We are through the first half of 2017, and almost halfway through July now as well. I made it through the 14th anniversary of Daughter Number One’s murder but only just, regular viewers, only just. I am still here, still breathing, still putting one foot in front of the other. 

I don’t try to pretend it is easy. It really hasn’t been. During the first five months of this year two beautiful souls I had the privilege of connecting with died and in June another, most precious, followed. On top of my own personal grief, watching people I love in pain is almost more than I can bear. I say almost because there isn’t a choice. I love them and they are in pain. If the most I can do is bear witness then it needs to be done. But I have been so sad. For me, for them. It all hurts so much. My body hurts, my soul hurts and oh, I’m so tired. So very, very tired. 

In the week before the anniversary of Daughter Number One’s murder we had the bombing in Manchester, at Ariana Grande’s concert. An attack on children. An attack on music. Shortly after came the London Bridge attack, again involving young people on a night out and shortly after that came the Grenfell Tower disaster. Babies and children, whole families, living their lives, losing their lives and all of these events in quick succession hit me like a ton of bricks. The weight of it, mixed with the other losses in my own life. The pointless waste of snuffed out potential. The reinforcement of how tenuous our grip on life is. How quickly everything we have and know and hold dear can be gone. It was crushing. 

As always, during these times, we were offered the very best and the very worst of humanity. Stories of homeless men running to give aid and strangers holding children, comforting them as they died. But the overwhelming aftertaste was of man’s inhumanity to man. These are the things I try not to hold onto. I really try. Consciously. I choose to look for the good and to be better, not bitter. But every ‘Missing! Hasn’t been heard from’ photo on facebook and each confirmed fatality, each snatched glimpse of footage showing billowing smoke and bereft people before I quickly changed the channel, took me back to a policeman’s face and the sound of his voice saying “There is nothing to identify. We’ll have to use dental records”. Over and over and over again. 

I am still sad. I am still scared. I am scared because at some point, in some way, love will equal loss, because that is the deal. And I choose to keep loving. Is it better to have loved and lost? Still, yes, I guess. For me at least. But the loss bit is just so very hard. 

Still, I get up in the morning and I put one foot in front of the other. Some days are slower than others, but I try and I try because the best way I know to honour the dead is by living. All the dear ones I have loved and lost, none of them would want me to not live my life. It would not give them back theirs. 

I have spoken before of the privilege of being adopted by a network of ex servicemen and women of all designations; military, police, fire and ambulance: Their support and generosity of spirit are second to none. A friend wrote recently to share his positive experience with a new medication he was trialling. Traditionally a blood pressure medication, it is said to have the bonus side effect of getting rid of ptsd related nightmares. As someone who routinely screams herself awake this sounded almost miraculous. In truth, after all these years I cannot imagine what life might be like without them. I just know it sounds good to me. 

After using antidepressants for over ten years I stopped taking them four years ago. A doctor said to me that she didn’t think my depression was biologically based, rather a reaction to events. I thought ‘Abso- fucking- lutely’ and at that moment there didn’t seem to be much point in continuing to take them. I only speak for myself. I don’t make judgements about what does and doesn’t work for anyone else. I was under medical supervision. But for me, I have not had any more bad days or anymore good days since I stopped taking them. That’s what I know. 

Four years down the track from that decision, hearing about a medication that specifically targets the nightmares was pretty exciting! So I made an appointment with a gp and asked. The Dr I was seeing had never heard of using this particular medication in that way so she rang a registrar for more information. She confirmed what my friend had been so generous to share. So, I got my prescription. And I don’t know that it will work for me but I don’t know that it won’t. And hope is a fine thing! 

One foot in front of the other until you get to the other side, while sirens in the distance have me listening for the voice that will never come. 

Safe onward travel to all my lovelies, wherever you are and wherever you are headed x 

This morning I woke up from a nightmare in which I was getting my children ready for some imminent apocalyptic event. I don’t remember what it was, I just remember speaking to my kids and trying to prepare them, in a detailed way, including instructions on what to do if separated from me, or from each other. They were smaller, younger, more vulnerable versions of themselves, just to add to the ambiance. I was talking to them in a very matter of fact way while in my head I was screaming because I knew it wasn’t enough, wasn’t enough, wasn’t enough and the very bad thing was coming and I couldn’t keep them safe. 

