We survived the Aussie pilgrimage (barely) and yes Noosa is all its cracked up to be. The Shangri La end of the torment of endless driving, crap food and a casual trip to casualty.*
Quiet and moody when we arrived. Perfect for us and such relief to be navigating just each other, food and sleep and not much else. Sea swims, bush walks, ice creams, fishing, naps, and nature. Jasper happy crumbing himself in the sand and tasting the crunchy particles while Toby and Hamish paddle and catch waves.
Making like a little ‘happy’ family doesn’t quite fit comfortably. But the space from the world and routine that mark our stark contrast of before and after Mia is a reprieve. My thoughts everyday and dreams are filled with Mia but not an aching or utter sadness. Like the soft gentle tears that silently roll off my cheek. I like crying, it’s a connection, something I see, hear, read, smell or her noticeable absence or a cheeky memory. I had anticipated sobbing, an aching longing pain, a sense of mourning. It’s early days but like Mia the grief is gentle and warm and somehow comforting. It’s life that gets in the way and feels more difficult to tackle.
Small innocuous moments surprise me. Ones I couldn’t really prepare for set me slightly off kilter. The pretty dresses hanging in the shop front. The gaggle of girls cartwheeling confidently, skating and carrying their board towards the water. I’m not envious but curious of them. I’m looking forward to watching Mia’s friends grow up but it feels different, I’ll be even more on the sidelines, a distant cheerleader.
The friendly mum banter in the playground feels clumsy, I second guess my automated responses, “Is he your first?’“How many children do you have?” The barista emphatically declares how lucky I am being on holiday with all my family, surrounded by handsome boys. I notice and mentally calculate space and difficulty of access to cafes and restaurants, every ramp and staircase is accounted for. Could we have had a holiday like this with Mia? Probably not.
There are bright moments between the cloudy days. A walk through the bush, dip in the ocean, an empty beach all to ourselves except for dolphins passing by, followed by an impromptu lunch. Blue sky, sparkling sea, thoughtful food and two compliant children.
The waitress recommends the pretty pale pink rosé, ‘it’s called Whispering Angel’. We order the rosé and toast our beautiful girl.
I am lucky. Surrounded by my boys and escaping the world. I am sad too, miserable. H squeezes my hand and glances at me. Silently we congratulate each other having survived another moment. Tears spill, we share small smiles.
The little boys seem fragile at times too. Toby waking in the middle of the night, one of us lying with him until he drifts back to sleep. Jasper happiest in our arms of course.
We venture home more slowly, visiting friends, family and godparents along the way. Better to break up the trip for Jasper and we aren’t quite ready to immerse ourselves in the regular routine at home, what ever that will be now.
Toby is in his element amongst the trees, sea, big sky and fresh air. Collecting chicken eggs, making fresh orange juice picked straight from the trees, feeding calves and the thrill of a motorbike and lots of space. Drawing, painting, blackberry picking, fishing, dolphin and whale spotting, bike rides and walks. It feels more like a holiday now, strangely wonderful and upended all at the same time.
It is such relief to eventually arrive home, to sleep in our own beds with our own comforts and smells. Sadly a little fleeting, adjusting to life at home is awkward. The fever and urge while away to organise things, tackle projects is not as easily executed as anticipated. I feel overwhelmed. A little lost in my own home without the delineation of Mia’s strict routines. In contrast the boys seemed to slip back in at home so easily. Jasper sleeping through the night without the holiday wake ups and early morning calls. Toby eager to be back at school for the last week of term and chuffed to be captain of hide and seek tip. Hamish delighted by his new found freedom away from work (so grateful work have accommodated this time for him and us) busy building and constructing timber projects on our deck. Throwing himself into project after project, possibly the perfect combination of good therapy and distraction? I hope his dream to build a little hut with his own hands for the ultimate escape (at Yaouk) comes to fruition. He’s pretty determined.
Adjusting to life without Mia is confusing. There’s a distinct emptiness a void in our home and hearts. I feel lost at times. And in so many ways life is easier, some days feel like a breeze being able to achieve and do more and I remind myself a reprieve from her suffering. The sadness and exhaustion is slowly ebbing all around as the adrenaline fades. Life is moving too fast for me, for now.
*plagiarised from Deborah Cornwall’s text message.
*A detour via John Hunter Hospital after Toby mistook a thermos of hot tea for a water bottle.
Stories of our love, heartache and friendship. Written by a mother.