coming from both him and Chrish. Straight after tea Steph put some dessert on to heat up and Eden, Alex, Chrish and Aaron decided to go out on the boat fishing for a little while before it got dark and said they would eat their dessert when they got back.
Aaron loves posting pics on Instagram and while they were gone I was flicking through and smiled at this photo he had put up with the caption 'about to empty the sea'. He had only loved fishing the past few years and I knew how excited he was to get out on the boat and see how many he could catch.
There was always a little bit of competition between the boys about who could catch the most fish. Aaron didn't care that Eden is the real fisherman in the family - he still loved to stir them up. Supposedly on the way out in the boat Aaron reminded the boys that it was 'Kings 1, Triffitts 0' as he had caught a fish off the jetty the day before, and was ready to see if they could catch up. He didn't mind that it was undersized and he had a days headstart :)
While they were out Mum, Nicki and I decided to play cards with the boys while their younger cousins were 'asleep' (or supposed to be). Steph was busy feeding Hugh so she sat and watched us. The boys have been hooked on playing 500 since Aaron and I taught them how to play at Bicheno. While we were playing I kept laughing as I would get a new text message from Aaron showing me that Alex had caught two at once.
Yes it was a bad night. A really bad night.
Not long after this message Aaron and Alex came running in and Aaron was really puffing a lot. I said 'did you run back!?' and they joked that the boat was stuck and couldn't get in because the tide had come in. I knew straight away that Aaron was joking as he is hardly ever serious, and we had a little laugh as we heard Eden pull up with the boat outside.
We kept playing cards as the boys all came in and started to help themselves to dessert. Aaron sat down and five minutes later he was gasping for air and looking like he was having a seizure. It's hard to talk and think about the next 45 minutes or so, but I was pacing the room as he was being rescuscitated by first my Mum and Alex and then the paramedics.
I was talking and praying out loud saying 'what is happening!?', 'please make him breath!!' and was yelling at Aaron to breath as I needed him. I was going from room to room - to check on my boys who were freaked out from what they were seeing and hearing, and I was then going to the bathroom to vomit as I was in so much shock and kept trying to stay to see that he was okay.
I had no doubt that he was going to breath. Why wouldn't he!? Noah had just died. There was no way that he was going to die too!
I just kept waiting for him to breath and to wake up and expected him to just come to and say 'what the heck happened!?' and I would follow behind the ambulance and spend time sitting with him in hospital until they worked out what was going on.
Instead the paramedics stopped what they were doing after about half an hour and one came over to me and said 'I'm sorry but there is nothing more that we can do' as he put his arm on my shoulder. I looked in his eyes in disbelief and just said 'my son just died three months ago' and thanked him for everything they did.
Instead I had to go in and tell my boys that yes their Dad had died. How could I tell them when Noah had just died!?
Instead I made phone calls to his family and close friends to tell them the terrible, terrible news.
Instead we sat around his body for over two hours as we waited for the coronary ambulance to come and take away his body. I laid next to him with a blanket over both of us and just stared at him in disbelief. Had this really happened!?
I took off his wedding ring and put it straight onto my necklace so I didn't lose it.
We cried, we sat in silence, and we talked about things that he had done and said in the last couple of days and as hard as it was, and as much shock that we were in, we started to see and feel that maybe it wasn't just an awful thing that happened, but that it was meant to be.
Even though they tried to resuscitate him for a long time, we really know he was gone right from the start. It was massive and it was 'quick' and I don't think he suffered even though to us it was very scary to see. I imagine now how hard it must've been for him to watch. To see us so distressed and fighting to keep him with us, when he really had to go.
I know he missed Noah so much and kept telling me his heart was broken. I guess I didn't really understand exactly how much until now. As much as I hate this, I feel like they really do need to be together for some reason which I don't understand for now.
I'm not sure if I'll ever understand it, until I'm with them again.