Terminally irreparable

I didn’t really mind it and now when I look back on it I’m grateful for the moments… But I was just trying to do my best when I really had no idea what on earth I was doing. An expectant mother who was preparing her own mother for death. A child seeking answers and solace so her own child wouldn’t one day have to live through what she was living.

A human being wanting to remove the suffering for another human being.

We brought mum home to die. It was her choice. As it should have been.

While I completely supported her choice, the way in which we were left to ‘manage’ her death has bruised me from the inside out. Where no one can see the extent of the bleeding but where I feel it pushing on my organs. Every. Single. Day. It damaged me irreversibly. Even after all this time, I still wonder if I did things right, made the right choices, did enough for her. I wonder if I should have ignored her wishes and left her at the hospital where the care would have been better.

The last month of my mum’s life was in equal parts perhaps the most horrendous and the most spiritual of my life.

I remember laying with her in bed when the early rays of the sun would come through the windows after another restless night. I’d hold her hand under the sheets and feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and when she woke she would always seem at peace. The first seconds of consciousness, before the memories flooded back in, before the cancer became real again, were always my favourite moments of the day and we’d lie together before she couldn’t tolerate it anymore and I’d get the first lot of medicine in her for the day.

The roles were quite literally reversed – she became the dependent and I was the person who would kiss her on the forehead and whisper ‘sleep well’ each night. I’d tuck her in tightly. I’d watch her until she drifted off in her slumber. I’d wake to soothe her when she whimpered in her sleep from the pain. I’d just simply be there for her, so she knew she was never alone.

They were the wonderful moments. The moments I want to remember.

The other moments are cruel reminders of not only my helplessness as a carer, but of the things I couldn’t protect her from.

Bathing her, helping her go to the toilet, giving her needles, giving her drugs, monitoring her colostomy bag, rolling her (against her wishes) so she wouldn’t get bedsores. And then begging the Silver Chain nurses to increase her medication, to hasten the end.

It had taken me a while – I don’t think I’m stupid, I’d rather think I am just the kind of person who doesn’t simply give up when things seem impossible – but once I’d realised there was no ‘fixing’ Mum, all I wanted was to take away her pain.

Sit in that for a while. I effectively was choosing to kill my Mum.

My greatest supporter. My closest friend. My guide. My measure. My spirit. The one person in this entire world I wished could live forever. I wanted her to die, and quickly.

The reality of the situation was she didn’t want to be here anymore. The final months of her life were spent in and out of hospital, countless tests, bruised and bloodied because her veins wouldn’t cooperate for more bloodwork, more surgeries, time spent in the critical care unit, time spent in the ICU, time spent enduring fits due to the brain metastases…

I knew she was done way before I truly wanted to believe it. That was the moment my heart began to shatter. It was also the moment I promised I would not let her be hurt unnecessarily again. Seeing her like that was brutal, in every sense of the word.

When we wheeled her out of that hospital for the last time, she waved to all the nurses on the cancer ward. She smiled, and she waved. Like the god damn queen. She was finally going home.

It was a hot summer the February that she died. So much sunshine to play on her face. So much warmth outside when inside things were so bleak. We watched as she wasted away and eventually fell into an unresponsive coma. We exhausted ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically until her heart gave up and let her go.

Ever since that day I’ve had one question that remains unanswered.

After five years of battling, why couldn’t she have peace in the end, on her terms?

We should have been able to have ‘the conversation’ with her while she was of sound mind. We knew she wasn’t scared of death; of course she was sad about dying, but she was not scared. She should have been given the option to choose when, as well as where, she took her final breath.

My Mum lived her life with grace and dignity. She should have had the right to die the same way.

“I love you every day. And now I will miss you every day.” – For One More Day, Mitch Albom

 

Not so desperate, but dateless

I’ve spent my entire adult life in relationships, so to be single and in my 40s is not only a new concept, but one I reckon I view a whole different way than if I’d been single in my twenties.

