Thursday, 22 October 2015

3 days 3 months 16 years

So tomorrow would have been our 16th wedding anniversary and I wonder why I'm so upset.  I've caught myself a few times today having a little teary and wonder why it is so and then quickly realise exactly why!   I know I keep badgering on about how unfair it is but I can come up with no other words to describe how I feel about this whole shitty situation   Call it limited English or poor expression skills or even a blockage but I just can't get past "Its not fair".  I know I'm capable of being a sad sack when the situation is right but  mostly I am not a sad sack and then sometimes wonder if people think I'm the Ice Queen!.
 More often that not I can pull myself together, not cry and stay strong  but Wedding Anniversaries are special, they're different.  I think they are even more special than all the other days of the year; birthdays, fathers day and mothers day included.  Tomorrow would have been our day, our 16th wedding anniversary, who can even say that these days?  Our anniversary was a day we celebrated more than any other day of the year.  Adam wrote  this to me in a text  only 9 days before he passed away " Jodie, if I live to be 100 that will only be 71 Valentines days that I can show you how much I love you and frankly, that is not enough!  So I'm going to use the other 364 available days instead.  I love you more than I could ever say and if they were the only words I spoke until the sun went out, I would be happy".  I'm holding on to those words and wishing that he was writing them right now in my card to give me tomorrow.   I miss him so much.  I want to touch him,  I want to hold him,  I want to smell him.  I miss the familiarity, I miss the comfort.  I miss the confidence that comes with knowing that I can touch him and love him as freely and openly as I want and know that it will be returned  from him with the same confidence and knowing. I miss  holding  his hand.   I took our love for granted, I didn't realise just how soon it was going to end.......I can't ever imagine having that again.

I try to be strong, I try to be brave;  I try every day but sometimes I just can't be brave any more. Thankfully it's often at night when I let myself feel like this.  I don't need  support at these times, I don't feel desperate.   I just need to feel and I feel my emotions most when I am on my own;  when the kids are asleep when the dishes are done and  when I can truly just be and just grieve.   It's important to have these moments -  to feel raw and open - to feel my heart bleed.

So much has happened since my last blog, I wouldn't even know where to begin so I won't ; except to say that we survived not only fathers  day but a 2 week trip to Bali which we as a family experienced together before Adam passed away and surprisingly we survived without too much trauma.  We also survived Adams birthday which again passed without too many tears even though there were a few moments of anguish.  

Apparently the first year is the hardest dodging all the firsts,  but I can honestly say that every year will be difficult in its own way.  All the big ones will be tough whether it be birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, fathers and mothers day and the next big one Christmas? They are all going to be tough but what can you do except be strong, breath and trust that everything is going to be OK "one day".

I haven't written for a while because nothing has really changed, my life is still the same.  I've lost my love and I'm still not over it so I have chosen not to just repeatedly say the same thing every time.  "waaa, waaaaa, waaaa, - poor me".    Life goes on around me, keeps moving forward.    I catch up with people (acquaintances)  who I haven't seen me in months and its almost forgotten in their minds when they ask me "So what have you been doing with yourself" They have forgotten!  - Its rare, but that question has been asked believe it or not.     Hmmm, let me think about that answer- "ummmmm, grieving and surviving, that's what I've been doing since the last time you saw me"!  I'm not angry about it - but it does emphasise to me that the world really does keep turning (who am I to stop that 0r even expect that)?  

I am on the ebb and flow of the tide just like the rest of you but sometimes I'm the shell that gets left on the sand and the ocean moves around me and over me, sometimes sinking me and sometimes moving me and sometimes I'm stuck deep beneath the wet heavy sand.    A wave will eventually wash  over me and takes me back into the deep to bump around with you all but the heaviness will always be  there.  Always will be.

And so that is to be my journey and one day I will be OK.

