Thursday, 18 June 2015


June is a big month for birthdays in our family.  Yesterday it was my turn and I turned 41.  I didn't dread my birthday coming up at all, and I don't care at all that I'm 41, but the day before my birthday grief hit all over again, and I realised it was going to be a harder day than I imagined.

The day before my birthday Aaron's Dad and step Mum came to visit to drop off something for my birthday.  While they were here Kobe started to look sad. I asked him what was wrong and his lip started quivering and he said that they didn't have any presents for me. I told him that it was okay as I didn't want any presents, but he got very upset and said he wanted to go and get me something.

After they left I yelled out to the boys to get ready as we were going out, so they could get me something (with my money!).  The next thing I hear is a groan, and I yelled out to ask who was groaning (actually thinking it was Harri!) but Jay told me it was Kobe. I asked Kobe what was wrong, and he was that he couldn't be bothered to go out now!

I actually felt a little hurt, and tried to be mature about even though he's only 7 and told to not worry about it then, and that we wouldn't go out.  I really didn't want any presents, and birthdays aren't a big deal to me, so I was actually quite happy to stay at home, instead of going out in the cold and dark.

A few minutes later he came to me crying saying 'just tell me Mum! Do you want a present or not!?'.  I told him I didn't want a present, but if he wanted to buy me a present then that would be nice.  He was so worked up about it and kept repeating over and over 'I want to get you one, but I just don't know if you want one!'.  I guess for a 7 year old it's very confusing as you know how exciting it is when it's your birthday, so to hear from an adult that they don't want a present just doesn't make sense.   I could tell that he really wanted me to wake up on my birthday to a present, so he decided that we were going out to get one.

It touched me that he wanted to do something for me (especially when Harri and Jay didn't even mention anything about wanting to get me something) but then after we kept talking about whether or not I wanted one, it hit me how crappy things still are.  I wished Aaron was here to just sort it all out, instead of us being in tears about it.

Usually when I wake Kobe up he just groans at me, but yesterday I woke him up and he straight away said 'happy birthday Mum!' which was so sweet.  Jalen said happy birthday later in the morning and then as Jay gave the boys my presents to give to me, Harri suddenly remembered and said 'oh is it your birthday Mum! I forgot!' which didn't really start the day out well.   I just keep reminding myself that they are just kids (and boys for that matter!) and that kids can be very selfish and it's hard for them to think outside of their own little world sometimes, but I have to admit that I felt sad that the boys (other than Kobe) didn't think of doing anything themselves. 

The nagging 'mother of the year' came out in me (definitely NOT mother of the year material!) and I later told the boys how sometimes they should think of others more, and that it's hard every day for me and just a nice little card or note, would've made my day more than anything. I didn't want them to feel bad, but I think that sometimes they need to be reminded of certain things. 

Celebrations and holidays are harder days than usual, and because I don't get excited about my own birthday I didn't expect it to be a hard day.  But I went to school on the verge of tears, and just wished the day was over already. 

Thank goodness Kobe was excited about it, because he made me smile all day.  Before the bell went, two of his cute friends came into my office to wish me happy birthday.   They said Kobe had told them it was my birthday and it was so cute that they wanted to come and wish me happy birthday.  Apparently he had been telling his class for days!

After a few tears in the morning with a lovely colleague of mine, I got busy at work and the day got better as it went on.  My EAL students don't celebrate birthdays because it's not a part of their culture (but they aren't against celebrating birthdays) and when they arrived in Australia they didn't even know the months or when their birthdays were.  We have been doing a lot of work on it and they have all their birth dates listed in the room that we work in.   They are always asking me how many more days it is until their birthdays, and when it is their birthday I have gotten them something little and we always have cake.

Just a couple of weeks ago they asked me when my birthday was. I told them and then they asked me why my birthday wasn't up on the wall with theirs. I told them that I didn't need my birth date up there as well, but they disagreed so one of the boys wrote it up for me.

Yesterday the older girl that I teach said 'happy birthday Mrs King!' as she put her arm around me and then said 'I don't have anything for you sorry'.  I smiled and told her I didn't expect her to get anything, but thanked her for saying happy birthday.  Then her brother said later in the afternoon 'when is your birthday Mrs King!?' (as they knew it was coming up) and I said 'today!'' and then he looked confused and said 'why we not doing anything!?' as I think he was hoping we could share some cake!