I never really liked myself very much when I was younger. This, I’m sure, is what contributed to me jumping from relationship to relationship, thinking I ‘needed’ to be loved and in a ‘committed’ relationship. Hence why my marriage lasted a grand total of three months.

I clearly made bad decisions, decisions not right for me, which is why I think being single now is actually working in my favour. I like myself, so I know what I am actually looking for and what I will not put up with.

The hard part about being single now is simply finding the time to meet people. I am sure I don’t have to tell anyone how fucking hard it is to juggle working fulltime with keeping a child and a dog alive without completely losing your shit. So, spending time on the lookout for love is not as high on the agenda as something contrary such as, oh I don’t know, sleeping.

So, generally the fallback is to try the apps… where shit gets really real, really quick…

We’ve all heard the stories and the experiences of online dating apps with shit profile pics that generally make choosing which way to swipe too fucking hard (get rid of the SnapChat filters, the kids, the exes, the twenty three other people, the drugged animals, the guns, the bathroom/gym/bedroom selfies…). But the big game changer for me is that guys don’t seem to want to take the time to get to know me, once we’ve matched.

This manifests in two ways. The man you match with who then ghosts after one text message (or without even making it to one text message), and the man you match with who goes from zero to one hundred in the space of two text messages.

Allow me to explain…

I matched with a ‘gentleman’ (yes, I use this term very loosely) one evening and we swapped helloes before I went to sleep. The next morning I woke to find a message from Mr Zero to One Hundred: ‘How are you? I am so horny and wish I was in bed with you right now.’

In what corner of the stratosphere does he think that strategy will ever work for him? Unmatch.

This behaviour is not limited to the sanctuary of online apps, either. Here is a conversation I had recently…:

Him – Hi

Me – Hey, how’s your night been?

Him – Great. Whose home are we going back to? Yours or mine?

Something that has shocked me slightly is the absolute fucktonne of men out there quite comfortable with the concept of cheating. Either that, or I just attract the cheaters.

One of the worst was after a couple of weeks of messaging each other, the man in question and I decided to try and arrange a drink. While we were planning when and where, he quite calmly said he was unable to make a certain date because ‘Mrs [insert surname] would be home then.’ Um, excuse me? ‘Oh, I thought you knew I was married’. No, no I did not and, by the way, what sort of person do you think I am?

I will admit to on one or two occasions, thinking, “Well, I don’t know her, this will clearly be a one night stand, is it up to me to care? I am completely aware that it is wrong, but should I be the one who cares?” Yes, yes I should. And yes, I do.

Another thing I struggle to get on board with is the idea of having a lot of matches on the go at once. I’m generally a ‘I like this guy, so I’ll stop messaging the others’ kind of person, but so many times I’ve been on the receiving end of the ‘I’ve met someone else on here’ message, or the casual line dropped on a date of ‘I had two other dates this week’. My rush to be monogamous generally means I put all the dating eggs into the one match. I need to either get over myself, or get over the fact that I’m always coming in second (or third.. or last…!).

While a lot has changed, there is one thing that is the same. Still in my 40s I am too shy/nervous/gutless to put myself on the line. I cannot picture myself just saying ‘I like you, let’s give this a crack’. There is a cat and mouse game that is still played today just like it was when I was younger. God forbid I be the first person to put it all on the line! I am simply not brave, nor confident enough, to do so.

I will confess to enjoying my single-life most of the time. It’s kind of fun.  Zero fucks has kind of been my motto the past couple of years (ironically…!), which has resulted in zero regrets, which is great. I sent a message to my best friend the other day (I was struggling to back it up, to meet her for a drink), along the lines of ‘I am in fine form, I’ve had a grand total of two hours’ sleep and I have a man’s wallet in my handbag’.

I know people are judging me. I also know when I was in my twenties, I’d see the forty year old in the club or pub and judge. I know I should have this well and truly out of my system by my age, but in my own defence this is the first time I have been single for a very looooooooooooooooooooong time. In any case, why should I be ashamed? I’m not hurting anyone…

… other than myself, if I’m honest. Because, let’s be clear – there is no way I want this to continue forever.

