Thursday, 26 June 2014

Noah's 13th birthday in Heaven

Yesterday I felt quite teary all afternoon, knowing that it would've been Noah's 13th birthday today.  It's often that the lead up to the day is actually harder than the day, and I found that to be true today.  This morning I woke up thinking a lot about Noah, but I knew that I was going to cope okay with the day.  I had to work until lunch time and the kids I work with always cheer me up anyway, so I was glad that I had to work half a day.  

After school we went and got thirteen balloons and went up to the cemetery to let them go. 

 It was freezing (and Harri refuses to wear trackies to school in winter!) so we quickly ran over to Aaron's grave before jumping in the car to get warm.
During the week we were talking about Noah's birthday and what we would do for it.  Jalen joked that Noah's favourite tea was Maccas and that we should get that for tea after we went to the cemetery, but we compromised and got KFC instead.

I grabbed a sponge cake at the supermarket on the way home, and the boys thought it was the best cake ever! Kobe was freaked out by the sparkler on the top which cracked us up.
 At tea time Kobe said we should make a video for Noah's birthday.  I said that was a nice idea but forgot about it until he went to bed.  Then he reminded me again and said he wanted to make a video for Noah.  This is what he wanted to say.  When he finished it, he started crying and said 'I didn't want to say anything about Daddy, because I miss him the most'.
  video
During the week Jay said that he's forgetting what it is like to have a brother with a disability.  I asked him what he could remember, and he said he remembered a lot of days when Noah would cry all day, and the suction machine going all the time. 

I am the opposite to Jay.  I am forgetting all the things like what it was like to get his meds ready every day, and how hard it was to care for him at times, but remember the way that he made us feel when we were with him.
We love and miss you so much monkey.  We wish you were here to celebrate another birthday, but we know that we were lucky to have ten years on earth with you.   We hope you are partying up there with your Dad.  Please give him a hug from all of us. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Forgetting but never forgotten

Grief is a crazy thing.  Sometimes you feel like you will never feel 'normal' ever again, and other times you have a good day or week, and forget for a little bit how hard grief can be.  The hardest thing is not seeing an end to it.   Our 'new normal' is a lot easier to deal with these days, but I can't ever imagine a day when we won't experience grief in some way.

Today Jay came home from school very upset.  I knew he was going to have a bad day right from when he woke up.  When he got home from school he told me how hard his day was and said that he really wanted to ring me, so he could come home.  He said that he felt today like he did 'back in grade 7' which was just after Aaron passed away.

Later tonight we all had a talk about how it's okay to have a really sad day, and that sometimes there's nothing we can do about it, but we just have to accept that it's a bad day or week.   I reminded the boys that they should know that it's not going to last forever, because we also know that we have a lot more happier days now.

As I started to talk about it, both Harri and Kobe started crying.  Harri told me that he actually hadn't been missing Daddy and Noah very much, but had been forgetting about them.   He was really upset because he said that he couldn't remember them very much, and he asked if it was okay not to miss them.  I told them that it's okay, but that upset him as well because he said 'I don't want to forget them though'. 

It's so hard to see his grief change....from missing the little things like watching Friday night footy together every week, to being upset because he is forgetting those things and what it felt like to have both of them here.
When Harri started to get upset, Kobe's lip started quivering and he came to give me a cuddle.  I asked him what he was thinking about and he said 'I just always miss Daddy and Noah so much'.  I know he doesn't remember them very much, but he knows how different it is without them, and I know that's what he misses.  We are constantly talking about Aaron and Noah, and Kobe hates that he can't remember the things we are talking about. 

I feel so sad that Kobe will grow up without Aaron here.  It's not fair that the boys have have to grow up without their Dad and brother.  It's not fair that they died when they're so young, and will grow up with the memories fading more and more.   Hearing stories, and seeing pictures and videos just aren't the same. 

I don't get angry very often about what has happened, but when I do it's because I just feel so ripped off. I always knew that Noah would pass away, and that was hard to live with every day, but we dealt with it the best way that we could.  There was a lot we couldn't do when Noah was here, but we didn't mind.  We talked a lot about the things that we could one day do 'when Noah isn't here'. It wasn't that we were looking forward to it, it was just that we realised how different our lives would one day be. 

Yes our lives were different when Noah passed away...for three and half months! A very, very hard three and a half months. Then life changed forever, and I can't help but feel ripped off.    How can it be fair that Aaron had to go so soon after Noah!? Aaron and I had talked about special things we would do together like go on a cruise during his long service leave, or go to the USA together.  Now that will never happen.

