Thursday, 28 March 2013

Another Easter Without Them

This Easter feels a lot different to last year.  Last Easter was our first holiday without Noah and Aaron and I still remember how hard it was.  The sadness is still there this year, but the shock has worn off.  It doesn't feel so overwhelming this year.

I've been looking forward to having a few days off school and work and haven't really been thinking about it being another holiday without Noah and Aaron.  That was until I actually knocked off work at the end of the day.  Then it hit me that we have five long days to fill in and I started to feel really sad. When we are in a routine things are so much easier.  

The teacher I work with gave me an Easter treat today.   I was feeling sorry for myself after work, so when I sat in the sunroom and watched Ellen and decided to eat the whole thing, there and then! I was regretting it when I still felt sick two hours later!
During the week we went up to the cemetery to decorate Aaron and Noah's graves and tree.  I felt so sad to see that there were another three fresh children's graves at the tree near Noah's, and also another one at another tree.  I felt so sad for the families as I knew they would be going through their first Easter without their beautiful children, who died way too young. 
I found some lovely eggs to hang on Noah's tree and also some eggs that could be put in his vase near his plaque.
Mum had also put a lovely little rabbit ornament there last week.

Aaron's grave is looking very ugly and bare at the moment, because they have levelled off his row to put down some top soil, so they can lay some grass seed. I can't wait until they do because it will look so much nicer.  It's strange not seeing humps of dirt where the graves are. 

This picture makes me sad.  Little boys shouldn't be decorating their Dad's grave for Easter.  They should be going on Easter egg hunts with him and coming to our family Easter get together with us. 
  This week the boys and I have been talking a lot about the real meaning of Easter and how lucky we are to know that we will be with Aaron and Noah again, but it doesn't mean that we don't feel sad and don't miss them every day.  It's never going to be the same without them. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

I Thought Of You Today

A lovely friend sent me a message during the week, with a beautiful poem she had written for me. I didn't even know she was so talented till now!  I read it with tears streaming down my face, but they were happy and sad tears at the same time.

There were happy tears because I knew she understood how I'm feeling. She understands how I'm still feeling, even eighteen months later, even though I may have a smile on my face.  She understands how I am feeling even though I know that I will be with them again and know where they are. That makes it easier, but it doesn't take away the pain that I feel every day.

And sad tears because I still can't believe it's real.  I still can't believe that this is my life and that my boys are gone.

Thank you for writing such a special poem for me.  It means a lot to know that you think of me every day.

I had a little smile when I thought about posting this and knowing that people from the USA would be reading it.  Some phrases that you consider to be swearing there, aren't swearing at all here. I quickly learnt that when I lived there :)

I thought of you today…. I think of you everyday.
I wanted to knock on your door. But I walked away.
Do you want another visitor? Do you feel like people look and stare?
We don’t do that really, but I want to say. “ I hope you know…. we care.

It’s not fair, to be alone, to raise your earthly boys.
The ache you feel inside your heart,
For the 2 boys you have lost.
How do you manage to smile each day, while carrying the weight of your loss?

I want to hug you (very tight) and say it will be ok.
But you and I both know. It will never feel this way.
Our faith is different in many ways, But also, somehow the same.
To believe in something we can’t see…some people think is insane.

To believe can bring some comfort, but also, immense pain.
How, how, can we ever see. That our loss is someone else’s gain?
Don’t you KNOW that we needed them? That we WANTED them here?
To hold them and to love them and reassure each other of all our fears.

Who the hell is this “ Heavenly being”; that’s takes away what is mine.
How dare they say “ You will meet again…. but only, when it’s time”.
My time is now. I want them now. I hate that they aren’t here.
I loved them…. I love them still. I feel them every day.
Oh how I wish…they were not so far away.

But, as I go to bed tonight. I will say my prayers again.
To pray to something I can’t see. To help me through the night.
To help me get through all the nights and days, that is yet to come.
" Help me, just help us…. To get through our pain.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Too old (and brave) for Nono

Since moving to our new house things have changed a lot for all of us.  A lot of it is good but some things are harder as well.  Harri has been the one who has coped so well since moving.  There is so much going on with each of the boys, but for Harri most of it is positive.

