1461 days without you

grief self portrait

At the friendship bench dedicated to Zoe at her school

In other years I have these posts written in my head long before the anniversary of the day you left us, but this year there just don’t seem to be any words, so this may be a little disjointed.

I’m borrowing some words from another bereaved parent, songwriter, author and musician Nick Cave, from the depths of his grief after losing his son: “I think I’m losing my voice… just file it under lost things. My voice, my iPhone, my judgment, my memory… isn’t it the invisible things that have so much mass?” Continue reading

A tap on the shoulder from the universe

Monarch butterfly

In the couple of years following Zoe’s death, I wouldn’t have recognised inspiration or an idea if it hit me over the head, let alone tapped me on the shoulder. I did manage to resurrect my half forgotten blog and tortuously express some thoughts in writing, but it didn’t particularly feel like inspiration, or a message from the universe. It felt more like a desperate and visceral compulsion to make sense of what had happened and communicate my pain.

But right now, the the universe does seem to be telling me something. I think it’s to write more, which I haven’t been doing much of recently – one new post in three months.

Last week The Daily Post included an excerpt from one of my posts in their one of theirs, Creating (the physical and mental) space to write, which clearly I haven’t done recently. The response from a reader reminded me of one reason I write, or at least one of the reasons I publish what I write. Continue reading

A map of Paris

Map of Paris

Paris had always been the romantic city I dreamed of returning to. I had spent just four days there one December when I was 22, travelling on a backpackers budget. Bundled up inadequately against the bone chilling cold, we trudged the streets of the City of Light, admiring the Christmas lights, standing on the banks of the Seine watching the Eiffel Tour light up, drinking cheap red wine, eating from prix fixe tourist menus and seeing as many art museums as we could fit in. The day we left, we woke to snow.

So I was delighted when Zoe started to read and was captivated by the book Thea Stilton and the Mystery in Paris. It follows the adventures of five um… amateur detective mice as they solve the mystery of some stolen haute couture designs while tracking the thief around all of the Paris landmarks. As you do. Continue reading

The Princess Manifesto and other Zoe-isms

I don’t usually write posts based on writing prompts – I just write when I feel the inspiration (bad blogger). But today I saw a prompt that was one word – handwritten.

Co-incidentally, after a discussion with friends about wedding dresses, I had been thinking about something Zoe wrote in a card to me. It was around the time of the royal wedding and all the little girls at her school were obsessed with weddings, so I showed Zoe the photos of my wedding to her Dad. Disappointingly for Zoe I had neither a train on my dress, nor a veil on my head. However the photo that fascinated her was the one at the top of this post, because it was all about her, a 32 week post conception Zoe in mummy’s tummy, in a wedding dress, inspiring her to draw me a picture and write me a card with these words in it. Continue reading

Compassion is hereditary #1000speak

I inherited compassion from my daughter

You know that saying – “Insanity is hereditary, you get if from your kids”?
Well, I think I inherited compassion from my daughter.

Until recently it was widely believed (in Western cultures anyway) that babies were born innately selfish, that it was our moral duty as parents to turn them from self obsessed little savages into beings fit for human society, through training them with reward and punishment. It seemed to make sense – after all, newborns are famously demanding in getting their own needs met no matter how exhausted their parents. Continue reading

The return of Charlie Cat (or on belonging)

Can one shaggy fickle moggy show you where you belong?

Returnofcharliecat_small

We didn’t adopt Charlie Cat, he adopted us, soon after we moved to our new house in 2008, the year before Zoe’s cancer diagnosis. We’d moved from a townhouse in the inner city to a single level house with a safe little garden Zoe could play in. No more lugging washing up two flights of stairs along with a strong willed toddler, or driving to where she could walk on the grass.  It was a house that matched my dream of how family life should be, in a neighbourhood of other families, close to the zoo, playgrounds and the beach. There was even a walking school bus to the local primary school and a feijoa tree in the garden.

The week we moved here, I walked with then 2 year old Zoe to the supermarket around the corner. She stopped at virtually every house along the way. “Look, a house, a fence. Look another house, another fence.” With the right house, I felt sure we would become that perfect family, give Zoe a quintessential Kiwi childhood and that our marriage problems would become a distant memory. The addition of a household pet seemed like the icing on the cake. It felt like a sign that he had chosen us. Continue reading