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


Namaste

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 

xx

 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Choices


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

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Slowly slowly

I feel like I am in a cloud, a heavy cloud, a cloud that is distorting me and my feelings.  I feel nothing, but I feel everything at the same time.  I'm walking on egg shells waiting for my kids to fall in a heap and at the same time trying to keep it together myself. 

Its been over a week now since I blogged and the longer I don't blog, the easier it is not to.  It's much easier to not write because that means I don't have to feel and not feeling is a much easier option but I know that by  not recognising and facing my emotions I am only putting off the inevitable and that is the rollercoaster ride that is GRIEF.   (Hey, now there's a great name for a new ride at any number of theme parks out there- "The Grief") 

I've spent the last week on the Gold Coast with my family and some very good friends.  I swam everyday - oh and it was fresh, cold and amazingly beautiful.  There is something very special about the power of a wave and diving underneath to the sandy bottom to avoid been tumble turned by the enertia that is a moving power force.  Just makes you feel alive.   Swimming in the ocean is like nothing else and I love it.  I don't always last a long time, but I love it.  

Knowing I was on the Coast for 7 nights was a challenge of sorts.  As much as I enjoyed being there, by the 5th night I was ready for my Island home and so were my kids.  Joel said to me at one point "Mum, I want to go home.  Its been too long"  And I agreed.   

When we finally arrived home I think all three of us took a nice long breath and smiled.  There really is no place like home, and I love and appreciate mine.  I love my community, I love my friends, I love my environment.  I can't imagine being anywhere else and I have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon.  I am very blessed. 

I had a friend visit yesterday who I have known forever, she was the photographer at our wedding.  She came armed with gifts for me.  She had had a series of our wedding photos re-printed and enlarged - WOW (you can imagine the tears hey).  Adam and I looked like babies.  The way we looked at each other, you can see the love.  I can't believe that we found each other and had such an incredible 18 years and I equally can't believe that he has  been taken away from me so soon.  It really isn't fair but what can you do?  Nothing will bring him back and he would be pissed off if he saw be crumbling in the corner not able to breath or move or take care of our kids and so it is that I continue to get up every morning, breathe, say "yes" to the world and the flow of life, feed my kids and keep them safe.  I keep moving. 

The little puppy has been a God send for the kids and for me.  She is adorable and she absolutely loves being smothered with love that all of us give her.  I am not enjoying the weeing and pooping or whinning at 5am in the morning, but you have to take the good with the bad - such is life.   I would recommend a puppy to anyone who is grieving - honestly it is the best thing that I have done for my family and I in the last 7 weeks.  

I can't believe it will be 8 weeks on Thursday that Adam passed away.  It only seems like yesterday.  I will never forget that sequences of events that happened between 11am and 4:30pm on that day.  From the second the police officers came to my work to the moment I had to tell my two beautiful innocent little boys that their Dad had died and their incomprehensible wails that came.  Our lives changed forever that day but their little souls and the loss they were and continue to feel is debilitating.  It feels like my chest is in a vice and slowly being crushed, some times the ache is all encompassing right down to my knees.  Yes I'm hurting, yes I'm angry, yes I'm sad.  But yes I will continue to step into the river of life and live, yes I will continue to teach my children to have fun and yes I will continue to grow and to help my children become the best men that they can be.  I hope I do a good job.

Is crazy what little things set me off..........this afternoon I made a coffee,, it was a plunger coffee and I had to pull the plunger out of the cupboard.  I haven't used that plunger since Adam and I and the kids did our road trip to Sydney in the January school holidays.  So seeing that little red plunger sent me into a spin - crazy hey?

Thanks for tuning in, sorry its been a while.  It took a bit to get back to my keyboard but here I am.  Easter and the school holidays really weren't as easy as I would have hoped but like I keep saying, "one step at a time Jodie", "keep breathing Jodie" "slowly, slowly Jodie".

xx

Friday, 10 April 2015

AB, Budda, Mate x

Argh, this blog really has grown legs hasn't it?  I've been away for a week and two of my most beautiful friends have both written amazing pieces to add to my little world that is "Over the Rim".  Thank you Kylie and Sam.....  So without further adieu, here is my incredible friend Sammy Enjoy.  And I will be strong enough in the next day or two to write my own piece. Namaste x



“ I have 3 relationships when I am with them”    I eagerly reported back to my mate (another Adam) only a few weeks ago, “ I love them so much. I get to have a relationship (friendship) with Jodes, one with Budda and then the two of them together.  I am so lucky.”