For the last 18 months or so Harri has carried Noah's monkey 'Nono' around with him everywhere he goes.  I haven't minded at all because he has brought him a lot of comfort with everything we have gone through.  Poor Nono goes through stages of being totally filthy and has had many washes in the washing machine, only to be filthy again within a couple of days.
When he is feeling a bit stronger he would leave Nono at home a bit more, but there have been times when he has clung onto him non stop.  He would go to school with him every day and his teachers were so understanding and wouldn't mind at all that Nono was a part of the class.  It made me smile when Nono was even mentioned in his end of year school report last year. This photo of Harri was up in the entrance at school during the first couple of weeks this year.

During the first couple of weeks at school this year, Harri had to make a poster that showed a map of his heart.  He was so excited for me to come over to school to see it as he was so proud of it. It made me smile when I saw that Nono was right in the centre and was so big on it. It looks like Nono is just as important as his 3DS and Aaron and I, and Jay and Harri come a close second ;) Notice he only drew Kobe and Jay and I, even though he mentions 'Mum and Dad' and 'my brothers'.  That made me sad.

Nono even comes to church with us every week.

Since we've moved into our new house things have changed a lot.  The first couple of days Nono went to school with Harri, but then after school he would ask me if I thought it was a good idea that he left Nono at home now. I told him I thought it would be a good idea, but only if he felt happy to go to school without him.   He told me that he thought he was getting too old for Nono.  I told him it was okay if he still wanted to take Nono with him, and then he said 'I'm too brave now too' which made me so happy.

He has continued to leave Nono at home on his bed every day, and now he only sleeps with him at night which is such a huge step for him.  I'm so proud of him and am so happy that he's feeling a lot more secure since moving into our new house.   I wish I could say the same for the other boys.  We still have a long, hard journey in front of us.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Facebook Toilet

My heart is feeling heavy at the moment, so I thought I'd share something that makes me smile every time I think about it.  While going through some old photos I came across this one that I took last year. Kobe and I were out at a cafe having lunch, and he needed to go to the toilet. 

I took him out and he looked at the doors and said 'which one should I go to Mum? The Facebook one?!'. 

It was the funniest thing I had heard for ages and I couldn't stop laughing. He had no idea what was so funny. It totally looked like the Facebook 'f' so of course it was the 'facebook toilet'.  It goes to show what I spend way too much time on!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Where Aaron Should Still Be

Our computer is needing a huge overall, so I've been going through lots of the old photos trying to sort them out a bit.  There are a lot of photos that I haven't looked at for a while, because they are too hard to look at all the time.  The strangest photos to look at are photos of Aaron at Noah's funeral, or when we were dressing Noah's body after he had passed away.  It's so strange to see Aaron with Noah's body, and to know that he passed away just a few months later.

Last night I couldn't stop looking at this photo.  It was just a couple of days after Noah's funeral and we had all gone up to the cemetery with Chrish (who took the photos).  It is so weird to think that Aaron's grave is right through the trees there behind Aaron's head. 
When Noah passed away I was so worried about Aaron.  He was taking it so hard and I knew that it was going to be a long road of grief for him and all of us, and was wondering how he was going to cope with it all.
This photo of Harri with Nono makes me smile and feel sad at the same time.  He looked so happy to be in Aaron's arms.
Jay was coping the best out of all of us, after Noah passed away.  He was so sad and it was so hard for him to come to terms with the fact that Noah was tired and ready to go, but after he passed away he was so brave and knew that Noah was in a good place and was no longer in his sick, disabled body.   It's so hard to see how different it's been for him since Aaron passed away.
I wish so much we were all still visiting Noah's grave together, instead of the boys and I visiting two graves. Aaron gets to be with Noah, while I'm here to deal with all the crap. He shouldn't be there, but should still be with us.  We should all be visiting Noah's grave together.  

My mind and heart are so mixed with different thoughts and emotions.  I know that it's not Aaron's fault that he's not here, but a part of me is still angry with him because he just gets out of having to deal with our grief for Noah. Him dying changed our grief for Noah. It just put it away and we still haven't grieved for Noah, because all we can now think of is that Aaron died.  Just like that. 

Now we are grieving for the two of them, but not having any idea how it's even possible to grief for both of them at the same time. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Around My Neck

Over the past 18 months we have received so many amazing, beautiful and generous gifts from strangers and friends.   Some of them I have shared, but many I haven't.  I find it hard to talk about things that people have done for us or given us, because I truly feel like we don't deserve to be given so much.   I hope though that everyone realises how much everything means to us - big and small.  It really brightens our day to know that people are thinking of us. Just a card in the mail, even a year later means so much.  It is so nice to check my emails and have emails from strangers from all over the world, letting me know that they are thinking of us and praying for us. 

