A long goodbye

If you have read my blog then you know that I said goodbye to my darling Poppy in January. I was in church, lamenting my attendance, when the phone rang. It was my brother and I KNOW he wouldn’t call me on Sunday morning unless there was a very good and probably not nice reason. I headed for the toilets at church to return his call but didn’t make it there before I collapsed against a wall and felt like the very life had been sucked from me. Pop was getting ready to pass and they gave it 12 hours.

We left church early, Steve swung into action booking flights which for some reason made me angry. I knew I wouldn’t get to see Poppy again. I knew in my heart that the 12 hours was wrong. I knew that once Poppy decided he was going, he would just go. I told Steve, “Don’t worry about it, it’s too late he is gone!” I felt it – I was right – he left this world in that moment. We still did get on a plane and go to Queensland. I knew I wasn’t going to be attending his funeral. But I also knew that I was going to celebrate Pop and remember him in my own way.

We returned to our home in Victoria, and one by one, all of us except one of the boys came down with covid. Unfortunately One of my sons and myself have long covid and have both had pneumonia. It has been a bad time! However, in the midst of all of the awkward, heartbreaking moments, in the times of grief and sorrow, there has been wonder and beauty and new beginnings and resilience too. I have found things in myself that I simply didn’t know where there!

I am so thankful for new beginnings. I am so grateful for my family and for those who have been there for me and mine through the first 6 months of 2022. In those 6 months I have grown. Growth can be uncomfortable and it is pushing into the unknown but I am really comfortable in that uncomfortable place now!! I am back studying again. I am working, I am doing family life and most of all I am trying to be the person I know my Pop believed that I am.

Right now I am on a plane to Queensland once again. Work and family and laughter and love will follow. I don’t share those moments online but good things are afoot. Good things are happening and I am here for it!


The last few weeks have been hard from numerous angles. It is tough at times to be doing life with an auto immune condition, with a strange endocrinological response to certain things and also with need of a surgery to fix a hernia which for some odd reason is classed as elective surgery, but could, at any moment, decide that it is going to go savage and make a nuisance of itself and cause a health emergency, making it very much NOT an elective fix. Over the last few weeks I have struggled with my weight loss surgery life.

So what is different at times like this, and why is it harder when life piles things on and I feel a bit more overwhelmed than I may usually feel? I suppose it is difficult to pick a starting point for the things that have happened in the past few weeks but if we just go from January 30 that will put the last nearly 3 weeks into perspective. My Pop passed away and there are a lot of issues surrounding Pops passing. So many things have broken my heart over and over again but the main one for me is that I LOVED that man. Every single good memory from my childhood, teenage years and much of my adult life has him in it! He wasn’t just someone that I knew from a distance, he was my darling Poppy. My precious memories of him are abundant and are shared privately with my family. He was always there, I loved him deeply and I know he felt the same way about me. I knew when I saw him on Christmas Day 2021 that he was not long for this earth. How do you look at someone that you have loved with all of your heart and know that it is the last time you will lay your eyes upon him in this lifetime? I could see it in the far away look in his eyes. He was somewhere in the in-between. I sat, with tears rolling down my face when he told me that he loved me and he would see me one day. I left the nursing home sobbing, knowing that it was likely one of the final times that I would ever get to hug him and tell him that I loved him and thank him for all that he was to me. The next day Covid restrictions came in to the home where he was and no one could go in and see him and it remained that way until after we had to return to Geelong. We stayed longer than we had intended to stay in the hope that I would be able to see Pop one more time but that did not eventuate.

During this time I noticed my hernia getting worse. Reflux has been an issue to me for 13 years but it returned in a very profound way and as I have had a couple of stomach ulcers in the past I was on high alert for that because it felt very much the same. When we returned home to Geelong I was a few kilos lighter than when we left.

We had not been home for long when work situations ramped up and the normal stress of life started in gnaw away at me a little. It was manageable and okay but the stress was absolutely there! Then two weeks after returning home, on a Sunday morning while sitting in church I felt absolutely sick. I was restless, I had been all morning. It is unlike me to get up and go walking during a church service but I did because I felt anxiety prickling away at my insides and then I looked down at my phone and it was ringing. My stomach dropped straight away because I knew that a call like that would not be taking place at that time on a Sunday unless it was bad news. Pop had been given about 12 hours to live. I think I fell against the wall, I don’t really remember but Steve appeared and very quickly after that we were on our way home. Flights were being booked and I looked at Stephen and said “it’s too late, I won’t make it home to say goodbye, he is gone.” I just knew. Within minutes the phone rang and he had slipped peacefully away.

We continued with our intention to go home, the kids came, we hugged our family, we remembered Pop in our own way. By Wednesday evening we were on a flight back home to Geelong and late Thursday afternoon one of our kids tested positive to Covid. This plunged a lot of things into uncertainty. The kids had been due to go back to school on Jan 31st so had missed 3 days of the first week to be away with the family mourning Pop’s death. The Thursday was their first day back for the year and their last until our isolation period was over. 5 days later another one of the kids tested positive. With ever changing rules around isolation restrictions in the state that we live in we found out that we did not have to isolate a second time with the second case and that we just had to have a negative Rapid Antigen Test on day 6 and we were then permitted to leave isolation on day 8 after the case was first diagnosed. That was a strange feeling. Knowing that we had a covid positive person in the house but being allowed to be out and about because of the 6 of us in the house, only 2 tested positive.

This was a terrifying time. We knew nothing about what to expect but thankfully the kids had a very very mild case and they were back to feeling well within 5 days. During that time we learned that people can truly be incredibly kind. What I also had reaffirmed to me, which I know and have a deep understanding of, is that life keeps on going. I first learned that lesson when our 14 year old was born preemie and fighting for his life. Other people’s lives continue and that is as it should be. At the time I wanted someone to understand that my life felt like it was standing still, that I was sitting with my fear and with my pain and I was angry that things keep going on for others, but hey that is life. So when those feelings of being at a standstill came – well it was easy to brush them to the side.

Then Monday February 14th came, and life started returning to normal. We were back to school and work and life just kept on rolling on. The announcement of further easing of restrictions easing in the state that I live in means that surgery that is classed as non urgent is back on the cards so my surgery for hernia repair has been rebooked. Everyone is working and at school, I am still sad and grieving Pop and a few other things but that’s okay. I am happy to sit with that for a while because I know that with time my eyes will stop filling with tears when I talk about him. There are people that I will forever miss because of how things have unfolded and that is okay too. Life truly does move on. We find a way through it but as this week crept along I found myself feeling pretty crappy by the time my eyes opened this morning. So today I am doing things that make my heart happy.

Over the stress of the last few weeks my weight has managed to drop a little more and that needs to stop so I am just going to have a couple of days to not think too much and just enjoy being a person. I hope you get to have a break this weekend too and that you are doing okay because one thing I do know is that we all, always have things that are going on in our lives.

Written Friday February 18th 2022