Thursday, 31 May 2012

Kingy Cup and School Memorial Plaque

Today Kobe and I were invited to attend the Kings Meadows High School assembly to see a new memorial plaque for Aaron that had been placed on the wall in the gym, and also to present the 'Kingy Cup' to the grade nine class that won it this term.   The funniest thing was the girls who were treating Kobe like he was a rock star. They kept coming up giggling, saying 'oh he's soooo cute!' and he would wave and say  'hi' and they would giggle again.

I was looking forward to going along, but I don't think I realised how emotional I would feel to be there.  The last time I was at the school for something like that was for Aaron's memorial service.  I just felt so sad that Aaron wasn't at school where he really loved to be, and was even sad that the grade sevens never got to meet him. 

At the end of the assembly two students got up to tell the school that a plaque had been put up, which is why Kobe and I were attending the assembly that day.  This is what they said:

"Mr King was a legend of Kings Meadows High School and he has been sadly missed. This year and all of the years to come will not be the same without him. But he will be glad to know that everything he taught us, is helping us to cope and grow as students and people.
We would like to thank Mr King’s wife, Lisa and son, Kobe for being with us today to acknowledge just how important Kingy was to all of us. 
The main reason we are up here today is to make everyone aware that a memorial plaque has been placed on the back wall below the scoreboard, to honour the contribution Kingy made to Kings Meadows High School.  This spot was chosen because most of us would remember him for his love of sports. 
I’m sure Kingy would’ve loved us to have named the gym after him but unfortunately the naming rights have already been taken by L.A. Bonser. 
We hope that every time you see the plaque on the wall you are able to think of a great memory that you have of Mr King and are able to smile, because that is what he would’ve wanted".


Aaron would have been the grade nine Grade Leader this year, so they decided to have a 'Kingy Cup' in memory of him, where each grade nine class were able to compete in different challenges throughout the term.  The cup looked beautiful and I'm sure Aaron would've been very impressed with it, as it looked almost like the AFL Premiership Cup - just a smaller version :)

The Kingy Cup will be awarded to a class at the end of each term and at the end of the year, until the grade nines finish school next year.   Today it hit me that in two and a half more years none of the students at Kings Meadows High will even know Aaron anymore, and it made me so sad.

After the whole school assembly the grade nines stayed back so that Kobe and I could present the cup to the winning class.  This term Kobe and I awarded the Kingy Cup to 9A. 

It was nice to be a part of it, but very sad at the same time.  Oh how I wish Aaron was still there cracking jokes, stirring the kids, talking up Hawthorn and continuing to love his job as a teacher.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Memorial Plaques

After two months of waiting and a lot of money (thank you again to all of those who donated money to us and made it possible to get exactly what we wanted) Aaron and Noah's grave markers are in the house instead of at the head of their graves at the cemetery.

Instead of markers they both now have beautiful plaques as they were finally placed today, as well as Noah's headstone.   Kobe and I went up to see them this morning just after they had been placed, and then all of us went up after I picked up Harri from school (Jalen has been home sick for a few days).

We actually had a lovely offer from someone who said their family had a business of making plaques and they wanted to make both of them for us for no cost.  Unfortunately they weren't able to do the pictures how I wanted them (with the picture being etched into the plaque) so we had to go through a company called Arrow

One night while Aaron and I had some time alone  after Noah passed away, we walked around the cemetery for about an hour just looking at other people's plaques.  We came across a lovely plaque which had the pictures etched in and we both straight away knew that was how we wanted Noah's to be.  We wanted to get Noah's plaque done but didn't really have the money to do it straight away, so we had been putting it off.  Now I'm so glad that we didn't do it straight away as the wording that I chose changed after Aaron died too.  I'm also so glad that we both chose what kind we wanted together, because it was stressful enough having to do it myself.