What I want is that great, cannot-live-without-you kind of love. My person. I miss that level of intimacy. However, my inherent desire to have that has caused me to make bad decisions in the past. To rush into things and force people into relationships because I fear I’ll die before I find my perfect man.

When I say perfect, I mean the man who will adore me and cherish me, who will whisk me off on romantic dates, sing the songs he has written for me (yes, I am serious…!), protect me, and adult for me every now and then. I am capable, resilient, blah blah blah, but fuck me, I would like to have someone take care of me for a little while.

I’m a walking contradiction, I am well aware of that.

I read somewhere recently that if 99% of people in the world are not attracted to you, it means there are 75,000 people in the world who are. Surely amongst that one per cent is my forever person?

“I wondered what happened when you offered yourself to someone, and they opened you, only to discover you were not the gift they expected and they had to smile and nod and say thank you all the same.” Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper.

The one minute gap

October is a massive month of reflection for me. I participate in Frocktober to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer and hopefully drive more funding and an early detection test. It’s what killed my mum, so it’s important to me.

But the 16th is also my birthday. Those of you who know me well, know I get a little mopey on my birthday (yes, only a little…!). But it has less to do with the age thing, and more to do with the one minute gap in my day.

It’s that gap in the day that kicks me in the gut. It’s that gap in the day that, as irrational as it sounds, I still expect to be filled.

It’s that one minute of time that my mum would take every year to call me and wish me a happy birthday.

She would sing the song to ‘Ka-wisti Abecca’ because it was apparently always hilarious to remind me each year of how I couldn’t say my name properly as a toddler. She would always sing over the top of Dad trying to wish me a happy birthday from the background. She would always call first thing in the morning, starting my day off the best way – with a song and a smile.

But now, it’s just a gap. And you all know how much I love my family and friends, and I am surrounded by so much love and well wishes.

But on this one day, I am a tad self indulgent, and I grieve for that gap in my day that will never be filled again.

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

 

How did I get here?

I was asked recently (corporate context) to tell my story – so my colleagues  would learn more about me outside of work. About how I got to where I am, about my beliefs and values. About me. I was third in line to tell my story and I had it set in my head what my story would be. Then the two people in front of me told their story – they did the chronological thing. My panic started to rise, my anxiety started to rear its ugly head, and I checked my story with a colleague while we had a break. ‘Go for it,’ she said. So, I did. This is my story.

First a little bit about me, through my own eyes.

I’m a raging introvert. For those playing at home, I’m an INFJ which is apparently very rare, but I know of three other INFJs who I am close to… they could be my kindred spirits. At the very least, I know we have connection, an understanding, a sense of pride that we are the diamonds in the rough.

I’m a big sister, an aunt, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend, a colleague. And I love being all of these.

I’m a single mum. And she is my joy. She is the happiness in my day. Despite all the complaints I put out there about how much of a turd she is, she is spectacular.

I have the mouth of a sailor, and I love 90s, grunge music.

Actually, I love all music – I can’t wait to brag to Kalee about the acts I have seen live. It’s the one thing I’ll spend a gazillion dollars on.

I lie. I love to spend money on a lot of things.

I like to write. I fiddle around on my blog, but I have countless journals dotted around my house and in my space, because I always want to grab some paper and just write. I don’t know if I’m any good at it, but I like it.

I was always average. Never excellent, but never shit. Always good. At school, at what I look like, at the sports I played. Maybe if I tried harder, I’d be better, but I feel like I did the best that I could. I was always average. And that’s OK.

I love sport. I love watching it, I love playing it. Team sports, not solo. For a raging introvert, I need to be around people a lot of the time (hello INFJ). Playing team sports also meant I couldn’t get out of things as easy as I could if it was just me who I was letting down.

