Tag Archives: family

Losing friends

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while.

In theory I quite like the idea of blogging without obligation, but in reality I always feel guilty if I neglect to write at least once a week, and it has been considerably more than a week since I was last here (excluding the very brief post I just put up about my brother-in-law’s show in the Adelaide Fringe Festival).


We will never forget.

The last couple of weeks in our house have been very sad, to say the least. I want to make a metaphorical toast to two lost friends. The first, a very dear friend named Frank, who died very suddenly and far, far, too young.

The father of an absolutely wonderful nine-month-old boy, and the husband of our dear friend Anita, he will be missed more than we can say. The world is definitely a much sadder place without him. We’ll all be doing out best to make sure that his son knows what a brilliant dad he had.

cher 2

My darling girl with her goofy smile.

The second lost friend is one of my ‘bookends’, my beloved Cher. A year after being diagnosed with Canine Cushings disease, she succumbed to complications and had to be put to sleep. She was always such a noisy, happy little dog that the house is too quiet without her. Bo doesn’t bark when we come home, just stands with his feet pressed against the glass of the front door and then anxiously wags his entire body, as though he didn’t think we’d be coming back to him. He is being hugged for the two of them now, so he is getting lots of love and will hopefully feel happier again soon.


At Christmas time, Cher's favourite place was under the tree.

They say things happen in threes, don’t they?! Well, on top of everything else my Mum’s troublesome right knee finally gave way last week and this has left her immobile and incredibly frustrated.

To add insult to injury, after years of my Dad having wonderful treatment through the public health system and through one hospital in particular, Mum’s treatment has been fragmented and far less than satisfactory.

Now she’s relegated to using a walking frame. If you knew my Mum, you would know how hard this is for her. A young 69, she has always worked incredibly hard and walked everywhere to keep fit, and now can’t get around.

Not wanting to be all doom and gloom, though, I have to tell you of a couple of  kind acts which have meant a great deal to us all while we’ve been feeling sad… The first was a really touching gesture made by our vet, who came to the house to attend to Cher… When she had died, he carefully removed bandages from her feet so that she ‘could run in Paradise with the other dogs’ with her dignity intact.  It was akin to arranging a deceased loved-one’s clothes so that they look the best they can as you send them on their way.  An act more for the living than the dead, perhaps, but so genuine and respectful that it brought tears to our eyes all over again.

Mum with the dogs just after clipping.

Mum with the dogs just after clipping.

The other was when my Rheumatologist, whose list is closed and has been for several years, accepted my Mum as a patient and saw her within a week of asking. Michelle is one of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting and has always looked after me brilliantly, but I can’t thank her enough for the way she is looking after Mum. She will give her the continuity of care that she needs to get it all sorted out, and will have her walking without the frame in short order, knowing her.

I know that the world is full of good people and that there are many kind deeds done every day, but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the sad and horrible things that happen, too, and to forget the good stuff. These gestures reminded me again how the cumulative effect of kind acts can reinforce your faith in people and ease the pain of loss or ill health.

The loss of Frank was yet another reminder of how short life is, and how you shouldn’t let good things go unsaid, or good deeds go un-done. So, I’m off to hug Bo again, and to tell the family how much I love them. 

My suggestion for today? Be safe; do something nice for someone just because you can, and make sure that those around you know how much they matter to you. 

Enough philosphising now – normal transmission will be resumed shortly!


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The best news…


My Dad received the best news of all today: that the surgeons were able to remove the whole of the melanoma on his back. At this stage, only three-monthly check-ups are required; no chemotheraphy, no radiotherapy, and no more surgery. To say we’re happy would be an understatement of epic proportions.

Over the last twelve years, Dad has had cause to get to know the staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and they have been amazing. I know people are quick to bag the public health system, but I cannot speak highly enough of the care they have given Dad, and the consideration they have shown to the rest of us. I hope they realise how highly we regard what they do.

So, what photo to commemorate today? Not a phone pic, I’m afraid – despite this going against the premise of the blog. No, this photo is of Dad and the Rolling Ball machine he made and recently sold to a museum in Korea. Now that he’s been given the all-clear he is going to make another one. If you ‘d like to see it in action, you can see it here.

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Counting my blessings

City Square Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree, located in the City Square in the heart of Melbourne, is spectacularly tall. I wasn’t able to photograph anyone beside it, to give a sense of the scale, but, as usual, the City of Melbourne has really gone to town (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Apparently there is a lighting ceremony every night from Nov. 10th (last Saturday) to December 24th, with the lights having been sponsored by a prominent light-globe manufacturer. If you want more details about this, you can find it here.

You’ll know from earlier posts how much I enjoy the Christmas season, so it will be no surprise that I stood gawking at the tree for quite a few minutes yesterday. When I got home, one of yesterday’s batch of Christmas cakes was sacrificed so that we could be sure that they had turned out as hoped. The verdict? The whole thing disappeared in about two minutes flat, and was very nice with ice-cream (though not quite as good as the pudding will be on Christmas day)! I should have known that a CWA recipe would be foolproof!

Meg came home from camp, yesterday – she was only gone one night but the house was too quiet without her. She and I collected Dad from hospital this morning, stitched and a bit sore, but in good spirits. All of us are optimistic and sharing a laugh, and most of all, we are together – all reasons that I am counting my blessings…

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Life cycle

life cycle

I’ve no idea what the person who wrote this was trying to say, but the fact that they went to the trouble of writing it on the sign, cracked me up.

Its been an interesting week.  On the plus side, NanoWrimo started today and I had an idea and got my first 1649 words written; on the negative side, my dad has been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. We’re not anticipating anything, just waiting to see what happens, but it’s pretty horrible none the less. I think it is particularly hard for Meg, who adores him, not to worry, but we’ll just make sure that we see him often – daily, if we can – and give him lots of hugs. Mum, too, of course.

In the meantime, there will be lots of love, laughter, singing, photography and good food – all the things that make life worth living.

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