When Noah passed away my friend Kylie ordered me a beautiful necklace which I treasure so much.  It has the names of each of my boys on it, and everyone who sees it comments on it and asks me where I got it from.   She bought it from Kath at LOVEnCHERISH.

Since then Kath has been so lovely and has sent me two more beautiful necklaces as gifts. On the day of Aaron's funeral I got home to find a beautiful necklace in the mail which said 'Aaron - forever in my heart' on it.

Since moving I can't find it and another special necklace that I had, so I'm hoping it will magically turn up as I wore it all the time.  I only stopped wearing it because when we got back from our holiday to Queensland, there was another beautiful necklace waiting for me, that Kath had sent as a gift.

She sent it for the one year anniversary since Aaron passed away, which meant so much to me.  It means so much to know that people still know how hard it is, even a year later. I love the necklace so much, as well as my others that she has sent me.  I wear it every day, but have learnt that it's not the best idea to wear it to work as it is constantly grabbed by the kids.  I feel lost now when I don't wear one of my necklaces.  It makes me feel like I have my boys close to me, so I make sure that I wear one whenever I'm not at work, or the gym.
Thank you Kath for your kindness.   I treasure my necklaces and it means so much to me that you know how much I am missing them every single day.  I am grateful I can have Noah and Aaron close to me in some way - even if it's just having their names around my neck.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Our 'Old' House

When our 'old' house was going to go on the market, I knew it would be photographed for the internet and newspaper, so I decided to take down all our personal family photos.   I just felt a bit funny about having our family photos up for strangers to see. I know that sounds weird since I have a blog, but I just didn't feel comfortable having strangers walk through our house, being able to actually see who we were by looking at our photos.

I left up other pictures, but the house just didn't feel the same.  When I took them all down it felt awful.  Jay and I kept commenting about how horrible the house felt, as we had no reminders of Aaron and Noah anywhere.  It made us just feel really sad.  We had so many in our hallway and all over the house, so once I took them all down I decided it wasn't worth it to put them all back up again, as we would be having open homes and inspections for a while.
I hoped that it wouldn't take long to sell the house, because I missed having our family photos up so much. I only left up Aaron's Oasis concert poster and his signed Hawthorn team poster. 
I sent a link to my family and a few friends when our house went up on the internet, and everyone kept commenting that they'd never seen it so clean before!  My house is usually 'lived in' for sure, so it was nice to have it so tidy just for an hour or two :)
Oh how I miss my big kitchen with lots of storage! I also miss having a kitchen bench where the boys can sit up on the stools and chat to me while I'm cooking or while they're eating their breakfast.

I especially miss our bathroom with the big spa bath.  It was perfect for Noah and made our life so much easier as we could hoist him into the bath and wheel him straight into the shower on his shower chair. When Noah wasn't hogging it, I also loved to jump in.

Thank you again S Group for taking such lovely photos of our 'old' house which was once so special to us.

We are really enjoying our new house, but miss having everything brand new like at our old house.  I definitely don't miss the feelings that I had when I was there in the last year or so though.  It feels so good to enjoy going and being home again.  My heart is still empty and broken, but it doesn't feel as heavy now. 

I don't have to walk into the bathroom anymore and imagine and remember Noah having a shower in his shower chair.

I don't have to walk into the lounge room and look at the spot where Noah would lie on his mattress on the floor every afternoon.

I don't have to go to bed every night in our old bedroom every night, where I couldn't sleep for hours and would lay awake wishing I could hear Aaron and Noah's snoring.  I still wish I could hear them in my bedroom snoring, but it's so different now that I'm sleeping in a new bedroom - one that they haven't been in before.  I now fall asleep and sleep most of the night.

I don't have to look at the marks on the wall where Noah's wheelchair had scraped it. 

