After I ran into Trenton again at the Hinge gig (12 months after the first Hinge gig that we me at), I really couldn’t get him out of my head. Son had pointed him out and said “There’s that Troy guy you met at the bar last time….) I eyed him off for a while, then after a few glasses of Dutch courage I approached him and asked if he remembered me. He said “Of course!” We chewed each others ears off all night about what we’d done in the year leading up to our reunion, and funnily enough, we’d both separated from the partners we were with. Trent always knew I had a daughter, and it just never seemed to come into the equation for him….. we were a package deal. We talked all evening, then all of a sudden he had to go, and it all happened so quickly that I didn’t even get to grab his number. I was shattered. Even worse, just as he left he said, “By the way….. my name’s Trent…….!” I could have died!!!! I thought I’d missed an opportunity, and I remember a few days later talking to my housemate and sister about it, and I just felt that it wasn’t going to happen. Then a week later when Son was around, I asked if she had his number. I mean how often do you feel really attracted to someone, get along amazingly and have no trouble talking to? She dug out an old number that was his and his ex girlfriends, and then she called in the hope that someone would answer that knew where he was! Ironically, one of his best mate’s Stevo answered, and said “Trenton, yeah he’s sitting next to me right now on the couch!!!!” I told Son to pretend she was calling on my behalf and to pretend that I wasn’t there…… I felt like a school girl again, I was giggling and falling all over the place in the background. She said Hi, asked how he and the boys had been and did some small talk….. then she said that a friend of her’s had asked after him. “I hope it was that Emma chick…..” he had said to her, and of course I nearly peed my pants!!!!! She passed on my number and I waited a couple of days, and once he rang, we started talking and literally couldn’t stop…. We spoke every night for seven nights, and I reckon we pushed five or six hours a night on the phone. I was going through quite a horrendous separation at the time, and I could never fall asleep, so Trent started talking to me until I fell asleep each night. It was the most beautiful beginning of a relationship than I’ve ever experienced. From day one we were on the same wavelength….. we came from the same background, had such similar upbringings… we adored our families, and we wanted the same for our own children. He was living in Cranbourne at the time with Stevo and Andy, and I had a mate Claire move in with me when Rob moved out into our home in Seddon. Rubes was about eighteen months old, and clearly I had her to think about. After a week of talking I invited him over for a catch up, I told him that she would probably be there, and he said “well so she should be!” It was so refreshing to have a man behave that way…. I was sure that it would be so hard to meet and fall in love with someone when you already had a child to someone else. I never thought that I would become a single parent in the first place…. It sure has proven to me that what you truly believe to be real at the time, can turn out to be a complete load of shit that’s said at the time for one reason or another, but really not meant. I secretly organised for all my closest friends to be at the first meeting, and I called at the last minute to tell him it had turned into a bit of a bbq! He was completely shitting himself, and as Kane said on the day, if he’s meant to be, he’ll cope with us! Cope he did! I think most of the boys fell more in love with him than I did! He was funny, kind, polite and cheeky…… and he was immediately fabulous with Rubes. The funny thing is, after speaking for a week night and day, we naturally acted like a couple already, holding hands and sitting close to each other…… yet we hadn’t even kissed yet. About midnight I went to the loo and was thinking “I’m just gonna grab him and get this first kiss over and done with…..” and when I walked out of the toilet, there he was standing there waiting for me! Sounds romantic I know…. not! But it was! He just grabbed me and kissed me and it was a deal sealer. Not only did we connect on every emotional level, but physically too…. thank God. He stayed the night snuggling with me, and in the morning Son and I were the only one’s left, and so I asked him to look after Rubes while we went to get milk….. Actually we went out for a coffee and debriefed about the night! But I wanted to see how he would cope with Rubes, and for me him coping so well was the icing on the cake! For me the eighth of March 2005 was the first day of the best part of my life. It was supposed to be the first day of the rest of my life, but I guess it ended up being the rest of his instead.