Happy Anniversary Babe, I love you. xx

Now to a more positive note -  To all my friends who have been following my blog since the very beginning, my beautiful friend Mary whom this delightful blog was started for way back in February, has been to Russia for her stem cell transplant and is now safely back in her home in Mt Gambier.  I am so completely in awe of this amazing woman who has more strength and courage that any other human on this planet!  I love her to the moon and back and know that one day we will walk along the beach again holding hands and having very deep and meaningful discussions about life and the shitty cards we both have been dealt.  Check out her blog here Marys MS Mission to Moscow

This is Me Adam and Mary at just another crazy party - many, many, years ago. (about 12yrs) 

mmmmwah - Good night - sleep tight.

xx Jodie

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Is it really 6 months? Someone wake me up from this nightmare

Today is the six month anniversary of Adams death.  I think I am numb to the pain now - It sneaks up on me sometimes and slaps me till I cry but mostly I just feel numb.  Is that denial?

Its been a tough day with lots of tears while trying to keep busy so that I don't have to think about the fact that I've lost my husband.  Although he's not lost is he?  Its not like I can go to the lost and found department and ask if anyone has handed in an Adam Bowden please....  Wouldn't that be nice?  

I think I well and truly have my head stuck in the ground and I am not accepting/believing that this is happening  (And I'm quite happy there thank you very much.)  It still seems so untrue and so unfair. There are elements of anger starting to rear its ugly head and I'm a lot more cynical than I used to be - life's not so peachy after all.  Is it?    Yeah OK I admit it, I'm pissed off!

I kept the boys out of school today and we just fluffed around the house cleaning, dusting, washing
x-boxing.    We walked down to Adams Shrine and  we each left him a letter.  We went to the beach, had a picnic and threw the ball for the dog.  It was nice, I felt close to him.  While we were on the beach a White Bellied Sea Eagle came and went and circled us often, it was like he was following us. It was Adam.  I felt it and I spoke to him.  I told him I loved him.  The Sea Eagle is Adams favourite bird.  It was such an amazing time, for hours that bird was on the beach with us and there have been days when I walk along that very same beach and time and time again and I look and look for that bird but I never see him.  Today he was with us, truly with us.

I have this empty feeling inside more so than usual but I also have started blocking my feelings and my reality because I know how much it hurts.  Something is missing and it will never be replaced, I just have to learn to live with this abyss in my heart and hope that as life moves forward I learn to accept it and try to keep breathing.  Its pretty fucking shit! But what else can I do.  The tears just flow now I can't stop them. I don't sob any more,  I just cry tears. It's like I've surrendered to it all.  "Grief, you win!"

Adam always said "I'm going to live to be 100",  I always said "I'm happy with that because I don't want to go first".     I have to cope now though, I have to deal with it - Adams gone and I have to learn to keep on living.  For me and for the boys.  I think I'm angry that he went first and left me with all the hard decisions.

There is not a day that goes by that i don't think of Adam.   I laugh and cry at our memories and I wish there were more.  My only regret is that it didn't last longer, that we didn't have one more two more 20 more adventures together.  We didn't get to see the kids graduate from University and smile proudly together.  We didn't get to buy a boat and sail around Australia, we didn't get to enjoy Grandchildren.  We didn't, we didn't, we didn't.......there are just too many "we didn't"  Not fair!

Reef said to his psychologist that he is sad but the tears just don't come; his throat gets tight and he feels upset but there are no tears.  I get that, I am now feeling the same...... I am so sad and lost that the tears just don't come.    The sadness and grief I feel is not only mine but the boys as well.  I want to give them their dad back and if I could take on their grief and carry their load as well as my own I would in a heart beat.  I can do this for me but it breaks my heart 10 fold to see my boys heartbroken. 

I'm on automatic pilot, its the only way to be.  When people ask "How are you"?  I automatically say "Good thanks, how are you"?  (Just like normal right)?  But in fact I want to yell, f*cking shit!  Thanks for asking!    My rug has been pulled right out from under me without any warning and I am flat on my arse with stars spinning around my head and somehow I need to stand up and just get on with it - because if I didn't Adam would be so disappointed.  I keep living for him, I keep moving for my kids and I keep breathing for me.

