Friday, 30 November 2012

NOAHvember

When my friend Simone reminded me that it was time again for 'NOAHvember' I wasn't sure whether or not I would continue on with what Aaron started last year on Noah's memorial page on Facebook.   I'm so glad that I did though, because I have loved going through my (thousands!) of photos on my computer to find a new photo to post every day. 

All of the photos make me smile when I see his gorgeous face, but they also make me sad as I see the changes in him as he got older and more tired.   I love looking at the photos from around 2006/2007 as he was really well and happy then. 

I have so many beautiful videos of Noah and this is definitely one of my favourites that I shared during NOAHvember.  Jay used to love it when he could make him giggle when he was much younger.  

video

I miss him so much and when I look at his photos I just want to reach through the screen and touch his soft face, and run my fingers through his hair and give him a big rub on the legs to make him smile. It feels like he has been gone for so long now and the memories of the daily routine is slowly fading. I wish so much I was busy making up meds and feeds, doing physio, massaging, showering, toileting and dressing him, and sitting on the couch with him telling him heavy he was getting. 

More than that I wish I was telling Aaron off for carrying him from the lounge room to our bedroom, because I was worried he was going to hurt his back. I used to ask him every night if he wanted to do a two person lift, but Aaron always insisted that he wanted to do it on his own. 

I just miss them both so much.

These are the photos that I shared on Noah's memorial page on Facebook during NOAHvember. 


I'm sad that NOAHvember is over, so be prepared for more photos and videos of Noah. I have so many that we took before I started blogging and would love to keep on my blog, so will be posting more in the future. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Brothers in Arms

My boys are like any other brothers - best friends one minute, fighting the next. 

One thing they are good at though is showing affection to each other.  They are always telling each other they love each other.  I love it when they walk around like this.  Last Saturday we were in town and I just had to take this photo as they chatted away together.

I took a similar photo on Aaron's birthday last year

One day Jay told me that he told Harri how happy he was when he was born.  He loved Noah so much but when Harri was born, he was so excited because he knew that he had a brother he could play with.  Even though there is a four year age difference between Jay and Harri it's so nice to see how close they are to each other.  Since Aaron and Noah passed away they have become even closer as they both try to look after each other more.

I hope they don't ever get to the stage where they think they are too old and cool to show and tell each other that they love each other (in between the fighting :)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Movember King Style

Movember has hit the King house! 

I'm glad that the boys are still too young to actually grow real mo's, although I'm a little scared to look at Jay lately as I can see it's not that far away! Where is Aaron when I need him!? ;) 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

17

Yesterday it would've been our 17th wedding anniversary.  I wasn't expecting it to be such a hard day, but so far it's been one of the hardest days in the past 12 months. I thought that the 12 month anniversary since Noah passed away would be harder, but as soon as I woke up I felt teary and knew it was going to be an emotional day.

I had to work which was probably a good thing as it kept my mind off it as much as possible.  After school I picked the boys up and we went straight to the cemetery.  It was so lovely to see some flowers left at Aaron and Noah's graves by the beautiful Leanne.  Leanne made the lovely prints with the sayings on it on the side of my blog.  I thought that 'Lee' was someone else, and only just realised today via Instagram that 'Lee' was 'Leeane' :) Thanks for visiting Leanne - it means a lot.

I talked to the boys about how it was going to be our wedding anniversary and how I wanted to do something fun like we always do on days that are extra hard.   We talked about going out for tea and decided that before that we would go swimming as the weather was beautiful and it was a 'family fun night' at the Aquatic Centre which meant they had the inflatables out and the waterslide was free for a few hours.
We then went out for tea which the boys were so excited about. Kobe cracked me up as he asked 'are we in Hobart!?' during tea because we only usually go out somewhere special for tea when we are away from home.
In town last night were lots of activities for the lighting of the Christmas tree in the mall.  We thought it would be fun to go and check it out.  We did a bit of shopping and stopped for a photo with this very funny alpaca (or is it a llama?!).   There were so many people around and I couldn't stop thinking about the same night last year when Aaron and I took Jay out on a date together.   They were singing Christmas carols and all of a sudden I just felt really emotional and didn't want to be there. The poor boys wanted to hang around and watch the lighting of the Christmas tree, but I couldn't leave fast enough and was glad to get home away from all the Christmas festivities. 

I didn't expect our anniversary to be one of the hardest days yet, but it makes sense because it was 'our day'. It wasn't a day that is shared by other people like birthdays and Christmas.  When we were married we were great friends, but as time went on we literally became best friends.  Our life was far from perfect but our relationship became so much stronger as time went on.  We had to learn to rely on each other so we could cope with all of Noah's needs as well as still giving our other boys time as well as trying to keep our relationship strong. 
I treasure these photos that Jay took on our anniversary in 2010 and last year.