Those words are still true to this day except I now “talk” to Adam in his shed or around the point. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I can still hear his voice just as if he was here.
 

It’s a weird thing this death thing. And I really hope Jodie doesn’t mind me writing so candidly about it. 
You see, little Jodes, is my mentor, my amazing friend, who has seen me through thick and through thin. She (and Adam) have been there for me in my darkest hours and I would do any thing to bring Adam back for her, but I just don’t think I can!!!   (Damn it all).   

So now with tears cascading down my face, I just want to write so much: Adam, death,
Jodes, the boys, Coochie, tinder tragedies (OMG) that just made me laugh.


I first met Adam (AKA Budda, AB, mate, president - I was his vice president for a year or two) eons ago.   


Upon moving to the Gold Coast, another life time ago, I started paddling with Gold Coast Dragons. I didn’t know much about much but I did love our sunset paddles, travels, and parties with the crew, who were to become my family.   And it was a family.

We were a gang, a family, a core of athletes who were to become world rivals in an upcoming  sport called dragon boating. But our fun didn’t stop on the water... we used to do gym  together, sushi together (Jodes can you remember that time I walked into the glass door on Chevron?), we did drinking together, parties, M parties, C parties, B parties, hell this  was my closest I had ever come to family.  In fact most of our family got married (even me
for a brief time).  We were closer than any thing I knew.
 

Adam was one of my favorite mates. Not many people mentally challenged me like he did.  I loved it.   It was like a game of “who dares wins”. You dare to make a statement - then GO!   

We would have fantastic debates, and I don’t recall winners (librans aren’t like that) but I  do remember learning.  Deep breaths and going OMG - now I see the world slightly
differently.   

When I took this pic AB was swimming and we 
were blabbing about cold fronts and 
how cool they looked 

I am so grateful for those chats, many over the years - BBQs, meetings, Coochie deck, my old house and dinner parties! I miss you so much mate.


Anyway this death thing is bizarre. And I don’t mean that with any disrespect to Jodie, the boys, the Bowdens or anyone else. Death is just plain not “normal”. 

I have nursed my whole life, sat with people taking their last breath, saved people who took their last breathe, and was only 12 years old when my mum died.

My mum was 33 years old when she died. Way too young, way too sad and well for me, way too hard to comprehend. I guess I am writing this little bit for Joel and Reef (and myself)....

I remember as clear as a crystal glass being sat down and my uncle telling me my mum had died and wasn’t going to wake from her operation. A stupid operation to fix her leg from skiing. A simple operation. But that was it. BAM.  In his one sentence my world changed for ever.

I can’t remember much in the months that followed except that my emotions were cocooned and expressed through sport. Hence I became an avid sport-escapee. In those days softball, netball, Lacrosse and Water Polo. My art also saved me as did my amazing circle of friends. My dear friends whom were kids themselves just stayed kids and I think that is what I needed most. To stay a kid and not grow up too quick. Anyway I know in my heart of hearts the boys will be ok.


The last time I saw “Team Bowden” in it’s entirety was Australia Day long weekend.  


On one of the nights the “grown ups stayed up” and we went through photos I had taken from tinder of what affectionately shall always be referred to as my “tinder tragedies”.  We laughed so much we were all crying. Then Adam (and his wicked little side kick Jodie)  thought it would be funny to find all the guys in a 10 km radius (which included all the surrounding islands) and drag them to the like side. 

He was so proud of his crafty work telling me, “Sammy it increases your odds”.  He was very disappointed in the morning when I told him I had deleted my account. So funny!
Monkeying around!

I was shocked when Jodes called me with the news of Adam's collapse.   

Like everyone I knew things would never ever be the same in the world again.  It was a massive SHOCK!

I still shed random tears, some for Jodie, some for me and the mate I will miss, and some for Adam as I know how much he relished life.


Jodes has debated keeping this blog going.   I am all for it for many reasons, but mostly because we set it up when Adam was around. When Jodie showed him and explained her intent for doing it (fund raising for Mary, not drinking for the Febfast, tracking her journey) he simply beamed. He was so proud!


