Tag Archive: Loss


Today it is eight years since John had his stroke. The week has also included Valentine’s Day.

John and I didn’t usually make a big deal about Valentine’s Day but that year he planned a weekend away. So we went the weekend before.

We had a beautiful room in the Blue Mountains looking straight down the Jamieson Valley. The weather wasn’t brilliant and the valley was full of clouds and fog. All part of being in the mountains.

We sat on the balcony on the Sunday morning and watched as the weather cleared and the glorious vista came into view.

John reminded me that I used to sing the lullaby “Down In The Valley” to our children to put them to sleep. I had completely forgotten because the children were by then young adults and it had been so long ago. It was lovely sitting there and being reminded.

Ten days later I sang that lullaby to him in the ICU so that the sedatives could be kept to a minimum. One nurse said, “keep on singing, it works.”

If he hadn’t reminded me of it the week before I doubt that I’d have thought of it. It’s a bittersweet memory for me.

Here’s a link to the song for those of you who don’t know it.

I’m walking this month to raise funds for stroke awareness and stroke rehabilitation. I’ve commoitted to 300km for the month of November, an average of 10km per day.

Today, my birthday (I’m 54) I walked 11km.

Walking.We all do it, every day.I spend most of my time figuring out how to do as little as possible.

However, doing the walking over the last eight days I’ve been thinking.

Life is a lonely walk at times, no matter how many people join you and no matter how much love surrounds you.

I had a wonderful day, with the added bonus of discovering a beautiful new walking path very close to home. It leads through parks down to my favourite beach.

But there was a big hole in the day. John didn’t share in the celebrations.

I’ve finally realised that that I’m doing this walk on my own. This month has become a metaphor for the long, lonely walk. Not just mine, but John’s.

If you would like to donate to the cause of stroke rehabilitation, here’s the link:

https://strideforstroke15.everydayhero.com/au/julie-2

We’re all doing the long, lonely walk.

Cheese

I was eating some rather smelly washed-rind cheese this evening.

I’m rather fond of the stuff, every now and then.

I remembered a time (back in the day) when I had bought some and it had stunk out the car in the time taken to transport it from shop to home.

John was rather cranky, I laughed at the crankiness.

Because cheese is delicious!

A few hours later I understood the crankiness because the car was still stinky.

This is a memory that only I now hold. John has forgotten it.

It is now only mine.

I remember the crankiness, laughter.

And the understanding.

Seven Years

Yesterday marked the seventh anniversary of that cataclysmic day.

Seven years, where did that time go? That’s what people say when they speak of their children growing, time passing, growing old.

John’s stroke was always going to be the five-year project, something we’d get through, overcome. Some lessons have been learned since then:

You can’t put a timeline on a brain, or a body.

Friends will appear where you least expect.

Old friends will react in their own way and there’s no judging because they are also feeling the loss.

New friends come along and you feel that you’ve known them forever.

And John doesn’t know who they are.

Our beloved children have grown up and are making me (us) proud, and I don’t really know how that happened.

Some very dear people of whom I thought badly have turned out to be the best friends of all.

Thank you.

It was six years yesterday.
A time to think about all that has happened in all our lives in that time.

This time of year is very, very difficult.
It begins with my mum’s birthday on Feb 13 and ends with our wedding anniversary on Mar 13.

In between is Valentine’s Day (our last weekend together) and the anniversary of the stroke.

Six years ago I was full of optimism and absolutely sure that John would come home, no matter what. I thought that that all mountains were surmountable.
I thought I could anticipate any obstacle.

Since then the unanticipated obstacles have appeared.

I’m proud of the way my little family has climbed over them but I worry about our ability to continue to climb over and keep going.

Life is becoming more and more frenetic. The old life appears from this distance to be so serene, yet I know that it wasn’t.

I don’t visit as often as I once did, and this is a source of anxiety and guilt.

We have a wonderful friend in Sandra, who visits so often and makes John’s life as good as it can be. We are both so lucky to have her. She has picked up where I leave off.

Beauty keeps me going, and I hope it keeps our children going too.

The beauty of an evening sky, the rain today, my little puppy Piño and our old dog Max. I try to pass the joy of this beauty on to our darling children.

And beauty reminds me of love.

The love John has for us,
The love we have for him.
The love of all of our friends.

Love and Beauty.

Summer Night

Mr heart creaks,
And cracks.
I walk outside
And see the stars shining, and
A tiny wisp of breeze
Stirs the leaves.

And I think of those
Who sleep
(I hope)
And those
Who cannot
Sleep.

Photograph

I came across a photograph
While fossicking through a drawer.

It’s just a licence photo,
One of those ones
We all love to hate.

You look like a tough guy,
But I know you’re not.

You never were.

I realise
That the memories are slipping,
Sliding,
Disappearing with the ocean’s breeze.

And I need
These little discoveries

To remember you

As you were.

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Friendship

Today it is John’s birthday, though he didn’t realise it as he doesn’t know what day it is. I organised a birthday lunch yesterday to which some of his friends came. It was a lovely afternoon.

However time is marching by and many of the friends who were once close to him, and whom he’d never have deserted, are falling by the wayside.

This is a note I wrote to one today. He was one of John’s closest friends. I feel that all those close friends who have not been there should read it. I stress that I understand about commitments and this is not intended to those beautiful people who have been quietly wonderful.

“Hi X,
Thank you for your message. I can only guess that someone alerted you to my post as it was put up last Friday, taken down very quickly (to avoid embarrassment) and yet I’m only hearing from you today.
The last five and a half years have been an ordeal for John and I feel very sad and angry on his behalf that his friends, particularly those once close to him, have been absent.
It is embarrassing to have to beg for visits.
From here on in it is up to you. His birthday is Sept 9, put it in your phone if you wish.
I know if this had happened to any one of you he’d have you living in our house, or at the very least be visiting regularly. That’s the kind of friend he is.
I realise time marches on but the man who supported and loved you all deserves more than this.
That’s really all I can say.
In answer to your question, he’s still at the nursing home where he has been for almost five years.
If you visit, please leave a message on the white board.
Yours,
Juju.”

John’s stroke and its aftermath caused (and still causes) immense sadness to our little family. However once the initial shock was over, the sadness was to be expected.
The abandonment by some friends has caused an unexpected sadness. In many ways this is much harder to take.
It is countered however, by the (also unexpected) love, kindness and loyalty shown by some who were barely known by us at the time of his stroke, and others whom I’ve met since.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Know

I hope 
That you know
How much you are loved.

The sun will lose his warmth
The moon, her glow
The stars, their sparkle

If you do not know
My love

The Meeting

Kangaroo Street,
The Radiators were playing.

I was wearing a red skirt, white blouse
And my first pair of high-heeled shoes.

You were wearing brown trousers,
Striped button-down shirt.

You were hanging over there with your best mate

And I came in with mine.

Who’s that?
We both asked.

Our hearts already knew.

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