Well, here we are again – Australia Day, which for me means five years since I lay down, one last night next to my husband, before he gracefully took his last breath.
Grief continues to be a great teacher. I have learnt perspective, patience, tolerance, acceptance and gratitude for the present moment and so much more. I have also learnt that it is ever present in every moment guiding me and shaping the person I am.
Grief continues to force me to learn about Me and who I am. The five years have challenged me to find my voice as an individual and as a woman. I can no longer hide; I have to stand proud, raw and vulnerable. I have to do things that scare me and push myself until the butterflies in my stomach go wild. I heard once that each step beyond your comfort zone will reveal to you the infinite possibilities that live on the other side of fear. You simply have to take the leap to experience them.
Silence at times over the last five years has simply taken my breath away. Gradually I have learnt to embrace the silence, the peace and the quiet. In this silence I feel as though I found the true me. It has been said that in the quietest moments our soul is the loudest.
“OUR SILENCE CREATES SPACE TO LISTEN. OUR LISTENING CREATES SPACE TO TAKE NOTICE. OUR NOTICING CREATES SPACE FOR AMAZEMENT. IT IS OUR AMAZEMENT THAT GIVES US THE ENERGY TO CREATE CHANGE, WHETHER THAT BE IN OURSELVES, IN OTHER PEOPLE, OR IN THE WORLD”.- Annie Rosenbauer,
This silence made me stop and forced me to answer the big questions – who have you been, who are you, who do you want to be.
This silence or being alone can be unbearably heartbreaking and healing at the same time. I recently went to Byron Bay, stayed in a sensational spot and explored Byron on my own. I am telling you this story because at dinner, sitting in a restaurant alone really tested me. I am very happy going to the movies and sitting in a cafe with a good book but being dressed up in a restaurant pushed my insecurities and my ego to the limit. I was in public surrounded by couples and groups chatting and laughing, I went against my golden rule and used my phone and messaged a friend in a call for help. She wisely replied with some great advice then suddenly my food arrived, I savoured every mouthful, enjoying the taste sensation and suddenly I had a wonderful night. I began chatting to a local couple sitting next to me and we had a surprisingly open and honest conversation. I did it, it may not be a miraculous feat but it made me feel empowered.
My solo trip to Byron Bay also reminded me how much I enjoy building connections with people. I would love to say that I don’t need anyone but in this area I am fatally flawed because I love spending time with people, I love conversations that can be both humorous and meaningful. I am grateful that grief has allowed me time for personal growth but I am also so grateful that I have truly learnt to value the time I have with people in my life.
Ultimately though, I have learnt that I am responsible for my own happiness and so each day in spite of my imperfections and flaws and challenges of daily life I consciously decide to fall in love with my life.
So in the spirit of embracing life this Australia Day I am celebrating with my gorgeous children and family. Last year we picked our favourite photo of my late husband and shared a story and this year we are sharing a special song that reminds us of him. Music continues to play such a large role in our lives and I have an abundance of songs to choose from.
The selections of songs will be interesting especially from my children. Last year everyone had a photo of my husband either as an adult or a child and had a great story to go with it. We have a large number of fabulous photos but for this task my son went in a different direction. He took his own photo of our back area and printed it out and displayed it with the other photos. When it came time for us to explain our choice of photos we sat in a circle and were intrigued by what my son had to say. My fourteen-year-old son said “this photo is special to me because Dad played handball with me here”. It goes to show that it is often the simple things that make the biggest impact. That special act of giving someone your time is so precious. Grief has taught my children and I the importance of spending time with each other and has also taught me to value each moment and even embrace time with just me.
So a very happy ‘Australia Day’ to everyone. I hope you can give someone the simple gift of your time because it is truly precious.