And for that reason alone Jodes I hope you keep blogging.


Much love always Sam xx

Friday, 3 April 2015

Stronger Than She Knows

I'll never forget the day the bottom fell out of the world – that's what it felt like when my husband, Adam's mate uttered those horrendous words that changed the world forever. I actually asked "Adam who?" like I knew several Adam's. Once he confirmed my worst fear, my immediate thought was Jodie – my beautiful gorgeous friend, my second was Joel and Reef – those precious boys I love like my own. My next thought was what I needed to do to help them survive this unbelievable chain of events.

Leigh and Adam showing off the catch of the day
Like most people who met him, I've had my “Adam”  moments. Discussions about everything from child rearing to international politics. Again, like most people I had my fair share of Adam take the opposite side of my argument not because he disagreed with me, but because he liked to see you test your argument, wanted to make sure you could justify your position. He'd wind you up, then grin at you and say, “You know, I actually agree with you...would you like another drink?”

My family has been privileged to spend a lot of time with team Bowden. You know that family you have a great, easy friendship with? The one where all the adults get on whether it's two, three or four of you together, the kids get on and it's just easy? The one where the line between being friends and being family is blurred? (I call Jodie the sister of my heart and I love her like I love my sisters.)

Sister of my heart
That's what we have with the Bowden's, they are a daily part of our lives. School drop offs, after school activities, dinners, days out, camping trips, boys fishing trips, girls days out – we did the lot and I can't remember a time we didn't have a ball of fun. Adam features big in those memories. Really, he was one of the kids. My kids adored him and he adored them back. I can remember him telling me he loved watching and talking to my daughter Kira. Not having a daughter of his own, he was fascinated by the difference between her and the boys. He also loved that she didn't let the boys get the better of her. I love that he didn't treat her differently from the others, but recognised her uniqueness and it's value. He loved my son Luke too. He always had time to talk to him, like he did with his boys. He included him in things where Luke got to learn from Adam  along side Joel or Reef. I loved watching him talk with Luke, taking him seriously, really listening to him, treating him like an equal.  He was willing to pull both my kids into line when they needed it. Basically he treated and loved them like his own. Spending such time with them gave us an insight to the Bowden's lives, their love, their team.
Adam with his two boys and his two "adopted"children
If you've seen it, you know what I mean. The Bowden's moved as one. The love and the commitment from all four to their family evident in everything they did. When they were together, they were so present in each other's lives. Every joy celebrated, every heartache shared. And Adam loved his family with every single inch of his body and soul. His jubilation at their successes, his tenderness when the boys hurt themselves, the way he looked at Jodie, touched her, smiled at her, his pure love and contentment when he was with them. If you are lucky (as I am) you will know exactly how it feels to be in a family like that and so you will know the enormous hole left by Adam.

Personally I've become aware of what he left behind in the boys. I took the boys shopping for a birthday present for Jodie and while they were comparing two items, Reef mentioned which one he liked better. Joel reminded him it wasn't what he like, but what mum would like that mattered. Watching Reef head off with a fishing rod and bait, ready to catch the biggest fish he can. Both moments are pure Adam.

I was going to say I'm in awe of Jodie, which I am, but the thing is I always have been. Even before Adam died I knew she was amazing, stronger than she gives herself credit for. I watch her now and am not surprised at how she is dealing with this. Her acceptance of the shittiness of the situation, her nurturing and protection of her boys, her ability to put one foot in front of the other, her determination to live this life in a way that would make Adam proud. Even her graciousness and concern for others who are feeling the loss of Adam, putting aside her own grief however briefly, to acknowledge the impact his death has had on so many. In the first few days after she lost Adam, she would look at me totally bewildered and ask “How can I do this? Adam was the one who drove this family. He made these decisions, I just followed along.” The truth is, she was always capable of making those decisions, taking the wheel and steering through the obstacles. However, like many of us, she was happy not to, happy to let Adam do it. Now she has to do it and she is doing it so well. While the fact she now has to parent on her own, has to forge her way through this world without Adam by her side is terrible and sad, watching her realise that she can has been incredible. Jodie's belief in herself is growing day by day – you read her blog, you can see it. And the girl can write. Jodie and the boys came to our place for dinner last night and we ended up talking about her blog. “There's all these people reading it,” she said in complete wonder “I don't even know who they are, but they send me messages telling me how much they get out of it, how it helps them. I don't even know what I'm doing!” I can't remember the number of page views she mentioned, but it was in the thousands.
Strong, capable woman
Team Bowden is missing a member. But like all good teams, those that are left are banding together and promising to see it through to the end. I know Jodie thinks she isn't as good a captain as Adam, but I beg to differ. She will lead differently, but she is more than capable. In the meantime, she has another amazing team surrounding her in the form of family, friends and the community she lives in. She also has the team of people who read this blog. It helps to know others are out there,  thousands of you  reading, praying, sending love, crying, hurting, acknowledging this journey, backing Team Bowden. 