Our anniversary last year felt a lot different because it was only about 6 weeks after Noah passed away, but I love this photo because it shows that we could still have a laugh together (I think Aaron was trying to give me a kiss or something and I didn't want to so I kept pushing him away:)

When I married Aaron I knew that he had heart problems and operations as a baby but I didn't think much of it.  If I knew then what I know now I would do it all over again. It's not at all how I wanted things to turn out but I'm so grateful that we had over 16 years on earth together, and am grateful that during that time he showed no sign of his heart troubles until he passed away. I know things could've been a lot different and he could have had a lot of years with bad health. I wish we had many more years on earth together, but I'm so glad that we were able to have four beautiful boys together, and am grateful that my three boys keep me going every day.   I know that Aaron and I will be together again one day, and that's is especially what keeps me going as I can't wait for that day.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Guest Post for The Sullengers

Before Noah passed away my friend Simone had told me about a blog called 'The Sullengers'.  She started reading it after Patrick and Ashley's only daughter Presley passed away after an accidental drowning.  I started reading their blog from time to time, and was so touched when I heard that she had mentioned our family after Aaron passed away on her blog.


Since then I have kept in touch with them more through their blog and love seeing Ashley's instagram pics.  I love that they live in Rexburg, Idaho which is where I went to school in the USA for a year. I loved my year there so much and have so many wonderful memories from Ricks College (now BYU Idaho).  I can't imagine what the town must be like twenty years later. 

A couple of weeks ago Ashley asked me if I would like to do a guest post on her blog, and to share a bit about my experiences with grief over the last twelve months.

My post is now up on her blog here

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Gentleman Starkey

I thought Jalen would be the only actor in the family, but this year Harri decided that he would like to take drama classes with LYTE (Launceston Youth Theatre Ensemble) as well.   I was so pleased as I knew how much Jay loved it and was hoping that it would build up Harri's confidence and that he would have lots of fun. 

Harri went to his first class very excited but was very quickly in tears as he became nervous about doing something different, with people he didn't know.  By the end of his first class though he realised it was going to be a lot of fun and was excited to keep going back.

Third term is when each company puts on a major production.  Harri was cast as 'Starkey' in the junior company's production of Peter Pan.  He was so excited and has has spent a lot of hours this term practising.   In the last week he has had around twelve hours of rehearsal, and over the last three days they have performed five shows.

It was exciting to finally see him in his costume and to see him perform.  We had spent a lot of time learning his lines, and at times there were tears because he was so nervous that he would muck it up,  but he did an awesome job. 
 
All the kids in the production were amazing and so lovely to each other - helping each other out all the time.

I've become the unofficial 'official' photographer for LYTE which is lots of fun.  It's so different taking photos under theatre lights, but it's fun taking different photos to what I usually take.  

 The show was awesome and it's amazing that kids in grades 2-4 can learn so many lines and perform so well.  They were incredible! 

It was also fun watching the kids as they got ready for their performance.

Jalen's middle company was performing a show called 'Agatha Rex'.  Jay was excited to be cast in one of the main roles, but unfortunately he was too sick to continue on with it and decided to pull out.   He was really disappointed, but was glad to be asked to be part of the back stage crew for the junior company if he was up to it.  He was also given the option of playing 'Mr Darling' in Peter Pan but he made a wise decision to not take on too much stress this term, and having a break was definitely what he needed. 

He was happy to be feeling much better over the past month or so, and was glad that he could help out and be involved with drama again. He had to help out with moving around the sets between scenes and helping out with keeping the kids quiet backstage, and helping them out with warming up exercises.

 Taking some time out before the fourth show
 He did a great job and kept saying how hard it was to organise all those kids and keep them under control.  He reminded me of Aaron with the way that he would just think of an activity and get everyone involved in it. I think he would be an awesome teacher one day, but at the moment that's not part of his career plans - he would much rather make video games :)

I was so proud of Harri and it was so fun seeing him up on stage as a pirate.  He had some lines which were hard to learn, especially as he didn't really understand what they meant - lines like 'tumble up you ungentlemanly lubbers!'. 

During his second show I was told during intermission that he was out the back in tears as he was feeling really sad as he was 'missing Daddy and Noah'.  I went out to see him and he was so sad and was crying saying that he was just missing them and wishing they were there.  The next day he decided that bringing his monkey 'Nono' would make him happier, and it did.

Both Jay and Harri had to have two days off school, to do their matinee performances which they didn't mind. They were both glad that they could sleep in a little because they were both so tired from all the rehearsals and shows.
 
