Category: loss

From the Blog

loss

Grief Seeds

And so, here we are again. You’d think, nearly two decades later, we’d know how to do this. This day. November 13.

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family adventures

Going Deeper

December 31, 2016. It was an impossibly hot day. The sky a blaze of blue. New Years Eve sizzled off ashphalt and skin long before any fireworks sparked. We’d spent the morning —Dr M and I and the three kids—wandering Mudgee, the country town we were holidaying in, lunching in a lovely cafe that afforded a natural green canopy where pinpricks of light filtered magically through. It was all going very well. Until it wasn’t. One by one we started to deflate like tired party balloons, some noisily popping, exhaustion running off our faces along with perspiration. ‘Into the car,’ Dr M announced. ‘At least we’ll have the aircon.’

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Faith

The Days Following: Behind the Scenes of Grief

In the days following my brother’s death, there was nothing to do, and everything to do. Our normal lives had been put on hold while we negotiated that strange, liminal zone between the vaporous shock of the news, and the more solid event of the funeral. Really, though, our old lives had been obliterated. What you don’t perhaps at first realise, is that the death of a family member, or someone similarly close, means a form of death also for the one left behind. Old identities, patterns of living, habits of thought, securities, all become dust. Grievers must suddenly assume the shoes of emotional-construction workers, forced to forge new lives from the ruins of the old.

Read More
Faith

The News at the Door

That day began insignificantly. I went to work at my parent’s business. I caught a bus to pick up a box from the airport with items from my recent six month trip to Europe. I met an old friend for lunch in a city park. We talked about bicycles. I crossed a busy road, too recklessly. Carelessly. But then, I was still at least eight hours away from being acutely aware of my every movement. It was hot. It was late February. I can’t remember if it rained that day. It did after. That, unlike almost anything else that followed, seemed to make sense.

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loss

The Mixed Emotions of Mother’s Day: Guest post by Sue Crowley

Today we are doing something a little different in this space. My dear friend Sue Crowley is visiting us to share her thoughts on what she rightly calls  “the deeply complicated day” that is Mother’s Day. Sue is a surgical children’s nurse with a heart that pulses with compassion and creativity. Through sharing some memories of her own mum, who she lost seventeen years ago now, Sue speaks for all those who find Mother’s Day carries extra freight.

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Faith

My Brother’s Words: Announcing The Poetry Project

Before there was me there was my older brother Greg. Gregory David van der Kwaak. Or simply GVDK, as he was often known. Greg was, among other things (and there were many) a poet. Like many people of gifting, he started creating young. When Greg died in a car accident aged 22 he left in his wake a trail of grief the size of continents, and literally hundreds of people stumbling around in the darkness trying to stay upright his absence. But he also left behind something else. His words.

Read More
anxiety

The Big A: Meeting Anxiety

The first time I experienced acute anxiety I was twenty years old and sitting on the couch watching television. The storm of anxiety snuck up on me, and I was suddenly in its eyeball, my body lifted up from the cushions and whirled frantically around like a rag doll in a cyclone. There were people just next door in the kitchen, but I was all alone. I was helpless (or so I was convinced) before a force of such intense physical power I felt like the only way to escape would be to run with all my might.

Read More
Faith

When surprises aren’t good

I used to think I liked surprises until one day I was out at night and there was a phone call. And in an instant everything changed. What I knew to be true before was true no more. It took maybe ten years for my mind and heart to catch up. For a while, phonecalls at unexpected times –like late at night –sent me spinning. If we’re honest, sometimes they still do.

Read More
Faith

These are days you’ll remember…

Memories are never just free-floating. They have backdrops. They happen in place and time. Memories of people take place in the context of other people. Some memories stand out more than others, are more defining than others. Because they helped define you. And there are some memories you don’t ever want to stop remembering. It’s these memories you want to take with you into the future. To pass on to future generations. Because there’s just so much goodness there to be had.

Read More
loss

My Brother’s Lead, My Brother’s Legacy

Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what I mean when I say there’s a hole in my heart that won’t ever be filled. At least not on this earth. My brother Greg’s absence is an abyss not only within me, but also in the family landscape. It is always there, but at times it seems more dangerous or delicate to walk around it, like at birthday, or on the anniversary of his accident, and at other significant events.

