A year without you

A couple of days ago I was looking through Nige’s phone. I haven’t been able to bring myself to cancel his contract with 2 degrees yet! It’s funny how cell phones have become such an integral part of our lives, so much so that they are now also a record of them. I was so grateful for that after Nige died. While I was on his phone, I also happened to look at some of the calls he had made. The last phone call he ever made was to me, on the morning he died.

It had been a terrifying phone call to receive. Nige was in hospital and had woken up unable to breath. He was stable but I had been asked to come in and meet with his doctor ASAP. I knew what this meant. Nige’s long, incredibly brave battle with cancer was drawing to an end. And one year ago today it did.

Over the last 2 weeks a lot has happened, we’ve bought a house! The kids have had a lot going on. Work has been busy. I’ve been trying not to think too much about what today would be like. But what I did decide was that today I was going to allow myself a full day to be immersed in one thing, memories of a man who shaped my life (and the lives of many others) in so any ways, and gave me two amazing, beautiful children who I couldn’t be prouder of.

Today we plant three Rimu trees, in a strong triangle, at Queen Elizabeth II park, very near the spot where Nige, myself, the kids, and of course Molly the dog would find entrance to the beach. We would walk the stretch of sand halfway to Paekakariki and back, enjoying the fresh air, beach combing, climbing the immense sand dunes, and basking in the beauty of that gorgeous view across the sea to Kapiti Island. Our turn around point was a column of tyres for many months, until they were washed away in a large storm. An old tree was brought high up on the beach during this storm, and so became our new turn around point, replacing the tyres. Out with the old and in with the new, as is life, constant transformation. Nige’s Facebook pic still shows this tree, which will forever hold meaning for myself and his family. These walks along the Kapiti Coast, at this particular spot, were very enjoyable and almost spiritual for Nige, so I think he would be OK with where we are planting the trees.

kapiti coast tree

Maybe in a year we will add a plaque, and my wish is that these trees and plaque will serve as a place where those who loved Nige may go to find him again for a few moments. The trees will be just back from the beach, behind the dunes, in a small dell. On a sunny day it is lovely and very peaceful there, with various birds chatting quietly, and the sounds of the sea in the background. As the trees grow they will reach high into the sky, as Nige did, and find the sun, peacefully enjoying the view across to Kapiti Island.

The year without you has gone by so fast Nige, and so many things have happened, things you should have been a part of. You are so missed, by so many, and will never be forgotten. Today all that love you, will remember what you meant to them, and that is a very powerful thing. I believe you have been around the last few weeks, helping out, and that you will be around today. I hope so. Gone from the world, but alive in a photo, a memory, a fragment of sand, and a breeze through some tall, proud rimu trees. Forever in our children. Forever in all of our hearts. Our rocket man, flying through the stars, to infinity.



When stuff gets hard

It’s funny how we hold faith that life is fair. We figure the ups and downs must all even out somehow, and that the effort we put in and good we do (or don’t do) must somehow make a difference.

I somehow thought, or hoped, that after Nige died the universe would give me a break. I’m a sensitive person and although I have too many good things to count in my life I also felt like there had been enough stress and heartache. Most of the stress and heartache has, in hindsight, probably been of my own doing. Because I was only capable of behaving a certain way at certain times in my life!

After Nige died I felt I had so much wisdom and a zest to live, and live large – as he could not anymore. I felt I had suffered so much I was invincible from any more hurt. I was still in the bubble of love and support friends, family and even complete strangers had cushioned me with. Along with the immense sadness and loneliness I felt a huge sense of possibility. I was alive, I could do anything. I had the power. I also had so much faith in humanity and the kindness that lay there.

Whenever something bad happens, I don’t just feel sad, I feel cheated, and I feel like I have somehow done something to deserve the pain. Of course that is rubbish. 

There is no use crying to the heavens the call of “why me?!” (Although it is tempting). Why me because I’m alive and don’t live in a bubble. Why me because I do live life large and love with a huge open heart. Why me because I stay in situations that are difficult, learning the lessons they bring, instead of running away. Why me because I give second, third and even fourth chances, because I also want to be forgiven for my own shortcomings. Why me because I want to experience all that this world has to offer. Why me because I want to make a difference and step out of my comfort zone.