Let me not die while I am still alive.”      (Rabbi prayer)

I am fortunate that I am surrounded by caring family and friends and an amazing community.  Some people are not so fortunate and struggle feeling alone and distressed as they face the unknown.  I am incredibly grateful for my family and friends who have done so much to help me through this incredibly difficult time.  There have been times when I was incapable of doing anything at all and my nearest and dearest took over and they continue to do so now for me and the boys.  Not occasionally but every day.  I am truly blessed to have such incredible people in my life and so fortunate that I am not alone.  As much as I feel loneliness, I know that I am never alone.

Check out this awesome piece on grief.  I think it nails it!

good explanation of grief


Jodie xxx

ps - lets not even begin to think about Fathers day ( uuurgh!)

psst Adam I love you xx

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

I met him on the river

I met him on the river, the Nymboida River February 1997.  He was a rafting guide and I a punter (customer).  I was there with a group of friends who were out for a fun adventurous weekend of white water rafting.  I'd never been rafting before and I was very nervous.  I had recently ended a long term relationship and was certainly not looking for love.  I didn't take too much notice of Adam until the end of the first days rafting while we were setting up camp.  He told me months later that he noticed me the minute I stepped out of the car when we first arrived.

In the beginning, as neither of us was looking for a relationship we used to say to each other "3 days, 3 months or 3 years,  lets just have fun and make the most of it".  A year later Adam proposed and we were married in October 1998. 18 years later we were still having fun.  I am grateful for those 18 years and I always will be.  I found my true love, my soul mate and best friend on the river that day and I am blessed to have had that in my life. A true blessing.

In the 18 years that we were together we managed to cram in a lot.  New adventures all the time and all the while planning the next, we were always dreaming.  We were very good at it.

A year after we were married we travelled to Florida in the U.S and started working on MV Airwaves a multi-million dollar privately owned Super Yacht.  In the year that we worked for the family who owned Airwaves we were privileged enough to travel to the Bahamas, and through the Caribbean; The British & American Virgin Islands, Guadalupe, St John, St Bart's and then back to the States where we took the boat to Marthas Vineyard, New England, New York and South Carolina.  You can imagine the shenanigans we got up too.  Way too much fun and too many adventures that I don't even know where to start.  I will say that the only reason we came home was because of September 11.  We were berthed at the NY City Marina the day before the September 11 attack and were on our way to Charleston when the planes ploughed into the World Trade Centre.  It was a very scary time to be in America the energy was disturbing and Adam and I couldn't wait to get to our safe haven in Australia and so we came home.

Not long after we returned from America, Adam was offered a job in Norway working on the Numedalslagen River in Dagali.  So of course we went.  Our next adventure.  We lived and worked in Dagali for 5 months and at the end of the season we bought a Combi and drove to the most Northern point of Europe NordKapp.  What an incredible country Norway is, I have never experienced anything so beautiful.  We drove from Dagali across to Bergen and then followed the coast as best we could. It was the end of  Summer  moving into Autumn and the colours were incredible.  The further North we got the colder it got and we watched the waterfalls and rivers slowly freeze.  Have you ever seen a waterfall that has frozen mid drop?  Unbelievable!  I have no words to describe the beauty of Norway in this blog, I would need to write a book to even begin to try and put into words the deliciousness of Scandinavia.  We travelled to the top of Norway fjord by fjord across Sweden and then down through Finland and back into Norway - What a trip, a cold trip in the end.  I would not recommend sleeping in a Combi in October in -24 degrees.  It was cosy I can tell you, thank
goodness for red wine, reindeer skins and sleeping bags, hot coffee in the morning and of course each other.   It was so cold our drinking water would freeze overnight  and so did our bananas.  We could scrape the ice off the windows with our finger nails when we woke up in the morning.    Brrrr, but it was an adventure.

