At a Loss… for more than words.

There aren’t any magic words.


Grief is a terrifying, raw, sickening and overwhelming emotion.


I never know what to say… So I stick with just that:


“I don’t know what to say, and anything I might offer to do to help will feel hollow and absurd compared to the pain that you are going through. I am truly sorry for your loss… And I would swim the ocean to be there to hug you and tell you I care and I am so, so, so sorry.”


We are going to Sydney this Saturday to say goodbye to a beautiful ballerina girl who only 8 months ago, her parents were hoping she’d fight the cancer and beat it.


She’s between Steph and Adam in age. We’ve known her parents since before Grumpy and I were even married. This is not something that happens to people, this is the sort of thing you read about that happens to someone else. But this is one of many of these stories that people who we hold dear aren’t reading, but living through.


Other friends are preparing to say goodbye to a tough, brilliant, independent and exceptional mother (and his mother in law). All the while dealing with a series of debilitating blows to their health and happiness. Feel so far away from them, and just working out when I might go and stay for a week and just be there because we Love them, and a week with an extra pair of hands may not sound like much, but it is a week of not feeling useless and far away for me, and a week of someone to help out and hopefully have a laugh or two with. They are both very good at laughing at me. And calling me out on any and all BS and generalisations I might deal out. I Love them to the moon and back for this. This is friendship, and it is an honour to be so deeply connected to people that they Love and trust me enough to let me be a part of not just the good bits, but the tough stuff too.


Also found out that the feisty, warm and wonderful friend Julie who was the world’s biggest foo fighters fan has taken her leave. She called me, not too long ago, just to tell me how great she thought I was. She told me how pleased she was to know me and that she’s really proud of all that we are doing for the world. That changed my whole mood for that day, week, maybe month… I am smiling thinking about that call now. I didn’t know then that this was her saying goodbye.


Julie told me a fair few stories, and she’d fought hard most of her life. I know that she’s having a well-earned rest, and if there is any sort of reward in the next life, for shoveling through the muck in this one, her big heart is worthy of bliss beyond human understanding.


It has been a hard week. Life keeps going on while hearts are breaking in ways I can’t even imagine, deadlines still loom, the planet is still choking, big deals still need signing, staff still need hiring or to move on. Plans still need to be made, budgets still need to be signed off. The sun will rise and shine, and the moon will glow on tear stained cheeks or tender kisses, depending on the moment.


Life is messy and it hurts sometimes.


We will all get our turn to grieve, and we all have a chance to step up for our special people as they do.


So while work, and life, and deadlines, and family, and reality, and time carries on… We all carry on too.


Wherever you might be while you read this, I wish you strength and comfort. If you are in a period of health and balance, I hope you have the time and ability to relish the comfort and blessings as they are presented to you.


If you are suffering, I am sorry, and I hope you have people near to help lift you up and sit with you until you can see the sun shine through after the storm you are weathering has passed.


If someone you Love is suffering. I hope you have the courage to extend a hand (even if they do not accept it for whatever reason) and let them know that you might not know what to do, but you’d like to do something if they would feel free to ask.


And maybe, if you’ve got some advice on how to deal with being in any of these stages of life, you could suggest to me what I could and should be doing for the friends who are grieving… I am open to suggestions and completely overwhelmed.


Goodnight everyone. I am going to order pizza and let my kids stay up till 9:00 watching the goonies in bed with me because I need them close, even though they smell bad, and bicker, and tell very bad little kid jokes, they are my magic healing place tonight and I am going to shut this computer lid and be in the moment with them for a bit.


Thank you for reading.



Dreaming of my Husband?

Sometimes, it confounds me how secure my husband is with our relationship, himself, and his path. It’s inspiring. He has down turns when he doubts himself, but today he is sure-footed and confident on his path.


This morning I woke up at 6:30, and shortly after, Grumpy stirred and we discussed his rather stellar day yesterday. He’s loaded with win lately, and it is excellent to see him with a spring in his step.


While he goes from strength to strength, I am struggling with knowing my place. I am no longer the primary parent. I am no longer the captain of the ship at work. I am not a full time student, but am ensconced in a fascinating masters degree. I am too old, tired and chubby to be a trophy wife. I am yet to have achieved much of anything that I can truly call my own, as all of my life’s achievements are incredibly reliant on the work and efforts of other people. I don’t mind this, but I do wonder if or when I will find my own unique trajectory. Perhaps a book, or an agile feminist trust or organisation that helps bust misogyny and gender bias in every possible direction. One day, I will do something amazing, all the things I’ve done so far are leading up to it, I am certain.


I’m not in any hurry, as being along for the adventures that those around me have initiated has been exciting, fulfilling and fun. I’ve gotten pretty good at practicing resilience and carrying on when the going gets tough. I’ve also had to build a pretty thick skin as oh lawdy lawd there are some incredible jerks around.


All of this floating around not knowing my place has manifested into some pretty weird dreams.


I watched the documentary “The Human Experiment” a couple of nights ago (highly recommend BTW, it was intense).


The doco was narrated by Sean Penn. I’ve not got much of an opinion on Sean Penn, except it is clear he is deep, talented and liberal. Looking at pictures of him, he seems like the sort of guy who’s demons dwell close to the surface. There are evil people who always have a smirk or smile and never seem to lose their cool or show extremes of emotion, and those are the people that scare me on this planet, not the Sean Penns of the world.


Anyway. With all that is going on, I had a dream that I was in a huge lecture theatre learning about social and environmental resilience. Sean Penn was the prof, and a torrid and exquisite affair ensued.


I told Steve in some fairly hefty detail about the dream, and he was very pleased about the whole thing.


“Well OBVIOUSLY that’s a dream about me.” He grinned while pulling me close for a morning cuddle.


“Um, so you’re like Sean Penn?” I was puzzled by this.


“Of course I am. That’s how the brain works. So, what are some of the characteristics of Sean Penn?” He asked me.


“I guess, he’s smart, grumpy, talented, and on many levels a social and political activist.” I said.


“Exactly.” Responded my impenetrably confident life partner. “That’s how dreams work.” He smugly announced. “They are all subconscious and stuff, you see me as a huge and well known superstar, obviously.”


So that’s that. Grumpy is masquerading as any and all possible people in my conscious and subconscious.


That’s good I guess.