I’m am ambassador for the OCRF, which means I attend people’s functions and speak (worst nightmare) and I also raise money. I’ve raised about $40,000 thanks to my amazing support network.

So, how did I end up here, where I am today? A lot of people have had an influence on me being here, being me.

My Year 8 English teacher – the person you can all blame for my insistence that the English language be treated with love and attention, and for this blog, because he was the first person who believed in me and my writing. He was also the first person to make it OK for me to go forth and correct all grammar. You’re welcome.

My first corporate affairs boss – I had no right being the Editor of a 32-page glossy six months after joining an organisation. He believed in me and took a chance on me. He taught me so much and allowed me to grow. He also was the first person to introduce me to corporate affairs and communications. I owe my entire career to him.

The Bear – the person who came into my life just when I most needed to look at myself. It was around the time my sister died and I was in danger of retreating way too far, due to not being happy in my job or, if I’m honest, my relationship. She was the first person to make me complete a ‘Myers Briggs’ and the first person who unapologetically called me out on me. Recently she sent me an email with the subject title: ‘The main problem with you’. The content? YOU EXPRESS YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS AND KEEP YOUR POSITIVE EMOTIONS HIDDEN … IS IT A CRIME TO BE HAPPY AND SHOW IT? Yes, it was in caps – she had a point to make and she was going to make it. Not only did the message hit home, but she knew I’d be pissed at the punctuation and caps lock. Double whammy. Well played. She continuously makes me look at myself, whether I like it, or not. She is an ongoing influence on me as a friend, as a colleague, as a stand in granny to my baby. And I wouldn’t have her any other way.

My girlfriends – from the principal, to the operations shift worker, to the senior manager in government, to the mining engineer, to the chef, to the woman who I wish I could swap lives with, to the superstar who just beat breast cancer (and has the most delightful rack now). And the many others I am grateful to have in my life. They keep me grounded, they help me raise my child. They show me what it is to have your own community around you and they tell me what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. Good and bad. But, for a lot of my twenties I had my head firmly jammed up my arse. It wasn’t until my 30s that I actually realised what I meant to them. And when things turned bad at the end of that decade, there were no other people I wanted enveloping me than those women. They are amazing. They are my tribe and I love them hard.

My brother and sisters – the ones who keep me even. Although one of them is no longer with us, there was, and is, no stronger bond between four people. They reminisce with me when I need to be in that frame of mind, and look forward with me when I need that even more. The cluster that has been our lives the past few years have brought us closer. There are no two other people whose silence means as much as their words. They are the only two people who know what it is like to walk in my shoes and I would do anything for them, as I know they would do for me. And my daughter loves them just as much as I do.

Lastly (yes Kalee has influenced me, and so did my Dad, but sorry guys, you don’t make the cut!), there’s my Mum – the quiet achiever, who taught me resilience.

When Dad died, so did she. It was a short eight months. She was done.When she died I held her hand and wished her well, I was strangely happy for her. One of the last things she said to me was that my Dad was waiting for her; she needed to go to him.

Her resilience until this point was nothing short of amazing. She kept going through things that would make me buckle at the knees; time and time again, and never, ever did an ‘oh my life sucks’ attitude overcome her. She was poised, balanced and wonderfully strong through so, so much…

Of course, I wondered how the fuck I would be able to make it without her – but deep down I knew. I knew I had her resilience and I knew I had her lessons in my head and I knew would be OK. Because she made me that way.

Mum’s resilience is the biggest influence on my life. I hope that one day the way I show up will be an inspiration to Kalee. That she will understand she can do anything. That she will know that she comes from a long line of strong, determined, capable women. I am determined she will know all about her Granny and the grace, dignity and strength that has been passed down to her.

I somehow think she might already know.

“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.”
― Beatrix Potter

Please stop.

I’ve kept my mouth shut for a long time – mainly because I know I’m not the only person who suffers silently through this – but it’s finally time for me to ask people to kindly shut the fuck up and stop asking me about my ovaries, when I’m going to have another baby, and why I haven’t tried yet.