Harri was so excited to have lots of friends, family and teachers come to watch him perform.  It was nice to have his cousins there (plus his cousins, cousins :) 
 
I'm hoping that both boys will continue on with drama next year, but right now we are glad to have a little break over the summer holidays. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Consequences

What consequences do you give a 'naughty' teenage boy who doesn't do something you asked him to do? (I don't think Jay could ever really be naughty).

a. ban him from the computer for an hour (supposedly THE worst punishment ever!)
b. make him help me cook tea
c.  make him dice the onions or
d. all of the above?

I think you can tell from Jay's reaction that it's (d) all of the above :)  He was actually laughing most of the time, because he realised I won the meanest mother ever award that day!  The results were worth all the 'tears'.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Gangham Style

Who would've thought that a Korean song would go so viral!?  When Jay had his birthday sleepover the boys we watching 'Gangham Style' on YouTube.  I had never heard of it before that and they were telling me it was the biggest clip ever on YouTube.  Then a couple of weeks later it was being played all over the TV and radio.

The boys got right into it and everywhere we went Kobe was breaking out in the Gangham Style dance.  Whenever Kobe hears the word 'sexy' he says 'you shouldn't say that should you Mum?'.  Other times he thinks it's the funniest thing to sing 'I'm sexy and I know it' until he gets told off by his brothers and then he says 'I didn't say 'sexy' I said 'I'm Kobe and I know it!'. 

A friend of mine said that her kids started to sing 'hey chips and gravy' instead of 'hey sexy lady' so I told my boys that and now they sing that instead which sounds very funny.
A couple of weeks ago we were playing it and Harri started doing the dance.  It cracked me up so much.  Whenever I need a laugh I ask him to do the Gangham Style dance for me.

video

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

What would I do without you?

My boys are so different to each other and each of them are helping me in their own ways.  Kobe makes me laugh (and scream a lot lately too, but that's a whole other post!), Jalen is like my friend who is there to talk to and hang out with which makes it hard for both of us at times, because I lean on him a lot and he leans on me.

Harri is so kind and sensitive, especially over the last few months and has wanted to do all that he could help me.  Just a couple of months ago he was coping really well with losing Noah and Aaron, but just over the last few weeks he has been struggling a lot with grief again. 

He's been feeling sad and has started taking Noah's monkey 'Nono' everywhere with him again.   Some days when I pick him up after school he starts crying and tells me how sad he's been and had been thinking about 'Daddy and Noah all day'. 

At night he cries at bedtime and says he can't stop thinking about 'Dad's dead day' (I guess that everyone has a 'birthday' so they must also have a 'dead day'). He said he can't stop thinking about when Noah was in hospital and when he died and he worries that one day he will be disabled or have a hole in his heart like Aaron did as a child.

Even though he is so sad again he is being so thoughtful and kind to me.  A few weeks ago my Mum stayed for the night and while I was out she had a chat to the boys (without me knowing) about how they should help me more.  One day after school I dumped a heap of groceries in the kitchen and said to the boys I was going to go and get some petrol for the lawn mower so I could mow the lawn. When I got home Harri had the biggest grin on his face and told me that he put the groceries away all by himself because Grandma had told them to help more, and when he thought about that he heard Daddy say 'remember what Grandma said and help Mum more' so he did. 

He was so proud of himself and it meant so much to me that he realised that he could help me out.

Since then he has been looking for opportunities to help me whenever he can. Yesterday I had to go out and when I got back he was dusting and polishing all the furniture for me. He had done the whole house and said he was going to vaccuum next!  He said 'I'm helping you Mum so you aren't stressed anymore' (I wish it was that easy! :)

Harri is still sleeping in my bed which I'm quite happy about, because I think it would actually be a lot harder for me at night without him close to me.  I like hearing his snoring which reminds me so much of Aaron and Noah who used to compete in syncronised snoring, and I love hearing him sleep talk.

The other night as I tucked him into bed I said 'what would I do without you Haz?'.  He asked me what that meant as he hadn't heard that phrase before and I explained that it meant I loved him so much and would feel a lot sadder if he wasn't around. 

This morning he grabbed the rubbish to take out to the bin without me asking and as he took it out he said 'remember when you said 'what would I do without you'? and I could how proud he was that he was helping me again.   I feel very lucky to have such a beautiful sensitive boy, who is trying to help me as much as I'm trying to help him right now.

p.s. I had a few people who were concerned with my last post.  Things are exactly how they've always been. I just choose to look for the positives in my life which is why I don't often do posts like the last one, because once you start focusing on everything that is hard and wrong right now, it's so easy to just look past all the blessings in your life at the same time.