In the days following Adam's death, two of Jodie's closest friends set up a Gofund me page. The idea was to raise $20,000 for Jodie and the boys. We're almost there, just under $4000 short. If 200 of you who read this blog, who haven't donated would be willing to donate just $20, we'd hit target.  Some of you knew Adam, some of you will only ever know him through this blog. He would have welcomed everyone of you into his house and showed genuine interest in you and your life. All of you either know Jodie or are getting to know her and the incredible woman she is. If you could see you way to supporting Team Bowden, lifting them a little higher, carry them a little further, we can help get them over this line.

Team Bowden
Donate here to support Team Bowden.

Cheers  Kylie (Sister from another Mister)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Decision made

Right, well it seems that I'm not really that bad at making decisions.......We bought a puppy and I've told work that I won't be back next term (unless there is an emergency and they are short staffed)!  So now at 9:30 on a Wednesday night I have had two crying children and a crying dog and the additional financial worry of not going back to work.....hmmmm, they both seemed like good decisions at the time.

I must say though the new puppy is very cute, she is in fact adorable, a little black fluff ball with the cutest little squished up face.  I can't help but love her.  Don't you just love that new puppy smell?  Her little feet and floppy ears- sheesh..  I'm not quite as fond of the multiple wees and poos on my floor though. That will be a challenge for me and my fear of other peoples and animals bodily fluids.    We are off to the vet tomorrow for a checkup and chat to make sure she is ok and to get her vaccinated and micro-chipped.  I think I will call into Woolworths as well to grab some baby wipes and disinfectant wipes.  Watching the boys play and cuddle with our new addition to team Bowden is heart warming and I couldn't help but smile today as they laughed and lay on the floor with her.  I'm so glad we decided to get Lil Miss Coco-Loco.

What is it about night time that always makes the grief worse?  Why does it feel heavier?  Why is it harder to breath.  I keep telling my children to "take nice, deep breathes" while I struggle to take them myself.  Joel has started having panic attacks which completely breaks me and Reef has started crying which,  I'm both relieved and heartbroken that it's starting to come out for him.  There is no right or wrong way to deal with these moments, I can only ride the wave along side my boys and try and talk them through the worst of it.  Sometimes my words help and sometimes they don't, sometimes they make it worse but I never know how the boys will react until I speak.  I can't not tell them how I feel, I can't try and hide my own grief, I need to share with them and be honest with them when they ask question no matter how left field those questions might be.  Reef my inquisitive little soul always asks the tricky/clinical questions which are always the hardest to answer while Joel, my sensitive little soul always asks the emotional questions like "why"?  How do I answer that?  I don't have an answer for him except to say that "Daddy is still here with us, he may not be here physically but he is certainly still here looking out for us".  "His big strong wings will always surround us and will keep us safe". 

The boys and I have promised each other that we will continue to live life, to honor Adam and keep on doing the things that Adam loved to do.  We will need to help each other out a little bit more each time we do those things.  If we go camping we will help each other set up, if we go surfing the boys have told me they will teach me what Adam taught them so that I can "learn to surf too".  We will do more road trips and adventures together.  We will step into the river of life and continue our journey that we began with Adam.  Because we deserve that and Adam would want that. 

This may be my last post for a week or so. We are heading off on our first road trip - woohoo - its Easter and a time to spend with family and friends so that is what we are doing.  I do not own a working laptop and my mothers computer is a bit dodgy and I will be too busy drinking wine with friends to ask if I can borrow their computer so I will speak with you again when I get home.  (Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring me a new laptop).  Take care everyone and Happy Easter.

xx Jodie


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Yes or No

Why is it so hard to make a decision?  One day I think I know the answers and the next day that answer is the opposite.

