ANZAC DAY 2020

This day has had special meaning for me since I went to Gallipoli in 1988.

It was not a tourist destination back then. We had to sweet talk the local military guard to even get on the peninsula. You could wander anywhere. There was shrapnel and bits of bone amongst the heather. The poetic monument, a message from Turkey to the Allied Forces’ families, was incredibly emotional.

Since then I’ve attended Anzac Day parades almost every year. I did it in uniform for 9 years. I’ve taken my sons, they even walked at the head of the Darfield parade one year, as I was the only Navy representative there, and “the Navy is here. Ma’am, lead the parade” I was told by an old salt!

But this morning. I’m not even sure I can find the words to describe my feelings. I wasn’t in uniform. I wasn’t wearing my medal. No colleagues were with me. My sister, bless her, got up with me. I’ve said or listened to those words we all know so well – “age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn…” but this year they held a particularly poignant sense of time and place.

I now know exactly how the parents of all those lovely young men and women felt, who’s sons and daughters have died before their time. Because my Danny will never know the ravages of time, will never get to leave his legacy in deeds and descendants. His memory will be forever young, though we grow old.

Matt and my friends/tenants in Ohope took Danny’s photograph and my medals and did their bit at the front gate. They sent me a gorgeous picture of the two of them rugged up for the occasion. I appreciated that.

We will remember them.

In pursuit of “more” resilience

8.04.20

It’s nearly 5 months since Danny was killed.

Time is weird. It feels more immediate now than while I was on Momo. I get that it’s because the world is in this crazy limbo, with Covid-19 keeping us within strict borders. But it has a strange irony, because Momo was my escape /relief/coping strategy and yet that name is from the main character of a book about time! Read it!

I feel like I had resilience. I feel I was doing quite well. I feel I was helping the whole family cope. I could see a way forward. Positive action. Don’t wallow. Do what I think Danny would want. Look after those around me. Must eat. I thought I could do all the legal stuff, organise all Danny’s estate, get the house sorted, managed it all alone. I’m used to that.

But this enormous limitation put on us all, on top of Danny’s death, has taken the wind out of my sails

I can’t do it all. By myself. I’m drowning. My struggle between empathy and compassion, that I’ve always had, has collapsed.

Still, I guess, no, I know, this recognition means I can do it. I can. Kiwis don’t die easy! I can act on the strategies other health professionals have identified. I have a head start.

12.04.20

I was supposed to leave for Europe yesterday with my new tattoo, a copy of Danny’s, on my arm. If course, neither of those things has eventuated.

But I’m making new friends down here, enjoying the time with my sister, Fizz, and niece, Kelly. It’s a beautiful place to be stuck in, if one must be. So lots of walks.

I’m putting a new pic on my wallpaper each day, on my phone. Friends from round the globe. I was using pics of Danny but it’s too bitter sweet and I think I need to stop.

Here’s some of those wonderful people who’ve touched my life positively in the last 2 years. Apart from family, of course!