A Letter to Nana….

Dear Nana,

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I saw, touched and kissed your beautiful face. 2 years since you took your last breath on this earth and grew your angel wings. So much has happened in the past 2 years. Lots of ups and downs and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t wish you were here with us, enjoying in what life has to offer.

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I still find it extremely difficult to be in your home. Your presence is so raw and real and although it brings me comfort, it also breaks my heart and is a harsh reminder of what we are missing! I admire grandad for being so strong. It would have been so easy to walk away from all the memories, but instead he embraces it and has allowed it to help heal his heart, that will never fully recovery from losing you.

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Grandad is going well though. He misses you more and more everyday, but between us all, we make sure he is looked after. He travels with us to watch the kids play sport, relishes in his time at family dinners and enjoys his outings with Kane to Bunnings and the pub!

Mum has been, like always, the glue that holds us altogether. In her darkest days of grieving for you, she always makes sure that everyone else is ok. She is granddad’s sounding board and when he broke his hip, she took tremendous care of him just like she use to take care of you! You’ve raised an amazing women in my mummy nana so thank you!

You should see all the great-grandchildren now:)! Sadly you never got to meet baby Ada who is our newest member to the family! Megan and Shannon’s wishes came true and what a gorgeous wish she is! All the kids have grown so much and are striving to their best potential, especially in their sport! They all talk about you all the time and Mia asks me everyday why did nana have to die?!? Knowing you’re not suffering or in pain anymore is the only thing that puts my mind at ease just a little with losing you!

I miss you so much nana. I miss our chats about TV shows and celebrity goss, swearing together during these chats ended up in many laughing moments and I’d do anything to have that again. I miss the sound of your sweet voice, the touch of your soft hands and your cuddles – they will always be my favourite! I miss that you’re not hear watching our lives evolve and cheering us on with whatever we are doing in life…I just miss you!

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You may not be here in person anymore, but you are never excluded from our thoughts, conversations and special occasions. I hope this letter finds you, wherever you are. I hope that you are happy, content and enjoying the freedom you deserve!

I love you nana – until we meet again….

Nat….xoxoxox!

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Life After Death…

As the softness of her breath became slower and slower and eventually became her last, her soul left our world and ventured into another…..

When nana left us 11 weeks ago, everything for us stopped. Our hearts broke, our tears fell and we felt like we were never going to be the same again. The lady who we loved and adored was never to be apart of our lives on earth again. As we left the hospital that day though, life on the outside kept going. Everything around us kept going like nothing had changed, but for us we had to come to terms with the biggest change in our lives so far! It was a hard pill to swallow at first. We were breaking on the inside but to the outside world nothing had changed!

The minutes kept ticking, days kept flashing by, traffic lights kept changing, the sun kept rising and trains kept passing by. The birds kept chirping, the postman kept delivering, grass kept growing and the bills kept rolling in. It’s an awful thought that once you leave this earth, life after death will never really be the same again for the loved ones who have lost – yet the world still can manage to exist….!

Today is my nana’s 81st birthday! It is the first birthday that we don’t get to give nana a present, kiss or cuddle. It’s the first birthday that we don’t get to enjoy a favourite meal of hers with her. It’s the first, so it hurts the most;( We are determined to keep nana’s memory alive and to never forget the unbelievable person she was, who taught us how to be strong and resilient! 80 years on this earth – working hard everyday of her life is nothing to forget!!! So to celebrate the day nana was born, we decided to make a day full of nana’s favourites:)….

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Ahhh the memories…if only we could celebrate one more….

Because today is a work day, we celebrated nana’s birthday a little earlier on Saturday. We went out to the cemetery, took cupcakes and balloons, sang happy birthday to nana and placed flowers on her resting place! We laughed, we cried and spoke to nana as we know she is with us all the time…

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That afternoon we went back to my sister’s house and indulged in all the delicious foods that were nana’s favourite and that she would cook us over the years. We had roast lamb with baked veggies and cheesecake and dumplings and custard for dessert…it was a beautiful way to remember and celebrate nana’s birthday!

