Monday, 28 November 2016

sight unseen

These are crazy days. In a period of four days my youngest child left home, my father died and we bought a house, that I have not seen. Colin has seen it and I have seen photos of it, I just haven't been in Barwon Heads long enough and at the right time to actually see it, for real. Someone else made an offer and we had to as well, or let it go. And a lot of research and watching and waiting said this was worth pursuing despite the appalling timing. They were waiting for our offer, we made it early morning as we made our way to see my father. An hour later he was gone. Amidst the tears I cheekily suggested to my father that maybe there was something he could do from up there, to get us over the line. Perhaps he did, for an hour later we had our answer and a new house. Our new home will forever be linked to my father now...

Saturday, 26 November 2016


I flew straight from Caloundra to Tassie last Wednesday, for a different kind of goodbye, the final kind. My father's health had steadily declined and as he entered end stage with his lung disease he decided he'd had enough. Once his independence was compromised and the quality of his life poor he made his decision, the only one left to him, to proactively seek the end. We supported his right to choose for himself. He stopped taking his medications (other than pain relief), stopped eating (his appetite had been poor for a while) and had minimal fluid. He was determined and peaceful with his decision. There was time; time to say goodbye, time to remember, time to laugh and time to cry. He was his funny and amusing self right to the end. He noted with interest his skeletal hands and must have wondered if the rest of him looked the same way. He asked my sister "what I look like, I look alright?" They took a selfie so he could see, "oh, not too bad". He became weaker each day, someone was with him all the time and within a week he slipped away. He got his wish today. He was ready to die, he chose to die and now he is at peace...

Arrivederci Pops

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

saying goodbye

2000 km in a day and a half is not bad. We have arrived, Johanna and her car are in Caloundra safe and sound. It is the end and the beginning.

Johanna is house sitting for her friends family for a couple of weeks. Colin and I are staying in the apartment complex where we used to live for a couple of days. So many memories from such a happy and special time in our lives.

It just so happens that late on the afternoon we arrive Johanna and I find ourselves walking along the path that we traversed most afternoons when we lived here. It was our end of day walk along the beach, a ritual, familiar and precious. Sometimes we talked and sometimes we did not. The late afternoon shadows were long, the sky often tinged various shades of marmalade, mostly it was warm and pleasant. And here we are again, walking, remembering times past and how much things have changed, how much we have changed and how much is about to change. And it is sad and it is good and it is scary...

Monday, 14 November 2016


Johanna is blaming the super moon, "I feel all, I don't know, weird." Me too. We have had four days in Tassie, four in Barwon Heads and tomorrow it's back to Tassie for four days (year 12 exams) and then the drive to Queensland. Johanna finishes her last exam Friday morning, we fly back to Victoria Friday night and leave for Queensland at rude o'clock Saturday morning. She is off - at the very first chance she has, literally. And in the middle of exam study she has been finishing work and saying goodbye to friends and packing and organising and looking for a job and somewhere to live on the Sunshine Coast and....Colin and I have been looking at houses and talking to the bank.

Every now and then the reality of the passing days and the imminent departure hits home, "this time next week I'll be left home, I don't know if I'm ready to be an adult yet." Ready or not, the time has come. Such a mixture of emotions for us all.

So a late Monday afternoon finds us both feeling kind of weird and restless, our solution, binge watching netflix to pass the time and provide distraction, each of us in front of our computers in separate parts of the house. Not exactly quality time in these last precious days, but sometimes you just do what works for the moment...

Friday, 4 November 2016

last days

She stands at the precipice, childhood and high school behind her and before her a multitude of possibilities, a leap into adulthood and independence. These are the last days - of school and study and exams, of return to Tasmania, of living in Barwon Heads, of working at Kyosk, of living at home...

In a couple of weeks it will all be done and she will be free, free to return to her beloved sunshine state, to her friends, to warmth and sun and sea. She has waited a long time for this, two years really, her heart has always been in Queensland.

It has been an intense few months, for her (and us); moving to Barwon Heads, returning to Tasmania regularly for school, finishing year 12 and preparing for exams, working to save money and making choices about next year. Like most 18 year olds she changes her mind every few weeks. It has been a roller coaster of a ride.

In all the busyness and things to be done, these 'last days' have snuck up on me. Every now and then I feel an overwhelming sadness, the last of my children is stretching her wings and flying from the nest. These last four years it has often been just the two of us, it will be a significant change when she is gone. If I am honest, along with the sadness is a touch of relief. The roller coaster ride that has been most of this year has left me weary and the prospect of slower and quieter days is not an unpleasant one.

There are two more weeks and a lot to happen in that short time, the roller coaster has not stopped yet...