It was surreal sitting in the office at the cemetery, going through the photos and wording that I wanted  on the plaques knowing that I was organising one for Noah and Aaron.  I had talked it over with the boys and let them help me decide what to put on each one.  While we were at the cemetery one day Harri spotted a Collingwood logo on another plaque. He straight away said 'Dad is having that, but it's going to be Hawthorn!'.  I laughed at the time and didn't think I would do it, but after thinking about it I realised that Aaron would actually love it and it meant a lot to Harri to have it on there, so we went with it.

We are really happy with how they both look.  It's nice to have them there, but also strange at the same time to see them at the head of their graves.

Even though Noah's grave is now grassed it has unfortunately sunken with all the rain.  Supposedly it is going to be fixed again soon, but I guess that means that we may have to put up with having dirt a bit longer.

Thank goodness for Kobe who always keeps the mood light.  He saw me taking photos with my phone and decided to pull out some dance moves for me.

Harri didn't like that Kobe was getting some attention, so he thought he'd join in.  Kobe then decided to put his arm around him for a nice brotherly photo, but Harri didn't want that and got cranky with him and told him to go away.   This was the result! Two sulky, cranky boys!

This is how things usually end up at the cemetery - not because they are sad about Aaron and Noah, but because they are boys and both of them are so stubborn and head strong and want their own way.  Harri cracked up tonight when he saw the photo.  It looks totally like it could be set up, but unfortunately it's just the way the boys are :) I'm sure Aaron and Noah were probably laughing at them and me telling them off as we were walking back to the car.

It is nice to finally have the plaques at their graves, but it's also another thing that is very bitter sweet as it's something you never ever wish you had to organise for your son or husband.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Letter from Harri

Harri surprises me every day with the things he says and does since Aaron passed away.  Those who know Harri, know that he's not usually the one to be so kind and sensitive.  It's not that he's insensitve but Jalen is often the one who makes a bigger effort to help around the house, or to let you know how he is feeling.

This is a letter that Harri wrote to me last night.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Four Months Without You

Hi Honey,
It's hard to believe that we haven't seen you for four months. It's hard to believe that you are really gone and are never coming back. We miss you so much. The days are so long without you.  At night I just go to bed early because there is nothing else to do, so I try to sleep so I don't miss you so much.

The boys are doing okay. Harri is actually pretty good. He seems quite happy and is enjoying school and footy. He keeps saying that Friday nights aren't the same without you watching Friday Night Footy with him.

Jay is slowly getting there, but is so sad and just misses you so much. He's not the same Jay we used to know. There is a glimmer of it every now and then, but most of the time he just looks pale and sad.

Kobe is Kobe and is keeping everyone laughing. He's turned very naughty but he's lucky he's cute as it means he gets away with it most of the time.  He misses you a lot, but is happy most of the time and just enjoying life, like he always does.

We were going to release some balloons to you and Noah today but stupid me in my brain fog at the moment, threw out the wrong helium tank.   Instead of throwing out the empty one, I obviously threw out the brand new one that I bought! I could've kicked myself when I went to fill up some balloons today and there was no helium left and I realised what I had done.

Instead we picked some of the roses that you planted in the garden for Noah today and took them up to your grave.  It's still hard to believe that your body is down there.

You and Noah are what I think about all day - even if I am busy doing other things.  I wonder whether you are thinking about us all the time too, or whether you are too busy?  The boys all wrote a letter to you today and took it up to your grave.  Kobe said you couldn't read it 'cause he died', but I told him that I bet you could read it anyway.  

Kobe told me what to write and then wanted to draw his hand for you.  As you can see he's getting bigger and bigger every day.

As you can see Harri is pretty happy.  He misses you a lot, but is doing well.  He drew a picture for you of Jesus, with you and Noah in Heaven.

Dear Dad,
I really really miss you i wish you were still here life is 1000 time worse and harder when you are not around. :( I miss your jokes and how we mucked around at night. Why did you have to go? why can't you come back? I would do anything to see you again! School is terrible.  I can't get my work done. I had my comedy festivel last week that was so much fun. My YouTube channel is going well. Dad please come back with Noah i miss you very much.

