Peace for our Lou

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Today I am up in Sunshine Beach with my sister Bec, thinking of our beautiful Lou, who left this life two years ago today. It is a rainy old day, and we can feel Lou saying “No rush, just go gently, stay inside and rest, have long chats and good laughs together”, just as we both used to do with her, our special sister and dear friend.

To honour Lou today, I am sharing some of her photography, taken in her beloved Bali, and one of her beautiful, gentle poems.

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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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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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My creative life – past, present and future!

IMG_3711I mentioned at the end of my last post that I would be writing about “my creative life”. So I thought I would fill you in on the story of my (very short!) creative life to date. Some of you might think I have always been a painter, so the following may surprise you …

This photo shows me at kindergarten, aged about 4, painting a glorious creation! In all honesty, up until recent times, that was the last time I can recall immersing myself in painting or drawing or any kind of artistic endeavor. Yes, I have expressed my creative self in some ways through my business experience, whether through dreaming up a marketing campaign for a brand (I held various marketing/ management roles in a number of big companies in my career) or a new store concept for my own fashion business. But I never really knew I had any kind of artistic talent, at all. Somewhere along the way I must have shut it down, considering it “babyish” or frivolous, and that I really wasn’t any good at it. Along with many other children growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, we were actively encouraged to choose our careers in vocations that would “make money”, and art was certainly not considered to be one of those!

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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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Christmas … and four months post surgery update

Anna, me and Paula

Anna, me and Paula at the Christmas table

Hope this finds everyone happy with their Christmas celebrations. We had a lovely time, joined by my two sisters, Anna and Paula. And of course, Martha and Lou were watching over all of us, wherever we happened to be!

On Christmas night I was so exhausted, it felt like a wave of fatigue had hit me like a truck! Clearly I’m still not up for a lot of running around and it was another reminder post surgery that “it ain’t over yet!” I went to see James, my surgeon last Friday for a final check up, and he reinforced this too. 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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A breath of fresh air

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Yesterday marked five weeks since my surgery, and I am very happy to report that I have just returned from the beach house of my very generous friend, Trent, who offered me the use of his house in Palm Beach for a few days. It was absolutely beautiful – the weather, the house and the spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean from the balcony! I arrived on Tuesday with Holly, and we left today. I can only be away from home for a couple of days because I have to be back to have my dressings changed, but I am so glad we went. There is something about a water view that is so soothing. Last week I was not sure I would have the energy for the drive of just over an hour from home, but it was fine, and once we got there I wished we didn’t have to leave so soon!

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Silver linings … and more girl talk

"Soar high" by my sister, Paula

“Soar high” by my sister, Paula

I received a lovely email yesterday from an old friend, in which he said:  “I’m sure you’ll look back in a few years and reflect on this time as one of enormous growth and a period which has given you such a different and important way of thinking. I guess that’s often the beauty of challenging times and this silver lining comes to us all a bit later on. Life is an interesting old journey isn’t it?”

Well, it sure is! I think I have learned more in the last two years about how life works than I have in the previous fifty! And yes, one of my learnings is that in hard times there is always a reason for them, and a lesson (or two or three or more!) to be learned.

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