I have tried. Believe me I have tried. Three babies lost tried. Relationship damaged tried. Self esteem broken tried. Age wearied tried. I have really fucking tried.

I’m not writing this and sharing it so that you can give me sympathy, either. I’m doing it because there needs to be more awareness out there for those who do suffer in silence. For those whose whole lives are centred around trying so hard.

I am well aware I am a single, 40 year old and ‘past my prime’. I do not need you to tell me that. So please, just don’t.

No one beats themselves up more than I do that Kalee is a single child. No one cries more tears at night over the fact that she is often forced to play alone because she has no siblings. No one’s heart breaks more every time Kalee refers to her cousins as her sisters, because she has no one else. The guilt is overwhelming and the sadness even more so.

So please. The next time you want to mean well and ask me about recreating the perfection that is my first child. Please don’t.

Instead, just tell me she’s a good kid. Tell me she’s well behaved. Tell me she’s funny, crazy, loud, independent… whatever comes to your mind. But just focus on her. The kid that is here and making my life a joy.

Thinking of the ones that could have been does nothing but break my heart.

Mrs McJudgey

“The point is not that I don’t recognise bad people when I see them — I grant you I may quite well be taken in by them — the point is that I know a good person when I see one.” ― The Rubadub Mystery, Enid Blyton

He looked like one of those dodgy people I avoid when walking to work in the morning through the mess of the night before in the CBD. I work across the road from the Federal Law Courts so when he jumped up on the retaining wall just outside my office window, I judged him as being someone who had crossed the road after an already tough morning of judgements.

When he pulled his six pack of beer out and placed it next to him, pulling a stubby from the box and then cursing at himself for not having a bottle opener, I was well and truly on my moral high horse, making my own conclusions… assumptions, same same.

He patted all his pockets, no doubt looking for a lighter that could moonlight as a bottle opener for a six pack length of time. He tried the fencing, he tried the metal poles around the retaining walls. He eventually found something to jimmy his cap off, which was out of my line of sight. He wandered back and hoisted himself back up to his spot on the wall.

He kept his gaze averted from the stream of pedestrian traffic on the pavement. He was looking into a void through the fencing. At nothing in particular, or so I could tell. The only thing on the other side of the fencing and retaining wall was an underpass and under croft car park decorated with ‘no unauthorised parking’ signs and threats of fines for smoking and loitering.

I sat inside and watched him out the corner of my eye, wondering what shit behaviour would soon start entertaining me in that ‘can’t take your eyes off it’ fashion. There was a lot of eye rolling and ‘surely he shouldn’t be sitting there drinking, should he?’ type thoughts. And, judgey, judgey, judgey.

Then he pulled a hat out of his pocket. He was already wearing a hat, so this got my attention, well and truly. He dusted the hat off, picked at dirt and lint on it, smoothed it as if it were creased in places it shouldn’t be, and he placed the hat on the wall next to him so… tenderly. It’s really the only word to describe it. Then he kind of ‘Cheers-ed’ the hat with his stubby.

Only then did I actually look at his face properly and notice him differently.

The red in his eyes was more likely from crying, not from being high. The nervous way he kept his eyes away from the traffic was probably so no one could see his tears, not because he was trying to avoid eye contact with ‘normal people’. The way he skulled his beer and opened another one straight away could have been because he was lost, numbing pain, escaping reality for a moment, not because he was a raging alcoholic, no good, dodgy guy skiving off work to attend court.

So, I found myself changing his story… Maybe he was in court to witness the trial of the person who had killed his mate? Maybe he was just wandering aimlessly around the streets of Perth, looking for a private place to sit and remember happier times, not wanting to completely shut himself off from the world for fear of making things all too real? Could he actually have been sitting in the place where his friend had lost his life? Did he pick the hat up off the ground from where his friend last lay?

