Monday, February 22, 2010


We are a bit sad in Toaster town.

A very dear friend of Gaye's and good friend to all our family, Carol, died last week. Carol was an exceptional woman and her community contribution enormous. So much so there has been a research fund in her name and Gaye has put plenty of energy assisting with the establishment of this in the past months as her friend was dying. Carol was excited about the fund and what it represented and it has been a bit of a blessing for Gaye as she has poured all her sadness into action.

For Gaye this is an incredible loss, and that is not for me to blog about. But it has also been a big loss for our family ... and for me, as I mourn the loss of a friend, mentor and supporter, it has been a time of also thinking about how to walk the boys, Thomas in particular, through grief.

Carol was a big part of our lives, sharing in big and small family events and spending many an hour in tea fueled conversation about the boy’s development, milestones, trials and tribulations. Carol was a fan of our two boys and they of her. Always pleased to see each other, no matter how much time had passed between visits it was always comfortable and fun to have Carol at our home. Her visits were filled with laughter, shocked expressions, raised eyebrows and gossip er, debriefs. We talked about work, politics, public policy, our friends, her grandkids and our boys. We ate and talked and talked and ate.

I can't tell you how impossible it is to believe that this life-filled person is no longer with us. All the way through her funeral there was this sense of unbelievability about it, surely at any moment we could turn around and talk to her about what people were saying and doing in their grief.

We remained hopeful - perhaps in denial of reality - of a good or better outcome until only a short while ago. But at the same time we were open with the boys, Thomas in particular, that she was very unwell but fighting, very unwell but trying so hard to stay with us and her family for as long as she could.

Once we became aware that this was a fight she couldn't win we talked about that with him too. He broke my heart each time we talked about it, 'is there no crack not even the smallest crack in the door Mum that she can win?''what if we took her to another doctor, one far away?' Her grandchildren had similar and even more heart wrenching conversations with their parents. Making bargains and hoping for another outcome.

Although Thomas has experienced some death in his life, Carol was the first person he really loved who died.

We all went up the funeral, Thomas and Al's first. It was a very child friendly funeral ... balloons, colouring in and stickers.

We took a friend to look after Al. Al at two is not aware of the loss or the meaning of it. But I feel so sad that he will not know Carol as he grows.

I was so proud of Thomas, he cried gently and easily, he spent a lot of time gauging the reactions of the other many children at the funeral aware that some had lost their nonna, he bravely sat on his own while Gaye spoke (and I stood by her) about her love for Carol and Carol's love for our boys, he went and got both Gaye and I a cup of tea without being asked at the wake he continues to be concerned (without being anxious) for Gaye as primary griever.

It keeps passing through my mind to tell Carol ....

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

I am so sorry for your whole family's loss. And to watch a child experience grief - well, of course it is all part of life, but no easier for that I imagine. My children have yet to go through this.
My thoughts are with you.