Thursday, 31 October 2013

His Father's Son

You know the nursery rhyme that says 'when he was good he was very, very good and when he was bad he was rotten'....I'm sure it was written about Kobe.  He can be the cutest, sweetest little boy; and then there are the days when you think you could kill him :)   Lately he has been a lot of fun.  He has been making us laugh so much lately.  A couple of weeks ago we were playing hide and seek and this is where I found him! In Milly's crate!  He knew it was hilarious so he pulled a funny face when I opened up the door :)

When Alison took pics for us he pulled out some hilarious poses!  We couldn't stop laughing.  I have no idea where he got them from, but he's definitely his father's son.  He loves an audience and loves to make people laugh and it doesn't take much to encourage him. 

Yesterday I got a call to see if I could do some relief teaching.  Luckily Alison didn't have to work and was keen to hang out with Kobe all day (thanks Alison!).  While on my lunch break I checked my phone and she had sent me a few photos of what they were up to. This photo made me laugh, and miss him so much! 

He is obsessed with both versions of the movie 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.  He found Harri's book on the shelf and asked me if I could read the book to him.   I told him there weren't many pictures, but he said he didn't care because he liked the story.  I'm surprised as to how much he is into it and is begging me to read another chapter every day.  After reading our first chapter he said 'can we have some chocolate now since we just read a book about it!'.  Cheeky thing!
He makes things so much easier  by just being here.  I have no doubt he was meant to come when he did, because it's been a huge blessing to have him home with me over the last two years.   It's nice to be able to laugh at his antics and tell him that he is just like his Daddy.  He is so proud of that. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Happy Families

Over the weekend our friend Alison took some family photos for us.  She got some great ones on her DSLR and I asked her to take a few on my phone at the same time.  This is one of my favourites off my phone.   I absolutely love that it captures all of our personalities.
Ten minutes into it the shoot Kobe was over it, Harri was bossing Kobe, and I was getting cranky and telling them that if they just cooperated and looked like a happy family for a little bit, it would all be over ;) :) 

I cracked up when I saw this photo on my phone as it's what life is really like most of the time.  They aren't even scared of my glare! If they were the photo shoot would've been finished a lot sooner :)

 Thanks Alison for capturing some real life photos. I think they're always the best ones.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Buying Time

Grief is so hard.   I still haven't read a lot about grief because I don't believe that reading about it is necessarily going to help me deal with it, but I do know that there are stages of grief.   I feel like I've skipped the stage of anger, or maybe it's still going to come, but I knew there was a stage of 'depression' when you start to feel intense feelings of sadness and emptiness. 

We believe that this life isn't the end and that I will be together with Aaron and Noah again, but that of course doesn't stop the grief.   I have hope that things will get easier, but know that they will never, ever be the same again. 

 Over the past two years I have been doing all the things that I had been told would help me cope with the enormity of what has happened.   I was going to the gym (even though it felt like I was going to the torture chamber as I didn't enjoy it like I used to) I was trying to eat well; I was getting out; I moved house hoping it would help (it definitely has); we got a dog, I was working with kids that I love, and I was planning things that we could look forward to

Most of all I was praying more than I've ever prayed before, that I could understand why Aaron had to go so soon after Noah, and that I could get through another day without him. 

Somewhere along this journey of grief things changed.  It was a gradual thing that slowly crept up on me but I believe things started to change as I was dealing with a particularly stressful situation that I felt like I couldn't change.  I guess you could say it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  

I went from feeling like I was coping quite well, to feeling like everything was overwhelming me.  I believed that the grief was really starting set in because I had been so busy every day just trying to be strong for the boys, and it was now my turn and it was finally catching up with me.  

Doing all the things I was told to do didn't help.  I didn't feel sad anymore.  I just felt nothing.  I didn't feel anxious anymore.  I just didn't want to do anything.  Things that I once loved to do, I started to avoid.  I was told that going to the gym would be the best thing that I could do, but I would work out and feel like I hadn't done any exercise.  The usual 'gym high' I would feel after working out wasn't there.

My friends would invite me to catch up for lunch, but it was the last thing I wanted to do. It was just too overwhelming to just get out of the house, and I couldn't think of anything worse than having to find the energy to talk.  I knew that my friends would understand and wouldn't expect me to put on a happy face, but I just couldn't find the energy to do it and started telling my friends that I wasn't up to it.  I told them I was fine, I just didn't feel like it.

