As a teenager I kept a regular journal, but as a busy Mum and wife I found that I wasn't recording things enough, and memories were fading as our boys got older. I thought that blogging would be fun way to record our every day happenings as I could spend as little or as much time as I wanted on it, and could include photos and videos. I couldn't think of a better way to keep a family journal. I started our family blog in 2007 as a family journal, but it also turned out to be a great way to share what we were up to with family and friends.
I am so glad now that I started to record the big and little things about our family, all those years ago, because those memories which would've faded, are now recorded forever and are the most precious things we have right now as our family which was once six of us on earth, are now separated for a time, with my son Noah and husband Aaron passing away within three and a half months of each other in October 2011 and January 2012.
Aaron and I met when he started to come to church with a friend. When I met him I had a boyfriend at the time, but I remember thinking how cool he seemed. At the time he also had a girlfriend, but said that he saw me and thought I 'was hot'. Not long later Aaron and his girlfriend had broken up, and I started hearing the rumours that he was interested in me. I loved to tease him that he was the one who was after me, as it took months before I became interested in him as more than a friend.
After teaching for two years, I stopped working to have our first son Jalen in 1999, and stayed at home full time with him. We loved being parents and life was great.
After Noah was born Aaron completed his Bachelor of Computing, but realised that he didn't really want to work with computers as a career. He then decided to go back to Uni for another two years to do a Bachelor of Teaching, so that he could teach computing in High School.
Life was really hard for many years with Aaron studying full time, having very little income while trying to come to terms with Noah being disabled, and caring for him full time. He was in and out of hospital constantly and we were blessed that Aaron was able to complete his teaching degree and find full time work teaching, with everything going on.
Aaron did his internship at Kings Meadows High School and was offered a job teaching there full time as soon as he graduated from Uni. It was the beginning of his love for his students, and for teaching. He finally had something that he loved getting out of bed for and being paid for it was a bonus. He was a much loved teacher who wanted his students know how important they were to him. He wanted them to believe in themselves, because he didn't believe in himself growing up.
Even though I loved teaching, I loved being a stay at home Mum full time and I continued to stay at home as we were blessed to have two more boys - Harrison (Harri) in 2004 and Kobe in 2008.
Life was hard with Noah having a lot of physical and medical needs, but we learnt as a family to make the most of every day, to enjoy the small things, and to just enjoy being together as a family, because we knew that one day Noah would not be with us.
As Noah got older we knew that his time on earth was getting shorter, as it became obvious that his body was more and more tired. Despite this when Noah was admitted to hosptial for the last time, we thought it would be another admission to hosptial where he would be in for a couple of weeks at most, and would then surprise the doctors again by getting well and coming home with us.
Unfortunately as that week in hospital went on, we realised that this was the time we had been dreading Noah's entire life. It was the time that he wouldn't get well and that we would have to say goodbye to him. His body continued to shut down and his lungs were so damaged from many years of illnesses, that he couldn't fight any longer and he passed away on the 8th October, 2011 at the age of ten.
Aaron took Noah's death particularly hard as they were very close. Every night after school Aaron would take over with Noah's needs at home, and he would spend hours every night just cuddling him. We always tried to be together as a whole family as much as we could, but if we needed to go out as a family and it was too hard to take Noah out because of his health, then Aaron was the one who happily volunteered to stay at home with him.
Our life without Noah felt so empty and as a family we were suffering a lot of grief after he passed away. Aaron took a month off work, and although he loved teaching, the light that he had in his eyes when Noah was alive was gone.
We were grateful that summer was only a couple of months after Noah passed away because it meant we could spend the summer holidays together as a family and looked forward to trying to have some fun times together, even though we were missing Noah incredibly.
It was strange after ten years of not being able to do a lot as a family because of Noah's wheelchair and health, that we could now go and do whatever we want as we no longer had Noah and his wheelchair to consider. It was very bitter sweet as we knew we could now go hiking or swimming all together and could all go together as a family. But our family wasn't whole without Noah with us.
In early January 2012, it felt like Aaron and I turned a little corner with our grief. We were missing Noah terribly still but started to look forward to the future as a family, as we realised that Noah would want us to continue on even though he was no longer here. I could see that Aaron was still grieving a lot (and so was I) but I could see that he was looking forward to the future again.
We enjoyed some time away as a family early in January, but missed Noah so much. Each summer we would go away to St Helens as a family, and this would be our first family holiday there without Noah. We planned on still going and hoped that inviting my family to come with us would help us to enjoy the time there, even though Noah wasn't with us.
We went to St Helens on the 25th January and had a night on our own, before my family would arrive the next day, which was Australia Day. On the way there Aaron told me to listen to him and not interrupt as he knew what I was like. He told me what he often told me....'you are the best thing that happened in my life. If it wasn't for you I
wouldn't be who I am today. You saved my life and I love you so much.
You are my best friend'. I remember just smiling at him and telling him that I loved him too, and he joked with me and said 'what!? no comeback!?' as I would often stir him up when he was being mushy.
I remember lying on the bed that afternoon and watching Aaron as he unpacked some of our things. I told him I loved him and he jokingly said 'what's wrong with you!?' as he was often the one who was the mushy one. I laughed and told him nothing was wrong, and that I just loved him. At the time that I remember thinking that I was just so glad that we had each other, as we were both missing Noah so much, but I knew we would get through it together because we were not only eternal companions, we were best friends.
We were happy for them to go, and got all the little kids into bed and I started to play cards with Jalen and Harri (Kobe was in bed asleep) and my sister and Mum. We laughed at the text messages I got from Aaron while they were out, about who was catching the fish and who wasn't. After about an hour and a half Aaron and my brother in law Alex ran back inside, telling us that the boat was stuck at the jetty. I knew that he was joking, as he loved to make us laugh and we all had a laugh and asked them where the other guys were. He said they were bringing the boat back, but they decided to run back.
After Noah passed away, Aaron's health seemed to take a turn for the worse, and he talked to me about joining the gym as he was really struggling to do the things he normally would. We didn't think much of it, and put it down to him grieving and not looking after himself. I noticed that Aaron was puffing a lot after they got back from fishing, and he sat down right next to us, to eat his dessert that he made us promise to save him for him.
About a minute later my sister asked if Aaron was okay, and I looked up and jumped up as it looked to me like he was having a seizure. Jay and Harri started screaming and Harri asked if he was going to die. I told them that of course he wasn't going to die, and that he was 'just having a seizure' and asked my sister in law Steph to take them out of the room.
Suddenly Aaron went blue and I realised he wasn't breathing. I screamed for my brothers to help to get him on the floor, and my Mum started CPR as others rang the ambulance. The paramedics couldn't revive him and forty five minutes later Aaron was pronounced dead.
The autopsy showed that Aaron passed away from a cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) which was caused by his heart which was enlarged and scarred from surgeries that he had as a baby, as he had a hole in his heart. For him to live 39 years with no symptoms that his heart still wasn't right is amazing, and I have no doubt that the stress of losing Noah put strain on his already broken heart.
I am grateful that Noah lived many more years than we were told that we would, but can not understand why Aaron would be taken just three and half months after him. It's so hard to grieve for both for them at the same time, to help my boys through their own grief, and to just get through each day as my heart is so broken as I try to learn to live without both of them. I am trying to continue on the best that I know how to as a widow and single Mum, and hope that in doing so, I am making Aaron and Noah proud.
Life is so hard without them and I know it will never be the same again, but we know we will be together with them again one day, and that it what keeps us going.