Two things have been on my mind in the last couple of days the first one is "Should we get a dog"?  Both of my little boys are desperate for a puppy.

Adam was quite adamant that we were not going to get a pet, mainly because we were often away from home.  Not just  with work/school but with travel too.  We were always planning getaways big and small and it would  just be too hard to do so with a dog.  Another reason was, no fence in the back yard, the next reason, "who will pick up the poo"?  (Certainly not me).  I now find myself in a situation where I do not envisage the boys and I going away quite so much and if we do it wont be camping in a remote National Park (where domestic animals are not welcome).  The fencing problem has been sorted out by my very own local backyard blitz team who came and measured up a little dog run at the side of my house with a gate at either end so that the doggy can have a safe play zone. Oh, and even the poo problem has been solved because both the boys have said they will do poo patrol.  The walking, cuddling and playing with the dog will never be a problem because we all want to do that.  I've watched my boys over the last 5 weeks interact with family members and friends pets and when they are cuddling those dogs they both have a stillness around them that is comforting to them and it's comforting to me see.  So I think it would be in the best interest of our family to find a little lap dog to cuddle.  I may well have just made a decision. (I will try not to think of the expense)

The second decision that is keeping me awake at night is do I go back to work?  When is it the right time?  Is there ever a right time?  On Saturday night I had convinced myself that I would go back to work. "It would be good for me" I said confidently to my sister.  "I would be strong enough", I said out loud.  Then all day Sunday and even today I am feeling anxious about the commitment that is work.  I don't think I can make that commitment because when the days come (and I know they will) that I can barely move or one of my children is so overcome with grief that I physically cannot go to work I will feel stressed about letting down my work place and the families that I teach and that is just too stressful for me right now.  I need to be home for the boys, I want to be home for me, I have a fair bit of "stuff" to sort out and go through and I think I just need more time. I think I just made another decision.



This blog is so good for me on so many levels and it  helps me to stay grounded.  I am grateful that you are reading it and sending me such positive feedback.  Thank you.  I will finish now with this little prayer from the ever insightful Michael Leunig.

xx Jodie

Dear God,

Give comfort to those who are separated from loved ones. May the ache in their hearts be the strengthening of their hearts. May their longing bring resolve to their lives, conviction and purity to their love. Teach them to embrace their sadness lest it turn to despair. Transform their yearning into wisdom. Let their hearts grow fonder.

Amen.

SOURCE: 'A Common Prayer' by Michael Leunig,


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Birthdays

Today was the first of many firsts to come.  Today was my birthday, the first one without Adam for 18 years.  After the previous two days of feeling slightly normal I came crashing back to Earth with a whopping thud!  I don't know how long I cried for up in my bedroom before I fell into a fitful sleep but the exhaustion of it just overcame me and I could resist it no longer.

My afternoon did get better with a stroll to the beach with a couple of bottles of Moet and a couple of beautiful girlfriends.  We sat on the sand and sipped our bubbles, went for a quick dip in the sea and ate smoked salmon and king prawns.  Not a shabby birthday feast I must say.  When my boys arrived home from school they came bounding up the beach to plant a nice big birthday kiss on each cheek.  I love them so much.  I missed Adam ALOT today and thought of him constantly.  I imagined his big strong arms around me giving me a huge birthday hug and I would have given anything for it to be real.  Sometime when I let myself get lost in my imagination and search my mind for some/any memory of him the heaviness in my chest takes my breath away.  My head pounds and my stomach churns with the desire to have him back and the emptiness that comes with the realisation that its never going to happen no matter how much I wish for it is overwhelming  I realise that that big beautiful man is never going to wrap his arms around me again and then I cry. 


I've been processing a lot this week in regards to what is happening to me, and the incredible amount of support that I am still receiving from so many caring and thoughtful people and I am having a few pangs of guilt.  I have some girl friends and family members who are going through marriage separations and although they have not lost their husbands through a tragedy like I have they have still lost a husband/partner in another way.  Like me the are now single parents, one income, children to raise, work to attend, bills to pay, mortgages to worry about and generally having to keep on trudging through life, but they are doing it without the same support that I am getting.  I feel for them and watch in wonder as they face their own day to day battles.  Most of these woman have all been a huge part of my healing through their thoughtful acts of kindness.  I am truly blessed to have such amazing beautiful women that I can call my friends and who I can call sister.

xx Jodie

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Questions?