Since Noah passed away I have experienced 'the fog'.  My mind often felt clouded over, but there were days when the fog had lifted just for a little bit and I felt like I could see through the fog again.  Suddenly the fog was so thick.  I couldn't see past it and I couldn't think clearly. 

I knew that I had so much to do around the house, but I couldn't think clear enough to get things done.  I would start doing something in the kitchen, but would leave it after a minute because I had thought about something else I had to do.    I had started ten jobs or more throughout the day, but hadn't been able to finish any of them.   My house was a mess, but I didn't care anymore. I just didn't have the energy to deal with it - mentally or physically. 

I went from being in control of things, to not wanting to get out of bed and that's exactly what happened.  I had no reason to get out of bed except to get the boys out the door to school, and to cook them tea at night.  They would kiss me goodbye, and then come home and call out to me 'Hi Mum!' as they got home as they knew I would still be in bed.

I finally thought I knew the enormity of grief and thought that this was another stage that I unfortunately had to go through, before the next (and hopefully easier) stage would come.

That stage didn't come.  Things didn't get better. 

At first I was upset with myself.  I wondered why I couldn't fix it myself.  I hoped that by getting out of bed and continuing to go to work, I would snap out of it.   I'm usually a very optimistic person, and have strong beliefs that I will be with Aaron and Noah again and that there has to be a reason as to why it has happened, but even though I believe this, I just felt so empty and tired.  The hope that I once had that things could get better, had gone. 
I am so grateful for lovely professionals who realised that what I was going through was not just a normal stage of grief, but it had actually turned into 'uncomplicated severe depression'.   Uncomplicated meaning that there was a clear reason for the depression, which is usually easier to treat.  It was so severe that diet and exercise did not help at all, which would explain why going to the gym did nothing.  It explained why I couldn't sleep despite being exhausted.  I have family and friends who have suffered from depression.  I always imagined what I thought it was like for them, but I had no idea. I thought they felt sad.  I didn't feel sad.  I just felt nothing. 

It was suggested that I urgently went on medication for severe depression.  I was shocked that I was suffering from depression,  and was particularly shocked that it was so severe that I needed to take medication.  I don't like taking any type of medication if I can avoid it, so I wondered whether it was really necessary that I took medication.

I was told that it would probably help me feel on top of things quite quickly, and that I probably wouldn't need to be on it for long but it would just be 'buying time'.   It wouldn't take away the grief, but it would give me some time to get on top of things again as it would help restore the chemical imbalances in my brain.

I was very blessed to have been put on a medication that worked for me straight away.  Within two days I felt like the old me again.  Not the me before Aaron and Noah passed away, but the me who was still grieving, but felt like getting out of bed.   I felt like doing things again.  My mind was so much clearer and I could get things done without forgetting what I was supposed to be doing.  I could drive again without worrying that I was going to cause an accident.  I looked forward to doing things with the boys again.

I only told a couple of close friends that I had started the medication, because I didn't want people to worry about me.  I guess I am good at putting on a good front, which is often the case with people who are suffering from depression.
After three months of being on medication, I started to wean off it with the advice of my doctor and was so grateful that I still feel 'good' without the medication and still do, even after stopping it a while ago.   
Despite having a blog that is read by many people,  I am actually a pretty private person.  There is a lot that I don't share on here, and I thought for a long time about whether to share anything about this, but I have decided to share what I have gone through because I want to 'keep it real' and hope that by sharing it, it may help someone else, somehow.  
In some ways I feel like I failed myself.  I still wish that I was able to get through this hard period in my life without medication as I kind of feel like I took the easy way out,  but then the rational side of me says that I should be proud that I was able to reach out and ask for help and then to accept it, because I know that there was no way that I could've felt better without taking the medication.
I still don't like taking medication, but I know that there are times when it can help so much and is necessary.  The medication did have side effects, but the benefits far outweighed any side effects that it had. 

Now that I'm off the medication I feel sad every single day, but I am so glad that I feel something again.  I never thought I would say that I'm glad that I can feel sad again.  I'm glad that I can cry again.  I'm glad that I can laugh again.  I'm sure there will be many more tears until I'm with Aaron and Noah again, but I'm grateful that I was able to buy some time to feel on top of things again. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Running for a Wish... and Noah and Aaron and Lindsay

Today was the third annual Run for a Wish fun run/walk, which raises money for the Make a Wish Foundation.    The first one was just a couple of week after Noah passed away so Aaron was still alive, and we decided to still do it as a family in memory of Noah, as he was blessed to have been granted a wish from the Make a Wish Foundation.   We continue to do it in memory of both Noah and Aaron and to help raise money and awareness for a great cause.