After work I came home and decided that I was going to have a massage.  There have been some Chinese massage places open up recently and it's just a little bit too convenient to walk in and have a quick massage without an appointment.  I think I need another job to keep up the habit as I've been way too many times already!   It was so nice to just sit down for a bit and relax. 

The boys and I then went out for tea at our old faithful - Hogs Breath Cafe.  When we were given VIP cards when it first opened up in Launceston, so we often choose to go there for birthdays.  The best thing is when it's your birthday month you get a free meal, so Kobe and I both got to have a free meal last night! 
Just as we were leaving, one of Kobe's friends came in with his family.  We hadn't met his parents before, but knew that his Mum follows me on Instagram as we have commented back and forth to each other before.  I went to say hi and to meet them, and we had a little chat before leaving. 

When we got to the counter to pay the bill, we were told that someone had already paid it!  We were so shocked and asked who (as I hadn't really told anyone we were going there) and they told me that the family of Kobe's friend had paid for it! We couldn't believe how kind people are. There are so many beautiful people in the world. It was a nice way to finish off a hard day.
It was lovely to get lots of texts, calls and messages throughout the day which made the day a bit better and it was also lovely to get some beautiful flowers delivered to my door from some 'anonymous friends'.   I also had people sending me photos of double rainbows that were in Hobart and also Sydney yesterday, because it made them think of Aaron and Noah.   I'm missing them so much right now.


  1. Happy belated birthday! It is unfortunate that birthdays, whether or not we care about celebrating our own, still have so much stigma attached to them. It makes it hard to *not* care when our closest family members don't acknowledge it.

    Aside from that, I wanted to let you know that I am always stuck by the sweet smiles on all of your boys' faces when their picture is taken. Most boys, especially older ones, refuse to smile. A smile is a window into your soul, I think, so obviously they all have sweet spirits. :)

  2. Happy belated birthday- From Canada!

  3. Good that you had a nice birthday. One hint for the kids and gifts I use (even before I was single--their dad never was good at taking the kids to get gifts for me) is to tell them to make something for me.

    My youngest is like Kobe and loves birthdays and making a big deal about the day, but doesn't always want to go shopping for a gift for me (at 13 she's now at the age where she has money and could find her own transportation, but she doesn't want to which is slightly hurtful but I know the kids go through stages). She's drawn some lovely artwork for me for birthdays, Christmas, mothers day...that I cherish.

    My other two kids aren't big celebraters so it's not too surprising that they don't do much for gifts.

  4. Happy Birthday from Canada for a long time reader but first time commenter!


  5. And another Belated Happy Birthday from BC Canada! I am glad the day turned out well.

    My kids are older but when they would want to make a fuss about my birthday I would always tell them I wanted something they made or wrote. Some years I was blessed and others almost forgotten but the things I did get are cherished and displayed on my office bulletin board and appreciated regularily :)

  6. Dear Lisa,

    I have read every single post on your blog, from beginning to this entry. I am a widow 26 months out and am so grateful that you have shared so many insights onto the horrible, heart wrenching confusion and unimaginable sorrow of grief, it's darkness, loneliness, and isolation - being in a crowd of those whom we love and still feeling empty, lost, and broken. you have given legions of people all over the world reassurance, inspiration, and hope that there will come a time when we can live well and fully, but it will always be with grief alongside of us. and that is okay; the measure of our grief is a measure of just how much we love. I can't pretend to know what it was like to suffer the loss of your beautiful Noah, to fully grasp the feelings of grief on behalf of your precious boys, both with the death of Noah and so soon after losing your beloved Aaron. and now you and your dear Mum, both grieving for your dear Dad, and Aaron, the Love of your Life. but your words about all that you are enduring, your candor, your unique authenticity, and your determination to document your Family's lives - the good, the bad, the ugly - is a gift to so many others who are suffering. you have always said you want to live a life that would make Aaron and Noah proud of you. your are fulfilling that promise with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. I am so deeply grateful that I found your blog.

    with deepest condolence, admiration, and a new found sense of hope, I thank you, Lisa. please know that though I am only one of millions who care so deeply for you and your family, not a day will ever pass without my thinking of you, sending waves and waves of bright, shiny hope and warm gentle hugs to remind you that you and your family are not alone.

    Karen Sutherland,
    New Jersey, USA


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