I feel like I now have nothing to look forward to, until I'm with them again.  We are dealing with life okay and we have a lot more joy in our life than we used to, but then I just can't see how life will ever really be as good as it was when they were here.  Doing things with my boys, is not the same as doing things with my best friend.
Sometimes my mind is irrational and I just want to yell at Aaron and ask how he could leave us! I know he didn't have a choice (well I really don't think he had a choice) but it's times like this, when the boy's grief is hitting hard again, that I just wonder when we will ever have a real 'break' from it.

We want a break from the grief, but then we also don't want a break from it, because we don't want to forget what life was once like, when we were a family of six on Earth. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

40

I joked with my brother tonight that birthdays are better when your husband isn't around, because everyone tries to make it extra special for you.  Today is my 40th birthday and it's actually been a lovely day.  The last two birthdays without Aaron and Noah have been really hard.  The first one after they passed away I dreaded, but my beautiful friends made it special by surprising me with a lovely cooked breakfast.

This time last year I was really struggling and I had thought that the grief had really caught up with me, but I now realise that I was severely depressed.  I remember my birthday last year, and how hard it was to just get out of bed and to have lunch with my friend Simone, and go out for tea with my boys and Mum and Dad.   I just wanted to ring them up and tell them to not worry about it, as I just wanted to stay at home in bed.  I remember forcing myself to go out for them, because I didn't want them to worry about me.   Last year I dreaded my birthday and tried everything I could to make it okay.  I even went out and bought myself a birthday present, thinking how depressing it was that Aaron wasn't here to do it for me.

This year I hardly even thought about my birthday.  I wasn't looking forward to it, but I wasn't dreading it either.   Every six weeks or so I go out for tea with my girlfriends Pip, Bec and Lynne.  We went to school together, and love catching up regularly.  The best thing is that I now have a live in babysitter as Jay is old enough and happy enough to look after the boys for me when I go out.  The girls and I arranged a night out for my birthday, and decided we would go out the night before my birthday, as I wanted to spend my birthday night with the boys.

Last night Bec and Lynne picked me up to go out for tea, and we went to meet Pip at the restaurant.  When we walked in I saw a table full of people with some helium balloons and flowers on it, and it took me a few seconds to realise that the table was full of my friends and Mum and sister in law Steph! I felt myself go bright red and can't even remember what I said, but it was a lovely surprise to have so many good friends there.
Mum organised a beautiful cake for me.

 Thanks for letting me steal your pic Alison :)
My cheeky cousin Toni always calls me Nan because she thinks I look like her, and she put this photo up on her Instagram last night. Aaron used to love teasing her that she looks like her Mum and used to call her Aunty Ann all the time. 

 I felt so blessed that everyone gave up their night to come and celebrate my birthday with me.  It was a lovely night with lots of laughs.

This morning Jay left to go to school, and a minute later he came running back inside yelling 'there's a sign at school for your birthday!!!'.  I straight away yelled 'Lisa!!!!' as I guessed straight away that it was my friend Lisa who would've done something so cheeky.   Kobe and I walked to school and saw this huge sign out the front.  Kobe thought it was awesome and was so excited to read it to me.  I started to rip it down, and poor Kobe was devastated :)  The damage was already done and I had students and teachers all day saying 'happy birthday Mrs King!.  

The Prep/One class that I work in a lot, made me a special card and sang 'happy birthday' to me, and one of my colleagues organised a birthday cake.
A lovely teacher organised for my EAL (English as an Additional Language) students to sign a birthday card for me.   We have been talking about birthdays a lot over the last couple of weeks as they have never celebrated a birthday before.  I told them that in Australia your birthday is a special day and for one of their birthdays, we had some cake and I gave him a present..   It was lovely to have them come and say 'happy birthday' to me this morning when they got to school.