And, with this change in story… some questions for me to think about – Why did I not look at him with kindness to start with? Why did the judgements start before I took the time to really see him? When did I become that person? The one who doesn’t give people half a chance before making up their negative story for them?

I didn’t used to be that way. Have I changed? I suspect digging into that question would unravel a whole pile of shit, but I’d like to believe my attitude comes from a place of self-preservation and vulnerability, rather than a place of prejudice and criticism.

“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” ― Emma, Jane Austen

 

Frocking annoying

“Wear a frock every day for the month, it will be fun,” they said. Let me tell you right now, it is not fun. Actually, frocks suck a little bit. I’m not totally averse to a nice frock,  but wearing them every day, no matter what the weather is doing, is a bit shit.

Here’s why.

  1.  Where am I going to put all my stuff?

The last thing I want to do is hold onto a bag while trying to flail my arms around above my head (in my completely coordinated manner) when I go out. So, I add an ‘over the shoulder’ bag that I can cross over in front of me, therefore reducing the chance of said bag being flung into anyone during said flailing.  If the over the shoulder bag doesn’t match, you’re left with a clutch, which ends up being stuffed to the brim with phone, lippy, keys, etc etc. And arm flailing being kept to a minimum.

2.  Wind + frock = disaster

Day 8 - size 2

K Jnr is much happier about the frocking month of Frocktober than I am.

There is nothing quite like sashaying down St George’s Terrace in your lovely frock when a gust of wind surprises you and you end up with it up around your ears in the middle of peak hour. Add rain and the need to hold an umbrella to this picture, and things start to get even worse. Add the fact you do not have your bag with you and you are carrying your phone and notebook to a meeting… you get the picture. The only way to avoid this embarrassment is to adopt the inward- penguin-step-waddle as you grip onto the hem of your frock for dear life, clutching it around your backside and jam all the things you need to hold into your armpit.

3.  Maintenance

Shaving my legs every day is about as appealing to me as sitting in a small room with someone who refuses to wear deodorant. I have far better things to do with my time than spend it scraping a razor blade up my bloody legs every freaking day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t leave it till it’s a lost cause, but I don’t want to be a slave to the lady-scaping. Everrrrrrr.

4.  Wearing stockings

I simply cannot be trusted with sheer pantyhose. If I don’t get my nail caught on them, I put a toe through them… before I’ve even stepped out the door. If for some reason I do manage to get out the door with them on and intact, it’s bets on as to when a ladder will magically appear. Or else, I spend my entire day trying to pull them up so they don’t hang down like a teenage boy’s pair of jeans.  Stockings are not my friend.

5.  Cold. So very cold.

Today has been cold. Dresses are thin. They do not cover legs. They generally don’t cover arms either. What’s the point of wearing a dress when you are wearing pants and a cardigan as well in order to keep warm?!?!?!

6.  Creasing

Wander into work and think to self, “Good work, your frock looks lovely and well pressed.” Nek minnit, I’ve sat for an hour and cop a glimpse of my frock in the bathroom mirror, looking as if someone has tried to craft an origami swan with it. A side note to this is my hate/hate relationship with ironing. That creased up frock will sit in my wardrobe for months now, until I decide to wash it and let it dry in the wind so I don’t have to iron it before wearing it again.

https://www.frocktober.org.au/my-fundraising/91/auckland-frockers

 

Older, or smarter?

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this: One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.” Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie.

There are certain rites of passage you go through on your way to becoming comfortable in your own skin. I always get a kick out of the ease with which our more senior generation say exactly what they think, and I think, ‘I cannot wait until I am old enough to not give a shit about what people think of me’.

Well, I reckon I am ticking some of these rites of passage and they are being ticked a lot quicker than they used to be. Is it because I am getting to ‘that age’ or is my patience with this world expiring just a little quicker than it used to because I’m a little wiser, rather than a little older?

Here are the rites of passage I’m ready to admit I am embracing…

Rite of passage number 1

The comfy shoes. I have found these shoes that are literally like walking on clouds of softness and light. My colleagues shake their heads when I wear them, as they will definitely not win any fashion points. I also wear them with my work attire, so you can picture me ageing about thirty years in one swift stride down the Terrace, can’t you?