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”― Madeleine L’Engle, A Ring of Endless Light

So if any of you are wondering how I am doing almost 10 months from the departure of my husband, the answer is, I am still human. I am not invincible, but nor am I buried in a huge pit of despair. I am living, taking one day at a time, looking for the beauty and the good in this world, while realising I still have to make my way through periods of dark. I am not immune to sadness due to what I have been through, but nor does what I have been through stop me from hoping that the sun will shine on me again.

I may be broken and imperfect. But I am alive.

“To be human is to be broken and broken is its own kind of beautiful.”― Robert M. Drake

Viva Las Vegas

Hi everyone,

Well today it’s been two years since Nige and I tied the knot in Las Vegas, with Elvis crooning in the background. We were so privileged to have some very good friends (family) join us – Eugene, Ian, Holly, Jas and Jen (the last-minute surprise, eh Jen ;)) The live stream meant that friends and family all over the world could laugh and cry along with us, and laugh and cry we all did.

This morning I had the most amazing dream. I dreamt I was sitting in the lounge and people were over, including Nige’s mum and I can’t remember who else. Anyway, Nige was sitting there in one of the chairs. I knew he was dead, but he looked great, just as he did before he got sick. I kept looking over at him and thinking how incredible it was that I was getting to spend this time with him even though he was dead. It made me so happy to see him looking so healthy, relaxed and happy. Whenever I looked over he would look back with those beautiful clear blue eyes, now free of pain and worldly worry.

I remember saying just three words to him  – “I miss you”.

And I got just three words back – “I love you”.

Happy Anniversary Nige xxoo

Dear Mum

Twenty-six years ago today my mum passed away after a long, hard battle with ovarian cancer. She was 48, I was 16, so she’s now been dead 10 years longer than I knew her.

She was first diagnosed when I was just 12 years old. I had just started writing in a diary and I remember writing “god I’m so scared” in small frightened letters. Mum was really nice to me the day she was diagnosed, or realised she could have cancer. It was at the doctor’s complex in Naenae. Mum had taken me with her and I had sat in the car while she was in there. I remember her coming out, and a strange atmosphere in the car. She took me to what was then Queensgate mall for lunch, and bought me some things, a small white plastic rubbish bin for my room, and my first tape – INXS kick. It was never usually that easy to get her to buy me things I wanted, so I couldn’t believe my luck. She sat across from me at the table with what I now know was an expression of shock on her face, as the mall-world rushed on around us. I was too young to understand at the time what it all meant, just that it was a very strange day, a day out of the ordinary path of our life together as I knew it. A bitter-sweet day.

Mum had a 60% chance of recovering, and after an operation to remove as much cancer as they could, she received chemotherapy treatment. The cancer went into remission – although back then I’m not sure how they knew as X-Rays and palpitation where the main diagnostic tools for her type of cancer! For a couple of years we lived a relatively normal existence in my eyes, before the cancer returned in 1989, when I was 15. I remember when it came back. We were at my Aunty Merrylyn’s house in Taradale for Christmas and mum had been having pains in her abdomen. I recall her lying on a bed in the guest room while the rest of us tried to carry on with the festive season. She was usually one to suffer alone. I entered the room at one point, concerned and wanting to comfort, feeling helpless because I didn’t know what to do or how to act. She was a strong, private woman and I often wonder what was going on in her head during those times. It must have been hell.

The year that followed was hard to describe, I was in what was then called 6th form, now 12th grade. I almost feel like I want to say it was an out of body experience. It was hard to give a shit about anything, including myself. Going to school each day, with the knowledge of an ill mother clinging to me like a protective film, there seemed little point in behaving normally.

The following year February 11th 1991 mum passed away at home, surrounding by her immediate family. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and has haunted me since. But how can you regret being there during that passage to death, for a person who carried and gave birth to you and raised you the best they could?

I’ve spent most of my life without a mother, using memories to guide me when only a mum will do. I have been my own mum, forced to find a way to love myself throughout life’s challenges. My dad of course has been an amazing and constant tower of strength, and I know I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today without his support and guidance.

It pains me to realise my children must go through the same thing I did, except even younger. Nige was only 43 when he died, the kids only 9 and 12. I look back at everything I went through after mum died, and it fills me with fear for them. It’s okay to say that this terrible experience shaped me, and that I am a better person for it. This is very true. But the memories of being in those moments of suffering are sharp and harsh.