I said to one of my students today 'I'm 40 today! I'm soooooo old!'.  She looked at me with a funny look on her face and said '40!? You're not very old!'.  I told her that I loved her :)

I finished work at lunch time, and just as I was about to leave and she came up to me with her class teacher, with a big smile on her face.  She yelled out 'Mrs King!' and handed me this beautiful card that she had spent all morning making.  I love it so much, and told her it was my favourite card I got all day. We are wearing some pretty groovy clothes!  I love that she has her headdress on. 
I had lunch with my friend Simone and she gave me some lovely presents, including a very special video that she had made with the help of my cousin Levi. On the video were some of my beautiful and very special friends including Naomi (who helped fund raise for us when Aaron passed away) as well as friends in the USA who I haven't met yet, but feel very close to for different reasons.  My friends Becky and April were on there - both of them have beautiful boys who both had hydranencephaly like Noah, but they have both passed away.  Other friends who were on the video were all of my widow friends in the USA, who I dream of meeting in person sometime.    It was SO good to hear and see them all 'in person'.  Simone and I kept commenting about how stunning and beautiful they all are.  It's so hard to believe that they're all widows too and hard because I know what they're going through.  It was such a special, thoughtful present.  I have watched it many times tonight and love hearing them all talk.  I just hope we can all really meet in person someday. 

On the weekend I gave the boys some money and told them to go and buy me some little presents.  I don't care at all about presents, and I didn't even buy myself one this year, but I knew the boys would want to get me something.  I told Jay to not worry about what the boys wanted to get me, and to just let them choose something.  Harri asked for some suggestions so I told them that chocolates are always good or some nice warm slipper socks. 

This morning the boys came in with their presents and I got chocolates from Jay, slipper socks from Harri and Kobe came in with a 10 pack of soap behind his back.  I couldn't help but laugh, because it was exactly the same present he bought me for Mother's Day! He obviously thinks I smell or something ;) He asked me if I loved it, and I of course told him that I do and he was so happy all day saying 'you love the soap I gave you don't you Mum?'. 

Tonight Kobe said 'I wish it was your birthday every day Mum, because it's so relaxing'. I'm not sure what that meant, but it has been a very nice day.  I had to work till 5.30, so we got take away for tea and had a quiet night at home. 

I have been very spoilt with lots of lovely cards, messages, texts, calls, flowers and gifts from so many people.  Another special gift was a present from my friend Reeve. We were friends as teenagers, and when he went on his mission for our church I wrote to him at times, and in one letter I mentioned meeting Aaron and how he was a 'cool guy'.  Reeve cut out that part of the letter and put it in a frame with a pic of Aaron and I at our engagement party.  It was such a special gift - thank you Reeve. 

I've decided that being forty actually isn't that bad. I think it hit me more when I turned thirty.  I definitely don't feel forty, and they say it's all down hill from here, but I feel like I've definitely hit the bottom of the hill already, and am hopefully on the way up.

I wish so much that Aaron and Noah were here every day, but I'm sure they were so happy that this year was a lot easier for me, and I know they would be so grateful for beautiful friends and family who helped make my day very special.  Aaron is probably up there right now stirring me that I'm now officially older than he was.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Guard of Honour


 We got a lovely surprise this week, when Tash (who works on the kids ward at our local hospital) contacted us to ask if Harri would like to be in the guard of honour as the Hawks ran through the banner, before they played the Eagles on the weekend.

He was very excited and I reminded him how lucky he was to be able to do it, because he got to run through the banner last year. The kids who were a part of the guard of honour got to lead the 'Hawk walk' from City Park to Aurora Stadium. 


At Aurora Stadium we met up with lots of the volunteers who were raising money for Give Me Five For Kids.  It was their game to raise money at, which is why the hospital got to choose the children who were part of the guard of honour at this game.
Harri was sure that we were going to  lose against the Eagles, when he saw that the Eagles had all of their really good players there.  I told him to not give up on the Hawks too early, but I also wasn't sure how we would go.
It was lovely for Harri to have such a special experience again.  I don't think the boys really understand how lucky they are to see their team play so often.  Aaron would've killed for that as a kid.

Harri is the one with the number '2' on his guernsey (it's really 12).

The Hawthorn football club put this photo up on Instagram.  We were excited to spot Harri in it (and of course it's lovely to have Hodgey in it too! :)

Kobe absolutely loved the game, and chattered away the whole time about the players and what was going on. 
Aaron's Dad also came along with us.  We loved his new beanie.
It was a great game, and the Hawks proved Harri wrong and won by over forty points in the end.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Six

I feel like a very slack Mum, because it's been three days since Kobe's birthday, and I still haven't posted about it.  I've been under the weather which hasn't helped, but I'm finally sitting down to do it.

Kobe's birthday actually crept up on me a bit.   I dread all birthdays now, and so I hadn't been talking about it very much with him, and suddenly I realised it was only a couple of weeks away.  When I told him he was so excited and started counting down the days.  

