So yeah, another holiday without the big man. The first that was booked and paid for while he was still on Earth was the Cruise of his dreams…. the one that I had not much interest in, but as he said, I’d travelled extensively, and he’d not. So I gave in, and we booked it anyway! He and the girls would spend hours on the couch in Kalorama looking up other peoples photos of the ship on trip adviser, and talk about all the things they’d do together…. order room service, play mini golf, drink cocktails and mocktails in the spa, see a live show, eat at five star restaurants….. even watch a band in a pub! He must have made me sit through eight boring walk through videos that had been uploaded! But he was so excited, he knew the kids would love it…. and with unlimited booze and food he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t more excited! I dreamed of him taking the kids to the pool daily and me lying in the room and reading a good book, so I guess I succumbed to the fact that it would be a bloody relaxing holiday either way. Of course in the end it wasn’t, because he died 7 months before he got to go on it. Then pissed one night at three in the morning I booked a Vietnam escape for my parents, the girls and myself cause I “felt the need to look forward to a holiday that wasn’t drowning in his memory.” Of course you can’t go to a different place on Earth and not expect your brain to come with you…… It was a brilliant holiday, don’t get me wrong, but once again I wondered why I felt my stomach was void of internal organs, and my smiles were empty of emotion. The kids loved it, but felt the population overwhelming in the big smoke, and just recently Rubes told me that she’d never do Asia again. (Perhaps it was seeing the chickens having their necks snapped at the market while she was being fitted for new shoes?) Anyway, so after a long battle with Virgin Australia Holidays over a fuck up where they’d not honoured a medical certificate and change of date for a package to Port Douglas that I’d bought for my Mother in Law, I finally had a credit note sent to me for her trip, after I’d paid the full amount again for her to go on a different weekend when her partner was not in hospital recovering from a motorbike accident…. (long story.) So here it is, another pending Trentless journey up to Far North Queensland, to revisit the old hood that I found myself living in when I was travelling around Australia in 2001. I used to bore Trent all the time with stories about the time I lived and worked in the Daintree Forest. It was magnificent. My mate and I had run out of money by the time we hit Cairns, so we stayed there on the dole looking for work for a couple of months. Finally one weekend when I went up near Cape Tribulation on a weekend escape, I met a man who ran PK’s Jungle Village and I demanded he hire myself and my friend. Luckily he decided that he would! We packed our bags and jumped on the Bus the following Monday, not knowing what he’d have us doing when we got there….. turns out I scored “laundry” and Claire scored “kitchen hand.” (I lasted two weeks then convinced the cafe owner opposite that I was the best coffee maker in Melbourne….!) We might have cared had it not been for the setting….. heaven on earth is what I’d call it. Cape Trib and the Daintree Forest is the only place on earth where the Rainforest meets the Reef. (You can swim to the Great Barrier Reef from it’s beaches.) The jungle is almost identical to The Amazon Jungle, minus the monkeys and certain deadly animals, and it is thick, luscious and terrifying all in one. It’s Estuary’s are riddled with crocodiles, there are boa constrictors, hand sized golden orb spiders, deadly and beautiful frogs… there are even some trees that can explode and kill you if they feel threatened….. it has survived by looking after itself completely for millions of years. It really was the most incredible experience. So my plan was always to take Trent there, and show him the donga’s (the daggy portable workman type lunch room/building where we all lived) and the cafe that I ended up running opposite PK’s back packers…. and the bar that we drank at, the walks that we went on, the beach that we jammed on by night in front of a campfire…… all of it I wanted him to experience. But he didn’t. Hence the reason I sent his Mum and partner up there early this year. So now I get to revisit it, and show the girls, and sit on that beach looking at that view that I’ve dreamed about seeing again for 13 years….. but without my internal organs. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful….. but everything is so damn bitter sweet. I know on Sunday when it’s my birthday I will turn to have a private joke with him, and I will feel his loss when the kids are bombing into the lagoon pool and laughing and having fun….. when we’re out for dinner and cheersing each other…… when they’re fighting on the plane or Ruby’s telling Pops to eat with her mouth shut… or when they jump on me in the morning to get up so we can get out and explore the area together….. In everything I do now I feel his loss. It really is the emptiest, loneliest feeling you can have….. and it’s permanent. How sad is that? I know I’ll embrace it all for our girls….. and I’m sure there will even be some great memories that we make together, but damn I wish it was the four of us again. xxxx