Love your favourite son Jalen :(

We also went to visit Noah's grave today before heading out to Westbury so I could do a photo shoot.  The boys had lots of fun at Simon and Simone's house and didn't want to leave.  We then had tea with Pip and Ben. It was a nice day, even though it was the 26th.

I wish I understood why this is all happening. I wish I could change it. I wish you didn't have to be with Noah right now. I wish so many things, but the things I wish for the most can't happen.  Instead I just hope that the boys and I can get through this okay.

Please give Noah a big hug from me and tell him how much I love and miss him too. I wish I could see those big brown eyes and chubby cheeks and could just give him a big cuddle.
I love you and miss you so much.

Friday, 25 May 2012

My Helper

Since Aaron passed away I've realised how much he did around the house. I always knew how lucky I was as he was always so hands on with the boys, and also with helping me, but after he passed away I was tearing my hair out realising how much I now had to do on my own. The first couple of months I was very stressed wondering how I was going to keep up with everything, but since then I have got into a pretty good routine where I feel like I'm on top of the house work as well as everything thing else.

I've had a few talks to the boys about helping me out more around the house, and not expecting me to do everything and Harri has been a champion in really trying to help out.   The first month after Aaron died were very stressful.  The boys would often see me in tears each morning as I made their school lunches, got Kobe ready and tried to get the house clean before work, as I was just so tired from everything plus in shock with what had happened,.  Harri then started to get up really early before school to help me get things ready.

I loved that he wanted to help, but I was worried that he wasn't getting enough sleep as he wasn't sleeping well and getting up way too early, so I told him it was okay to sleep in longer and all I wanted him to do were his usual jobs - get dressed for school, pack his bag, make the bed etc.

In the last few weeks he has really been making an effort again to help out.  The other night he said 'I'm going to clean the whole kitchen for you Mum!' and off he went.

Harri is not the one I expected at all to make such a big effort to help out.  He's so proud of himself and happy when he's doing it too. I'm sure Aaron would be proud of him for jumping in and helping me out more too.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Laugher is the Best Medicine

It's so nice that Jalen is doing something that he enjoys so much still, and has something to look forward to during the week. He's been so upset since Aaron died, so it has been nice having him jump in the car after drama, excited to tell me about all the fun things they have been doing.

Last Saturday was their end of term show, and it was a comedy show.  Jalen was one of the MCs for the night and did a great job.  

They had been doing a lot of theatre sport type games to get prepared for it and the skits were all very funny.  Jalen was in a group skit which was a 'fairy tale three ways'.  They had to perform Jack and the Beanstalk three different ways including how Play School would do it. Jalen was the cow and cracked me up when he was acting like it was Play School going 'cows say 'moooo!' 'M'. 'O'.'O'.

Each of the kids had to write their own skit and perform it, and Jay decided to make his about accepting an academy award.  The video quality isn't great but I'm putting it up as it's a family memory that I know Jay will love looking back on in years to come.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The School Bell

I've stopped going to the cemetery so much now that the weather has cooled off.  I don't feel like it's a place that makes me feel closer to Aaron and Noah, as I feel close to them at home,  but I still like to visit their graves a couple of times a week at least.  It's nice not to have to stress so much about whether Noah's grass is dying because it's not getting enough water.

 If the boys are with me the visit is often short as I get sick of breaking up the arguments about who got to water the grass or Aaron's plants the most. I'm sure Aaron and Noah are probably having a laugh as they watch me break up the fights, but while the boys are fighting it isn't much fun.

When I'm on my own (which is very rare) it's usually a longer visit where I usually sit at Aaron's grave first, and then go over to Noah's and then often back to Aaron's.   I'm usually okay when I go up there and just sit looking at their graves, not really believing that their bodies are down there.  Sometimes I say something to Aaron like 'why!?' or 'I love you' or 'how am I going to do it!?' but if I talk more than that I feel like a total nutcase, so I just think think things instead and hope they are somehow hearing me.

I don't usually cry at the cemetery, but there's been a couple of times when I just couldn't hold back the tears.  There have been a few times where I have been sitting at Aaron's grave around lunch time.  The cemetery happens to be just across the road from Kings Meadows High School, where Aaron taught.  It's the strangest feeling sitting at his grave, and hearing the school bell,  knowing that the kids are either just about to go out to lunch or back into class.