Last weekend I took the kids away on their first “three person” family holiday….. since then the reality of my new role in life has depressed me. Its hard enough to lose someone like Trent…. but to then be given the role of “single mother” without choosing to take it is unbearable…. I became a single parent the first time because the relationship I had with Ruby’s biological father was completely unhealthy… Ruby was one, and the screaming matches were causing her to crawl under the table in fear.. I couldn’t stand by and let it continue so I didn’t. I got to think long and hard before that very difficult decision was made…. I prepared myself in every way before I ripped that bandaid off…. and as hard as it was at the time, “it was for the better.” When someone’s life is tragically torn from your hands, there’s no preparation…. there’s no way to be ready for the fallout…. it’s seriously the most painful, gut wrenchingly devastating thing that you can experience. …. and to watch a six and ten year old child witness it also is beyond explanation. When Ruby awoke to find Trent on the floor of our bedroom green, sweaty and moaning and me on the phone to an ambulance, she went into shock. She tried desperately to talk to him and he tried just as hard to respond…. he managed to reassure her and she stood by and watched while he soiled himself and struggled to breathe. I will never get the visual of him waking with a start, grabbing his heart, and choking on his breath while saying “I’m scared” just as he stood, forgetting that he had a broken ankle in a boot, and came crashing down on the floor in our walk in wardrobe at two in the morning on the 23rd July 2013… such a big man who had seemed quite invincible to all that knew him… was taken down by a tiny clot that had slowly worked its way into his lung. Even after the second ambulance was called to help the first two ambo’s drag his 130kgs through the entire house and across a makeshift bridge from the back door across the stairs in the rain and onto a stretcher…. I still didn’t consider that his situation was dire…. I let him be taken off to the hospital while I packed a bag for the girls, called their Nana and delivered them to her as calm as you can imagine, to then head on to the Maroondah to meet the ambulance. What I didn’t expect was to arrive at the triage nurse, only to be called around into a curtained off area where they proceeded to tell me that they’d been performing CPR on my husband since before he had even made it to the hospital. I didn’t understand…. I thought he was having a panic attack, or even a heart attack/stroke…… I had no idea that a tiny clot from a seemingly harmless ankle surgery, could lead to deep vein thrombosis or something similar. It was like a bad neighbours episode… I was taken in to be with him while a team of eight or so worked on him, attached him to machines, performed mouth to mouth, and I was supposed to squeeze in around them, hold his hand and beg him to come back to me…… It was horrendous. I started getting dizzy and had pins and needles in my legs….. I got myself out of there and into the room opposite with only a curtain between us. At one point the doctors and nurses were chatting like they were stacking shelves at a supermarket, not trying to save a life…. I begged them not to stop under any circumstances, I had to get Sue there so she could help me rip him through this. The nurse called Mum and Dad for me so they could take over with the girls and bring Sue in immediately, but she screwed up and said Sue was at my house, so they went via Kalorama instead of Ringwood which only added another hour that she wasn’t there, and I was supposed to handle it all alone. All I could think was that I’d told Ruby that he’d be fine, and that she couldn’t come to the hospital with me as he would most likely only be there overnight…… I was completely unaware of the severity of the situation. Mum and Dad arrived, without Sue, then realised the screw up and went to head off again…. but by this time the head Dr had come in to say the only chance he had was to take an ambulance to The Alfred hospital where they could perform some kind of operation that could thin his blood and get it pumping again. I asked Mum to stay with the girls at Sue’s and Sue, Dad and I followed the ambulance. It was nerve wracking…. we just didn’t believe he wouldn’t pull through. We continued to not believe it all day, he had two separate operations to stop the internal bleeding, to get the clot moving….. to save his life, but to be honest at the end of the longest day of my life when we all had to say our last goodbyes, the head surgeon said he was really gone from before arriving at the Maroondah that morning at two am. He less than subtly took the immediate family into a conference room and sat us all down to explain that his injuries were catastrophic and that he could not survive it. He also said that he would take this further, that we couldn’t let it go or accept that the after surgery care was thorough or professional….. he basically said that a 37 yo man dying after surgery to an ankle was unacceptable and completely avoidable. How does one take this news? Surely what we’d all just seen was enough, but to tell us that they had screwed up not once but twice (He took himself to emergency the two Sunday evenings before he died, both times in agony, complaining of leg pain, not just ankle,and the second Sunday he said he was short of breath and had tightness of the chest…..) and yet through some unimaginable oversight, they just sent him on his merry way with more endome to kill the pain. On that last emergency visit, they didn’t even take him out the back to check him out, they just saw him in the waiting room where he was sitting…… they sent him home with his medication, and less than 48 hours later he was dead. You know the biggest kicker? I received a bill for both of those Sunday’s medications….. $60 odd dollars worth. I paid for something he wouldn’t even have needed. I can never forgive the staff at Maroondah hospital because from a little corner cutting to keep within budget, my entire life’s course has been changed forever……..
