Thursday, 31 December 2015

Dear Aaron/2015

Dear Aaron; 
It's hard to believe that I've lived (almost) four years without you. Four years have gone so fast, but so slow at the same time. I miss you so much and wonder if you are seeing everything that we are doing, thinking and feeling.   I wonder if you know how hard it is for us here without you and Noah. 

I hate that I'm used to you not being here now, but it doesn't mean it's easy.  It's easier than it used to be, but it's still hard every day, and as times goes on I am used to being 'single' but feel lonelier as times goes on.  I hate that people think that getting remarried will fix that, because it won't.  I'm only lonely for you and the relationship that we had.   

The hardest thing is missing the little things.  I see our friends and family with their partners and am jealous of what they have together.  I miss you messaging me throughout the day, and walking in the door after work. I miss putting my legs across yours while we watch TV and arguing about whether or not we are going to watch the (boring!) cricket or not.  I miss having you help around the house and with the boys.  I miss seeing the boys wrestling with you, and knowing that someone was going to end up in tears...every single time!

This time of the year is probably not a good time to write you this 'letter' because it's a hard time of the year.  Every day is hard, but when we have our anniversary, your birthday, Christmas, New Years Eve and Australia Day within a couple of months of each other, it's just too hard.  Sometimes I feel stronger than others, but November, December and January sucks to put it nicely, and it's when I feel at my weakest and like I can't do it anymore.

Even though I have felt you around this year, I still wonder if you have seen everything that has happened this year.  It's been a crazy year in so many ways, and I'm kind of scared to move into the new year, because even though it's still very hard, I can't imagine that we will have a bigger year than this year.  I kind of feel like we have been on a huge roller coaster ride, and we hit some massive highs this year, and I can't imagine that there are any highs as big as the ones we have been on this year.

There's also been some massive lows this year.  I still laugh about Dad as I remember him talking to you and Noah as he put flowers on your graves in January. He wanted to visit you at so much, and I was so happy that I was able to take him to Noah's garden at school and to the cemetery.
We still can't believe that he died so close to the date that you did, and just imagined the reunion there must've been when he arrived.   I know he was ready and prepared to go, even though he said he wanted more time and I'm grateful in many ways that he went when he did as I know his quality of life was just going to get worse as time went on.  It was a strange feeling to be on top of Mt Wellington remembering you on Australia Day again, while knowing that Dad wasn't far from joining you.

I can't help but wonder if you and Dad spend a lot of time together now.  I would love to hear the conversations you must have together and I'm sure you're still stirring him up and saying things to make him laugh - even if it's not always appropriate!

I have no doubt that you were so proud of Jalen this year at school, and know you've been watching over him.   He's come so far since the awful year he had in grade 7. 
It's been so good to see him make such great friends, and be elected onto the Student Leadership Board.

He reminds me a lot of you in so many ways - which is not always a good thing! ;) I wish so much that you were for him right now.  You two would get along so well as you love the same things - same movies, music, same sense of humour and same dress sense.  
I'm sure you were proud of him as he went off to his Leaver's Dinner and would've approved of what he chose to wear, since you were always so particular about what you wore.  I was so proud of him, but also so sad that you weren't there that night. Usually it was you going off to the leaver's dinner with your grade 10s and coming home telling me all the stories from the night, so it was strange seeing Jalen go off to his Leaver's dinner.

Can you believe that he can now drive!? We always joke that it won't be long until we see you, because I'm sure we are going to die in a car crash with Jay behind the wheel! ;)  We also laugh about how there is no way that I would let you teach him how to drive if you were here, since I was always the one in the driver's seat.

Did you see what a crazy year it was for me!? I still can't believe that I got a phone call from Barnados saying that Reeve had nominated for Tasmanian Mother of the Year and was in the top 6, let alone that I was awarded Tasmanian Mother of the Year!  I didn't think at all that I deserved it, and still don't, because I'm just a regular Mum trying to help the boys through as best as I can, and I always feel like I could be doing a better job, and just feel so stretched in so many directions.
I was so embarrassed about it at the time, and couldn't even tell my friends and family about it because it just felt so weird to say 'guess what! I'm in the top 6 for Tasmanian Mother of the Year'.  But it was so lovely to have family and friends there on the day and to share it with them.

But now I wish I could do it all over again, and appreciate and enjoy it a bit more than I did. It was all just so overwhelming, but I realise what a huge honour it was, and am just so glad that we were able to share our story because it means that you and Noah are not forgotten.

The best thing about the award was seeing how happy and proud the boys were.  I really didn't think I would be awarded it, and the boys didn't really care if I won or not, but when I did, it was so good to see the smiles on their faces, and to hear the things that they said to the media.

The boys think they're totally famous now ;)

Did you see the amazing weekend that Jalen and I had in Sydney for the national Mother of the Year awards?  It was so exciting but also nerve wracking at the same time, as we met all the other amazing Mums who were the state finalists, and the people who nominated them.  It was nice to know that we all felt the same and that we all didn't think we deserved to be there.

We were so spoilt and we had an amazing time, but I wish we could just do it all over again now, so I could enjoy it more.  It all just went so fast and I look back on it all now, and wonder if it all really happened.  We got to meet Prime Minister, celebrities and beautiful people who work for Barnados, and was even interviewed on TV, but the whole time I was there I just kept thinking that it was so bitter sweet, as it wouldn't have happened if you and Noah were still here.