These shoes are the most comfy things I have ever encountered. I’m not here to impress anyone, or to be the best dressed person in the CBD, I am here to get where I need to go with the least amount of strain and pain on my body. That means my beloved heels and stilettos are often relegated to ‘when I need to wear them’ which is when I can guarantee I’ll be sitting on my arse for long periods of time.

My loverly comfy shoes also suit my desire to go to and from work quickly. So while you are teetering your pencil thin heels, you can eat my dust as I zoom past you in my cloud-like-flat-and-oh-so-comfy shoes.

ROPN2

Intolerance for insolence – the kids on the train that talk about their ‘love’ lives way too loudly, the teenagers talking during a movie. Yes, I know I used to be that little brat, but now… seriously… go away. I’m not quite at the point of giving them ‘what for’ for their behaviour, but I’m sure that’s not too far away. Shut up, sit down and don’t annoy me. Your dramatic little issues might be the most important thing in your life, but you don’t need to share how like pissed off you are with Shanaya for like talking to your boyfriend while you were like literally standing right next to him, with the entire suburb.

While I’m at it, show a little respect for those of us who are paying your Centrelink cheques and stand up on the train!

ROPN3

People who don’t understand what superfluous or redundant means.

Some examples:

  • I’m going to wake up at 7am in the morning… Newsflash, people: AM and morning mean the same thing, you do not need to say them both, so stop it!
  • I need to use the ATM machine… the automatic teller machine machine?
  • I am currently reading this book about… am + currently = superfluous

ROPN4

Listening to talk back radio. Yes, I admit it, when I’m in my car, I listen to AM. But let’s be honest, what good is the music played on FM radio, anyway? And do you think I care enough to take the time to figure out how to hook up my iPod or whatever external device to my car stereo? No, I don’t have the time or the inclination to sit in my car and work out how to play my ‘golden oldies’, so talk back it is. Besides, not only is the content more sports and less adverts and annoying dickheads, the old biddies yakking on are freaking hilarious.

ROPN5

Preferring a Saturday night on the couch, to a Saturday night on the dancefloor. I really don’t need to say anything about this other than there used to be a time when the only time I wasn’t going to go out on a weekend was Monday – Tuesday (when I was recovering from the prior weekend). Now? There is nothing better than a pile of trashy television shows, a bottle of wine and the silence and comfort of my couch. (Oh, and my tracksuit pants).

“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”  Water for Elephants, Sarah Gruen.

He used to…

“Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.” – Markus Zusak, The Book Thief.

He used to throw the ball to me at just the right height and pace so I thought I was a superstar when I caught it high above my head. And the way he’d continue to challenge me, believing I could do it, made me feel ten feet tall. Back then I probably would have thought he was pushing me too hard.

He used to poke fun at me whenever I did something clumsy or said something stupid, which was more often than I’d care to think, knowing exactly which buttons to gently push in order to get a reaction. It felt like no one knew me be Mum birthday 1tter than him, which was probably always the case. Back then I’d whinge and tell him to stop picking on me.

He used to know every single person in Perth, or so it seemed, so wherever I went, whoever I went with, I’d no doubt be stopped and asked about him. I never thought I could feel so proud about being known by someone else, rather than myself. As a bratty teenager, I thought I was better than to be thought of simply as Peter Day’s daughter.

He used to be really loud. Singing the wrong words to songs, talking to someone standing right next to him, whistling at us to come in from the park at the end of a day, using the (very redundant) microphone at the football to usher people through his gate (and to tell the odd joke to a very large audience!). Everything he did was loud and I loved the fact he was so boisterous, and that everyone thought he was hilarious. There was a time when I thought he was just plain annoying when he did stuff like that.

He used to be really scary. Till I realised it was all a pretense and that he was the softest, kindest person I’d know. And that I wasn’t the only person who thought that. As I kid I would call him the meanest dad ever for not letting me have my way.