Yesterday I woke up from a dream that left me so disoriented that it literally took me a full sixty seconds, without exaggeration, to work out – first – where I was, but then, when I was. In that order, which is weird. Yesterday disappeared into a bit of a hole that I was unable to crawl my way out of. The level of exhaustion is hard to describe. I read somewhere that people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feel so tired all the time because you are basically on high alert constantly. After nightmares all night (I will wake up several times during the night and even if I go back to sleep all I remember are nightmares) I slump into some days. My head pounds, I have chest pains and my limbs all feel like they are made of concrete. My whole body aches with heaviness. Everything, every. little. thing. requires such effort that, even if I can be bothered, a small task can take up most of the day. There are days I can’t even pretend to be a functional human being. 

I guess this is my annual Mother’s Day whinge. Feel free to stop reading. I don’t claim any exclusivity. Everyone has hard days and Mother’s Day is hard for lots of people, for many reasons. Childless mothers, motherless children, women who mother other people’s children, children and mothers who are separated by whatever circumstance. I don’t pretend my list is comprehensive. You all know who you are. 

For some, it will be their first Mother’s Day and for some it will be their first Mother’s Day since. For some, it will be both and that’s just the way it is. What I know is that as soon as Easter was over, literally the day after, shops were full of Mother’s Day merchandise. Mugs and slippers and photo frames everywhere you turn. Brochures in the letter box and advertisements on television and Mother’s Day espisodes of television shows. Choking up my newsfeed in every direction. A constant assault that is impossible to escape. And for me this year the added bonus of a later Mother’s Day bringing it even closer to the anniversary of my Daughter’s death. Two and a half weeks to go. Bonus. 

Would I have been a grandmother by now? I cried on the packed train today, silently, after scrolling past a mother guessing her daughter was pregnant on a facebook post. Bit, fat, hot tears that dropped singly from my lashes and felt like lava carving their way down my face. 

After tomorrow there will be marked down slippers, mugs and photo frames and that is nowhere near as fun as marked down Easter chocolate, nowhere near as fun at all. But the days, even the hard ones, pass. Just a bit slower. 


Tonight I am baby sitting three rascals of the four legged kind. Two very special babies and the big brother of the little girl Son Number Two and I have staying with us; precious souls all of them and I am glad to be here. 
A friend asked me to edit her manuscript recently. I cannot possibly put into words what it meant to me to be trusted with that task, but it meant so much. It worked for me on a number of levels. 
I have friends I can text random things to and they will meet me where I am. I recently went to see a performance of live theatre. It was an incredibly moving adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank hosted by the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts. I’ve had lunch in the quiet, leafy grounds of a University and laughed at my Daughter Number Two and my Sons. I have felt the relief of cool nights after just warm enough days. Videos of small boys and big dogs that melt my heart. And, you know, marked down Easter chocolate. 

The best of times and the worst of times. 
For the rest of my life; the best of times and the worst of times. 
Safe onward travel x 

It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining but there is a cool breeze. I feel good. I am waiting in the shade until it is time for the birthday party of a very special boy. My photo of the dappled light at my feet will never do it justice. It is a glorious morning. 

There is a book I heard about somewhere. I haven’t read it but the concept was that the woman who wrote it spent a year saying ‘Yes!’ to things. I think it’s actually called that – ‘The Year of Yes’ or something. The idea is to make the most of opportunities that come your way. Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps this year is my year of saying ‘No’. Or at least working at getting better at it. 

My psych challenged me a little while ago with the observation that most often my response to anything at all is ‘Sure’. I think his idea was to make me more thoughtful about the decisions I make. Because clearly I don’t think enough already! Ha! 

I’m a ‘why not?’ girl at heart but I do think there is something to the theory that says if you can’t give an enthusiastic and wholehearted ‘yes’ to something then it is a ‘no’. 

You cannot be everywhere at once and do everything at once. You cannot be all things to all people. You can’t always get what you want. There’s only so much of you to go around and you only have so many days left. It is necessary to make choices about where to direct your energy. In order to have the room to say ‘yes’ to some things in your life you’ll need to say ‘no’ to others. 

Every time we say yes or no to ANYTHING we have the power to change our lives. That really is some magic shit! 

Sometimes you just need the things that feed your soul. Make room for them. A laughing toddler. A much needed haircut. Tattoos and tan lines. Whether you are saying yes or saying no, let your days say something. 

Safe onward travel x 

For Hope, and for Chris, with love, always x 

Here’s what I know;

πŸ’œ Life is short. Sometimes brutally so. However long it is, it is never long enough for the people who love us. 

πŸ’œ Death isn’t only the end of a life; for those of us still living it becomes part of our lives. 

πŸ’œ People mourn in different ways and it can bring out the best and the worst in us. 

πŸ’œ The death of someone we love HURTS. 

πŸ’œ The amount of time we spend with someone does not always equal the size of the hole they leave in our hearts. 