15 months and counting…. damn this is the kind of ride I wish I could get off. The girls surprise me daily with their ability to cope with the most challenging things…. (death of a guinea pig….. dying fish) yet the tiniest things will set them off and a mega tantrum is sure to follow. I used to think Rubes took the cake in the mega tanty stakes…. turns out her sweet seven year old little sister could out tanty her any day! When Trenton was around, we had the most sensational tag team policy, where if you were getting too shitty and were able to stop yourself losing it entirely at the kids, then you could pass the baton and go and cool off while the other took over and tried to defuse the situation. A bit of Good Cop Bad Cop action. With a Ruby sized personality and a stubbornness to boot, it was necessary. But now there is just little old me….. and faaaark is it exhausting. Rubes wakes talking a million miles an hour, chills out a bit during the day, and then is a million miles an hour again at bedtime. Tough, but I can cope with these moods as they’re generally over excited and silly conversations…. as opposed to the abuse and arguing of every other minute with her sister. Pops on the other hand has enough emotional moodiness to sink a battle ship. And boy does she go on…… and on…… and on……. and on……..! The latest is the crying, howling, rolling around and moaning, kicking chairs, bins, walls…. peoples feet. Whatever gets the attention back on her really. And she has started staying stuff like “I’m the dumbest person around….. I fall over everything…… I can’t get anything right….. I’m so pathetic……” Oi oi oi……. it’s heart breaking. But then when I tell her that if she doesn’t stop she needs to take it to her room and finish her outburst there…. she tells me she hates me, and that I’m the worst Mum on Earth. Arrrrghhhh…. you can’t loody win, and you can’t bloody win!!!!! I have an incredible team of people that are helping me through this time…. the most exhausting I’ve experienced since Trent died. All my energy has been poured into multiple things and I have none left to just survive! But what can you do? Unlike a relationship, you can’t take a break, escape, run away or leave it for someone else to deal with…… so the alarm keeps beeping, the kids keep eating, the job needs doing, the dog needs loving, the half dead fish needs feeding, the tears need wiping, the spew needs cleaning, the bills need paying, the therapy keeps us going and the disciplining of the kids has landed on my own shoulders….. regardless of my unwillingness to do it. Tough. Shit. Such is life hey? Lucky I have a computer keyboard to vent to. Over and OUT………..
I know it sounds a little sick, but the novelty of losing a loved one wears off on most people. It’s not that I ever wanted it to be a novelty in the first place!!! But when you’re the first concern in peoples minds they remember to ask how you are, offer their help, visit you, keep the lines of communication open….. etc etc. But nearly fifteen months later, they have moved on well and truly, and unless your thoughts are bought to their attention (which is very hard to do…… who wants to bring up sad shit all the time….?) then I guess you keep up the facade. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I really am great. There are whole days now where I don’t lose my shit, but I know its because I have filled my minutes with life…. If all of the hours of my days are filled with work, therapy sessions for the kids, meetings with Ruby’s teachers, school runs, food shopping and getting the kids up in the morning and down at night (both which have become harder and harder) then I can get myself through a entire day until I sit and regroup late at night and allow the days/weeks/months to sink in….. At least it leaves the privacy of my lounge room for me to release the emotions that build up. I know I miss him more at night, because I’m also aware that was our favourite time to sit and chat about the day…. snuggle and catch up on shows, have a sneaky treat…. just the usual daily crap we take for granted when we still have it. The girls have grieved so differently that my latest challenge is to turn my normally very full attention from Rubes, to Pops who is really struggling through at the moment. She has hit the “apparently” normal part of the grieving process where she is emotional as hell, has three year old tantrums that last for hours, punches and kicks things to release