Today is a harsh reminder that nana won’t be here to celebrate birthdays, Christmas and the like from now on. It’s another example of a day that will continue to roll by without nana present. But although she’s not physically with us anymore I believe and will always believe that nana is with us spiritually! She has to be. Life after death has to continue in the form of a spirit! I am a firm believer in angels and nana was an angel to me when she was living and forever she will be my angel walking beside me!

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Happy birthday my beautiful angel! May you be celebrating with loved ones on the peak of roof tops, doing the hot shoe shuffle!

What Becomes of a Broken Heart?

Life is precious. Life is a treasure. But sometimes life is just unfair!!! After watching my nana suffer with Parkinson’s Disease for the past 5 years, we found ourselves saying a lot, that is was just ‘unfair’ that nana had to live out her life with a debilitating disease that day by day took her ability to live a good quality life. Then to pass away the way that she did, we found ourselves again saying that it was just unfair!!! Our hearts broke in a million pieces the day nana took her last breath on this earth…now what becomes of our broken hearts??

If that wasn’t bad enough, last night my cousin and her husband had to say goodbye to their precious baby boy at the young age of 6 weeks old. Now how ‘unfair’ is that! Having to cope with a broken heart from losing a love one is one thing, but losing your child has to be the most unfair card dealt in a lifetime…now what becomes of their broken hearts!

17 years ago my uncle lost his wife, 7 years later his first-born child was tragically killed in a car accident – again how ‘unfair’ is that and what has become of his broken heart??

There are so many sayings that keep going through my head:
Whatever doesn’t break you makes you stronger…
Things happen for a reason…
Things happen to people who can handle it…
But why does it need to happen in the first place!?!?

This year has been terrible! I feel like it’s been one bad news story after another and not just with our family with lots of people! Every time I turn the news on or read any social media, someone is grieving or someone is fighting for their life….from this means lots of broken hearts have happened – what becomes of them?

I believe I am a very positive person and try not to let things get me down. But lately, with what our family has been through over the past few months you do start to question the faith that you’ve always held!

As my beautiful family try and start to rebuild the faith that has been lost of late, I’m trying to keep a positive mind and focus on the things that do become of a broken heart…
*strength
*courage
*character building
*the bond of a family unit becomes even more united
*the legacy our loved ones have left, allow us to keep moving forward in memory of them!

No one can mend a broken heart, time is the only thing that will help it to heal. The time is not measurable but with the love and support of family and friends around it sure helps take the edge off!

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Moving Forward….

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It’s been a week now since my nana left the world in which we live. Since then we’ve shed many tears, reminisced about the wonderful times we’ve shared with our beautiful lady, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried some more and we came together to share in a memorable service to celebrate the fabulous person my nana was!

Now it’s the aftermath….
The time when everyone goes back to their respective places of dwelling, work resumes again and the times spent together are fewer than they’ve been. It’s during this time, now the formalities are over, that the real grieving process begins. Over the coming months we’ll feel as though we are climbing a sea of mountains with many peaks and troughs! Today we feel worse than yesterday, but tomorrow we may feel better, until the next day rolls over when we feel worse again. And it may just take a song or a piece of material to remind us of the hole that nana has left, but together and with the ever lasting memories of nana we will get each other and more importantly grandad through this difficult time!

It still feels so wrong that we’ll never be able to hold nana’s hand again, help her out of her chair or brush her hair to make her feel relaxed, but to save our own health and sanity, we have to make peace with the fact that nana isn’t suffering anymore and that she will always live on with us everywhere we go! Nana would want us to pick ourselves up and keep soldiering on and in her memory we must do that! If there is anything I’ve learnt from the dearest grandmother I know, it’s not to feel sorry for yourself. My whole life I’ve seen nana in pain as she had scoliosis from a young age and was told she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 50. At 75 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and was still walking and never once in the 33 years I was blessed to have her, did she ever complain or say “why me !”…even when her daughter and grandson passed away!