πŸ’œ Life goes on. It just does. 

πŸ’œ Some things in life are important. Some are not. One list is much longer than the other. Work out what is on your ‘Important things’ list. Prioritise. 

πŸ’œ What if’s don’t change what is. 

πŸ’œ Sometimes you have perfect days or perfect hours or perfect moments. Savour them. Hold onto them. 

πŸ’œ Love isn’t all we need but it is what counts. It is the best we can hope to leave behind and it is how we endure. 

When All That’s Left Is Love 

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller 

When I die 

If you need to weep

Cry for someone  

Walking the street beside you.

You can love me most by letting

Hands touch hands, and Souls touch souls.

You can love me most by

Sharing your Simchas (goodness) and

Multiplying your Mitzvot (acts of kindness).

You can love me most by

Letting me live in your eyes

And not on your mind.

And when you say Kaddish for me

Remember what our

Torah teaches,

Love doesn’t die People do.

So when all that’s left of me is love

Give me away.

Safe onward travel x 

“I also know that February is one of those mofo flowers times for you.” ~ my friend, the Queen. 


For the shortest month February has packed a lot into it this year and in some ways has felt like it was never going to end. But here we are in it’s last several days. Today would have been Daughter Number One’s 28th birthday, you know, if she were still alive. But she isn’t. 

I spent last night with a gorgeous friend and I am so very glad that I did. Tonight I have tickets to see Carl Barron which Son Number Two gave me for my birthday. We are going with more friends so it will be a night of living and laughing and loving. It will be good. 


Son Number Two has really started to explore and appreciate music in the last six months. Now I have to ask him to take his headphones out when I want to speak to him! But it’s great and it makes me very happy. I am enjoying watching him discover and enjoy music for himself. 
It’s funny how songs can transport us. I have been listening to The Cars this week. Songs I used to listen to by playing a cassette tape (just google it kids!) while staying at the house of the sons of one of my mother’s friends in Redfern. I used to travel to Sydney for drama classes and stay overnight. The sons were in their twenties. I was around sixteen. The house permanently smelt, of dope and other things best left unexplored. Dank and dark and barely standing, there were holes in the walls and treads missing on the stairs. The walls that were still standing were covered in artwork and script. I wish I’d taken photos now. 

The December I turned sixteen my mother left me on New Years Eve with these same guys. At sixteen I looked about twelve. They took me out to Kings Cross with them and we spent the night at the Kardomah Cafe. I spent the night speaking to a middle aged American man who was flying out of Sydney the next day. 

Music feels like a time machine, transporting me back to people and places and sounds and smells. That New Years Eve was over thirty years ago now. My Daughter was born two years later. I can still feel it all but I can’t reach out and touch her. 
And I really wish I could. 


Well, here we are again. Another year.  2017. Donald Trump is the American president and it’s safe to say the times they are a changin’, for me personally and on a worldwide level. It’s safe for me to say that because times always do. Change is our constant. 

My current psych is trying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with me. Part of that is mindfulness. Be in the now. Sure. Still, as much as I acknowledge that the past is the past and cannot be altered the inalienable truth for me is that the absence of my Daughter Number One is my present. I acknowledge that she is gone but that loss, the great, gaping, abyss-like wound caused by her absence is with me always. And most days, most minutes of most days, it takes everything I have not to just fall right in. Some days it takes everything I have not to just jump. Or to simply let go and drift gracefully into the warm, inky, welcoming, comforting, NOTHING blackness. 

Because for me, there is nothing beautiful about my own struggle. It is me, hanging on by my fingernails as I feel them splinter, grazing my knees and elbows as I stumble along, blinded by my tears and struggling to breathe against the constriction of my chest. Aching joints, aching head, aching heart. And that is me being mindful. That is me living in the now; where my other children grow older and my Daughter’s friends get engaged to be married and my first born Daughter never does and never will. Where I accept the reality of her absence but that will never make it ok. 

After George Michael died last year, after Prince and Leonard Cohen, I commented somewhere that it was the year the music died, but of course I was wrong. The music is eternal. The gifts people give the world, that is what they leave us to hold onto. For someone who only lived fourteen years the legacy of love my Daughter Number One left behind is immense. I am awed by it. Sometimes I am even comforted by it. But it is not enough and never will be. Call me a greedy bitch if you like, I know some people have much less. But I want more. 

Since I have told you what there is safe to say and what is fair, let me tell you what is UNFAIR and not safe to say out loud. Ironically, as I wrote that last sentence I wrote ‘fear’ instead of ‘fair’ and I allowed myself a wry chuckle, that, sitting on a crowded flight with tears escaping from my eyes, could only enhance the aura I imagine surrounds me!

