Category Archives: Family

The Passing of a Loved One

IMG_2112

How do you actually prepare yourself for the passing of a loved one?

In my case, it was my dearly loved Dad, aged 92.  After suffering from the dreaded ‘C’ word over the past few years and especially the extremely painful last six months, he passed away peacefully on 6th February 2015.

It was hard living 500 kilometres’ away from him, even though I had visited him several times during these last several months, it wasn’t the same as being with him all the time, as my sisters and stepmother were.

Just before he passed, he managed with the wonderful assistance of my sister Cheryl, to phone and me murmur the words ‘I love you’ and within an hour he had passed away.

I knew straight away when my phone rang that it wasn’t good news. My sister Cheryl was crying uncontrollably, which immediately started my emotional decline into howling to the point of being ill.

Knowing that his time would eventually come didn’t help with the emotional feelings that had now taken over me affecting everything that I did.

Within a few days, it was a family having to pull together and plan his funeral service. Cheryl was absolutely amazing, where her strength came from I don’t know, but the love she had, as I did, for Dad excelled her into planning with my step Mother the most amazing funeral service at the Cemetery where Dad’s Mother was buried. This was his only wish to be buried near to his own Mother.

When Cheryl discussed with me ‘who and what was going to be included in the eulogy’. I said that this is something that I would be honoured to do, which I did. However, after penning the eulogy, my mind went into overdrive about all the wonderful things Dad had done for me over the many years, especially when I was young and without a Mother myself.

The decision to write in addition to the eulogy being delivered by the Celebrant I decided my own personal eulogy as a tribute to my Dad was going to be written.

This was the hardest undertaking that I have ever tried to do. I managed somehow to pull myself together and the strength came right through me to write and deliver the eulogy at my Dad’s funeral service.

Knowing he was looking down on all of us with his love shining through me and with the help of my sister Cheryl beside me I read this eulogy.

‘What Dad Meant to Me’

I have chosen to say a few words about what my Father meant to me, let’s hope I am able to get through this.

We all know what a wonderful loving man our Father was, but most of you don’t know how special he was for me. From the age of 11 my Dad became Mother and Father, as my brother Laurie and myself lost our mother Olga, she left us. Dad stepped in to be the best at everything, with a little help from his Mother, our grandmother Elsie Maude.

Being so young I needed desperately a mother, it wasn’t good enough to say it will be all right when clearly a young girl needs a Mother. Dad tried to be everything by attending those parent-teacher meetings, to driving me to tap dancing classes, marching girls and basketball championships. Even saving my backside at a time when I was threatened with expulsion from a girl’s school for sliding down the bannisters and knocking over the Headmistress.

During my teenage years I used to daydream constantly about having a sister, Dad not only produced a sister he produced three sisters Deborah, Cheryl and Carolyn, a dream that came true for me! Love you, Deb and Cheryl.

Something that resonated in my head throughout my life is how Dad would say to me when I was growing up “I will support whatever you decide to do in your life”. Although some of my decisions were not the best over the years, like getting married too young and then getting married for the second time in my later years.

The best decision of getting married so young was producing two wonderful daughters Corinne and Roanne, to which I am so extremely proud of and I know Dad, your grandfather was proud of you too. During the ceremony of my second marriage in 2007, Dad announced to everyone “I gave her away once, let’s hope she doesn’t come back”. Sorry, Dad!

You might laugh; resolving a difficult situation is hard, but not as hard as losing such an exceptional Father. I love you Dad, you will always be in my heart and mind forever!      

The Magic of Yamba

IMG_2005

With one of the most stressful years’s nearly over for me, I had the wonderful pleasure of spending Christmas 2014 with my eldest daughter, her husband and the grandsons in Yamba NSW. My youngest daughter, who also celebrated her birthday joining us on Christmas day together with my best friends, topped this Christmas off for me.

Yamba is a quaint little coastal town only 150 kilometers from where I live on the Mid North Coast. It is best known for its magnificent prawns, which we managed to devour together with all the Christmas trimmings.

Waiting at the wharf on Christmas Eve at 6am for the prawn trawlers to come in with their fresh catch gave us pleasure knowing that our prawns would be fresh as and that they would last, well hope for a few days made waking up so early beneficial. Although by Boxing Day the thought of having to eat more prawns was starting to wear off, we managed.

The unbelievable pleasure of waking up each morning to the best ever sunrises over the lake was spectacular! All I wanted to do was just sit and stare into the early morning sun rising while drinking my cup of tea, grab the camera and click away! The cup of tea tasted so special. Everything that had gone on throughout the year for me seemed to fade away into insignificance, well for a while anyway.

I am now back home and ready to start off another year with renewed vigor, which will hopefully give me the strength to ensure that 2015 is a year where I can start afresh, plan the life that I want and be with whomever I want to be with.

Thanks to my eldest daughter, Corinne and her husband, Nigel for inviting me to join them on their wonderful holiday in Yamba, NSW. It has given me time to reflect on my life with renewed enthusiasm.

Wake Up Call

This is not about waking up to go to work, attending an appointment or anything like that it is about realising after spending the last week with my elderly Father, who is gravely ill and hasn’t really come to terms with preparing for his passing.

As stressful as this week may have been for everyone, especially for myself having to drive down from Coffs Harbour to Sydney in the pouring rain knowing that my Father had been given only a few days to live.

Then after nearly a week later being advised that he can be released from hospital to a nursing home with palliative care facilities.

Watching the relieved look on my Dad’s face knowing that he could actually live a bit longer and be near his wife, my stepmother of 40 years, also helped with relieving some of the angst that I had been feeling for the past week.

All that has occurred during this week has become my personal ‘wake up call’ to commence my own planning stages for my passing when I return back home to Coffs. From preparing a contingency plan in case I am incapacitated and not able to make an informed decision about my future health to what I want my passing to be like; a celebration of my life or allowing everyone to be sad and mourn indefinitely. The former ‘celebration of life’ is my chosen plan.

Not coming to terms with your final days and not planning your passing arrangements isn’t being realistic.

I don’t want to leave any of these details to my daughters; apart from ensuring my wishes are fulfilled.

Drink Water Before a Live Interview

Imagine the shock horror feeling I experienced recently whilst being interviewed live on the radio when all of a sudden my throat just froze due to lack of fluids combined with having to cope with a very nervous radio interviewer, as this was her first live interview.

The interviewer, wanting to ensure her first live interview was a success just about drove me to drink, but not water!

Weeks before the actual day of the interview I was starting to feel the torturous effects of her constant phone calls. She started to become a nuisance by her going over and over the proposed questions, were they sufficient, are the questions being repeated etc.

I said to her “just relax and let the questions flow, I will answer them to the best of my ability after all this is a great opportunity to promote the writers’ group”. Myself being the President of the writer’s group I wanted a good outcome too!

My biggest mistake on the morning of the interview, I didn’t make sure my throat was lubricated with any water before the interview. And the interviewer was so nervous she raced through the questions, instead of it being a 30-minute relaxed type of interview, she managed to ask all the questions and my comments were all over and done within 12 minutes.

Listening to the interview now on my iPhone’s recorder, I can hear how much my voice was under pressure due to lack of water.

Lesson learned, drink water before a live interview.