Another year has flown by and it's almost been six whole years without you. That makes me sad, angry and also proud at the same time. Sad as you aren't here, angry because the boys are having to grow up without their Dad and I have to do it all on my own, and proud because of how far we have come in those six years. This year Jay was in year 12, Harri in grade 7 and Kobe in grade 3.
I hate knowing that Kobe has lived two thirds of his life without you. He hadn't even started school when you died! He really can't even remember very much about you, but has 'memories' because of stories that we share with him and photos and videos that he sees. Even though he can't really remember a lot about you, he still remembers a few things - especially fishing with you on the jetty, and you play wrestling me (I'm glad his memories are good ones!).
Even though he doesn't remember a lot, he still cries for you and says he misses you and Noah all the time. I know he misses having his Dad here. It's hard seeing other Dad's at school events and sport and knowing that he'll only ever have his Mum and Grandma there to watch.
He's still so cute and although he's now 9, he seems really little. He does say that he hates being the young one in the family, because Jay and Harri get to do so much more than him like stay up late, and go into town on their own. He keeps saying he can't wait to be old like them.
Just last week Kobe was thanking me so much for 'all that you do for helping me be happy after Noah and Dad died'. It makes me proud that he can see that I've had to work at helping him be okay, but also sad that he has to worry about that kind of thing, at such a young age. That night I went to bed and he had given me one of his mini Pepsi cans that your Dad had given him for Christmas, with a beautiful note. I know you would be so proud of him.
As much as I tried to keep him barracking for your beloved Hawthorn, he's too much like you (passionate and hot headed!) and has changed teams. He hates being like everyone else, and because half of Tassie now go for Hawthorn, he wanted his own team and now barracks for Greater Western Sydney! At first I was not happy and actually felt really sad about it. I felt sad that he wasn't barracking for the Hawks for you and it kind of felt like I was losing a bit of you again, but then I realised it's just footy. As much as you loved footy and so does Harri, it really doesn't matter who you go for. I think and hope that you would just be happy that he is his own self.
Harri is actually the one who does the most with Milly.
He always wants to walk her and often I'll be driving and will pass him on the street as he's walking her, and listening to his music.
He also went in the triathlon with some mates from school and did the running leg. He absolutely loves all sport and I know he gets that from you!
Not only is he a natural at sport, he's done so well at school this year! I thought he would love high school, and he really has. He always did well at school, but this year he is really working hard and I know it's because he's got some great teachers, who he really wants to do well for. It's been so lovely for him to have some awesome male teachers, who know how to have fun, but also encourage the kids to be their best. Harri says that his teachers remind him a lot of you as a teacher (from the stories that he's heard) and it's nice for him to now see what you were like when you were teaching high school.
I probably shouldn't be surprised, but really was that Harri received two Academic Excellence Awards this year, and also two Letters of Commendation. I knew he was doing well after parent teacher interviews, but really didn't know how well he was going! It's been such a contrast to Jay being in grade 7, and I guess that's the difference between your Dad dying a couple of weeks before you start high school, and adjusting to life without your Dad for six years.
He still misses you a lot, and there are often tears because he's upset that you're not here. He gets really upset about seeing other kids with their Dads and he knows how much you two would get along right now, because you like so much of the same things. I'm really sad for him that you aren't here, but I'm so proud of him and actually am proud of myself sometimes to know that we are doing okay (sometimes even more than okay) without you. It doesn't mean it's easy.
Harri has made some great friends at school this year, and seems to make friends wherever he goes.
I really can't believe that Jay is now 18 and has finished year 12! It makes me sad that he's now an 'adult' but also proud of how far he's come in 6 years.
He had a very hard couple of years after you died, but now he's doing so well. He's confident and happy and after a lot of nagging from me, he worked really hard at school this year, and did some great things.
He never used to want to be known as the kid with the 'dead dad' or brother who died, but now he realises that going through what we have, has made him who he is and he's now proud to share his story. He even did a huge photography piece on it for his end of year project. He will never forget walking back to Ronald McDonald House with you, the week that Noah was in the ICU and was going to pass away. You passed some people on the street, and made the comment to Jay that you never know what people are really going through in their lives - that on the outside everyone just looks fine or happy.
I'm always so impressed when he performs on stage. I don't know how he remembers so many lines and has the confidence to get up there, but he's done really well and will be performing again in the new year for the school, even though he's finished.
His favourite subject has been Media again this year, and he's made some awesome videos for his class. For Christmas he asked for a microphone that can attach to my camera (which he seems to have claimed, especially since I hardly use it anyway) and he's keen to make a lot more videos next year. He's still great friends with Rani. I can't believe they've been friends since Kinder and hope they are friends forever, as they have heaps of fun together.
Jay is also so much like you, with his love for music and movies. I wish you were here to see movies together, or to chat about the newest song that he loves. I know how much you would tease him and Erin and wish you were here to give them a hard time (in a way that let's Erin know that you like her).
Jay had the best party this year. He's gone past the stage were he thinks things are daggy, but realises that daggy is actually cool sometimes! This year for his 18th he decided to have a party at the bike centre - just like the boys did when they were little! It was so much fun, and it's so nice that he has friends who also thought it was fun.
I feel so lucky to have three great boys. Well WE have three great boys, but it feels strange to say 'we' since you've been gone for so long. I just feel so sad that they have to live so long without their dad. Boys need their Dad around, especially at the ages they are right now.
We just have to keep making more memories without you and Noah, because it's all we can do. It's nice to do fun things together, but it's also hard because everything I do I always think 'Aaron would love this'.
Okay maybe you wouldn't love everything that we do!
As for me I'm flat out, just trying to keep everything running. I have now worked full time for 18 months, and even though I'm busy, and tired all the time I absolutely love my work. If you had told me 5 or 6 years ago that I would be so happy in a job, that I look forward to every day I would never have believed it. When you died I knew I would have to go back to work, and that was so scary. I hadn't taught for 13 years and really didn't feel like I had any skills in teaching anymore. But I'm obviously doing well as I've just completed my application for full registration as a teacher. It was so much work, but I'm so glad it's done and passed off.
I still miss you every day and grief hits me when I least expect it, but now my life is consumed with work and helping the boys be the best they can be, and that keeps me going.
I never imagined that my work as a teacher would lead me to teaching children English who are from a refugee background, but I know that if I didn't have this job I would be finding things so much harder right now. I love getting up every day and going to work, knowing that I'll be greeted by kids with huge smiles on their faces, despite what they've been through. They remind me every day that other people have been through things a lot worse than I have. I really am very lucky. I always tell the boys about why my student's have had to come to Australia, and how lucky we are to live in such a safe country.
I love the school that I'm teaching at right now as it's so multi cultural, and am so happy that I'm going to be working there again next year. It's fun to dress up on dress up days at school including Harmony Day, Crazy Day, Book Week and Footy Colours Day.
I still give out memorial awards for you and Noah and although the student's no longer know who you were, I hope they know how much the awards mean to us.
And it's still hard, but it does get easier. I'm so happy to see many of my widow friends in new relationships. It's still my dream to meet them one day in real life.