I've been wondering these last few days whether or not to continue with this blog, it's scary sitting down to type how I feel, most nights I don't even know what I'm going to write.  I don't care who reads it, its more about me getting out how I feel.  Some might think that would be better in a personal journal but I write differently in journals.  When I write my blog , believe it or not it's a more honest words to paper kind of thought process maybe because I can type as fast as I can think (almost),  I certainly can't write that fast so it comes out more raw I suppose.   I know its been almost a week since my last post but that is one of the reasons why.

I've been debating with myself whether or not I should continue with "Over the Rim of my Glass".   Really? How much do people want to hear?  I looked on my stats before I started tonight and so far there have been 6756 people who at some point read my blog.  That astounds me!  I also am very new to blogging, in fact I've never even followed one myself so that number may be small in the world of blogging,  I don't know?  But to me that number still is astounding.  

So any way, where was I?  Its been quite the roller coaster ride since my last post, mostly downs and not many ups.  My kids (particularly Joel) have not been great.   I've been on a consistent wobbly course with very little direction.  I had my first vomit since Adam passed away and then I had a remarkably stressful (Centerlink rejection) then peaceful day today.

Last week my eldest son Joel was writhing around on the floor complaining of tummy cramps.  I thought he was transferring his grief to his gut and was thankful that there were less tears but concerned at the intensity of the cramps .  It turns out he had a gastro bug which eventuated in raging temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea (great mum I am hey?)  So needless to say he spent zero days at school last week whilst my youngest Reef pulled up his socks, put on a brave face and carried on.  Then I question myself by asking if that is an OK thing, "should Reef be crying more"?

By Friday afternoon Joel was well again and we took a little road trip down to Coffs Harbor to help celebrate my brother in laws 50th birthday.......what an emotionally draining night that was, but I am so glad that we went.  It was nice to just hang out, cry, and reminisce about some of the wonderful moments that we've all had with Adam.  I actually didn't drink much that night but by Sunday morning it all got too much and I had an uncontrollable urge to vomit! And I did.   I wondered if it was the same gastro bug that Joel had or if it was all just getting too much for me and I just couldn't stomach it any more.  I think it was the later.........

Grief like this is something I've never experienced in my life before.  I've lost elderly  Grandparents and a very small number of friends but I have been fortunate in my life that I have never had to bury someone whose death ripped my heart out and shattered it into a million pieces.    My heart aches as I write this even imagining having to go through it again. 

Why Adam?    Why did this happen to me?  Why are we here? Why? Why? Why?. 

I've actually had a not bad 24 hours in fact the second half of today was probably the best half a day yet.  I hope its as good tomorrow, and that I've just not been comfortably in denial today.

Today, I managed with the help of two amazing, beautiful and insightful friends to feel close to Adam, like he was really here  and to actually feel him around me for the first time since he passed away. I am so grateful.  I feel like I spent the morning with him,  I even made him a cup of coffee and sat on our deck (we loved to drink coffee there) drinking it with him and it was good.  The moment was calm and I felt at ease for the first time in a long time. 

The boys came home from school and Joel was clearly distressed, we lay on his bed and chatted about Adam in a way that was happy and light and I managed to ease him gently out of his grief and into a place of joy.  The boys and I went for a walk on the beach and talked in a way that we haven't talked since the 19th February and actually had a peaceful, even if somewhat sombre stroll along the waters edge and up to the wetlands to water Adams tree, and we were OK.