I love having reminders of Aaron and Noah, but not when I feel smothered by them because the reminders of them are too overwhelming when they are in your face all day, every day. I'm glad that our 'old' house is now someone else's new house, and know that Aaron and Noah are still with us no matter where we go.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Always and forever Hawthorn

It's crazy to think it's footy season already. It only seemed like it was a couple of months ago when we were cheering the Hawks on in the AFL grand final. When the renewal for our Hawthorn membership came in the mail, there was no question as to whether or not I would renew it. We had a family membership so I decided to stick with the same membership so that Aaron and Noah would still both be members.

It's strange having their membership cards and seeing their names on them and knowing they can't use them, but I'm sure Aaron would love that he is still a member and would that the years he has been a member continues to increase.

A month ago we went along to the Hawks community camp event.  Harri was so excited to join in playing games with the Hawks players.  Some of the players were so lovely to the kids and made a special effort to chat to them and get involved with them.  This player was so lovely to the boys and helped Kobe in all the games.  I heard him asking the boys their names and he told them his name was Jack (Gunston).  We didn't stay long because I just felt so sad being there without Aaron.  Some days it just hits you and often at times when I'm not expecting.  I thought it would be fun to take the boys and it was, but it didn't take long to feel teary, so I quickly told the boys we were leaving which they weren't happy about.  We would always go to things like that as a whole family, so it was hard being there without Noah and Aaron.

Last Saturday the Hawks played against the Tiigers in a NAB cup game, here at Aurora Stadium.  After school on Friday we made it to the end of the Hawks training, just as some of the players were leaving and were walking to their hotel.  It was so cool to pass them on the street and say hi to them, and they were lovely enough to be happy to stop for a photo.

We also were able to get photos with Sam Mitchell and Josh Gibson before they left the ground after training.

On Saturday we searched the house and garage for all our Hawks gear to wear to the game.  It's hard when you are in a new house, and have no idea where anything is!  Mum, Chrish and Alison came along with us and Alison put on some Hawks colours just for the game (she's usually Bombers supporter).
We couldn't resist getting a photo taken with Hawka before the game.

We ran into a few friends at the game.  Eden has decided that she's now going for the Tigers so we had fun stirring her up. 
It was such a hot day, so we were glad we were sitting under cover in the shade. I have no idea what is going on with Tassie's summer this year, but I'm loving it and trying not to complain about the heat because I know it'll be gone before we know it, and I'll be complaining that it's too cold. 

It was a great game, with the Hawks losing by one point right on the siren when the Tigers kicked a goal.  Harri was going balistic, screaming his head off the whole last quarter.  He is so much like Aaron sometimes it scares me!   Some of us were obviously a lot more into it than others.  I said to Jay 'have you seen any of the game?' and he said 'yeah I saw some guy running!'.  He did admit he got into it in the last five minutes, and his heart was racing.
We are looking forward to the real footy season starting and are glad that the Hawks are playing three Saturday games in Tassie this year.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

My Biggest Distractions

Thank goodness for my three boys who keep me going and give me a reason to get out of bed every day. Without them I can't even imagine how much harder things would be right now.  It's crazy that at the same time they are also my biggest challenge right now.  They exhaust me emotionally and physically, but I'm also grateful that they give me a distraction from my own grief a lot of the time.  We are all learning to deal with our grief in different ways.

Kobe is so cute, but so full on at the same time.  He literally tells me about about twenty times a day 'I'm really missing Daddy and Noah'.   He is so sad and so angry a lot of the time.  The placid, easy going Kobe is long gone and things that would be a little thing before, now make him turn into a screaming, tantrum throwing four year old.  After five minutes or so of kicking, yelling and throwing things he always calms down and always says sorry and then tells me he's missing Daddy and Noah.  He often yells at me 'I'm not talking to you ever again!' and makes me wonder what he's going to be like when he's a teenager!

One day while he was in the middle of one of his tantrums I asked him if he felt angry and he said he did.  He then started crying and said he was angry with Daddy.  It's so crazy to think that a four year old is actually able to articulate why he is angry (or who he is angry with).  I'm finding he is needing a lot of extra attention, cuddles and likes for me to let him know, that I know that he misses Daddy and Noah.

We talk a lot about how it's okay to be angry and it's okay to miss Daddy and Noah because he loves them a lot and that they would be missing him too, but it's not okay to be naughty.  He always feels really sorry for his behaviour, but he just finds it really hard to control his emotions.