What can we all do though but carry on, holding together our broken pieces and building a new life around them. The kids will be fine. They are strong, amazing human beings and they have the hands of many supporting them and lifting their smooth little faces towards the sun.

Attached is a photo of Eva and I at mum’s Rimu tree in the Te Omanga hospice grounds in Lower Hutt. There’s a small plaque at the base of the tree with her name on it that we clear the weeds from every now and then. Lest it get swallowed up like memories of her. It’s nice to take the kids there to “visit grandma”. I feel sure she probably wouldn’t have liked to be called grandma but there’s not much I can do to remedy that.

I love you mum, I’m sorry you had to go so young, and in such a terrible way. You are not forgotten, and if anything I feel I understand and know you more as the years pass and I reach ages that you once were. It will be the strangest feeling when I reach 49, and become older than you. But I’ll be grateful to reach it. Not all of us are so lucky.


The Day I Met You

Dear Nige,

Today is the 16th anniversary of the day we met, 5th January 2001, upstairs at what was then the Opera Bar in Wellington. It seemed right today that I should finally publish the speech I gave at your funeral. It wasn’t my best work, it certainly wasn’t my worst (school speeches anyone), however it was straight from the heart, and the heart knows what it wants to express, and what is dear to it. In saying that, it was incredibly difficult to stand up and deliver these words, in front of all those who loved you. But I so badly wanted to do it, for you, because you deserved the very best we all could offer. And I believe you gave me the strength to get through that shaky and teary few minutes (or was it only seconds?) As did my dad, hovering close by. How lucky am I that so many have my back. So here it is:


The first time I met Nige I ID’ed him.

We almost didn’t meet. It was a friend of his, Joe, that came up to us girls at Opera Bar in Wellington and convinced us all to come upstairs and talk to him and his mates. I was dragging my feet but tagged along. And there, in a now familiar position stretched out in a chair with his feet up, was Nige. He was cute alright but looked far too young for my 26 years. However after some interrogation I viewed his driver’s license and discovered he was 18 months older than me! Great genes. And his denim ones weren’t too bad either.

I remember when I realised this guy was different. Our first date was at the botanical gardens, where I shunned his offer to take me out for a flash dinner and we hung out under the trees drinking red wine and munching on cashew nuts. Poor guys must have been starving! But perhaps secretly glad not to have had to dip into his student bank account. Anyway we were lying there looking up at the trees and I was thinking about what a cool pattern the branches of two neighbouring trees were making when he voiced exactly that opinion. He later on sealed the deal by grabbing my hand and dragging me up to the carter observatory to look at the stars. Anyone who knows me well knows that he couldn’t have chosen a better plan.

I learned so much from Nige during our years together. I was kind of socially awkward and I watched with interest how people were drawn to Nige and how instant connections were made. I began to copy him and lo and behold it worked. Everybody loved Nige. He was just goodness personified and so nice and fun to be with. He just felt like home. Nige was seriously handsome. I remember saying to my friend Kath, “do you think he’s too good looking for me?” I just couldn’t quite believe I had him.

Nige was never one to shy away from things. His was courageous and honest and tackled things head on without fear. I greatly admired him for this. He taught me how to face my fears. He had this wonderful mix of confidence and humbleness that was just irresistible.

We had plenty of ups and downs, both having fiery temperaments and strong minds. But as soon as we had a good shout and it was all out of our systems we’d be drawn back together like magnets. I quite simply could never imagine my life without him in it. And I’m gutted I now have to. We still had so many good times to come and I desperately wanted to grow old with him.

Nige and I had some magical beachy camping holidays, something we tried to do every year, and when we had the kids they came along too. Nige was in his element camping; bare feet, sun, swimming, a lack of timetables, simple food. He loved it all, and I loved it with him.

He was the best father. He tried so hard and loved with such intensity. Liam and Eva meant the world to him and everything he did was ultimately for them. From cuddles and chats with his baby girl to an unwavering commitment to teach Liam everything he knew. He unapologetically and often behind my back spoilt our kids and I am so glad he did. He would have done anything for them.

Nige was proud to buy his first house in Newlands and we had many full years there, with too many gatherings of family and friends to remember. But he was always there, preparing food, lighting candles and carrying out the cake, having a few drinks and a laugh.

He never wanted or expected much from life, just good food, friends, family and enough money to go on holidays and buy ever larger TV sets. He loved to drive and truly no-one was as good at driving as he was. Honestly.