her frustrations, and won’t literally let me out of her sight. She believes I will die if she does. So getting out once a week for dinner, or leaving her with Dad or her Nana…. its just become a challenging affair. She says things to me like “How old was I when Daddy died?” Which kills me every time because it was only last year…. but she was only six, and a year is enormous in a six year old’s life. She is starting to forget what his voice sounds like. I sometimes find her with her “Daddy box” asleep in her bed, or crying hugging it. She will talk about it more than Rubes who has told me frankly not to mention him at all, because she “won’t survive her childhood if I do……” Although I have been told by her teacher that she has been found googling “blood clots” at school, and worries when people have pains in their legs etc. They couldn’t cope more differently if they tried. Where Poppy has started to try and breathe me in and out, Ruby has distanced herself, become more abusive and cutting with her words and has even become less affectionate (if that’s at all possible) and it’s tough either way. I guess I should be grateful that they are mourning differently. This losing a hubby thing really is a tough gig. It affects every single little thing that would have happened in your life together, because you choose to spend your every waking minute and day with that person, to have children with them, to plan holidays and a future with them….. every thing you were “going” to do included their presence…. and now it suddenly doesn’t. I will eventually be expected to re partner…… and believe you me, I’m disgusted at the thought of it right now…. as I am when people bring it up. But I also know that it’s unlikely at the age of 36 that I’ll never love again. It’s just that it will never be the same, and it will always feel like a runner up prize. The kids will likely loathe him, and if he has kids life will be all the more challenging. Yay, I can barely contain my excitement at the thought of it all!!!!! Something else to look forward to in this non-chosen path in my new life. Life really is not predictable is it?
28/09/2014 – So it’s been fourteen months of the kind of roller coaster I would love, if it wasn’t mine and the girls emotions we were riding. Tomorrow is Grand Final Day…. a day Trenton saved his energy for, as he would start drinking at ten am with the boys in Cranbourne, and the partners and other mates would come around Game time and continue with them for the night. Trent would be the show for me…… I hate footy and Stevo who hosts the party every year (and just happens to be one of his best mates) doesn’t follow footy either! It just somewhere along the line became a tradition not to be missed… and he never did miss it….. no matter what. I went last year and got his signature tattooed on my forearm on the way….. then got so inebriated that I threw up into a salad bowl the whole way home the next day….. stumbled into my Mums bungalow and called a locum to come and give me a shot to stop the vomiting. Great day….. but I was glad I went. This year is different…. People are moving on with their lives, they wanna turn up and do his memory proud. I just want him back. I’m not ready to “celebrate” the life he had, I’m still mourning the life he lost. I can talk about him and show that I am as proud as punch that he chose t be my husband and father my kids. He was brilliant. I adored him. I wanted to grow old and decrepit with him…. and now I don’t get to. I know I sound bitter….. but FUCK! How the heck am I supposed to sound?
01/10/2014 – So I went. It was really nice….. smaller crowd than used to go, and quite frankly not a bad thing. Lex drove to my surprise, so I got to drink and put on a brave face for all the boys. What a great job I did. You know people used to tell me they came to see Trent in action…. I don’t think they were lying actually. Without the big man there, it was quieter, more reserved. There was less inappropriateness…. less comedic abuse and less laughter. But it was still nice to have the band back together again, so to speak. Reflecting on how I coped out and about seems to be the main thing I do these days. How well did I cover my emotions? How much did I seem to enjoy myself? How little did I yell at the children……? Judge judge judge. Jesus if I was really judging myself I’d give myself a score of ten for surviving, and 12 for my incredible bullshitting ability. The thing is, wearing it out and proud on your sleeve doesn’t change anything, doesn’t make people feel comfier to talk to you, or tell you all the positive things that are going on in their lives. I know when people are dumbing down their lives to make it seem like it’s not all that. But I know that they’re happy…. and so they should be. I would suggest to no one, not even my mortal enemy to take this roller coaster ride…… it’s s crappy one that’s for sure. Night night……..