Nothing has changed and I'm okay.  I just felt like sharing what every day is like, but it doesn't mean I'm not coping.  I still have fun when I can, laugh with my boys and know I have a lot of good in my life.  I'm sad, lonely and tired but that's how I have been for the past 12 months.  Sometimes I decide to write about it, but most times I don't. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

I'm a Duck

To get through the last year I've tried to look at all the blessings in my life and keep as busy as I can be, but it's hard every day to continue on with life without Noah and Aaron. 

It's hard to just keep doing 'normal' things but feeling like you are like a duck - where the top half is above water and looks very calm and they are gliding along nicely, but under the water their legs are going flat out to keep them afloat.

That's how I feel pretty much every day - my exterior is calm (most of the time) but a lot of the time I just feel like if I stop paddling just a second I could sink very easily.

A couple of weeks ago I met a man who said to me 'oh you are the woman whose husband died?'. 

Yes my husband died - and guess what!? So did my son!

I wanted to say that to him, but I didn't because he was being lovely and empathetic, and he didn't need to hear my dramas. He then said 'so how are you going? Are you getting there?'.  That's when I wanted to say 'no I'm not getting there', but I didn't.  I don't really know where 'there' is supposed to be anyway.  I have heard it so many times since Aaron passed away. 

I know people mean well by asking and saying it, but it's like they are feeding you the answer that they want you to give. They don't really want to hear the truth, because the truth is often hard to hear.

They don't really want to hear that I'm sad and lonely every day, and especially at night.

They don't really want to hear that I'm so exhausted from being a single Mum to three boys who are grieving.

They don't really want to hear that I'm stressed every day because I'm having to make a living, plus keep the house clean, the boys fed and feeling secure, while trying to find some time for myself.

They don't really want to hear that I worry about the future each and every day.

They don't really want to hear that I have been going to the cemetery almost every day lately because I don't know what else I can do to feel close to Aaron and Noah. 




They don't really want to hear that I feel like I haven't had time to grieve yet because I'm too busy just trying to get through each and every day.

They don't really want to hear that although I'm out doing things and smiling and laughing and even having fun at times, that my legs under the water are going flat out so I don't sink.

It's so hard to explain to people that grief doesn't have a time line. Just because it's been 13 months since Noah passed away and 10 months since Aaron passed away that things are easier.  It's not easier at all and it's actually harder as reality sinks in and the shock wears off. 

I look forward to the day when I'm no longer like a duck paddling away furiously just to stay afloat.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Noah's blooming memorial garden

My boys always say funny things which make me laugh.  Last week as we were walking into school Harri said that there were four people at the school who were the hardest workers. He then named the two co-principals, the school cleaner and the groundsman.  I asked him why they were the hardest workers and he said that they had 'the most work to do' and that Mr B the groundsman planted Noah's memorial garden and looks after it which is a big job.   I'm sure the teachers would all argue that they work pretty hard too ;)


Noah's garden is looking so pretty now with everything blooming.   A while ago we noticed that the jasmine that was planted after Aaron passed away was in bloom and was growing up along the arch over Noah's chair.  The jasmine is to represent Aaron as it grows up, as he will be watching over Noah and all of us.

It's strange looking back at old photos of Aaron in Noah's garden with us, and seeing photos of him planting the garden out with us.


The garden is looking so lovely and I love being able to see it at school every day and know that Noah was considered such a special person at the school.


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Long Weekend

Weekends always seem long without Aaron and Noah, but this weekend was literally a long weekend. Monday was a public holiday for which reason, I have no idea.  It was probably the Queen's birthday again or some other crazy reason for a holiday, but for whatever reason it was it is usually nice to have a day off work and school.

I would normally love a long weekend, but now it just means another long day trying to work out what to do with the boys to get through to being back in routine that keeps us busy and half sane.

I was grateful for good friends who suggested we did something together on Monday.  We decided to head to Hawley beach as the weather was supposed to be warm.  On the way there we called into Simone and Simon's house they are building to see how things are going.  It'll be exciting for them when they get to move in and they won't know themselves with all that space after living for years in tiny police houses with five kids.

It seemed like we left the hot weather back in Launceston though as it was quite breezy when we arrived at Hawley.  We had a nice time anyway and the water was even tempting enough to go in.


 
I was only brave enough to go in up to my waist, but the boys and Lisa and her girls all went right in.  I had no doubt that Aaron would've been one of the first in there if he was with us.

Harri loved playing a bit of beach cricket.

We headed to the park for a BBQ lunch before coming home.  It has a great little paddling pool which Kobe and Eden loved.

On the way home we couldn't pass up stopping at this paddock of beautiful poppys.   

We also did the regular pit stop at Ashgrove Cheese on the way home.

Thanks Woodwards for a fun dayand for hanging out with us.   We are looking for a lot more beach days as the weather (hopefully!) warms up.
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