I just wish he was across the road at school, racing around doing jobs at lunch time before he had to head back into class.  It was often the time of day when we would ring or text each other as I knew he wouldn't be in class and we would catch up on things (even though we had only seen each other a few hours before) or remind each other about something that was happening after school.   It's so strange to hear the school bell and know that instead of being over there, Aaron's body is under the ground.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Bitter Sweet

You would think that paying off your mortgage would be pretty much one of the best days of your life.  That is unless the reason you are able to pay it off is because your husband died.

It is almost four months since Aaron passed away, and I finally got his life insurance money at the end of last week. Who knew that it takes four months for a bunch of people to decide that yes I am Aaron's wife, yes I am the person he wanted the money to go to and then to actually put the money into my account.  I really have no idea why it takes so long, but it was such a relief to see the money in my account when I went to do some internet banking last week.  In the back of my mind I kept panicking wondering what would happen if they actually came out and said 'Just kidding! Aaron really wasn't entitled to that insurance money - you are getting nothing'.

It's crazy when I think about it now, but just after Aaron died I was in such shock and just kept saying 'how am I going to live?!'. I had no idea how I was going to live without my best friend, but also physically how I was going to be able to pay bills and especially pay the mortgage as Aaron's income was our main income.  We had just built our house a year before and I straight away thought I would have to sell the house.

I knew he had some kind of life insurance and the day after Aaron died  I checked into it and was relieved to see that we had enough to pay the majority of the mortgage off.   I can never thank Naomi from Seven Cherubs enough for just jumping in to help me by starting off some fundraising.  The money from the fundraising has allowed me to totally pay off the mortgage, as well as other things like buying Aaron and Noah's plaques for their graves.  To anyone and everyone who donated anything, big or small, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.   You have taken so much stress away from us right now.

Today I went into the bank to pay off the mortgage.  I actually had to go into the bank twice as it takes a couple of hours for the bank to actually give you a pay out figure (seems that anything with a lot of numbers and a dollar sign in front of it takes time!).   When I went in the first time and told the girl that I wanted to know the payout figure she said 'wow - that must be nice to be able to pay it off'. I told her it was except I could only afford to do it because my husband passed away and it was his life insurance money. She felt terrible and apologised and I told her it was okay and that it was actually nice to be able to pay it off. 

I had to wait a couple of hours to be told the payout figure, and then had to go back into the bank.  This time I had to deal with a guy and I told him I wanted to pay out my mortgage and he said pretty much the same thing 'wow! that must be a great feeling to have it paid out' and started to ask me if I had refinanced or was actually paying it out.  I told him the same thing - the only reason I am paying it out is because my husband died and it's his insurance money. He was so embarrassed and quickly apologised and looked at the boys who were with me and said 'talk about foot in mouth!'. I told him it was okay and that it was a nice feeling to be able to pay it, just not a nice reason why I could pay it.

He later came up to me while I was still at the bank doing some other things and said he wanted to apologise again. I told him that he had no reason to know why I was able to pay it off and it had been almost four months and I was used to having to tell people what had happened. I felt bad for him.

On the way home I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer have a mortgage. The house is mine and the boys forever now and I owe the bank nothing.  It's nice to know that I can go to work because I love work, not because I just need the money.

It's a strange feeling to be crying because you have just paid off your mortgage, and you don't know whether they are actually happy or sad tears.   I would choose having Aaron here with me, over having no mortgage any day, so today was terribly bitter sweet.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Hawks v Freo

Yesterday we went to our first live Hawthorn game for the season at Aurora Stadium.   Kobe hung out with Steph, Chloe and Hugh at Treasure Island (thanks Steph!) and Eden and Lachie joined us, sitting in Aaron and Noah's seats as we have a family membership.   It was nice to have them there with us, and I laughed with Eden saying how the whole mood at the game was completely different, as Aaron would always be so into the game and stressed, so I felt like I couldn't talk to him the whole time. 