Everything I think about now is classed as “before that night” and after…… before that night we were so fucking happy. We had done it tough for so long with Rubes.. her diagnosis was a relief to us both after years of searching for a reason as to why we couldn’t deal with her behaviours … then the reality of what was in store for her and us because of the diagnosis kicked in. This Aspergers was forever… and there was no way of ever knowing how it would affect her life… or ours. She was relieved there was a reason for her inappropriate behaviour too…. she had spent many a day on the way home from school in prep crying about being “different” from the other kids… how sad. We moved to Tecoma when I was six months pregnant with Poppy. It was a huge move for me having only been in the next suburb from my family for years. I had become a single parent when Ruby was just one. Rob, Ruby’s biological father and I had barely made it to Ruby’s first b’day… we’d done four years together, nearly a year of that I was travelling around Australia. Our entire relationship was based around partying…. and it wasn’t until we were pregnant with Rubes that we realised this. We loved partying together, but when it came time to give all that up, I succeeded and he didn’t. He got into more than chronic pot smoking, and by the time Ruby was 18 months he was barely seeing her. I would find myself delivering Ruby to his flat in Kingsville stepping over used bulbs and a crack pipe that would be just sitting in the middle of the lounge room floor… I knew that he was trying to get a message across to me. He never coped with being a shitty Dad, let alone a worthwhile one. I guess that blood is irrelevant sometimes….. He took a job in Sydney, and I was relieved to be honest. Every meeting ended in a screaming match (I wasn’t the one screaming…..) every catch up he was watching the time….. when he did have her I always had to collect her early for some reason or another…. then when I met Trent, he accused me of hooking up with him when there was still potential for he and I to get back together again. There certainly wasn’t. So he moved to Sydney, and as things progressed really quickly with Trent (that’s another whole story….!) he distanced himself more until one day he told me to raise her with Trent instead, and asked if he could stop paying child support too! (I allowed him to under the proviso that he sign the forms to let her surname become what it is today….. and he did.) God it was a tough time, but all that seems to fade in comparison to what we’re all going through now. But I honestly tried for a very long time after Rob to get him to stay a part of Ruby’s life… I think your parents no matter how crap they are should be a part of your life if at all possible….. this one just wasn’t possible. It was sad to watch Rubes call out Daddy to random men on the street, because after a while she didn’t remember who he was. On the flipside, she scored a bloody great replacement, one that would be a much better father figure, mate and laughing companion…. and she got eight years with him…….. God I hope that’s enough for her to never forget him.
Two weeks ago Trent and I were talking about our cruise to Fiji in Feb. He was most excited about unlimited booze and smorgsboards, and I was just excited about beautiful beaches and kids club. It will never cease to surprise me how quickly things can change. If you’d told me I’d be married with two kids by thirty I’d have snorted with laughter, but if you’d told me I’d be widowed at 35, the reaction would have been very different indeed………
In the year of 2003, I met a funny man at a bar in the city. I didn’t know right away that he was the kind I always dreamed I’d wanted….. We were at a mutual friends gig, and we struck up an innocent conversation at the bar whilst both buying a beer. (And as a matter of fact, I had originally spotted him and pointed him out to a mate of mine who was single.) We were both partnered to other people at the time, so we spoke about my six month old daughter, and he spoke of his partner at the time who also had children. He clearly loved kids, but was happy to yarn about any old thing. It was just so easy, and before we realised it most people had gone home and six hours had passed….. This part of us would never change, we certainly never ran out of conversation. I thought about this man a lot after that night, as he made me feel that I deserved to have someone like him in my life. Roughly a year later at the same mates CD launch, Son pointed him out in the crowd and said “Emm, There’s that Troy guy who you met at that bar last year……” She knew I’d hoped to meet him again one day. Now clearly his name was Trent, but in true confident Emma fashion, I went straight up to him and said “Hi Troy……..remember me?!” We picked up right where we’d left off the year before…. and this time round we had both separated from our partners…. At the end of the gig, as Trent was leaving, he said “By the way, my name is actually Trenton…..” I don’t think I could have been more embarrassed if I’d tried, and I never let son live it down! Anyway, we spoke on the phone each night for a fortnight…… Even before we had had our first kiss he would speak to me until I was nearly asleep each night, as I always had trouble winding down at the end of the day, particularly as a single parent to Rubes at the time. So when we had our first date, which was to be him coming over for a quiet bbq at my place in Seddon, we kinda knew a lot about each other already. It was decided by my friends that they’d secretly invite everyone who was looking out for me at the time, to see if he was suitable for my Ruby, and of course for me. The