I know my life has changed dramatically, my heart is truly aching as I write this post, its a physical dull ache but I refuse to fall into the abyss - I am tethered to this life for my children and to honour Adam and the life he helped create for us.  I will survive because I have amazing, strong wilful, and loving family and friends who are creating the most amazing safety net around me.  And I have Angels who I know are there, including Adam who has the biggest set of white wings wrapped around the boys and I and  I have no doubt that we will be OK. 

xx Jodie

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Carry a big stick - a book review

This wonderful piece has been written by my wonderful friend Kylie.  She is a very wise woman and I love her to bits.  So tonights guest blog is all about her book review of Tim Fergusons book "Carry a big stick"  Enjoy. xx


Book Review: Carry A Big Stick

Back when Jodie started her Febfast journey, she was worried about having to blog every day. When Mary did her guest post, I asked Jodie if she would like me to do one too. I write a book review blog called Little Black Marks  so it only seemed appropriate that I find a book about MS and write a review of it.

While cruising the catalogue at the library, I came across Carry a Big Stick by Tim Ferguson. I knew the name, I'm a long time fan of The Doug Anthony Allstars, but I never realised Tim Ferguson has MS. Perfect! A book about MS written by someone I actually wanted to read about!


Doug Anthony Allstars – Tim Ferguson, Richard Fidler and Paul McDermott


Carry a Big Stick charts Tim career, from his pre DAAS days, right through to the writing of the book. While the MS doesn't take centre stage, it does make appearances every now and then. Obviously to start with, Ferguson himself did not realise there was a problem. He simply put it down the grueling schedule DAAS kept. Anyway, things usually righted themselves within a week or two. However, as symptoms worsened (numbness in fingers, pins and needles in his right ear, loss of his ability to wiggle his ears, twitching eyelid, numb toes - you get the picture), Ferguson simply didn't want to know - didn't want to acknowledge his body was letting him down.  

"I started each one [show] strongly but after half an hour of running, jumping and jitterbugging, my left leg would slacken. By the end onf each show, my left foot was dragging...I never recorded these events or sought answers. It's only now that I look back and piece everything together that it all makes sense"

"I'm often asked why I didn't see a doctor or seek some sort of conclusive medical advice along the way. The answer is simple: I didn't want to know. I didn't want anything getting in the way of the Allstars' success...I just kept going and compensated for any weird body malfunction with exuberant disregard."

However, eventually Ferguson does seek and receives a diagnosis. He continues with Allstars', until it becomes obvious to him he no longer can. The rest of the book details his acceptance of MS and the other directions his career took, from hosting shows such as Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, writing, producing and eventually teaching.

Ferguson writes exactly how you imagine he would. The flamboyance and silliness so obvious in his Allstars days comes through in the book. He examines the effect of a transient lifestyle as a kid on his life as an adult and it's contribution towards his incessant need to be liked and successful.  

The tone of the book changes through out, following his own journey in relation to MS. From the early mentions of MS in the book, through to his denial there was anything wrong, onto his diagnosis and his belief that it should change nothing, followed by his realisation that it does and his acceptance of MS, Ferguson becomes more reflective, analytical and, for want of a better word, serious. I found the first part of the book that dealt with his DAAS days, frantic and quick paced. It jumped from one thing to another, with slight mentions of what was causing a few issues, but was under control. As the MS progressed, the writing became less frantic, but an air of confusion and hurt came through - and denial. Finally as Ferguson accepted his diagnosis and it's effect on his life, the writing becomes calmer and thoughtful.


Tim Ferguson in recent years

Carry a Big Stick is well worth the read for any DAAS or Tim Ferguson fan. For those looking for an understanding of MS, it provides a look at one persons journey with the disease. Either way, I think it's well worth the read.

This clip is from the TV show Good News Week and was the first time Tim publically “outted himself” with MS.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Vitamin Sea

I realise it has been a while since I last blogged - Its just been too hard to do.  Friday was a good day but then it just spiralled down hill from there over the weekend and into the beginning of this week.

On paper it sounds pretty good, my sister and her adorable two cherubs came to visit on Saturday and the two of us went out into town to see a play ( a silly play at that) and although it was a great hour of distraction, something happens when you fall back to reality with a thud,  it's almost like the grief doubles.  On Sunday my brother and his wife came with a picnic for all of us and we sat on the beach eating and swimming and kicking the football.  Nice right?  In a normal existence, yes!

I let the boys have Monday off school so that they could hang with their cousins but as the day moved on, the clouds  got blacker and the air thicker for all of us.  