Nige did not read. It did not matter how many books you bought for him this never changed. But he loved movies and we watched them together endlessly. I’m almost sure he has watched every movie ever made.

Nige was smart but he didn’t make a big deal about it. I loved chatting to him about life. I loved chatting to him full stop. We would often have crazy conversations about silly things as we both have a whacky and slightly inappropriate sense of humour. A few nights before he died we had a great night talking and cramping up with laughter. I will treasure it although the memory fades. The result might have been a very odd Facebook profile pic of Nige dressed up as a German eating a mustard covered sausage. But that was our Nige. Full of fun and ready to do anything for a laugh.

He was generous to a fault and would have done anything for those who were lucky enough to be loved by him. He was there for me right up until the end, listening to me prattle on and giving me great advice. I felt so safe in his presence. I knew he would always protect me.

It was a privilege to be able to take care of Nige over the last 2 years, and I am so grateful for all the time we got to spend together and all the incredible things we did, including getting married in Vegas alongside a crazy looking Elvis impersonator. We packed a lot into that time. But then we were always “live in the moment/do it now” kind of people. Losing mum when I was 16 hammered it home for me that life was short and that you shouldn’t wait. All the experiences we had would not have been possible without the support we received, especially from Nige’s mum Diana and my dad Allen. Thank you both for giving us the space to make such amazing memories.

Nige you were so brave at the end I was so proud of how you behaved throughout your illness. You never gave up and you did it all with so much dignity and courage. I am in awe of you.

I could go on for hours about Nige but I’m aware there are others who loved him too, and so I pass on to them. Nige you and the kids are the best thing that ever happened to me and I am so grateful for everything we did and had. Go well now and I really hope one day I get to see your beautiful smile and be in your arms again. You were Christmas and you were fireworks and you were home. Love you babe.

Shining Through

Christmas has always been a special time for me, my mum was English and also a bit of a perfectionist, so every year the preparation for Christmas was huge and intense. I loved it, it was my favourite time of the year, and I’d like to believe mums too. She was so good at making moments magical. Every year she would encourage us to put out nests for the Easter bunny. I still remember my excitement as we put freshly mown Lower Hutt grass into ice cream containers to leave on the back porch in the dark.

Christmas was even better, mum would let us help her make marzipan Christmas shapes, the tree was always up in plenty of time with mounds of presents underneath to tease us. The whole house was decorated festively and be spic and span. And let’s not forget the Christmas cake, resplendent with royal icing, a gaudy plastic santa and sleigh atop, nestled among the pure white. I remember we used to hang Mackintosh’s toffees on the Christmas tree with sewing thread, and that by the time Christmas day came there were usually only the wrappers left, swaying gently on their cotton strands. The mint one was my favourite and I would hunt through the branches seeking the flavour out, relishing that moment of joy when I realised there was still one left!

Sometimes we would go to a Christmas party down the road at our neighbour’s house. I loved these because the kids all just ran wild while the adults got slightly pissed and pretended not to notice. Happy happy days.

I love singing, and Christmas carols are a favourite (although after working in retail for 10 years they lost some of their lustre). I remember one year driving my sister mad by playing Snoopy’s Christmas repeatedly in my room, dancing and singing away. Sorry sis lol.

When Nige and I had the kids, we tried to pass this magic on to them, and one day I will find out if we succeeded. I hope we did so that they can pass it on to their children, should they choose to have them. A legacy of wonder, excitement and joy.

Of course, this year was a little different. The kids didn’t have their daddy. I didn’t have my husband and partner in crime, who also loved Christmas. It was like the kids and I were commando crawling towards the finish line (thanks for the inspiration Helen), getting more and more drained as we went, just wanting the whole thing to be over. Christmas Eve was the hardest. I put Nige’s playlist on and started to wrap the presents, but within minutes I could hardly see through the tears. Don’t feel bad for me though, it’s during those moments I feel close to him. I was sad because those songs are like messages to me and the kids. Advice for the future, apologies for the past, explanations of what Nige was thinking but couldn’t say. Nige’s playlist may have songs like “F the police” in it, but it is really a beautiful story about a beautiful man, expressing his love for those he left behind, and reminding us all to live on and live well.