I feel sad to know that he's almost been here longer without Aaron and Noah, than the amount of time that they were here with him.    He said the other day 'when Dad died I was only three'.  It's hard to believe that he has already been through so much in his life, and even harder to know that he won't remember much about them as he gets older.  

When he realised his birthday was coming up he started to talk about it a lot and kept saying 'when I have my birthday party....' and just assumed we would be having one.  A party is the last thing I wanted to do, and I don't want the boys to expect that they can have a huge party every year, so I told him that we wouldn't be having a party this year.

I was waiting for the tears,  but I quickly told him how cool it was that he would be at school on his birthday, and he would see all of his friends anyway, and he could take cupcakes to share with them.  Luckily for me he was happy with that, so he went along happily to school with his cupcakes which I made.  It's lucky he's only six and I can still get away with making cupcakes, and school sound exciting!

All he really wanted for his birthday was The Lego Movie game for the WiiU.  He spends ages watching people play the game on YouTube, so he has been hanging out to get the game since we saw the movie together.   He was so happy when he opened it up.
 His other presents were to do with his favourite things - super heroes, football and Hawthorn.
He loved his new Hawthorn bear, and wanted me to put Jack Gunston's number on the back for him.
He spent the morning putting footy cards into his new album.

When we got home from school, there was a special treat left at the door for him, from my friend Simone.   Kobe (okay, actually everyone!) loves Simone's caramel slice.  After Aaron passed away Simone used to take Kobe for me one day a fortnight, so I could have some time to myself.  He would always come home with a huge container full of caramel slice that she had made while he was there.  A few weeks ago we were with Simone and her family, and she had made a lovely slice to share. She asked Kobe if he would like some, and he looked at it, and realised it wasn't caramel slice and sighed and said 'no thanks'.  He then muttered under his breath....'I thought it was caramel slice' and was so disappointed, and made us laugh.  He was very excited when I told him Simone had left him a special surprise.  He straight away yelled 'caramel slice!?'.
 
After school Alison came to visit.  She gave him his card first, which also had a chocolate in it. He was so cute when he opened it up, and was just so excited by the chocolate and didn't ask if there was a present too.  He was extra excited when he realised he was getting a present as well. 
This term at school is very busy for me, as I'm doing a nine week professional learning course which runs every Wednesday night for three hours.  There are between module readings and activities which we have to do in between the sessions and it's keeping me very busy.  I felt heart broken when I realised that Kobe's birthday was actually on a Wednesday this year, which meant I would be at work until 6.30.  I told Kobe that we would celebrate the night after his birthday, but I felt like the worst Mum in the world.  I hate that Aaron wasn't here to jump in and make his birthday extra special, while I was at work.

Luckily one of his best friend's from school has the same birthday as him.  She was having a birthday party after school, so it was nice that Kobe could go along to her party and have some fun while I was at my meeting.   

I hated Kobe's actual birthday because I just felt so stressed and tired and felt like it wasn't his birthday, because I hardly saw him all day.  Being six he really didn't notice, and still had a great day.  When I picked him up from his friend's house he was so happy and said he was too full for anything else, including the pizza and cake that we had talked about having when we got home.  We decided to skip pizza and save the cake for the night after.    Before he went to bed he got to talk to Grandma and Grandpa, and Facetimed his cousins and Uncles and Aunties.  

We've always had the tradition that you get to choose where you want to go for tea on your birthday.  Usually the boys choose McDonalds, but Kobe decided he wanted to go to Hogs Breath this year.   We decided to go the day after his birthday, so it wasn't rushed and we could enjoy it. 
Even though we are slowly adapting to life as just the four of us, it's always on days like birthdays when it hits you all over again and you realise how different and awful things are now.  It's hard to go out and celebrate when you feel like anything but. 
Aaron used to make most of the birthday cakes, and we have been lucky that the beautiful cupcake fairy has been making them for us the last couple of years.  This year she was away for Kobe's birthday, so I had to sort something out.  I hate baking and just don't have the time or energy to do it at the moment anyway, so I convinced Kobe that getting an ice cream cake would be great.  Luckily for me (again!) he agreed and was excited about his Cadbury ice cream cake with mini freddos in it.

Aaron's Dad and Step Mum came around the day after his birthday, and he was excited to get some money from them to buy something he wanted. He chose an iron man costume :)



Even though it wasn't really the birthday I had hoped for him, he had a lovely birthday.  He's such a good boy (most of the time!) and is so easily pleased.    I really don't know what life would be like without him. He brings so much joy into our family and I know that Aaron and Noah would both be so proud of him. 

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