A few months ago a customer came into our office and after twenty five years living away she was buying a house in the town she grew up in. Why? I asked her. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had months to live.
‘I’ve come home to die’ she said to me. I could not hide the water coming from my eyes.
If we didn’t lose our precious daughter I doubt we would’ve left everything and everyone we knew to move to a random country town ten hours away.
When people ask me why we moved here, I tell them. I say ‘our daughter died and we want a different life for our kids, for us, because of her.’
It took two years to finally make that decision and when we did we moved fast.
In December 2014, when my husband and I had the keys to our beautiful country home we sat on the front verandah holding hands and smiling at each other.
Two weeks later the children were settled in our home and we were saying goodbye to our man of the house as he travelled back to Sydney to work.
Since then we have seen him every second weekend. Sometimes more often but not as much as we’d like.
Me and the children settled into a strict routine which usually sustains my sanity until about the 12th day when I usually burst into tears or yell and wonder how I’ll manage to get through one more night without him.
Our light box is a constant reminder and update of how many sleeps until we see him again. Some people in our town think he’s a figment of my imagination lol!!
The last nine months have been a huge learning curve. I’ve learnt to adjust on my own to a whole new way of life. A slower, more peaceful way of life. I’ve learnt how to dispose of cane toads, put half dead rabbits out of their misery, catch frogs in our house, raise and nurture baby chickens, bottle feed and nurture baby goats.
Ive learnt how to attach one garbage bin to the tow bar of the car and the other in my right hand whilst driving them across the road for their collection point.
Ive learnt to love the rain for it fills our water tanks up. Without water or electricity we can’t even flush our toilets. Ive learnt so many things about pumps and water tanks I’m sure I could sell them with my eyes closed.
I’ve become in love with the funkiest gumboots which are my favourite choice of footwear whenever possible. Our neighbour finds my gumboots rather amusing. I’m delighted they make him smile.
Ive helped our children understand, learn and thrive in a new environment. I’ve taught them to embrace change and all things new to experience as much as life will show us. I’ve sat back and admired my teachings and watched my little people smile with excitement at their new circle of friends.
I too have learnt to make new friends. To start from scratch. To grieve and understand the friendships I once treasured, which now are lost somewhere because of distance or were solely a purpose in my life for only a season or two. To embrace these new treasured people in my life who have made us feel like family.
I have learnt to say no – a huge feat for me. Equally I’ve learnt to say yes. To accept love, friendship, a cooked meal or babysitting.
Because I’ve learnt I am not super woman. Although I have been doing this on my own the village around me has kept me standing. When it got too much there was always a cup of tea or a glass of wine and some macadamia nuts to crack. Or even better a flight would arrive with my Mum or Nanna or my in-laws to stay and help and allow me to take a breath again.
After nine years of being mother I have learnt how important ‘me time’ is. I now live for my Monday or Tuesday when all three kids are at school or preschool and I don’t have to work. I love my yoga class and my lone walk on the beach with my favourite coffee in hand. I love going home to a silent house where I can make a cup of tea and sit in the sunshine and read my book for hours on my own.
I have learnt to love my husband even more every day. For working and living away from his family has been a great sacrifice that he has made to ensure success for our beautiful future.
So, ‘Three more sleeps until forever’ means I get to wake up next to him every morning.
We will hear the cows mooing, the goats mah-ing and the roosters crowing together every morning. I’ll have someone to have a cup of tea with in the morning sun on our back verandah. I’ll have someone to read bedtime stories to the kids too.
Our life will no longer be a countdown till the next time we meet again.
We can sit down in the evenings and watch the sun setting and smile at eachother because we’ve finally done it. We didn’t just talk about it, we actually did it!
Forever is the beginning of our new life that we’ve dreamed of and we get to start living it and I really cannot wait!!
‘Three more sleeps until forever’