Friday, 31 January 2014

And so we live our lives

This morning when I woke up I realised what the date is and that two years ago today was Aaron's funeral.  I have been thinking about it all day, but not actually in a sad way, but more just reflecting over the past two years.

My heart is breaking for a beautiful young couple from church, whose three month old baby girl passed away suddenly, a week ago.   They are at the beginning of their journey through grief, and I just wish that I could take away their pain.  Talking to them this week has really made me realise how far we have come in the last two years.
I remember so clearly the feelings that I had, when I was at the stage they're at right now.  I remember wondering how I was ever going to cope and how I would ever feel any joy in my life ever again.  
It was so hard back then and it still is, and I've been the lowest I've ever been in my whole life, but after two years I feel like we are doing okay.   We are probably doing more than okay.
We are still so sad and my heart just feels so empty without Aaron, but I feel like I am at a stage now where my mind can think about other things.  Aaron and Noah passing away aren't the only thing on my mind anymore.  It's always there, but I feel like it's pushed to the back more.   Some days it comes back to the front, but those days are spreading out more.  

I never thought that I would enjoy spending time at the cemetery.  I know that it's 'only' Noah and Aaron's bodies there, but it's actually a place we like to visit, and now instead of lots of tears we also have lots of laughs there.  There are still tears at times, but there are also smiles.  Sometimes we love to just go and sit near Noah's grave and have lunch together.

During the week I received another beautiful necklace in the mail from the lovely Kath at LOVEnCHERISH.   She has been so kind and has made me many beautiful necklaces with Aaron and Noah's names on them, and they always come at times that are extra hard.  It means so much when people realise that even two years later, it's still so hard. I love that I can keep my boys physically close to me, by wearing their names on my chest. 

Even though it's still hard, I'm grateful that two years down the track I can look back and see the many blessings we have in our lives, and can see how far we have come.  When Aaron first passed away I felt like I could only cope with an hour at a time.  Now I can see that those hours have turned into days.   I know that we will still have many more hard days, but I'm glad that those days are getting further apart. 
I know I will never be the same person that I was before they passed away as two huge pieces of me are missing, but I hope that we are living our lives in a way that is making them proud. 
I have been so sad to hear of the passing away of another young Dad. His wife Olivia and I grew up together, and she is now left behind with a four year old daughter and is due to have another baby in two months.
If you are able to, please consider donating to a fund that has been set up by a friend for her.  I know only too well how much it can help her right now with all the expenses she will have.  You can donate by going here.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


The boys have obviously been through a lot since Aaron and Noah have passed away.   At times they deal with things okay, and other times they struggle a lot. When we are busy and in a routine they seem to cope a lot better.   School holidays always seems to be harder for all of us, and there are lots more tears as we go out and do things that we used to love doing together as a family. 

With the boys' ages being so different they all deal with things so differently.  

Last week Harri was really upset and said 'I hate seeing people die! It's not fair that we've had two people die in our family' and I agreed with him. Sometimes I have just given him a hug and have said 'it's okay' and he will yell back at me 'it's not okay!' and I do have to agree.  I have learnt to just listen and not try to fix things, especially for Harri as he's at an age where he really understands things and just needs to talk about what he's been through.

When Kobe is really grieving his behaviour is terrible.  During the school holidays he has been really teary, and testing my patience a lot.   He argues a lot with the boys and isn't as resilient as he usually would be.   I've learnt that the best thing to do (even when I want to just scream at him...which sometimes happens) is to just give him a big cuddle.  Once I do, he always calms right down and then just cries and says 'I'm just missing Daddy so much'. 

Because Jalen is so much older he has found it the hardest, but at the moment he is coping the best out of all of the boys. 

Half way through last year Kobe was going through a really hard time, and I was really struggling to know how to help him.  I mentioned it to the Principal at school, and the next day she got an email about a twelve week program called 'Rainbows'.  It's a free program to help young people who are grieving and going through a life-altering crisis.  She asked me what I thought about the boys participating in the program, and I was so grateful as it seemed to come just at the right time. 

Both Harri and Kobe took part in the program at school with a couple of other students their age, and absolutely loved it.  The lady who ran it was lovely, and the boys loved telling me all the things they talked about.  They both got a special journal which they got to fill in each week, and each week covered a different topic.
I actually didn't expect it to help them very much, so I was surprised that it helped them a lot.   Both the boys really settled down while they were participating in the program, and Kobe went back to the old Kobe we knew and loved. 

The program finished a couple of weeks before the end of school last year, and the boys were excited to bring all their things home from the program.  On the last day they got to choose a teddy bear to keep, and had a special lunch together. 

