Posts tagged ‘school’


We are hurtling towards the end of the year and soon 2017 will be done.

To be honest, I’m not sure I will miss it. Next week, here in Australia, we find out the result of our criminally wasteful, hate mongering, progress delaying postal survey to see if some of us can have the same right as the rest of us. And still nothing will change, because this postal survey doesn’t actually change anything – except the degree to which people now feel free to spew hate about a certain group of us. Oh, and the millions of dollars less we now have to spend on silly stuff like education, health, the homeless, the environment. All those trivial things which can’t really matter much if we have money to burn on what is essentially ugly confetti at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe they are seeing how many more mass shootings they can cram in before the end of the year because gun control is a less attractive alternative (What. The. Actual. Fuck. ?????!!!!)

SIGH. If only we could use our powers for good.

Guys, I’m exhausted. The last few months have been intense. Good things and bad things, both, but intense and I’m weary.

Son Number Two graduated high school recently. This is a good thing. I am incredibly proud of him. I know how far he has had to travel and the obstacles he has had to navigate. I didn’t finish high school. I was pregnant with Daughter Number One by age seventeen. I went back to tertiary studies after having children but I didn’t finish high school. Son Number Two is the first of my children to finish high school. His graduation was a big deal to me, for his sake and for mine.

I don’t think I anticipated just quite how much of a huge deal it was to me until we actually attended the ceremony. Son Number Two had to be there early for a rehearsal so he’d gone ahead with his friends. I was attending with one of my friends. As soon as we entered the ceremony room tears started streaming down my face. Luckily the lights were low and I held on to my friend tightly as I struggled to compose myself. I managed to contain any sobs but the tears quietly snaked down my face for a long time. Before proceedings had even begun; before the graduating class was even in the room. Eventually, my tears slowed, then stopped. ‘Ok’ I thought, ‘I’m ok, I’ve got this under control.’ And I did. Right up until one of the speakers asked us to think back to when our students had started school.

I do remember when Son Number Two started school. He started school eight months after his big sister was murdered. My little boy’s world had been blown apart and at that stage we were still lurching between the inquest and other court proceedings. There was no security. There wasn’t even much familiarity. Everything and everyone Son Number Two had ever known had either been brutally ripped from his life or changed almost beyond recognition, including me. He was so small and so defeated. I remember standing beside his desk – was it an orientation or the first day? I can’t be sure. What I remember is the sheet on the desk and his downcast eyes as he said ‘It’s too hard. I can’t do it.’

It was too hard, because everything was too hard. Over the years I’m not sure things got easier. Times changed. Schools changed. Six times over the course of his educational career. It’s only really been in the last several years that Son Number Two has had any confidence in his abilities or discovered there were actually things he enjoyed about learning. He was lucky to have some help along the way, someone who cared enough to see his real potential. Someone who, one way and another, inspired my Son to start living up to that potential. Like me, he has very good friends. Son Number Two took the road less travelled but he got there in the end. I am so proud of the young man he is and so excited by who he is becoming.

I was completely overwhelmed throughout the graduation ceremony. My head was pounding. We were seated near the door so after Son Number Two had sauntered from the room like a rock star my friend and I went into the hall to wait for him. We found him as he and his friends went to get a photo together at the end of the corridor. The entrance to the building was at the other end of the corridor and, as we waited, the corridor started filling with people spilling out of the ceremony room. I could feel my throat closing over and my chest getting tight so my friend and I elected to head outside for some air.

Son Number Two finally emerged. We took some photos and exchanged hugs and wished him on his way. I was staying at my friend’s place so my Son and his friends could celebrate at ours. As soon as I got into my friend’s car the sobs I had been containing broke free. Noisy and ugly. We made the short journey back to his place where his daughter had dinner waiting for us. I went to get changed into less formal wear and then walked out to the back patio to sit with my friend. As I walked through his back door the nausea I had been trying to suppress all evening overtook me and I walked straight past my friend and threw up in his back garden.

There were so many conflicting emotions. My focus had been my Son but the empty space where Daughter Number One should have been felt emptier that night. As proud and happy for him as I am it is bittersweet for me that he is the first of my children to graduate high school. And I fruitlessly wonder how much more of his potential he would have realised, or how much sooner, if things had been different. I let the anger wash over me and let it go. It is what it is. And really, as far as he has come, it is still only the beginning for my Son Number Two.