It was on this road trip (we were in Sweden) that Adam and I decided we wanted to come home and start a family.

Who would have though that babies were to be the biggest adventure yet.  Joel was born in December 2003 and Adam being Adam  refused to let  a small child stop him in his travels and so decided it would be a good idea to take our 3 month old to France to live and work with a very good friend of ours renovating a 300 year old apartment block in Marseilles.  And we did!  The next travel adventure was to begin and as much as we didn't think that travelling with child would be any different - boy oh boy were we wrong!  Travel was much simpler when it was only the two of us. I'm pleased to say though that the three of us survived close to 12 months in France working and exploring and we managed to create some wonderful memories and to prove to ourselves that it is possible to travel with kids (just different).

It wasn't long after we returned from France that our beautiful son Reef was born.  September 2005 - now that was a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.  I will never forget the smile on Adams face when we found out I was pregnant again.  He was so proud.  He was such an incredible Dad to Joel and Reef from the very beginning till the very end.   Adam believed that life was too short.  Even if we lived to be 100 it would never be enough time to see all the beauty that this amazing Earth has to offer and so he was determined to never stop planning the next adventure.  Since Reef was born we have travelled back to Europe and also to England and Wales, we have seen much of Australia with our favourite place being Humpy Island National Park in the Kepple Bay Marine Park.

We were never wealthy but we saved and planned for adventure. It is our motto, "have fun and be adventurous".  We were however rich with love.  We always had a roof over our head, food in our bellies and clothing on our backs.  We provided support, encouragement and love to each other and to our children.  We protected each other, had each others backs and each others heart in safe keeping.

My goal now is to not loose that, to keep the adventures alive to continue to travel to continue to provide fun and adventure to my two beautiful boys.  To love them, to teach them love and to help them become adventurous and caring young men.

I know Adam is with us;  forever in our hearts and always in our dreams.

Dream big

Jodie xx

Thursday, 14 May 2015

12 weeks = 3 months

Urrgh!  Can't write............crying

Life can be so cruel

xx Jode

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Keep moving

Such beautiful days we've had this week.  The sky is blue, the water clear and the air crisp.  The birds are chirping and the feeling in the air is calm. 

I've been paddling, walking, doing yoga and attempting to get out of bed before the boys to practise sun salutation; not having too much luck there, but I'm moving.  Moving makes me feel better, helps me remember to breath deep and live every day as best I can and to be grateful for the beauty in our everyday life.  Its everywhere if only we take a moment to stop and see.  Try it tomorrow and see for yourself.

I took this photo on my morning walk today , it is looking down Flinders Beach towards Straddie.  It was such a magnificent morning and the reflection off the water was blindingly beautiful. 

After having a few down days I woke up this morning feeling quite energised and happy.  Got the kids off to school without a hitch and had the morning to myself knowing that I was going for a walk and going to my yoga class.  I don't understand why my brain decided to head butt me from within and remind me graphically that Adam was no longer here with me.  Why does that happen?  Why is it that just when I feel a glimmer of happiness, lightness even slip into my conscious that the rug is pulled out from under me and I hit the deck like a bag of you know what?   I can't figure out if  I'm still in denial (Shit, I'm still at stage one)!   Its like I'm skipping along with my head in the clouds one minute and then BAM! I remember whats happened, how my life is now, the feelings of loss and emptiness.  It stops me dead in my tracks....  I then take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, feel the warm tears trickle down my cheeks, sob, squint and wipe the tears away and keep on walking.  Start again. 

The boys have been doing remarkably well, although last night was an emotional one for Joel, the first one since before he was away at camp.  I thought he was doing OK, but again, when you least expect it he starts crying and asking all the hard questions.  "Where is Daddy"?  "When is he coming home Mum, when"?  "Where is he"?  "I want him to come home Mum" "Mum"!....... Me too Joel, me too.