He ALWAYS listened to music. The Beatles, CCR, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder, The Eagles. And he’d make us listen to it, too, any chance he could get. I used to laugh at him as he would turn it up and belt it out. Back when I was still taking road trips with my Dad, I thought this music was shitty – now I make Kalee listen to bands like these and smile when she asks me to dance with her in our kitchen.

It’s funny how perspectives can change when all you have left are your memories.

He used to put his arm around me, always at the right time, in the right moment.  Sometimes it would be a text message full of spelling errors because his fat fingers couldn’t manipulate the keys properly. Sometimes it was in a perfectly timed joke. At other times, it was literally his arm across my shoulders, telling me it would be OK. And I would always, without a doubt, believe him.

But it isn’t OK. It’s far from it. He’s gone and Dads aren’t supposed to go like that. They are supposed to give you one last time to tell them you love them. They’re supposed to tell you one last time that you’ll be OK. They’re supposed to show you one last time that you have made them proud.  They are supposed to give you one last chance to get their advice, their opinion, their ideas on how to do things better. They are not supposed to just leave with so much left to do and so much left unsaid.

I guess I’ll always have my memories – but sometimes that just serves to break my heart that little bit more.

“Oh dear Dad, do you see me now? I am myself, like you somehow.” – Release, Pearl Jam.

Time

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

I saw a movie on the weekend –man it was awesome to sit in the darkness for a couple of hours, with nothing to worry about other than the popcorn stuck between my teeth – but other than the joy of being worry free for a couple of hours, there was a line in the movie that really struck me.download (1)

There is no present like the time.

When they first uttered it, I brushed it off as a silly slip of the tongue by the character. But when it was reiterated at the end of the movie, I actually thought about it and fell in love with the meaning behind it.

There is no present like the time.

Just sit in it for a while.

It’s interesting, because, said in the traditional manner – There’s no time like the present – these six words have opposite meaning. One seems to be talking about time running out and the other reflects on the presence of time.

Have a think about how many times in a week you wish for more time. “Just give me five more minutes”, “If only there were more hours in the day”, “I can’t believe I’ve run out of time again this week”, “I wish I could have one more day with…”.

Why do we never seem to have enough time?

Is it because we are just so busy these days? The time to sit and ‘smell the roses’ is not in abundance anymore, so we quite simply don’t notice the hours, days, weeks ticking by till we actually do stop and realise that week turned into a year. Are we really that busy though, or do we feel we need to be busy because sitting still is considered lazy? Perhaps we should challenge ourselves to just be in the moment every once in a while. As a very wise John Lennon is quoted as saying, “Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”

Do we never feel like we have enough time because we never really know how much time we have? There is nothing absolute when it comes to time. So we live in a constant state of busy-ness, to fit ALL the things in, but nothing at all at the same time. When we do have the chance to look back on it all, what will stick in our memory? Aren’t they the moments we should be treasuring, cherishing and trying to make time for in our schedules? Because we really don’t know when it will be the last time we get to do that thing. Be with that person.

I guess in a lot of ways we see the ticking of the clock every single day. We watch our kids grow up before our eyes, our beloved pets’ lives come and go in the blink of an eye, our parents are all of a sudden eligible for Seniors Cards and are given priority seating on the bus, our own hair starts to turn a shade of grey and our eyes crinkle more and more at the corners. We don’t do ourselves any favours either – I wish she’d hurry up and learn how to walk; I wish the weekend would be here already; I can’t wait until the next time I see … – How about instead of wishing away the days, we all try and make the effort to embrace the now? Acknowledge the joys (and the pains) of right now. Do everything to feel now. Remember now.

There really is no present like the time. We must cherish our time and choose wisely who we spend our precious time with, and what we do with it. Everything finishes too soon. Don’t regret the time you spend and how you spend it. It is a currency that has no limit to its value

There is no present like the time.