This year I ordered some new t-shirts for it and were really happy with how they turned out.  Kobe said he liked looking at the t-shirts because it made him think of Daddy and Noah and reminded him what they looked like. 
The boys were excited to see Hawka before the race.
It's so nice to have family and friends join us in it, and Noah turned on the weather for us once again.

This year Alison did some extra fund raising by signing up to be an 'every day hero' where people could donate to her for running.  She had Noah and Aaron's initials on her hands to inspire her to keep going as she was running. 

She did so well and raised over $1100 for Make a Wish!  She was the top fundraiser and was lucky to win a iron man watch.
My friend Simone organised balloons to release and we let them go as the starting buzzer sounded. 
Harri and Jay took off together and I knew that Harri would run really fast the whole way.  It was so nice at the end to hear them say they stuck together the whole time and crossed the line together.  Harri said it was fun running together because last year he got bored by himself.  We definitely aren't runners so I was proud of them for running almost the whole 6.4 km.

Photo taken from The Examiner website
Kobe and I stuck together and I expecting him to be really slow.  Last year he was so slow and I had to piggy back him half way around the course, but this year he was excited to actually run part of the way.  After the first 500 metres or so he decided he couldn't run the entire course, so we did lots of jogging and then walking.  About 2 km in he started saying 'I'm so tired! I can't do it! I'm going to take my number off and never do this again!' as he would start taking his bib off his t-shirt. 

When I would remind him of how well he was going and how Daddy and Noah would be so proud if him, he would get his second wind...for at least 10 metres, and then he would start all over again. 
To get him to faster I would say 'Quick! The people behind us are about to catch up!' and he would run for a little bit and then get tired and say 'it doesn't matter Mum! We're not coming last!' :)   As we headed back into Aurora towards the finish line he got his third wind and sprinted around Aurora to cross the finish line with his cousin Lachie.
 Everyone who enters the run gets a medal.  The boys were excited to add another one to their collection.  Harri and and Kobe have both been very emotional today and have had lots of tears.  Both of them said they were really missing Daddy and Noah today because we ran for them. Harri said he felt them around a lot today, and so did I but while I find it comforting, Harri says it makes him miss them even more. 

It was lovely to catch up with Tania who is Mia's Mum.  Mia passed away four months ago and I felt privileged to take photos at her funeral.  Unfortuately Mia passed away before she was able to be granted a wish. 
Mia's sisters and cousins had decorated their tops for Mia.
After the run we did the usual run to Maccas for lunch. I'm sure Aaron would've been proud.
Thanks Courtney for saying hello and telling me you read my blog and follow us on Instagram.  I often get comments from people saying that they have seen us around, but are too scared to say hi, but it's so nice when people do.

We wish so much that Aaron and Noah were here to do the run with us, but it's nice to run for them and help raise money for children with life threatening illnesses.  The run raised over $28,000 which is fantastic.  We know how much it is going to brighten the lives of some very sick children and their families.

On our most recent trip to Queensland we spent some time with my cousin Lanai and her family.  Their son Lindsay (front left) is around Jalen's age and has been sick for a couple years.  Recently he was diagnosed with a left temporal lobe brain tumour.  It is a rare type of tumour and doesn't respond well to chemotherapy and radiation, and surgery isn't recommended as it will cause permanent damage. 
does not have a history of responding well to chemo or radiation therapy. It also causes regular seisures which are difficult, seemingly impossible to control with large doses of medication which effect his ability to live a normal life and have caused significant side effects.  - See more at:
After just over 2 years of debilitating sickness, vomiting, nausea, headaches and fatigue and after seeing 2 pediatritions, countless doctors, gastroenterologist, rheumatologist and two psychologists and undergoing countless tests and many people not understanding why he constantly felt so miserable, Lindsay suffered a grand mal seisure in July this year. The hospital soon ran tests which confirmed that Lindsay had a Left Temporal Lobe Brain Tumour.
- See more at:
After just over 2 years of debilitating sickness, vomiting, nausea, headaches and fatigue and after seeing 2 pediatritions, countless doctors, gastroenterologist, rheumatologist and two psychologists and undergoing countless tests and many people not understanding why he constantly felt so miserable, Lindsay suffered a grand mal seisure in July this year. The hospital soon ran tests which confirmed that Lindsay had a Left Temporal Lobe Brain Tumour.
- See more at:

Our hearts break for Lanai, Gavin, Lindsay and his brother Mitchell as they are now making very hard decisions to help Lindsay beat this tumour.  Gavin has also recently been made redundant at work so things are extremely hard for them right now.