One of the highlights of the whole weekend was seeing the boys ask the Prime Minister for a selfie and for him to be more than happy to do it! They remind me so much of you, and I'm sure you would've done the same thing if you were there, and then showed it off to all your students :)
It was a crazy, but special time and I just kept imagining you looking down and was hoping that you were proud of how far we've come in the last four years, and how we just try to keep going, even though it's hard every day. 
It was actually really, really hard coming back to reality again after the Mother of the Year awards were over.  We got back home and reality hit all over again and it kind of felt like we lost you and Noah all over again.  Talking about what has happened brought up a lot of grief again for all of us, and even though we had some amazing highs, it often means that the lows are even lower as we get back to 'normal' life and have to continue on without you both here.

The days can be very long, even though the year goes so fast.  The hardest thing is trying to keep positive (at least on the outside) for the boys, because as soon as they sense that I am down, they are the same.  It's exhausting going through grief myself, but even harder trying to help the boys through theirs as well. I have tried to keep us busy, and that has helped as we have had things to look forward to. 
Can you believe that I was asked to be the local presenter at Time Out For Women in Sydney this year!?
I think about it now and my heart starts racing as I remember how nervous I was about speaking in front of almost 2000 people!  
It was actually a very stressful time as I prepared my presentation, let alone having to do it.  I only wanted to speak if I could be genuine and really share what it's like to grieve despite having faith about where you are.  I wasn't sure if I had anything that was worth sharing, so I was grateful for so many lovely women who I met that day, who told me how grateful they were for what I said.    

It's another amazing high that I look back on from this year, and can't really believe it happened.  To spend the day with the other amazing presenters from the USA, and to be on stage with them was like a dream. 
The day went so fast, and I wish that I could also go back and do it again so I could enjoy it more. The absolute highlight of the whole experience was meeting Alyson and Holly who came over from the USA to hear me speak and spend time in Australia and New Zealand.  I have loved getting to know Alyson and other beautiful women who are also widows, but never imagined I would ever be able to meet any of them in person. We couldn't stop talking whenever we had a chance, and it was just SO good to be with people who just knew what it's like. I wish they didn't know, but I'm also glad that they do, because I didn't have to explain anything to them. It was just so easy being together and I wish so much that we lived close to each other, so we could spend more time together.
Everyone is sure you must have some influence over the footy up there. I thought there was no way that Hawthorn would be in the grand final again this year, let alone win, and we love thinking that you somehow pull strings up there.  Harri and Kobe are sports mad (I'm sure you've been watching and are loving it!) and it's fun to keep up your love of Hawthorn with them.
Did you see how much my heart was racing when I spotted Hodgey in town one day! I still don't want to ever get remarried, but if Hodgey ever asked me I'm sure you would approve, and we would live happily ever after ;)
Did you hear Kobe on grand final day as he yelled 'this is for you Dad!' as he raised his can of Pepsi?
I bet you are loving seeing Harri and his love of all sports.  It's fun to watch him try his hardest in all that he does, and do well at school and sport.  He always asks me if you liked different things he is doing, and I know he's proud that you have a love of sport in common.
Over the last four years I have learnt who are true friends, and I'm grateful for them and the way that they help me all the time, just by spending time with us and allowing us to remember you and Noah in different ways.

I feel very lucky to have 'met' so many amazing people online through my blog or Instagram or families of missionaries who are in our area.  I have loved being able to meet some of them in person this year, as they have visited Tasmania all the way from the USA.  My dream is still the same as what we wanted to do together, but now I just hope that I can somehow take the boys to the USA before they all leave home, as there's so many people there that I would love to see again and meet in person.  Harri would of course love to see an NBA game and because you never got to do that, I want it to happen even more for him.
It's been a stressful year with having to change schools, but it's been a good change as I love the school and the students.  I miss my old students, but am so grateful for a job that keeps me going and makes me look forward to getting up every day.  Whenever I'm at work I just keep thinking about you and how much you loved your students, and am so glad that I have a job where I feel like I am making a difference.  I've been able to share with some of my students what has happened to us, and they wonder why I'm not sad all the time.  I tell them that I am sad all the time, but I still have to get on with things and even though I miss you and Noah every day, I also have moments of feeling joy now and it's nice to not feel so overwhelmed with constant grief.
We wish you were still here to jump in the waves, but because you aren't we do it for you and laugh and talk about how much you would love it if you were here.
This year we went back to where you spent your last day with us again, and it's nice to not feel as anxious about being there now.  I wish we were getting ready to pack up the car to spend our week there together, that we did every summer.
Instead we are visiting your graves, and trying to include you in our lives as much as we can, even though you are not here physically.
It's hard to reflect on the last day of the year, and to know that we've spent another year without you and Noah, and gone through so much this year without you here.  Reality is that you aren't here and aren't coming back.  We have to continue living without you and trying to do it in a way where we feel like you are still a part of our lives, but knowing that you are not going to walk in the door, even though it still feels like you could. 

After all the highs of this year, I'm not sure what 2016 will bring.  I just hope that whatever happens next year, that we will make you and Noah proud.  I love and miss you both so much.  Please stay close by.  I can't do it without you, and even though you're not here physically, I know you are watching over us.
Love you forever;
Love Lisa

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