Mighty Martha – 3 years on

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Martha on Rainbow Beach ~ 2000 (pre breast cancer)

Today it is three years since Martha passed away, over there to heaven, out of her tired and painful body. I do remember that day with sadness, but as the years have gone on, it has become a day to celebrate too. I know now that Martha lives on in a new realm with Lou. They’ve run their life races here, and now I feel like it is time for me to pick up where they left off, make the most of my life, and celebrate the creative spirit that has awakened in me since Martha passed away.

December 7 will always be important – time to reflect on Martha’s life, and celebrate the person that she was to me. I don’t think either of us ever really knew or understood the connection that we shared. I loved her, supported her and honored her while she was alive, but now I can see more clearly her most special attributes: brave, independent, expressive, creative, kind, vulnerable – a truly beautiful soul. Those of you that knew her well would agree I am sure! She wasn’t perfect, none of us are. But the thing that I love and admire most about her now is that she was true to herself all along.

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My life is a movie (and yours is one too!)

follow your heartWhen I started this blog last year, it was really to keep family and friends updated on my progress through my breast surgery and recovery, with a view to using it in future for my possible art business. As time has gone on, the thing that I really love is when my blog helps someone else. I have received quite a number of comments and emails from other women, who have been through, or will be going through the same breast reconstruction, and they tell me it has helped to hear of my experience too.

With that in mind, today I want to share something that has really helped me in a broader sense over the last few years, through the loss of my two sisters, my business and my breast surgery and recovery. I have had plenty of time to have a good think about my life to date, and how I would like it to be going forward. I have started to see things in a whole new way. I have developed a “life philosophy” of sorts that really helps me make sense of things, to live in the moment more and not to worry so much. I call it “My life is a movie”. It’s a bit out there, but it works for me, and I hope it resonates with (and helps!) even one other person reading this post. For the record, here’s what I now believe life is all about (aka “the meaning of life” according to Sarah – haha!)

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Honouring Lou

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Today marks a sad milestone for my family. Twelve months ago today my sister Lou made the decision to end her life. Lou was such a gentle soul and it shocked us all deeply to hear of the tragedy that day.

Lou was an intelligent, graceful, sensitive woman, qualified as an architect, financial planner and teacher. She was also a great traveller, a photographer and a prolific writer. But most of all, she was a precious soul – kind, gentle and thoughtful. I really do not think for a moment she meant to bring any harm or distress to anyone, and would be deeply sad to know of the grief so many have endured in the aftermath.

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New York, New York!

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Me on Brooklyn Bridge in 2013

New York seems to be the place where so much happens for me. I have travelled there at least twice a year in the past 30 odd years (yes, that makes me feel old typing that!). In my corporate roles, I travelled there for fashion inspiration, and then when I started my own fashion business, pink zebra, it was where I went to research the market and select the fashion labels I wanted to range in my own boutiques. That was pretty exciting! Nine years ago I flew to New York and managed to secure ALL of the labels I wanted for pink zebra, and had exclusive rights for them in Australia. Oh happy days! Since then the internet has made any and all international labels available to Australians at the click of a button, but they were good days, pioneering bringing those US fashion labels to Australian shores.

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My lovely mum

All of us – Mum with yellow scarf

This past weekend has been pretty special. We celebrated Mum’s recent 80th birthday in country Victoria at Healesville. All of Mum’s children and almost all of her grandchildren were there, as well as our husbands, and including, as extra special guests, my brother Luke and his middle daughter, all the way from New York. It is the first time four year old Ziggy has been to Australia, so we took great delight in introducing her to kangaroos and koalas in the local wildlife sanctuary there. (And personally, I loved being able to do some colouring in with my creative little niece and god daughter – we share a passion for drawing, colour, pretty things, flowers, hearts and butterflies!)

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A party in the sky – Lou at 50

Lou on the day of Bec's wedding 2000

Lou on the day of Bec’s wedding 2000

Today our dear Lou turns fifty and I’m quite sure she is having a party in the sky with Martha to celebrate. We will all be remembering Lou and the accomplished person that she was in so many ways – an architect, a world traveller, a teacher, a writer, a poet, a kind heart. Lou had different connections with so many people and I’m sure she would be humbled to know how dearly loved and well remembered she is.

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A tender heart – remembering Lou

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Lou with me at my wedding –  a good sister & friend

Today is the six month anniversary of the day that Lou left us, so it’s one of quiet reflection for me, my family and her dear friends, remembering Lou and the special person that she was to each of us.

I was thinking about Lou last night, and our final long conversation together. I remembered how I was telling her how devastated I’d felt after Martha left, for such a very long time. So many days and nights of tears for my loss. So I said to Lou, “I was such a sook”. And Lou said gently, “Oh no! Not a sook. Don’t call yourself that. You were sad. There’s got to be a better word than ‘sook’. Use a different word. You are not a sook, you are …. tender”.

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A special birthday

Sunshine Beach this morning (compliments of Bec!)

Sunshine Beach this morning (compliments of Bec!)

Happy new year to all of you reading my blog – the start of a year in which I’ll be looking for the “icing” and positives, celebrating the good times and going gently and carefully through any challenging times. All is well!

Today is special to my family not only because it is New Year’s Day, but also because it is Martha’s, and her twin brother, Luke’s birthday. I think they’ve never liked celebrating their birthday on the morning after everyone else has exhausted themselves partying the night before, but I do think it is a lovely day for their birthday. Time to reflect on successes from the year before, and time to make plans for good things to be achieved in the new year ahead too. That’s what I will be doing in coming days, making a careful plan for all of my intentions for the year – there will be art and cashmere and love and laughter in there for sure! Continue reading

Heaven on earth

Paradise Rocks, Sunshine Beach, Qld

Paradise Rocks, Sunshine Beach, Qld

I have returned from my lovely week in Noosa. Such a special time, being in so many of Martha’s favorite places, with some of her favorite people too. I had a lovely dawn walk with her ex boyfriend Tom, along the very beautiful Sunshine Beach as well as dinner and a morning beach walk with her dear friend Doris too.

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Martha’s party in the sky

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This time two years ago, our beautiful sister, daughter and friend Martha passed away. She was such a beautiful, special and courageous person. Not perfect, none of us are. But really so inspirational in how she lived her life, true to her creative self from beginning to end, and bravely enduring ten years of cancer treatment with good grace and humor.

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