poor bastard had no idea what he was walking into….. but he handed them all like a true legend. I think by the following morning (yes we pulled an all nighter) that even all the boys there wanted to marry him! At about ten am when he was heading off, I passed an 18 month old Ruby across to him on the couch and said “Can you just play with her while we quickly run up to the shop for some milk?” I promptly headed out the door with Son. I think we even stayed up the road for coffee, just to see how the poor boy would cope! He coped alright….. as he did forever onwards. We were never apart from that night, the 8th March 2004, until the day he died. Clearly I am glad now that things moved along so quickly. We moved in together after six weeks, were engaged after six months, and were ready to be married by August of 2006. Ten weeks before the wedding day we found out we were pregnant with Poppy, and although Rubes got to be in the wedding, I know Pops is happy she at least came to the wedding in my tummy. We had a wonderful honeymoon in a divine resort on a cliff face out of Phuket…. ten days of Trent trying every Thai alcoholic beveridge, befriending every tuk tuk driver and resort worker…… even a crazy adventure in bangkok on the way home where his lack of Thai and their lack of English found him wound up in the back alleyways of the sex district with a smorgasbord of lady boys to choose from! I’m sure the sheer size of him got him out of that situation, and back to his poor morning sick wife at the hotel. We came home and decided that we’d like to raise our babies in the hills. Tecoma was our first hills home, and this was where we bought our beautiful Poppy home from the hospital in the March 2007. Rubes started kinder in Sassafras, and we made our first group of hills mates there, and through the Ferny Creek Playgroup. We made some lifelong friends in this time, and through some very challenging years, they proved their worth time and time again through their constant support and love. We moved on to one of our favourite houses in Belgrave, where there are so many happy memories it’s hard to pick them apart. I know most of you here can remember some of our deck and spa parties, jamming till all hours, driving the neighbours mad I’m sure. Through some very good luck and help from both our families, we were able to buy our first house in beautiful Kalorama in July of 2009, where we still are today. The thing we spoke of the most, was upgrading to a bigger hills home with a bungalow for the kids, buying an onsite caravan to spend every other weekend in together as a family, retiring one day and traveling the world in a big ol’ motor home….. and it literally rips out my heart to think that these things won’t happen now…..well not with him by my side. I will forever turn to share my day with him and find him not there next to me on the couch, I will wake to one side of a king sized bed alone every day, I will want to show him how well the girls have done at school, or share their beautiful artwork…..and I will never again be put on a pedestal and made to feel like the most amazing person on Earth, like I was by him. And for some unknown reason, I don’t get to have these precious things in my life anymore. On a slightly lighter note however, I literally inherited the greatest outlaws…. One’s that I would have myself honestly handpicked. For years I have “chosen” to meet Sue for coffee regularly, more than Trenton ever did! And I have shared as many drunken, hilarious and beautiful moments with Lex as I have with my best mates. I adore her. Visiting Warren’s in Port Albert is not only the girls favourite thing to do, but when I’m there I feel so relaxed, and so privileged and accepted as one of the Curry family. Another amazing thing that buying in gorgeous Kalorama offered us, was a whole other side to the Dandenong Ranges, and it opened up a hundred new families to love and cherish. Montrose Primary school where we moved the girls, turned out to be the greatest thing we could have done for them both. The support that they have offered us, particularly Ruby, will never be forgotten, and the friends that I have made here, I will hang onto forever. I will never leave these hills…. and even though the family I adore, and my oldest friends are mostly westies…… This is where we dreamed we’d always be, so this is where we always will be. Trenton gave me more than two beautiful girls…. yeah, I know that Rubes may not have been born from his blood, but that kid inherited so many of his disgusting and hilarious traits! Her practical jokes, her cupcaking, her cocky and unbelievably witty sense of humour, her tough as nails attitude towards life…. she gets that from her Daddy, and they will hold her in good stead for her future. Pops on the other hand, apart from looking like a mini Alexis, is quirky, funny, cheeky, smart….. but most of all she inherited her Daddy’s “I love you man…. no seriously” attitude. She has to tell you she loves you every hour, and you must return the compliment immediately!. She loves everything, and everyone, and just like Trent, my girls will always see the absolute best in people. No amount of time or years, as far as I’m concerned will remove these traits from my girls, and if they ever started to disappear, I’d pull out every video, photo and story until they remember the kind of man they came from. With the help of most of you amazing people here, I hope that we can raise these girls in the way that he would have….. to laugh, snort, cry, scream, sing, burp, drink, dance liturgically….. anything that will get us through this life with a smile on our dials….. cause after all, life is too short to be a miserable bastard.