I actually ended up at the Doctors yesterday after a weekend of little sleep and too much wine.  The wine really doesn't help in fact it only adds to the depression and loneliness that is my life right now.  It doesn't matter how many hugs I get, how many phone calls or texts I get to see if I'm OK or how many knowing nods I get from friendly faces.  The heaviness is over bearing.  Seeing Joel so distraught as he lies in the foetal position hugging a photo of Adam crying "why, why, why" Is so unbearable.  I struggle to calm him down and I wish that I could take his pain away while Reef on the other hand is being Mr Strong;  he is doing his best to hold it together and this morning when I told him that it's OK to cry, he told me "I can't cry mummy, but I'm really sad inside and it just really hurts in my throat".  My 9 year old doesn't need to be the strong one, neither does my 11 year old for that matter.  Adam was our strong one and we all miss him so much. I some how need to find it within me to become the strong one.

My visit to the Doctor resulted in a prescription for sleeping tablets (I refused antidepressants)  and as a result, I slept through last night and actually woke up feeling capable of facing the world again.  Unfortunately for me it wasn't so for Joel who was too distraught for school and so both boys had yet another day off.  We started our morning off with a stroll down to our beach which has fondly become known as "Bowden Beach" (in our house hold anyway) for a delightful high tide swim and our daily dose of vitamin sea to wash away the sadness.

Then instead of hanging around the house moping and feeling sorry for ourselves, we ventured out to beautiful Wellington Point and had fish a chips for lunch and a lovely walk on the beach.  Just what the doctor ordered, much better than anti-depressants. 

So right know as I sit here talking to you, I feel OK.  Joel is downstairs lost in the TV and Reef has found a friend and gone fishing off the old jetty.  Its his favourite place to be.  I will try and carry on.  I will try and be brave even though I am afraid of the 5 stages of grief that a friend pointed out to me last night.  Its going to be a long, scary painful journey but I know that the only way out of it is to ride the waves and after a dumping in the sand I need to push myself to the surface and breath again.

xx Jodie

Friday, 13 March 2015

One more time x


Oh to be here just one more time, to nibble on his ear and tell him I love him.











Today was actually an OK day, I'm still breathing.  One of my very good friends rang me up and said "I'm taking you out for lunch!  Somewhere nice!  Where should we go?"  The first place that sprang to mind was Sirromet Winery.  I've never been there before and after living in the area for over 10 years that is pretty pathetic that I've never been and so it was the perfect place to be. 

It was so lovely.  We sat down and had a beautiful lunch and an equally beautiful bottle of wine and talked like there was nothing wrong.   For a moment or two I even forgot my woes.......and it was nice.     Life does go on, life moves forward like a tide ebbing and flowing and all the "stuff" just comes and goes.  For me, my "stuff" stays with me but for the rest of the world, life just keeps turning.  Life must go back to "normal".  Is there such a thing?  What is normal?  I was such a rule follower, an etiquette instiller, but now, I don't know the rules......I'm confused, lost and disorientated.  What does that mean?  I don't even know.

I'm trying to make life "normal" for my kids.  Both of them have friends having a sleep over tonight with a friend each.  They are happy, here is laughter in the house again.  The distraction of friendship is a marvellous thing.  I on the other hand will be sleeping in my bed on my own for the very first time since Adam passed away and I have to admit I'm a little bit anxious.   I think I may have to take my mother up on her offer of a sleeping tablet. 

Wow, my life is so different.  Scary......

I know I will wake up each day, I will make the school lunches, I will take opportunity in Saturday morning sleep ins, I will do the washing, I will vacuum the floors and clean the toilets......that's just life and that's the easy bit.  The hard bit will be planning camping trips, Easters, birthdays and school holidays.  Without Adam, even though I know its possible and doable, its just more difficult.  But it will happen, it may not happen over night, but it will happen.  I believe that.  I have to.

The last two days have been a disaster, horrible and very distressing but I woke up this morning and put my big girl knickers on, shook my head, had a cold shower got dressed and did my best at living.  And it was a better day than yesterday, so tomorrow I will attempt to do the same.  I've been taking my own advice and taking myself and my kids (and my mother) down to the beach for our daily dose of Vitamin Sea and it is working a treat, I tell them "we need to wash the sadness away".   Tomorrow will be no different, we will venture down in the howling wind and immerse ourselves in salt water.

Remember always.  to hold your loved ones close and never be afraid to say "I love you". 

xxx  Jodes