Lindsay would actually be able to apply for a wish from the Make a Wish Foundation, but right now they are struggling just go get through each day as Lindsay is having seizures which are hard to control with medication, and he just feels so unwell all the time. 

The best options for successful treatment of this type of tumour is in the USA where Lindsay will be receiving treatment in 2 states of the USA with different protocols. The funds raised will be for medical treatment, a small allocation for emergency hospital costs, some of the flight costs to USA and between two states regularly for treatment, accomodation, costs for air travel nurse and medical visas. - See more at:
The best options for treatment are in the USA where Linsday will receive treatment in two different states.  Unfortunately the cost for the treatment is extremely expensive with the family having to find the finances to cover the cost of travel, medical treatment, accommodation, emergency hospital costs, costs for an air travel nurse and medical visas.

Lindsay needs this treatment as soon as possible and a fundraising page has been set up to help raise the funds to get him and his Mum to the USA.  If you are able to help out please donate by clicking on this link  and you can also like the Facebook page that has been set up to keep people up to date. 

The amount needed is a lot, and it sometimes feels like what we can give isn't enough, but I know first hand that every little bit helps, even if it is only a couple of dollars. We hope Linsday is able to get the treatmet he needs to live a normal, happy, and long life.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Our Holidays

Since Aaron passed away I have absolutely dreaded weekends and school holidays. When we are out of routine, the days seem extra long and the nights even longer.   But since I have started my new job I feel like I have turned a little corner.  The grief is still there but for the first time in two years I wasn't dreading school holidays.

It was a nice surprise that I wasn't dreading it like I normally would, but was actually looking forward to having a break with the boys, having some fun and catching up on things around the house.  The first week we had a quiet week and enjoyed sleep ins and lazy mornings.

We were extra busy during the second week as we went to Hobart for Noah's two year 'angelversary'  and loved our time at Port Arthur and we had so much fun exploring places that we hadn't been to before.  On the way to Port Arthur we stopped along the way to see lots of different things along the Tasman Peninsula.
We always see signs with warnings about kangaroos and wallabys crossing the road, but had never seen one with a Tasmanian devil on it, so I had to pull over to get a pic. 
The boys were fascinated with the tellesated pavement. 

When we were on the harbour cruise at Port Arthur the tour guide mentioned that it was worth a short drive to the Remarkable Cave.  I'm so glad we decided to go as it was amazing. 

We were inpressed with the view on the way down. 
But it was even better at the bottom, where the cave was.  The waves were crashing into the cave and the boys desperately wanted to jump down into the cave, but I reminded them that the barriers were obviously there for a reason. 
The day after we got home from Hobart we had booked the bike centre.  It was nice to have lots of friends join us for a play, and we didn't even mind that it was raining a little bit.
Straight after we left the bike centre we headed down to Swansea to fit in as many days as we could at our friend's beautiful beach house before the holidays were over.  We were so excited to end the holidays just relaxing and were happy that we could take Milly with us as we missed her when we went to Hobart. 
Milly loved running up and down the beach, retrieving the tennis ball all day, but wasn't keen on the water at all.  The first day she would jump back every time a wave would come up, but she quickly got used to it.  
We've just finished a six week puppy training course, and it was fun to do training with Milly on the beach every day. 

Because it's spring time in Tassie it's definitely not warm enough to swim, but that didn't stop the boys going in. I needed my sunnies with the glare off their white bodies! 
We always love going to Bicheno and visiting the Blow Hole and getting lunch.
The beach was beautiful, but it was so windy we ended up with more sand than salt in our chips.
We had a lovely time together, but Kobe found the holidays really hard.  He had settled down a lot over the past couple of months, but during the holidays he was very teary again and kept saying that he was 'sad because of Daddy and Noah'.  Hopefully being back at school and in routine again will help things to settle down for him.  It was so nice to finish off our holidays at the beach.  

Last night Jalen said he wishes we could go back to Swansea as he felt so relaxed there.   I'm sure we will go back and hopefully we can get through the summer holidays just as easily as these past holidays.

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