It’s quite ironic that although nana isn’t physically here anymore, she will be the one to help us move forward. Every time we weep, every time we feel sad or mad about the situation all we have to do is think of how nana coped with all the terrible things thrown her way. Time after time she moved forward and with such grace and dignity…if nana could then so can we!

To my beautiful family: we can do this! It isn’t going to be easy but we have been given a gift from nana and that is the gift of strength! Nana taught us how to love, how to nurture, how to laugh, how to be creative and most importantly how to be strong. It’s with this strength that we will feel happy and content again. It may not be today or tomorrow but the day will come when our tears are less and the smiles are greater. It’s a hard pill to swallow the thought of picking yourself and finding ‘normality’ again. Moving forward is not about forgetting nana, it’s about enjoying life for nana as she is unable to anymore…..

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Until we meet again….

Tears are rolling…
Our hearts our broken…
Yesterday we lost a great lady…Gloria Holpen – my darling nana!

She was a loving wife to my grandad, mother to my mother and uncles and was ‘nana’ to 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She was a mother in law, a sister, an aunty and a true friend to anyone she met. She was loving, she was loyal…one of the greatest women I’ve been privileged to have in my life!

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5 weeks ago nana was rushed to hospital when she fell ill with a stomach obstruction. We were told to prepare for the worst then, but through her pure strength and determination, nana recovered and was ready to be discharged when a spot became available in a nursing home. Then last thursday unexpectedly, nana took a turn for the worst and started vomitting…another stomach obstruction, this time worse, this time there was nothing the medical professionals could do. Sadly nana was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 5 years ago and now that she was in the late stages of this horrible debilitating disease, her bowel and gut system was paralysing and she was unable to eat or drink. We were told last weekend that nana only had a couple of days to live. She lasted 8 days.

We were shocked to say the least. We knew that she may be at risk of another obstruction, but months or years down the track…not weeks;( When the realisation came to knowledge that nana would need to be cared for in a nursing home, that was hard enough to stomach at first, but we accepted that and my mother worked so hard doing everything she had to do to find nana a nursing home placement and now instead of getting nana ready to move, we are busy planning her funeral. It just seems so wrong;(

In her final days, most of the family were able to spend time with nana, comforting her when she was in pain, holding her hand when she seemed scared and whispering in her ear how much we loved her and that she needed to be brave. This past week has been gut wrenching. Watching my grandad in his final days with his wife of over 60 years was nothing short of torture! Seeing how distraught my mum was at the thought of never seeing her mother again. We’ve cried an ocean of tears, but the most uplifting part of this week has been the realisation of how powerful family love can be.

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The hospital staff were amazed at how long nana held on for. For an 80-year-old women to last 8 days without food or water showed how strong and courageous nana really was. And although nana had many loved ones waiting for her on the other side, she knew she was leaving so much behind! The closeness and love our family shares started way back when nana and grandad started their own family…nana has left this legacy behind and as a family we will keep this going.

How do you say goodbye to someone who has been there for every stage of your life?

As I close my eyes I remember so many precious moments with nana. Her gorgeous smile, her laugh, her beautiful blue eyes and how she always had the ability to put a smile on my face. I’ll treasure the safe and secure feeling I always had when in my nana’s presence and to say I won’t have that again is something I’m trying to come to terms with.

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This week will be tough for everyone. Even though many tears are still to be shed, we are determined to make sure nana’s funeral is a celebration of her life and the amazing lady she was. When nana’s time on earth came to end on June 1st at 11.15am, heaven gained a special angel who will be there to watch over us every step of our ways. So for now nana it isn’t goodbye, rather until we meet again…..

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RIP Daniel Morcombe….

I’m sure there wasn’t one person in Australia today who didn’t stop for a second to pay their respects to Daniel Morcombe and his family.

9 years ago a happy family who were enjoying life and the festivities that bring us at this time of year, had their hearts ripped out, torn apart and then stood on! The day their son went missing…..A son, grandson, brother, cousin, nephew and friend. Gone. 9 long pain staking years of searching, hoping, grieving. And today the Morcombe family can finally lay their beautiful boy to rest.