All I could think about was Aaron and how he would've been loving it.  I pulled out one of his geurnseys and scarves and wore it to the game. It's so strange to pull them out of the drawer and wonder if Aaron would be upset if I wore a certain one (he was very particular about looking after his clothes!), and then remembered that it didn't really matter anymore which one I wore, as they are all mine now anyway.

Harri is turning out to be a man after my own heart, and brought along our little point and shoot camera and took photos during the game. I love that he loves taking pics :)

He wouldn't leave 'Nono' at home so he came and enjoyed the game with us.

Jay (like me and Lachie) enjoyed the food more than the footy, but it was a fun day and it was nice to have Eden and Lachie there with us.  It wasn't the same as having Aaron belt out the Hawthorn theme song at the end when they won, but I know he was probably there in spirit, singing 'we're a happy team at Hawthorn'.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Night Out

I was hoping that my lack of blogging yesterday didn't worry people.  I am planning on cutting back a bit on my blog (for me cutting back probably means blogging five times a week instead of seven! ;) and am planning on just blogging if I have time and have something I really want to record (for me this is still just my family 'journal' and I try to forget that a lot of people actually read it).   I just want to make sure people don't start wondering why I'm not posting as regularly, but know everything is okay.

Last night Mum came to stay, so I made the most of the chance to get out and went out for a lovely dinner with my three gym buddies - Kellie, Simone and Lisa.   Since I've started work we feel like we hardly see each other anymore, so it was lovely to catch up, have a beautiful meal together and have some laughs (excuse the crappy iPhone photos).

I probably need to clear up the facebook rumor that I went out and got a tattoo though! Lisa decided to 'check in' on Facebook and the 'Of Kings and Gods' tattoo parlour was next door to where we went for tea (Pickled Evenings) so it came up as a location.  She thought it would be funny to check in at the tattoo parlour instead, and all of a sudden we were supposedly 'getting some ink' which then ended up in me (supposedly) getting Noah and Aaron's names tattooed on my butt! It made us laugh as people really started to believe that I had it done (it probably didn't help that I did say on Facebook 'now I have Noah and Aaron with me forever').  I'm sure there are a few people out there who really believe that we were out getting tattoos, which made me laugh as that is the last thing I would do! 

I had to show the girls 'facejuggler' on my phone and we couldn't stop laughing at the hilarious combinations it came up with for us.  I had actually never seen Simone laugh so hard in my life.

We tried to get a photo of the four of us together to juggle but it was a disaster and wouldn't work.  We at least had fun cracking ourselves up.

It was so nice to go out for a few hours with some great friends and have some laughs with them. I think we all needed them.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Jumping in the waves

No one ever dreams that one of their children is going to die before they do, but that is what we were told when Noah was nine weeks old.  That same day we made the decision to give him the best life possible and make each day count.  That doesn't mean that every day was a bed of roses - it was anything but.  It's hard having a child with a disability.  It's very hard - physically, financially and emotionally.

It could've been very easy to just dwell on how hard it was, but instead we chose to see the positives.  We were blessed with having a beautiful special spirit to be a part of our family.  We were able to appreciate the little things in life.   We didn't ever get to do amazing things like take trips overseas or many trips at all for that matter, but instead because of the way things were we appreciated the little things - mainly just being together as a family.  We were grateful for every day that Noah was with us, even if we couldn't do the things that other families could do so easily.

Having Noah taught us a lot as a family but there's also a lot that I've learnt since Noah and Aaron passed away.   I've learnt a lot about myself. I've learnt a lot about my boys. I've learnt a lot about other people.   But one hundred and thirteen days ago Aaron taught me the biggest lesson of all...  that no matter what is going on, make the most of it...every single moment of every day. 

We were on our annual summer holiday together, and although we were looking forward to it, and were excited that my whole family would join us for the first time, it pretty much sucked as it was our first year there without Noah.   The night before Aaron died, he was so upset and said that he thought it was too hard being there without Noah.  He couldn't wait for the next day for everyone to arrive as he was hoping it would pick up his spirits and we could then just hopefully have some fun together.