Read More
loss

Grief Seeds

And so, here we are again. You’d think, nearly two decades later, we’d know how to do this. This day. November 13.

Read More
family adventures

Going Deeper

December 31, 2016. It was an impossibly hot day. The sky a blaze of blue. New Years Eve sizzled off ashphalt and skin long before any fireworks sparked. We’d spent the morning —Dr M and I and the three kids—wandering Mudgee, the country town we were holidaying in, lunching in a lovely cafe that afforded a natural green canopy where pinpricks of light filtered magically through. It was all going very well. Until it wasn’t. One by one we started to deflate like tired party balloons, some noisily popping, exhaustion running off our faces along with perspiration. ‘Into the car,’ Dr M announced. ‘At least we’ll have the aircon.’

Read More
Faith

The Days Following: Behind the Scenes of Grief

In the days following my brother’s death, there was nothing to do, and everything to do. Our normal lives had been put on hold while we negotiated that strange, liminal zone between the vaporous shock of the news, and the more solid event of the funeral. Really, though, our old lives had been obliterated. What you don’t perhaps at first realise, is that the death of a family member, or someone similarly close, means a form of death also for the one left behind. Old identities, patterns of living, habits of thought, securities, all become dust. Grievers must suddenly assume the shoes of emotional-construction workers, forced to forge new lives from the ruins of the old.

Read More
Faith

The News at the Door

That day began insignificantly. I went to work at my parent’s business. I caught a bus to pick up a box from the airport with items from my recent six month trip to Europe. I met an old friend for lunch in a city park. We talked about bicycles. I crossed a busy road, too recklessly. Carelessly. But then, I was still at least eight hours away from being acutely aware of my every movement. It was hot. It was late February. I can’t remember if it rained that day. It did after. That, unlike almost anything else that followed, seemed to make sense.

Read More
loss

The Mixed Emotions of Mother’s Day: Guest post by Sue Crowley

Today we are doing something a little different in this space. My dear friend Sue Crowley is visiting us to share her thoughts on what she rightly calls  “the deeply complicated day” that is Mother’s Day. Sue is a surgical children’s nurse with a heart that pulses with compassion and creativity. Through sharing some memories of her own mum, who she lost seventeen years ago now, Sue speaks for all those who find Mother’s Day carries extra freight.

Read More
Faith

My Brother’s Words: Announcing The Poetry Project

Before there was me there was my older brother Greg. Gregory David van der Kwaak. Or simply GVDK, as he was often known. Greg was, among other things (and there were many) a poet. Like many people of gifting, he started creating young. When Greg died in a car accident aged 22 he left in his wake a trail of grief the size of continents, and literally hundreds of people stumbling around in the darkness trying to stay upright his absence. But he also left behind something else. His words.

Read More
anxiety

The Big A: Meeting Anxiety

The first time I experienced acute anxiety I was twenty years old and sitting on the couch watching television. The storm of anxiety snuck up on me, and I was suddenly in its eyeball, my body lifted up from the cushions and whirled frantically around like a rag doll in a cyclone. There were people just next door in the kitchen, but I was all alone. I was helpless (or so I was convinced) before a force of such intense physical power I felt like the only way to escape would be to run with all my might.

Read More
Faith

When surprises aren’t good

I used to think I liked surprises until one day I was out at night and there was a phone call. And in an instant everything changed. What I knew to be true before was true no more. It took maybe ten years for my mind and heart to catch up. For a while, phonecalls at unexpected times –like late at night –sent me spinning. If we’re honest, sometimes they still do.

Read More
Faith

These are days you’ll remember…

Memories are never just free-floating. They have backdrops. They happen in place and time. Memories of people take place in the context of other people. Some memories stand out more than others, are more defining than others. Because they helped define you. And there are some memories you don’t ever want to stop remembering. It’s these memories you want to take with you into the future. To pass on to future generations. Because there’s just so much goodness there to be had.

Read More
loss

My Brother’s Lead, My Brother’s Legacy

Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what I mean when I say there’s a hole in my heart that won’t ever be filled. At least not on this earth. My brother Greg’s absence is an abyss not only within me, but also in the family landscape. It is always there, but at times it seems more dangerous or delicate to walk around it, like at birthday, or on the anniversary of his accident, and at other significant events.

Read More


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