As I watched Daniel’s ceremony along with many other millions of Australians, my heart sank each and every time Daniel’s parents, Denise and Bruce Morcombe’s grief stricken faces were in view of the television screen. The braveness of Bruce when he read his piece and the sorrow that overtook Denise’s face as she shook her head at the thought of having to say a final goodbye to her little boy. As a tear dropped from my eye, my daughter asked me are you crying mummy? I put my arms out and there we sat hugging so tightly, appreciating what we have. When you are having a bad day, you only have to think of the Morcombes and that sure puts things into perspective!

I can’t even begin to imagine how they must feel now and over the past 9 years. Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children. It’s gut wrenching enough when children are taken from this earth by car accidents or terminal illnesses, but the way Daniel was taken…..how, as a parent, do you pick yourself up and recover from that!? Denise and Bruce Morcombe are such an inspiration and through their grief and pain have always showed their strength, courage and dignity when dealing with the media….what wonderful people, no wonder Daniel was known for being so mature, loving and thoughtful!

When I woke up this morning one of the first things I thought of was Daniel and his family and how they were feeling. As a mum, if I was Denise, I would give anything to hold my boy one last time. I would tell him how much I loved him and how proud of him I was. I would tell him to be brave and to try not be scared….I took the opportunity this morning to spend the extra time with my babies in bed. One by one I held them tight and gave them several sweet little kisses on their beautiful little faces. I told each of them I loved them and then squeezed them extra tight!

Sadly no one knows what’s around the corner. Daniel’s story is one that has impacted on Australia as a nation and although for the Morcombe family their story didn’t conclude with a happy ending, they sure have made it their job to bring such great awareness of child safety and stranger danger. In this situation they could have curled up in a ball and stopped living, but they chose to take the positive path and made sure Daniel’s legacy will always live on and that I am sure will happen!

So to all the mums and dads out there, make sure you give your little ones an extra big cuddle and kiss before bed tonight. Don’t sweat the small things and remember to stop and listen to your children when they want to talk to you! Life is so precious and way too short. I appreciate everyday that I am here on this earth being a mum to my three angels and I sincerely hope the Morcombe family can find peace now that their son has been laid to rest….RIP Daniel Morcombe – you will forever be in the hearts of many Australians near and far!

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I Can’t Even Imagine:(

Why? Why do bad things happen to good people? Whenever you turn on the news at the moment it reeks with one tragedy after another. It signals another one’s pain and loss. My husband and I just sat down and watched the news to witness the story of a beautiful lady, 35 weeks pregnant who has a 2 year old daughter and loving husband, had been struck down by a car and tragically killed….what has hit us the most is that we know this lovely person from high school.

She wasn’t a close friend, in fact she was a year older than us, but I remember her being so friendly and she was always so happy. My heart aches for this poor family. A husband is left without a wife and a little girl without a mother:( and her family will not only grieve the loss of a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, they will grieve for the loss of the little baby she was so close to giving birth to.

Again why? She was so kind and friendly. She was happily on a family outing enjoying her last weeks with her daughter and husband, minding her own business and was sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time:( Seriously everyday has to be lived to the max as you just don’t know what’s around the corner!

This tragedy has left me feeling so sad and guttered for her family! Life throws some pretty shitty curve balls and it just seems so unfair why so much tragedy happens to the innocent! It also makes me appreciate even more what I have and that anything going on that seems unfair in my life is irrelevant!

My thoughts and prayers are with this lovely person’s husband, daughter and family tonight! I can’t even imagine what her poor husband is going through right now, but with the support of a loving family and the innocence of his adorable little girl, he will find the strength…it will just take some time:(

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RIP Kerryn Blucher….xoxoxox!

http://m.couriermail.com.au/news/woman-killed-in-car-park-accident-at-redland-spring-festival-was-35-weeks-pregnant/story-e6freon6-1226468295334