This year I face the fourteenth anniversary of my Daughter’s murder. No anniversary is easy and I have told you before that the months between her birthday and the anniversary are progressively excruciating. As the years have passed though (how is that even possible?) I have been aware of an increasing dread. As we start off another year I can tell you it has now grown into a creeping, cold terror that wraps itself around me. It is crushing. It is paralysing. 

It is the knowledge that at a certain point this year my Daughter Number One will have been gone for longer than she was here. And for some reason the thought of that is DEVASTATING to me. For a start, it doesn’t even seem possible. To continue to be living this long without her. It is a thought my mind has trouble containing because it is just so wrong. JUST SO VERY WRONG. Incomprehensible. Perhaps it is the simple fact that we are not meant to outlive our children. It isn’t the way it is meant to be. Which is why, when Debbie Reynolds died so quickly after Carrie Fisher, I thought ‘Oh, that’s good’. 

Rationally I know that this year will not make my Daughter any more gone but I can only tell you how it feels. And how it feels is like I am losing her all over again. That, somehow, she is getting farther away. That she is disappearing further and I literally do not know how I will bear it. I do not know how to do this. To keep doing this. I am so scared. What I don’t expect people to understand unless they have similar experiences (and I don’t wish that on anybody) is that it isn’t and has never been one finite loss. Clear cut and contained. It is a million, billion losses that still – daily – assault me. Sometimes with the force of a sledgehammer and sometimes more of a pin prick but they are chronic and unending. My loss does not diminish. It is infinite and immeasurable. I have simply lived with it longer, the longer I live. 

My other children, my beautiful friends, my family of the heart; they are the reasons I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know I am so lucky to have them. I know I do not walk alone. But oh, gosh, it’s been such a long walk. I am so tired. It is not so much good days and bad but better days or worse. I know joy, I feel happiness but they are bittersweet. Part of that is guilt. Even when I am happy I am sad. Trying to ‘pass’ as a functional human being is exhausting. 

Today I am travelling and I enjoy that. I love being up here in the air. When you get above the clouds the sun is always shining. I am sitting in the emergency exit row. My first time ever. I don’t like having to put my handbag above me in the overhead locker and not having it easily accessible but, eh, I took out everything I hope I’ll need on this short flight so ok. It seems a small price to pay for the extra leg room! I am actually sitting here with my legs crossed! Which is probably really bad for my circulation but feels so comfortable! 

This is the second of three flights I will take today and as usual I am taking the long way around. The road less travelled. My first flight took me south. This flight takes me north, over and past the point from which I started and the flight this evening will take me west and home. Five flights, four airports and three states total in forty eight hours. I am lucky to be able to spend time with people I love on this journey. But parting is always such sweet sorrow. So I am in a state of agonising ecstasy today.  

I knew early on, after my Daughter’s murder, that it would be terribly easy to slip into a cosy state of detachment. In fact, completely switching off emotionally is what I constantly, consciously fight against. It would be so easy, to just not feel. It would be So. Much. Easier. And some days I need the reprieve. But as a very dear, much loved kindred spirit reminded me today, indifference is the opposite of love. And I choose to keep loving. And feeling and living. Because how is any of it worth it otherwise? 

My not so little now Daughter Number Two said to me yesterday “It is hard when you are always missing someone.” 

And she’s right. It is. It just is. 

Safe onward travel x 

~ For Chris, and her beautiful family, on this Christmas Day – with all my love x ~

Twelve months ago I uploaded this video tribute to my Daughter Number One to YouTube and shared it here with you. And it’s been quite a year since then. 2016, right? Is it something in the air? The water? Whatever. I know this year hasn’t just been a struggle for me. On a global level, as well as more intimately it has felt like we’ve all been reeling from blow after blow. Events, that if you wrote out a list of them and gave them to someone five years ago, wouldn’t have seemed in any way plausible. Especially not all in the one year. And yet, here we are. And still the world turns. 
My little video set off a chain of events for me that meant by early March this year my words exploded across the world. I had a few things going on at the time personally and then, as now, the whole thing was surreal and humbling. In all the media hoopla I was privileged to speak to journalists with integrity, humanity and humour and others who reminded me how easy it is to be viewed as a commodity. 

I was touched by the real people who connected with my words and took the time to let me know. I was amazed by the numbers of people visiting here. I was gobsmacked to see my photos and words translated into other languages. At the time my only regular internet access was via my phone and on that tiny screen I watched the whole thing unfold and expand and take on a life of it’s own. And although I still get hits here from articles written then things have largely settled down. At the time it felt HUGE! At the time I guess it was. But I’m still me and those that know me and love me, still do. 