But before I leave you on a lovely high, there is a poem which sums up how I feel right now……. I know that things will get easier, better, happier….. but this reading sums up about how I feel about losing the absolute love of my life……..
W H Auden – Funeral Blues
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum,
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Well this past cup weekend was a big one for Trent’s girls. I took them to stay at a mates holiday place in Anglesea for my 36th birthday, but to also experience our first family holiday without Trent. It was the best kind of weekend we could have had, honesty….. but really tough. Rubes was no angel… she pushed everyone’s buttons continuously, had the kids fighting each other, had the parents on their parenting toes…… and usually I would tag team with Trent to deal with her challenging behaviour so we could all still have a good holiday. There has been many a night where I’ve got the kids down and turned to say “Wow….how did we get through today?” and found that he’s not there to debrief with me…. Well on the weekend I pushed on through, and lost my temper many times, and upset Rubes by being so on top of her… but I felt like I had to parent like two parents, as it really does take two to keep her in check…. and sadly now there’s only me. You know ironically I used to threaten Trent not to die before me, because I told him I was not cut out for this life without him. He really was my best mate, soul mate, other half… whatever silly name you wanna call it…. he was it. So I pushed through this weekend away, and got through it by the skin of my teeth. On the Sunday night I had tickets to see Boy and Bear in the city, so Courtney kindly offered for me to leave the kids with her so I could come down, enjoy a night off and drive back in the morning. I had a fantastic night out with a friend, and although I found the show really sad because every song seemed to be about death, all in all I had a really ace night off. I drove back on the Monday and felt really revived. It only took five minutes for the bullshit to start up again, and Rubes was clearly going to make me pay for leaving her for the night. Since Trent’s sudden death, both the girls are scared that every time I go out, I won’t come back. And rightly so…. on the night that he died I told them he’d be fine, and delivered them to his Mum’s at two in the morning….. by the time I got to the hospital I found out he’d been in cardiac arrest since before the ambulance arrived there…… they’d given me no indication that it was this serious. I myself feel like every day when you get dressed to go to work, drop the kids to school…. whatever mundane thing you’ve got going that it may be the last time. Life is so unpredictable…. I didn’t think that I would have a baby at 25, be a singe Mum by 26, be remarried by 28, have two kids by 30 and then widowed at 35. I finally found the right guy, and had the exact kind of life I had always hoped for, and it was torn from my fingers in a night. I don’t get it, nor will I ever….. I don’t believe in God, but if I did I’d loathe him forever for this one. There is no rhyme or reason with these things….. my girls adored their Dad (and yes, he was in every way, shape and form Ruby’s Dad too) and they lost him. They’ll never be the same, and neither will I. Yes it teaches you not to be complacent…. but other than that it’s just plain cruel. Right now I feel like I’ll never be content again.
So it is a year of firsts without my man by my side….. first night, week, month without….. first overnight outing without….. this weekend will be my first family holiday away without him, and today is my first birthday without him. It never feels nice…. I guess it will get a little easier to bare as the years roll by, but I’m guessing it will never be the same again. I had the most beautiful dinner last night with Trent’s Mum Sue and her partner David, his sister Lex and partner Damon, and my parents. It was emotional but lovely. Both Sue and Lex wrote me beautiful messages about how they are so glad that if they had to lose Trenton that at least they got to keep me in their lives. I was always so happy that I scored such wonderful in laws…. as was Trent about mine. We used to talk about how so many other people had issues within their families, and yet we adored all of ours. Thank God, because how would the girls and I keep up the contact with them for the rest of our lives if they weren’t? I think Trenton was testament to his family, they raised him well, and he adored them to the end. His family meant EVERYTHING to him, and he let them know it every time they spoke. It sure shows you that you should share how you feel, so that when you’re gone no one questions it. I will make a point of following in his footsteps……
I have been trying to do so with my girls….. but damn it’s hard to raise them alone. And it’s only been a couple of months…. Ironically, as I’d said before, my biggest fear was being left to raise the girls alone. I certainly didn’t actually think that I would have to. I thanked my lucky stars all the time that I’d met Trent when I did so I wasn’t a single Mum for long, I honestly never took him for granted.