The next day started off with beautiful sunny blue skies, but after my family arrived the weather turned bad.  We desperately wanted to show them how beautiful Binalong Bay was, as we loved going there every summer, so we decided that despite the bad weather we would all go anyway.

When we got to the beach it was freezing, but it didn't stop the little kids (or big men!) going in the water.

After a little while it was too cold for even the little kids to stay in, and we all sat close together on the beach, trying to get warm as the wind blew on us, while Aaron and the other guys continued to jump in the waves.

Aaron, Chrish, Eden and Alex were having a great time jumping in the waves together.  Because the wind had come up the waves got bigger and bigger as time went on.  I could see how much fun they were having and decided that instead of being the usual wimp that I am, I would run straight out and join Aaron in the water.

We had the loveliest time. He joked around  asking what was wrong with me as I never go in the water like that, but for some reason I just wanted to be out there with him, even though it was freezing.  As I wrapped my legs around his waist he said 'my heart is being healed having your family here with us'.   I felt so happy to know that he was feeling happier than the night before, and was hoping this meant he could enjoy our holiday together more, even if Noah wasn't with  us.

It didn't take long for it to get too cold, so I got out and shivered on the beach with the rest of the kids.  Everyone else got out of the water too except for Alex and Aaron.  They were having so much fun jumping in the big waves.  Aaron loves the beach, especially when there are big waves to jump in. He could do it for hours and never got sick of it.

We laughed as he gave us the 'fork' signal with his fingers as we kept yelling at him to get out as the kids were cold.  Although I wanted to go I was so happy to see him happy and having so much fun.  He had been so heart broken when Noah passed away, so it was nice to see the smile on his face again.  When he got in the car I told him I was sorry we had to go, but all the kids were freezing and that's when he said to me that he told Alex ' you don't waste days like this one, because tomorrow the waves might not be as big'.

Photo taken January 2011 on the same beach

Aaron knew things weren't perfect...we were on our annual holiday without Noah, he was missing him so much, the weather was bad and we were freezing, but he still wanted to make the most of the day.  It could've been easy for him to just say it was too cold to go to the beach, that he was too sad without Noah and he wanted to stay at the shack.  Instead he decided to make the most of the day, despite the conditions not being perfect.

I guess that's how I'm feeling right now.  My life pretty much sucks at the moment to put it nicely.  It wasn't supposed to turn out like this.  I could accept that Noah was going to not live a very long life and had come to terms with that years ago, but to be a widow at thirty seven was not in my plans.  To be a single Mum and have lost a son and husband within three and a half months of each other is hard for me to even comprehend, even though it's happened to me!

Some days are much harder than other days, and sometimes things change within the hour  - I can have a good morning and a really awful night, or the other way around.   There is so much that is bad in my life right now that it could be really easy to just focus on that.  Some days it's all I can think about ...that Noah and Aaron aren't here with me.  But then I think about Aaron's last day on earth and how he made the most of that day despite all the things that it had going against it.

I can't always change how I'm feeling, and I can't change anything that has happened, but I can look at the good things in my life (like the big waves) and try to focus on those.

I look at my three boys and realise how lucky I am to be a Mum.  I look at our beautiful 'new' house and garden and realise how lucky I am. I go to work and know how lucky I am to have a job that I love.  I know how blessed I am to have so many people care about us, to want to help. I try to have fun with the boys even though all I can think about is Aaron and Noah not being here.   It doesn't stop the pain of losing Aaron and Noah, but it does help me appreciate the good things that I still have in my life.

I'm missing my two boys like crazy and feel like my heart is now broken, but I will keep jumping in the big waves today even though the weather at the moment is terrible, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  It may be better or it may be worse, but for now I'll just keep jumping and make the most of the good things that I still have in my life. 

I'm so grateful to Aaron for reminding me on his last day, how to make the most of every day despite the bad conditions.

Thank you to the beautiful Leanne for making this print for me.

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