I attended the funeral today of a young mum who was tragically taken from her devoted husband and three beautiful young children by breast cancer. She fought a brave and valiant battle for four years. It was utterly heartbreaking. The coffin was adorned with her children’s painted handprints. Her photo displayed on the coffin, showing a face so young, vital and full of life, that the magnitude of this tragedy was hard to comprehend. The slideshow of her life showed a young family in their prime, enjoying the simple joyful moments of any family; a wedding, kids’ birthday parties, family gatherings, holidays, school achievements and special daily moments. It gave me pause to think. In the face of such unspeakable grief and tragedy, it was heartwarming to see a community come together to show their love for her, and the family. The church overflowing with sobbing mourners, many young parents, her friends, school mates, work colleagues and locals, turned out to show their support and share their sorrow. It is this kind of occasion that makes me grateful I have returned to a small community such as this, where everyone knows everyone, and where your joy and suffering is shared by so many.
I can’t imagine being faced with the prospect of my own death. I suppose in this situation you can eventually come to terms with your own mortality and the inevitability of losing a battle to a foe far greater than your physical and emotional being, but I can never comprehend the sheer terror and grief that must confront a parent when faced with the ultimate and unavoidable pain of having to say goodbye to your children. It is something so terrible and unimaginable that there are no words to describe it. The thought of leaving behind young children, one just started school, must be the worst cruelty a mother could ever face. Being robbed of your children’s childhood, and them robbed of a mother, is a tragedy so unspeakably awful it defies explanation and understanding.
My kids were mucking around in the bath tonight, and normally I would get cross, probably shout a bit, but tonight I just watched them and took a deep breath. They are here, and I am there with them. For that I am grateful. I read them extra stories at bedtime, I lingered as they fell asleep. I will go into their rooms tonight and make sure they are safe. I will do the things that we take for granted daily, simple moments and mundane tasks that she is robbed of. Today I will be grateful for those moments. I am there for them, they are here for me, and that is something I have arrogantly assumed would always be.
We don’t know when our time is up. I have thought long about my own mortality in the face of this. When you’re young you assume that illness and death is something you will face when you are old and have lived a full life, when your children are grown and are strong, independent and capable enough to survive without you. But this might not always be so. I hear so often of young mothers, being taken in their 30s and 40s to illness, that it is unsettling and unnerving. Why is this happening so often? Why are so many young children being left without mums? Why so many Dads left to raise children alone? Is there an explanation, or is it something that is beyond our control?
My lack of internet access has caused me frustrations and I have battled with the powers that be to try to have it resolved. I have been anxious that I have abandoned you my readers, that I have worked hard to inform and entertain for nearly three years. But being without the means to blog has also given me the opportunity to spend those hours that would otherwise be devoted to blogging, with my kids, my family and friends. It has been a wonderful and liberating time. At first I missed the blog, and was keen to return, but now I have settled into a life that is focused on my children, their new schools and kindy, their new friends, routines, habits and lives. It has been a joyful and enlightening few months. It has been beautiful.
Instead of fighting this, I have decided to embrace it, and so am going to take a sabbatical of sorts from my blog and design business. I want to focus on my family, my new home and community, and getting our lives in this new place underway. Decorating, design, interiors, blogging, social media and all the rest can wait. It will all be here tomorrow, next month and next year. Life may not. The world will not end if I don’t write a post. What is important and what is most precious are the three little people sleeping soundly upstairs who I am blessed to call my own. They are now my focus and I aim to spend the time appreciating them more and helping them grow, for as long as I have the honour and joy to do so.
We have a wonderful new home that is brimming with possibilities, and I want to focus on that too. So many things to do, so many opportunities, so much to be grateful for.
I will pop in every so often, and when the house is ready to be reinvented I will be sure to share the journey with you, but forgive me if I take a leave of absence for a while, to recalibrate my life so to speak and turn my attention to the things that matter most. The people who I am fortunate enough to have in my life, big and small, and through whom I grow richer every day.
Kiss your little people once more tonight, for all those mums who have left their angels behind….