Today I was talking to Nige’s sister and I remembered something he said to me before he died. He said “don’t grieve for me when I’m gone” “live your life and be happy”. Or something along those lines. He wanted that for all those he loved. One of the things Nige taught me was to slow down, relax and be good to yourself, do what makes you happy without guilt. This doesn’t mean being selfish, it just means taking care of your own needs, so that others don’t have to, and so you can be your best version, and in doing so help others that can’t. I believe if you have made any changes in your life recently that feel a bit out of the ordinary but also so right, and you were close to Nige, it may just have been him whispering those suggestions in your ear. Taking care of you. He had a huge capacity for love in that big heart of his, and he wanted to share it, in his way.

My dear friends and family, you don’t need to worry about me, I am well looked after and have a lot of love in my life, which I’m so grateful for. The kids are coming along OK, travelling what will be an endless road. But it will become less steep over time, and I will continue to carry them when they need it. Now I would like to share with you a piece of my inner thoughts. Sometimes I feel guilty because I don’t feel sad, or as sad as I think I should in my situation. But then I realised something. Here is a text I sent to a friend the other day:

“I need to tell you something. I love Nige and I do miss him, I just don’t want to think about it. I want to feel happy for a change. My soul is so so tired and it needs a break. I just want to feel something other than sadness in my life”

And happily, I feel Nige would support me in this view. Life is short, live it, enjoy it, love and laugh through the pain. There are times when you will feel so so sad, but these times don’t have to be eternal. Appreciate the fact that you are alive and can make choices that lead to happiness. Be kind to others, be kind to yourself.

And with my lecture now over, to finish off I leave you with my sisters favourite song, for your listening pleasure:

Happy Birthday Babe

Dear Nige, today is your 44th Birthday, a day you didn’t reach on this planet. In 2 days it will also be 3 months since you passed away bravely and found relief from the cancer consuming you.

So many of your friends and family still can’t quite believe you are gone. You made quite an impression babe, far deeper and stronger than you knew when you were alive. I hope you see it now and smile with pride at the good you did and the people whose lives you enriched while on this earth. Also the legacy you left behind, as others try to encapsulate in their own lives, the way you lived yours.

Our friends and I had a catch up for brunch the other day. A group of people who loved you dearly. You’ll be happy to know they have been there for me as I have journeyed through my grief, looking after me while carrying their own burdens. They are far more than friends babe, they are family. While there I was talking to someone about how sick you were near the end, and how although you were shouting silently for us to notice, none of us could quite accept how ill you were, how close to the end. We all desperately wanted to stay positive and full of hope, and I know you also strived to be like this, and hang on far longer and with way more independence than many others would have in your condition. You were an incredibly strong man during this time, and I will never forget your grace and courage in the face of death.

This morning I decided to look through the photo books you made this year. These were your project and you worked hard to get them finished and get them right. A collage of the all the amazing wonderful things we packed into our lives during the last 2 years. My job now is to create more photo books to span the whole 16 years we were together, a gift for the kids, a reminder of your love for them and the family unit we were for a precious stretch in time. I lost my mum at 16, and you after almost 16 years. A cruel reminder we can never take for granted that which is in our lives. But I feel privileged to know this secret, so that I can grasp what is left of my life with both hands and truly live it. It is my promise to you that I will pass on to the kids all I know to help them in their journey through life, and this includes all the things I learnt from you babe. We may not have had an easy ride but boy did we learn and grow and experience things during our time together. You were a good man to the core and I always felt that shine through.


I love this quote, and I have just realised it describes how you were quite nicely. You taught us all how to live large and without fear, making our own happiness while spreading joy to others. No matter who you were with, you were always unashamedly you. And why not, you were pretty spectacular :). Our kids noticed all this. After you died their counsellor asked them what you used to bring to the family, and they were both quick to say “Joy”. You brightened up their days. It won’t be easy but it is my mission to make sure they keep experiencing this joy throughout their lives. You’re a hard act to follow but I’ll do my best babe.

Nige, your life here on earth might be over but you have left a lasting impression on all those who met you, so thank you for gifting us all, simply with your presence, during your time here. You have left behind two amazing, beautiful children who I know will do you proud in the years to come, and you will live on through them. I’ll make sure of it. My gift to you this day.

Happy Birthday babe xoxo

One Golden Moment

Each time I see a photo I can imagine your touch, voice, laugh, maybe even the whole sparkling moment. I know this gift will one day fade, and I hope not too swiftly. For my hands grasp for something solid (ah but no, my mind will have to do).