I'm so glad that he actually talks about it and lets me know how he feels.  At night when I put him to bed he often says 'I just miss Daddy and Noah so much' and then asks me to sing him a song to help him go to sleep. I will sing him a song and he then looks at me and says 'I'm still missing them'.  If only it was easy as singing a song, to make him feel better.

It seems like there are two Kobes at the moment - the placid, fun, well behaved Kobe or the Kobe who is out of control. There is nothing in between.  Kobe also knows it and sometimes I will say to him 'I'm so happy that you are being such a good boy today' and he will say 'the happy Kobe is back!'.  On the days that he feels happier he is definitely in control of his emotions better.

I don't necessarily want him to not feel sad or angry - I know he needs to go through feeling those emotions before he starts to feel better. I just hope that I can help him to know what to do with those emotions, instead of being so agro and out of control.

Hopefully as time goes on the 'happy Kobe' will be around more and more.

Harri has probably been the easiest to deal with. I'm not sure if it's an age thing or a Harri thing.  He has been really good at talking about how he feels and you always know what mood he is in. If he's having a particularly sad day he will just go quiet and you will find him sitting quietly in the corner sucking his thumb, with Nono under his arm and his blanket wrapped around him.  He has been so good at sleeping in his own bed since moving to the new house.

He has asked a couple of nights if he could sleep in my room again or has been upset in the night, but if I lay in bed with him till he goes back to sleep he is fine and wakes up in the morning so proud of himself that he has slept another night by himself, in his own room.
He is a bit like Kobe where he's a bit more agro than usual, but he is more in control of what he does, than Kobe is.
Jay has also admitted to me that he is angry with Dad, but then says that he also knows that it's stupid to be angry with him, because it's not his fault. For Jay his grief is more physical as he feels physically sick because of it, but he is learning how to deal with it more as time goes on, and I'm really proud of him because I know how hard it has been for him.
I am so glad that all three boys talk to me about how they are feeling.  It's hard to hear and see what they are going through, but I'd much rather that they talk to me about it and go through the grief now, than have to deal with it later on.

It's emotionally and physically draining having to help them deal with their grief all the time. One day one of them may be great, but the next they aren't.   I just feel like there is never a day when everyone is feeling 'okay'.

Because the boys are going through so much themselves, I still feel like my own grief has been put on the back burner.   At times I get really frustrated about it and wonder 'when is it my turn!?' and other times I'm so glad that I have the boys to keep me busy and distracted from my own grief, enough to cope with it just a little bit at a time.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

What We Love

When you sell a pretty much brand new house and move into a forty year old one there are lots of things that you notice such as cracks in the walls, creaky floors, a small kitchen, and not many cupboards to store all your crap.  But despite these things we are still loving our new 'old' house.
We love the location because it means that the boys can now walk to school.  It kind of feels like I'm on holiday because the morning isn't spent yelling at the boys (of course I'd never yell though! ;) to hurry up to get ready for school and get into the car.  Jay knows what time he has to leave to get to school on time, so he just gets ready and says goodbye and heads off when it's time.  He loves being able to walk and it's nice hearing him walk in the door after school. 

Kobe on the other hand cracks me up because he is so lazy and as soon as we leave home he says 'my legs are so tired from walking to school!'.  We seriously do not have far to walk at all! 
I'm so glad that I decided to sell and buy again, rather than rent because it means that I can do whatever I want to the house to make it our own.   I loved my chalk board that I painted on my kitchen wall in our old house, and used it all the time to write down what we had on every day, so one of the first things I wanted to do was paint another chalk board (too bad that I had more unpacking to do - that had to wait!). 
I am so happy that my bedroom is big enough to have Noah and Aaron's boxes in it.  It's nice to have their special things close to me all the time.  
By far our favourite room in the house is the sunroom.
I love that Harri will just sit out there and read a book in the sun.
I've definitely found my new favourite spot for Sunday afternoon (actually any afternoon!) nanna naps!

It seems funny that we have only been here for a week and a half, but already feel so at home here.  I don't even think about driving back to our old house anymore and although I'm still going through a lot of grief, it just feels so much easier to deal with now we are away from our old house.

The boys are all feeling really sad at the moment and I know that although they love the new house, they are finding it really hard.  I'm sure if Jay and Kobe were given the choice they would choose to go back to our old house, but I'm hoping that they will soon stop missing our old house so much, and will just enjoy all the things about our new house - cracks in the wall and creaky floors and all.
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