I had always wondered how I would feel if someone close to me died. When I was still in school one of my local town friends was killed in an industrial accident … I was in shock … I went to the funeral and witnessed many people in tears … I felt numb, almost a “nothingness”. I have yet to lose a member of my family and I could not even imagine how it would feel to lose one’s own child.
Prior to making a complete life change and moving to South Gippsland, my partner (and the father of my daughter), was diagnosed with cancer …. he opted for chemotherapy as his preferred treatment and we watched as his body did its best to cope with the massive amounts of toxins administered.
In many ways, being witness to this process I experienced my very first feelings of grief, and among other reasons I found the trauma was too much for me to cope with. I made an enormous decision to make a complete life change and move to a quiet area of South Gippsland (my friends thought Mount Best was more “remote” than quiet though).
Just prior to our move, Crystal’s father was diagnosed as terminal and given 6- 9 months to live. He fought hard and made it right up until the 9 month stage before they administered a rather large dose of painkillers that eventually helped him to pass peacefully.
When I received the phone call to inform me of his death, I was in disbelief, and I don’t remember even shedding much of a tear at that time as my grieving and feelings of loss began from the moment I made the decision to move from Melbourne and out of his life.
Right or wrong, the decision I made was a difficult one. The trauma, loss and grief were experienced in massive amounts (before his death) and I wondered how I would cope as a mother and what the future would hold. I went into semi-exile for 3 years and my neighbours at Mt Best were even unaware I had even moved into the new house until many months had passed.
I have been blessed to have moved to this area of South Gippsland and I am grateful for the experience that prompted the move – or my life would be very different. At Mount Best, my neighbours persisted in dropping me off farm produce and “goodies” even though I was very insistent that I was OK. Eventually they encouraged me to go out in public again, little by little, and gave me a safe haven to talk and express my feelings. In many ways, their home feels more like home to me than my own home does.
There are people who come into our lives for reasons we are unaware of at the time. Sometimes they bring pleasure and joy and sometimes other emotions and experiences, but ALL of the people who have played a major role in my life have taught me great lessons and in essence made me a better person.
I don’t know how grief and loss will effect me in the future, but I do know this, it makes me appreciate more of what I have in this moment.
I always do my best to tell people I love them (when I feel it) and to create the opportunity for resolutions to occur, just in case this moment is the last time I will ever see them again.
I hope that I will always leave the space open for people to say what needs to be said to me, and then encourage them to move beyond the past and into the future.
But most importantly I’d like to encourage people to live in this moment right now, as if it may be your last.
All my love and the kindest wishes to you,
Copyright ©2007 Elizabeth Richardson