The week after the program finished Harri was in tears again, and said that he wished he was still doing Rainbows.  All summer the boys have been talking about Rainbows and how they wished they were still doing it.  We are looking forward to school going back, as we have been told that the boys can do the program again, and I know it will help them a lot.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Being Brave Two Years Later

As the week has gone on and I've been thinking about how today would be two years since Aaron passed away, I couldn't help but have a little smile because only Aaron could die on Australia Day.   It makes sense really as he was so unAustralian at times, and had a sick sense of humour, so I guess it only makes sense that he passed away on Australia Day, and it's also a day that everyone will always remember.

It was nice waking up this morning to lots of messages from people, and to get beautiful flowers, cards and special gifts from family and friends.  It was also lovely to read some beautiful things that his past students had written on Facebook about him.   Yesterday some of the boys that he used to coach footy put up a photo on Facebook, of them visiting his grave.  Seeing these boys at his grave and knowing how much they loved Aaron brings me to tears every time.
Today when we went to visit his grave there were some lovely flowers and one of the boys had written on a ball for him.
The grass is so dry at the cemetery right now, so we gave it a water before we left. 
We usually go to church each Sunday, but with Australia Day falling on Sunday this year we decided to skip church and do what we needed to do, to get through a hard day.  I asked the boys a few weeks ago about what they thought about going to St Helens sometime in the holidays.  Jalen said he would like to go, but Harri straight away said he didn't want to go back there as it would make him too sad because that's where Dad died.

I didn't want to force them to go so I just left it, but he must've thought about it a bit, because when I suggested that we go to St Helens for the anniversary of Aaron's death all the boys said that they wanted to.  Every summer we would go there as a family, and last year was the first year we didn't go, so today was the first time we had been back since Aaron passed away there.

I felt okay driving down, or I thought I was, until I realised that my neck was starting to ache.  Whenever I get stressed the first thing that happens is I get a neck ache.  As we got closer to St Helens my heart started racing a bit and I realised that I wasn't as calm as I thought I was about it.  Luckily I had my sunnies on as I had a few tears as we drove in, but I could hide them from the boys.  I don't mind them seeing me cry, but they were all being so brave about going back, that I didn't want them to get upset too.    After a little cry I actually felt better and my neck stopped aching. I think I just need to cry a bit more!

We headed straight to our favourite beach - Binalong Bay.  We couldn't wait to get there and was so glad that it was such a beautiful sunny day.  It was a lot different to the day that Aaron passed away, which was cold and overcast.  Harri made me laugh as he saw the lifeguards talking to people and asked 'what do the lifeguards talk about with everyone Mum?'.  I told him I didn't know and they were probably just having a chat.  He then said 'you should go and tell them that your husband died two years ago today'.  It made me laugh, and I told him that I didn't think that they would really want to hear that.

The first thing we did was go for a walk to the other end of the beach.
The whole way the boys talked about all the different things they could remember doing with Aaron there.  They kept talking about the time Aaron and Chrish jumped off the rocks, and the times they would play in the waves with him. 

As we were driving and getting closer to St Helens I noticed that Jay was getting really quiet. I asked him what was wrong and he kept saying 'nothing', but I could tell he was upset. I asked him if he was feeling sad and he said he was.  When we first got to the beach he was very quiet and withdrawn. 

He soon cheered up and ended up having a lovely time. 

Harri kept writing 'Dad' in the sand and loved seeing the waves wash it away. 

 After our walk and play on the rocks we had fun playing in the lagoon and jumping in the waves.

It was a bit windy, which meant there were big waves which Aaron would've loved. The boys didn't last for very long as they got cold fast, but the water was surprisingly warm (for Tassie) so I told the boys to sit with their towels around them to get warm, and went back in on my own.   Aaron would've loved it so much and I couldn't stop thinking about him the whole time and how he just should be here with us.  I didn't want to get out of the water as it was just so nice, but dragged myself out as it was getting on in the day and we had to get home. 

After spending time at Binalong Bay the boys said that they wanted to go to the sand dunes.  We had to drive past the house where Aaron passed away to get there, and I reminded the boys of that, but they said they didn't care.  As we drove back through town Kobe spotted the jetty where we used to go fishing a lot with Aaron.  He was so excited and yelled 'that's where we went with Daddy, one day before he died and went fishing!'.  He always talks about the photo he has in his room, which was taken just the day before Aaron passed away.
As we got close to the house where Aaron passed away, an ambulance went passed us and Harri said 'so many memories, and things that are the same Mum'.  The boys didn't seem worried at all when we went past the house and just pointed it out, which was good.  They were just excited to get to the sand dunes

They had a great time rolling down to the bottom and climbing back up again....until they got about half way up, and then they kept complaining about how hard it was.