How do I answer those questions?   I don't have strategies, I don't know what to say, what is the right thing to say?  I usually tell him that Daddy is in Heaven with all the other Angels and that one day we will see him again.  I don't think he's buying it.

We have our first Psychologist appointment this week.  Apparently she is one of the best in the business and who specialises in Grief counselling for children.  My fingers are crossed that she can help the boys and give me some direction on guiding them through the difficult times and some strategies I can use to ease their minds.

I miss him and I get angry sometimes.   I don't know particularly what I'm angry about, nothing and everything all at the same time.  I'm not angry at Adam but I'm angry that he's gone.  Angry for him because I'm sure as hell that he is probably well pissed off that he is no longer here and angry for the boys because they have lost the most amazing father they could ever have hoped for and angry for me because I have lost my soul mate, best friend and lover.  How is that even possible? 

Its 11 weeks today that Adam passed away, It feels like 11 days.  Life is certainly moving on and I'm trying to move on with it only at a slower pace.  I feel like I am finally starting to set my own pace again and not being dragged through blindly and I am good with that.  Just keep moving Jodie.

"May my heart be kind, my mind fierce and my spirit brave".
Kate Forsyth, The Witches of Eileanan 



Tuesday, 28 April 2015


You better grab yourself a cup of coffee and a tim tam for this blog, I can't believe it's been so long since I've written anything and there has a been a lot going on.

I've been drinking way to much and I've even had a couple of cigarettes which I feel awful about and very disappointed in myself,  I'm not exercising and I've been crying alot!  My body is aching and I look at myself in the mirror and think that I've aged 10 years.  I'm letting myself down and feeling battered for the way I have (not) been looking after myself.  Its time to make some positive changes, time to eat more fruit and vegetables, time to quit drinking Sunday - Thursday (OK, Mon - Thur) and its time to start exercising again and looking after my health, not just for me but for my boys too.  I've been taking Reef to run club twice a week at school and the kid is now faster than me when we run the 300 meters around the oval, not to mention the cross country training, I get left behind all the time.  I've got some work to do! 

The boys have gone back to school and Joel is at camp this week (which I'm on edge about).  Week one of term 2 was a little bumpy with me having to go and pick Joel up on the very first day back.  He was so distressed it broke my heart (and I think the guidence officers heart as well) but after day one the rest of the week went smoothly with no more phone calls for early pick ups.  I can't believe he's gone to camp this week.  Such a brave boy.  Reef the little legend is just soldiering on as strong as ever.  I am so proud of both my boys.

I did my first day back at the YMCA today it was such a difficult morning.  When I pulled into the driveway at work it felt like that elephant was back sitting on my chest again.  I couldn't breath and I couldn't control the tears.  It was the first time since Adam died that I was back there.  Why I pulled up into the same park that I was in the day Adam died I have no idea but when I realised I had, I just couldn't turn the engine off or my tears for that matter.  I wanted to reverse out of there so fast and get back home as soon as I could.  I cried and cried and told Adam that I couldn't do it.   I felt sick and panicked - how on Earth was I going to be able to do this.   I figured I had two choices (we always have choices),  I could text my boss and tell her that I was in the car park in a mess and that I couldn't do it or I could at least have the courage to  go and tell her in person that I couldn't do it.  I chose the second option,  I pulled myself together and dragged myself out of the car and very unsteadily walked through the front doors where I immediately bust into tears and told her "I couldn't do it" and that "it was too hard".  She was brilliant, she hugged me and put her arm around me and said softly "yes you can Jodie, yes you can".  We walked into the gymnastics hall and she said "you just help me set up and we will see how you go".  Then she held my hand for 5 hours while together we took 4 classes and she was right, I could do it, and I did.  

Five hours later I was exhausted and  I'm feeling pretty wrecked right now as well!   The balls in my court now, its up to me to make the next move about when to go back on a more regular basis.  (breath Jodie, breath). Decisions, decisions.

