Monday, 1 January 2018

Dear Aaron/2017

Dear Aaron;
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.

I was so happy that Kobe decided to play basketball this year for the first time.  He did really well.  Let's just say he's not as natural at sport as Harri is, but he's a great team player.   He can read the play well and knows where to go to make space or to defend.  I was glad that he didn't just chase the ball around like other kids :) This year we will work on getting more confident, rather than just getting rid of the ball every time he got it.

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.
I'm not sure what happened to Harri this year, but he went from being a little kid to a huge teenager in about 6 months! He has shot up so much this year and almost as tall as Jay now!   He's a great kid, but he's so much like you at times that he drives me crazy! All the things that drove me crazy about you at times, has come out in Harri!! He's obsessed with sport and that's not always a good thing! He takes it way too serious at times, but I guess I can't complain about his passion for things he loves.

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.
I don't know where Harri gets it from (definitely not you or me!) but he's still doing so well in all sports that he does.  He stepped it up in basketball this year, and improved so much! He even won the MVP award for his team who were in Division 1 this year.

He's a great long distance runner and came 2nd in the 800m and 1500m at his school athletic carnival, and then represented the school in the inter-high and also cross country (even though he wasn't there for the school's cross country race). I keep telling him that I used to be good at long distance running, but for some reason (probably that I'm old and fat!) he doesn't believe me!

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. 

He put together three videos and photos to show exactly that - and shared his own story, my story and also my Mum's story.  On the outside no one would really know that we have been through some hard things, but everyone has something they're going through. He got a lot of great feedback from the exhibition and a lot of people were very moved by the stories and were in tears after watching the videos.
He's loving doing Photography this year, and I'm so happy that he has such a great hobby.

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.
Probably the biggest thing for Jay this year has been meeting Erin at school.  They've now been going out for 6 months and are so lovely together.  Erin has also been through some really hard stuff, and has lost her Dad as well.  He sounds a lot like you in many ways, and hopefully you're both looking down, happy that they're such a great support for each other.

It's been nice to have a girl around the house, and she's very patient with Kobe which is great.

I'm sad that Jay has finished college now, but so happy that he had a great two years.
It was very exciting that Jay was accepted into Bachelor of Media at the University of Tasmania. I wish it was in Launceston, rather than Hobart but I'm glad that he can still do it in Tassie.  He's decided to have a gap year which I'm really happy about, and hope that he'll be ready to head off in 2019 (although I wish I could keep him at home forever!).
He's still working at Maccas and actually likes it, although you never see him at the front counter anymore as he's always on Drive Thru.  It's nice getting messages from people, saying that he served them and what a great job he does.

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 really believe you must've been up there helping me out somehow, because now I really feel like I'm working in my dream job.  I always knew I would eventually have to work full time, and now I'm doing it without really thinking about it. Sure the house is a mess most of the time, we eat too much takeaway in the middle of the year (when I'm racing from school, to one sport after another and to work with the boys), and I'm always tired, but I've also been the happiest that I've been in the past 6 years. 

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 love seeing my students I've taught at other schools and also their families.  I can't help but wanting to make sure that they understand things which we take for granted, such as registering for soccer.  I  know that these little thing which I can do, will help make their life so much easier and it's nice to be able to do those things when I have time.  They are always so grateful and generous with the little that they have, and I feel privileged to have shared traditional meals with them in their home.
It's amazing to see how they're changing their lives and taking part in the community, and we love going to buy their delicious food at the market every Saturday.
I was recently interviewed on a local community radio station by two beautiful EAL students from Afghanistan, who regularly have a time slot on the radio.  They asked me about my work as an EAL teacher  and it was easy to talk about something that I love so much.


I love getting little notes on the whiteboard from my students.  They make my day and I'm also sad if I don't get to teach different that day (depending on what my timetable is for that day).

We still visit your school, and love that we can play on your oval. 

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. 
I'm so grateful for beautiful friends (actually family) who help us celebrate and remember you in special ways. 

People are still contacting me to share my story, which I'm happy to do as I hope it helps others to understand how hard it is when you are suddenly on your own.  A good friend lost her husband this year, and my heart breaks for her as I know how hard those early days, months and years are.
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.
But as happy as I am for them, I still don't want to get remarried and can't ever imagine being in another relationship.  I'm used to my own company now, and am happy 'just' being there for the boys.  I'm very lonely, but no one could fill the hole that you left and  I couldn't imagine being a part of a couple again, and especially not with anyone other than you.

I love and miss you so much, and hope that you are looking down on us and are proud of how far we've come in the past six years, and especially this year. 



  1. What a great year-end wrap up. Loved all the pictures and like being able to "keep up" with a family I don't know - but admire.!

  2. Love your post Lisa, your year has certainly been a full one. I hope 2018 is an awesome year for you. Your post made me think of losing my dad when I was 6, almost 7 and how now I am 58, almost 59 I still miss my dad and wish he was here. He has been gone from my life for over 50 years and I think of him so often. You never get over losing someone in your family, you just live in a different reality.

  3. Beautiful post! Glad to see you all are well!

  4. That CAN'T be a coincidence that Jaylens girlfriend is named Erin, the same name as his dad, just spelled differently. That has to be Jaylens dad setting up that relationship and helping Erin and Jay meet from Heaven.


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