Harri yelled out 'quick Mum!! I have a REAL emergency!! Seriously! There's sand in my eyes!'.  I couldn't stop laughing as he didn't just have sand in his eyes, but all over his face, all through his hair and in his ears. He didn't think it was quite as funny as I did, and told me to stop laughing.

He's a crazy kid. 
It was hard going back, but I knew we were ready for it, and in a lot of ways I think it helped us all.  I told the boys how proud I was of them for being so brave.  We miss our family holidays there so much and just wish we could go back three years and have things how they used to be, when we would spend a week there every summer - all six of us. 

It was lovely to get home to a tea which Alison had made for us, and Harri decided we needed to have Pepsi for Aaron for tea.  The boys did a big 'cheers' for Dad.
It was a sad day, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I'm glad that we were brave enough to do the trip as it will be much easier going back next time.   Two years ago today, our lives changed forever. Two years seems like a lifetime, but also seems like it was just happened a little while ago.  It's seriously still hard to believe that Aaron isn't here. 

So much has happened in the past two years, and it's crazy to think Aaron hasn't been here for so much. Two years later, there are bigger smiles on our faces and in many ways things are easier, but it's still so hard.  We love and miss him and Noah so much, and hope that we are making them proud, because living without them is the hardest thing we have ever had to do.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Playing Tourists

The first couple of weeks of summer holidays were really hard.  When the four of us are home together all the time, we miss Noah and Aaron even more, as we used to love spending the whole holidays together.    I told the boys that we needed to just jump in the car and go and do something every day, so that we don't get too sad and so to try to actually enjoy the holidays a bit.

It was lovely to go and spend some time at my Mum and Dad's new house and spend time at the beach, but it's also nice to be back in our own beds.  When we were coming back home after being away for a week Harri said 'I love our new house Mum'.  I think it's always going to be known as 'our new house'. 

We live in such a beautiful state, and I keep saying to the boys that we take it for granted too much.  There is so much that we haven't seen or done that is so close to home, so yesterday I told the boys were were going on a road trip.  I had always seen beautiful photos of the Bridestowe Lavender Farm but had never been there, even though it's so close to home, so that was our first port of call. It is the largest privately owned lavender farm in the world. 

Kobe was loving smelling all the lavender products in the shop, but Jay wasn't impressed.  He hated it and kept wanting to get out of the shop. 
We couldn't resist trying a lavender ice cream - or at least Kobe and I did.  Jalen and Harri had a lavender and blueberry which was really yummy, but I loved the lavender one.  I was scared it was going to taste like lavender body lotion or something, but it was really yummy.  The lavender flavour was very subtle.
I hate photos of myself, but realise that I hardly have any and the boys will probably want to look back in years to come, and actually see photos of their Mum. 
We also couldn't resist trying the rhubarb, apple and lavender drink.  Harri and I didn't mind it, but Jay wasn't a fan (fussy like his Dad!). 
 We did the self guided tour. 
The man who worked in the distillery told us that when this beaker of oil was full (it would be three liters) it would be worth $2500!
 A third of the lavender has been harvested already, and a lot of it has dried off, but it was still amazing to see.  The dirt was so orange and Kobe fell over in it a few times, so he came home very dusty.
 This patch was still quite purple, and so pretty. 
On the way home we stopped at the blueberry farm to pick some blueberries for home.  The boys kept talking about the last time we went there four years ago, when they had gone on a school excursion as book buddy classes, and Kobe and I joined them as 'parent help'. 
 Kobe was getting very stressed that his bucket wasn't filling as fast as ours, so we kept telling him it didn't matter because we were working as a team and were all trying to just fill up a big bucket together. He was happy with that, until we tipped his into the big bucket! He ended up bawling and I ended up tipping his back in his own bucket, just to shut him up!
They are only $6.50 a kg which is a bargain, and we ended up picking about five and a half kilograms.  It's nice to have them in the freezer, ready to use whenever we want them. 
 As we were driving through Lilydale I spotted the Lilydale Falls sign, so we stopped to check them out.  It was a short ten minute walk to get to the first falls which were so pretty.  The boys had fun having a splash in the water.

This photo makes me smile. Kobe is so nervous that Jay isn't going to make it back without getting wet!

Just a couple of minutes from the first falls are the second falls. 

We had such a lovely day together. It's a pity that school holidays are almost over, because we are finally starting to enjoy them.  We look forward to playing tourists every school holidays, and discovering more places we have never been to.  
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