So, I’m in the middle of moving, again. This move comes with some security though and the opportunity to settle for a bit. I’m thinking that might be nice. I’m a little weary, if I’m honest. Somewhere to stop for a while sounds good to me. 

I’ve been looking back over this year and thinking about what ‘home’ actually means to me. If home is where the heart is then my home is scattered all over the country, with pieces around the world and between heaven and earth. 

Home is walking into a house that you’ve seen change over the years, but that feels familiar even so. Where there is a photo of your Daughter on the fridge and one beside the bed you will sleep in while you are there. It is a new tattoo and old friendships. It is fish and chips on a windy day and a death defying swing. 

Home is a handful of keys and the trust of a friend and the excitement of two four legged lunatics each and every time I came through the door. Home is being asked what you are doing for Christmas. 

Home is an unfamiliar place, with lots of jostling people and a face you love saying words you need to hear. It is the sun on your back and the wind in your hair and your hand resting on black velvet. 

Home is acceptance and comfort and shelter. Maybe home is where ever hearts are open to you. Where there are arms to hold you and hands to catch you. 

My new place has been almost entirely furnished with gifts from dear friends. I love that I can look around the room and have a physical reminder of them. I have much to be grateful for, and I am. 


Son Number Two and I were at an Angelhands event on Friday evening, their Tree of Angels event. I was overwhelmed before we even arrived. There’s moving stuff and health stuff and life stuff and Christmas looming and when I arrived all I was hoping for was to get through as much of the event as I could because even being out of the house was feeling like a bit of an ask. 

We got there before it was too busy and found a ‘safe’ place to stand. My mind was with my Daughter Number One and all the Christmas memories I have of her. I was holding onto myself pretty tightly by this point. Son Number Two’s phone went off in his hand and it was Daughter Number Two, ringing to tell us about her singing performance in a Christmas concert. 

I realised, my own phone in my bag, that I had already missed two calls from her before she tried her brother’s phone. I called her right back. She was full of excitement and thrilled that one of my facebook friend’s had come to her concert and introduced himself to her before asking Baby Daddy if he could take photos and share them with me. 

I hadn’t been speaking to her long before I realised the speakers were starting and I heard the disappointment in my Daughter’s voice as I told her I needed to be quiet and so I had to go. 

I tried to listen to the speakers, without actually listening to their words. Keep breathing. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Just breathe. I was feeling the loss and the guilt around my eldest Daughter’s death. The disappointment in my youngest Daughter’s voice echoed in my head. My head started to pound and my chest was tight. 

As the second speaker spoke she made reference to being a super mum “as many of us here are” and my Son Number Two patted me on the shoulder, looked down (he is so very tall these days!) and nodded and smiled at me, without a single trace of irony, not one little bit, and my tears choked me. 

Speaker number two ended and I dialled Daughter Number Two’s number with my shaking hands and she started telling me her tales again. To my dismay, a few minutes in, I realised that someone else was now speaking and I couldn’t hang up again. I had to walk, in front of the speaker, through all the people, before being able to scuttle to the far end of the room and stand with my forehead touching the cool glass of the floor to ceiling windows and I listened to my little girl and told her about the Jacaranda tree I could see in the distance. 

As I hung up the phone a little boy walked over to me, plastic case in hand. He stopped in front of me and opened his case to reveal a collection of super hero action figures. We both knelt on the ground and he introduced me to all of his actions figures, one by one, showing me the lights they had on their chests. I let him finish speaking before steeeing him back towards the main gathering and I watched as he trotted confidently into the group and felt my heart catch. 

I found my own little big boy and told him that I was ready to go. We said our goodbyes and went down the stairs and into the warm dusk light and I needed to stop for a minute to catch my breath, or rather, to release the breath I hadn’t realised I had been holding. 

When we were leaving the Angelhands event Son Number Two and I were given a delicious looking white chocolate mud cake. On the train heading back to town we resolved to pay the cake forward to someone living on the street. But we got off the train and were met with a mall full of food stalls and people. More people! So many people! One step at a time, one step at a time. Focus on the Christmas lights until you get through the people. 

And I didn’t know how we would ever find someone living rough in such a crowd but I guess the thing is, even in this lucky country, if you look, then you will find them. So Son Number Two and I did. We gifted that delectable looking white chocolate mud cake to a guy with a French accent who said thank you but wouldn’t look at us. 

And I wondered what home meant to him? 

Safe onward travel x 

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