I haven’t really been able to hit my stride again yet. There are lots of emotions at this time of year and this year has been a long one. Not the longest, to be sure, but still. Lots of first times. Lots of last times.


I took this photo and the one below at Stockton Beach on the east coast of Australia, mere months before my Daughter’s murder and around a year before Son Number Two started school. In the top right of the photo of Daughter Number one dancing in the waves is a corner of the shipwrecked MV Sygna. You can see it clearly behind four year old Son Number Two here.

Last year, a few days after the anniversary of Daughter Number Ones death, most of what was left visible of the MV Sygna slipped into the sea during storms. Apparently there’s only a tiny bit there to see now. Soon enough you won’t be able to see it at all.

There are only so many days left of 2017. Try to fill yours with love. This too shall pass. All of it. Make memories, take photos, go gently with yourself and others. Travel safe x


Snap back to reality…

We’ve been away for a few days, celebrating Son Number Two’s birthday in  style! The trip also served as a long goodbye to the Current Person of Interest as we were in his neck of the woods, and when all good things came to an end we both went our own ways home.


I live in a paradise, in a seaside town with all the services and shops you want, but that still has a small town vibe. It is a stunningly beautiful place with mild weather. It is a great place to bring up kids. However, at heart I am a city girl. I love the anonymity. I love the bustle. I love the sights and sounds and smells. I love looking out and imagining all the thousands and thousands of people going about their separate lives, but all interwoven and connected in their humanity. So, we were in the big city and I soaked it up and it soothed my soul.


We were lucky enough to connect with my beautiful sister Doctor Di ( while in town, as well as Daughter Number One’s best friend who I love. These connections are also food for the soul and I am extremely grateful for them. A good time was had by all, and that’s not even counting the plane rides there and back!!


I knew that on my return home I would have to start getting serious about getting Son Number One back to school. The outcome of the meeting with his school was that they feel they can no longer meet his needs. They had suspended him rather than expel because at his age ( 15 years) he is legally able to leave school, and with an expulsion on his record there would be no obligation for any other school to take him and no responsiility for the Education Department to find him a place.  Today I have made contact with the local Special School and tomorrow we will be going to check it out. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I am excited at the thought of getting him back to school and the programs and emphasis of this school sound ideal for Son Number One. On the other hand there is some grieving around the thought of him going to a special school, some adjusting of my perceptions and hopes and dreams. But I’m sure I will get over myself soon enough. There seem to be more positives than anything else, and in some ways there is some relief in knowing the constant struggle of swimming against the mainstream tide is over. It really can only be up from here.


Because it never rains but it pours, pours, pours in my life,  while I was in the City I had a phone call from the Aged Care Facility Nana had originally stayed at for respite. This was my dream choice of facilities for her. They had a place for her and would we like it? After a little hesitation about what this may involve and the impact on my already crushing schedule, plus a short consultation with Doctor Di, I decided yes, yes we did want it. Only I’m a plane ride away. No problem! You can have until 11am on the day after you fly home to get her here. Oh great! Thanks! No pressure then, excellent.


So, today I moved Nana. It took me half an hour to throw her entire worldly possessions into garbage bags and small carry bags, which all fit into the boot of my Father’s small hatchback and strip her small room bare. In the process I discovered Nana has developed an incontinence problem. Old age is so relentless and brutal. Then I literally whisked her away from her cup of coffee and into Dad’s car for the short trip to her new home. It was slightly mind blowing how much this didn’t phase Nana but hey I’m thankful for small mercies. The staff at St. A’s fell over themselves to welcome her back- they genuinely remembered Nana and seemed sincerely pleased to see her again. Remarkably the place seemed familiar to Nana and she even remembered some of the faces. For me St. A’s just seems to have more life about the place. Not so much like a waiting room for the Reaper. Nana seemed more engaged when she was there, doing more activities, given more attention. Those are the things I want for her. So, I hung her paintings and put out her photo’s and admired the little garden outside her room and made sure she got a replacement cup of coffee before hurrying off to get back to Daughter Number Two and Son Number One.


Before we check out the Special School tomorrow I will be going to visit Nana and see how she’s doing but I am confident this will be a good thing for her. As a bonus St. A’s is around the corner from the Special School and is much easier for me to get to for visits. Anyway, it has been a big start to the week, but we seem to be on the right track. I’ll keep you posted!



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