I was fortunate this weekend with my sister-in law (Adam's sister) coming to visit.  We had a fabulous time with lots of laughter, too much food and wine and generous amounts of howling; and I mean howling! Not just little lady cries but great big huge bellowing snotty cries.  I felt both relief and shock but slept extremely well that night.  I  feel blessed that I have an amazing family on both sides who are here for me and that are not afraid to grieve along side me.  We are happy to make our ugly faces together and we heave and sob and snort and then we feel a little better even if it is only for a short time.

There is no right or wrong on the grieving process I understand that, but for me I don't understand my own thoughts right now on the whole thing.  I find myself standing in the isle of Woolworths staring blankly at the shelves while people move past me and carry on.  It feels as though the floor is about to open up and I will fall through.  I have to stop myself from breaking down and I do that by blinking and shaking my head but then that shakes the image of Adam out of my head.  It stops me crying, but it makes me sad as well because I want to fill my  mind with Adam not stop the memory.  Sometimes I do want to hide in my bed and fill my mind with him and the adventures we had and the marvelous memories that I have of him.  I don't want to shake him out of my head, I want him to stay there forever just like he will be forever in my heart.  I can't believe he's gone.

I move through the shopping center trying not to be too observant because when I do I become a little distressed watching life "carry on".  Smiling couples holding hands and dads with kids are the two hardest for me to see and I don't want to think badly of these people but I can't help but feel the knife in my heart twist a little bit more each time I do.  Life moves forward, the world keeps turning and I'm doing my best not to spin out of control. 

I wish I had a crystal ball to see if we really will be OK.  I worry and I wonder what will become of the three of us?

xx Jodie

Thursday, 16 April 2015

I miss you Adam

I've been a bit wobbly today, its been 8 weeks since Adam passed and I woke up this morning feeling exhausted and emotional and have been contemplating more than my navel today.  I'm really struggling with the whole 8 weeks thing.... The boys have been blissfully unaware as they spent their day filled with fun with their friends which I am very grateful for. 

This week as a whole has actually been pretty calm and at times peaceful.  I've bunkered down at home with kids (my own and the neighborhood) coming and going and we've eaten our way through a whole bunch of frozen meals which have been lovingly made by numerous friends, work colleagues and our school community.  The boys have filled their days with friends and holiday fun.; fishing, jetty jumping, BMX riding and hanging out playing x-box (perfect holiday really).  I've had numerous friends drop in and say hi, drink tea and coffee and the occasional wine on the deck and have generally felt OK. Sometimes I feel as though I'm coping but then I feel guilty, guilty that I feel OK.  Shouldn't I be in more of a mess than I am?  I'm afraid that I'm burying my grief and ignoring the enormity of what has happened   I don't want to be wracked with grief so fierce that I can't operate. It frightens me.

Today really wasn't a great day, I've been shaky for most it and felt on edge from the minute I opened my eyes and very teary.  I think I'm going to cry again. My heart is broken and I am so sad.  I miss him and I want him back (please)

How is it possible for life to carry on, when it feels like my world has stopped still.  My heart aches when I see kids and their Dads playing, laughing and living.  I feel robbed and I'm so heart broken for my children that they will never have that again.  Its so not fair.

I walk up to the wetlands almost everyday to visit "Adam" and today was no exception.  Its such a beautiful place, so peaceful and still.  I wanted to lie down on the ground today right where he fell but I couldn't;  I wondered what people would think if they happened to come around the corner and saw me lying there.  Why do we care what people think anyway?  I crave closeness with Adam.  Sometimes I reach into his wardrobe and hug his shirts and jackets, it feels a little like I'm hugging him but not the same.  The tears always fall.  

A very lovely lady sent me a link  and I would like to share it with you.  It helped me today (It took me three goes to get through it though) and if you think it might help you then you should take an hour out of your day and listen to it.  Here is the link     Tapping for grief

 I miss you Adam          

xx Jodes