The dreams have arrived – Joyous ones, sad ones. Weird ones. You are never really the “you” I crave. Sometimes looking at me strangely, or in the background, or gone too soon. I urge my mind to create more realistic scenes in the nighttime.

I talk to you. I ask for help when I need it. I tell you I miss you and how much I love(d) you, hoping somehow you can hear me through the ether. I ask for your advice when betting on the Melbourne cup and win for the first time ever!

Sometimes I feel you all around me, a glow of emotion, other times the silence echoes and bleeds.

The children (and coffee) lift my heavy clay limbs out of bed each morning. Each task taking me from A to B to C, drawing the sides of an aimless shape, allowing only whispers of you to drift over the pliant surface.

Work keeps me focused like a sharp needle, sewing and sewing the stitches around that part of my brain where thoughts of you don’t always gain entry.

Yet from time to time you are slotted in haphazardly as if I have no control, and everything stops for a moment, or an aeon.

An aeon it will feel without you; a moment was all we shared.

One shining, golden moment.


Never no more – the tiger and the rat

One month tonight since Nige died. Tick tock, tick tock.

Last night Eva asked me if she could draw a picture for me, she’s become a fantastic artist. I said “sure, can you draw me a picture of a tiger and a rat together?” (See pic). It may seem like an odd request, but you see in Chinese astrology I was a tiger and Nige a rat. I always thought that was kind of funny.

When you look at Eva’s picture of the tiger and the rat, you’ll notice that the rat is hitching a ride on the tiger’s back. And maybe that is all you’ll see. The tiger looks powerful, and like it’s carrying the rat through life. However, what no-one can see or hear is the rat whispering encouragement and wise advice into the tiger’s ears, essentially directing them both through life. The tiger and the rat are friends and they are what they are. They have accepted each other and there is so much love and respect there, despite their obvious differences and weaknesses. Not just despite them, but because of them.

Which leads me on to how I’m feeling right now.

Nige, I think I’ve just realised I will never see you again. EVER. In the first few weeks it was easy to pretend you had gone away for just a while. Now comes the realisation that I will never do certain things with you again. There is no future us.

This may all seem obvious – and it is. But to the grieving mind it’s slow to creep up on you. I was wondering why I was feeling OK. It is because I was so distracted with all the comings and goings, the endless conversations about YOU that kept you alive Nigel. When I talk about you, you live. When I look for you, you’re dead and gone, never to return.

What will I miss?

Just having you around. Talking to you about anything and everything. Bouncing ideas around. Asking your advice. Giving you my advice. Planning for the future, even if it was just a trip to the shops in the weekend. No more travel plans. No more dreams for the future. No more pep talks, no more crazy talks. No more “aren’t our kids amazing?”

No more “What movie shall we watch”, no more “The Chase” or “Millionaire Hot Seat”. No more MKR. No more watching me play Playstation, bored out of your skull. No more sitting side by side on our phones cruising Facebook. No more Snapchat cats.

No more “What the hell are we going to have for dinner”. No more “let’s get a movie and some good food and have a night in”. No more yummy dinners out, no more understanding each other’s fussy eating habits. No more bakery runs, to far-reaching suburbs because that’s where the good stuff is. No more cooking together, no more hosting the family with huge quantities of food and laughter. No more coffee and cake. No more pig outs at Chow, or Co-op or Cafe L’affare or Bluebelle. No more sitting in the sun eating fish and chips.

Hugging you, kissing you, touching you, smelling you, seeing you, hearing you.

No more excitement as we prepare for Christmas/Easter/Birthdays/Anniversaries. No more lighting the fireworks, and having more fun than the kids. No more waking the most excited on Christmas morning. No more well thought out gifts from you. No more theme park rides. No more Christmas lights, no more Boxing Day rest.

No more back seat driver. No more non-sporty dad trying to encourage the rest of non-sporty family to come out for a bike ride, a game of soccer, or cricket. No more running around the block training for mud-runs.

No more whinging to each other. No more whinging about each other. No more stealing the duvet, no more midnight cuddles. No more flowers.

No more choosing stuff for the house and always having exactly the same taste. No more disagreements over yet another TV, or buying a gas-guzzling V8 car. No more complaining when I want to shop for 30 seconds but being able to spend an hour choosing clothes for yourself.

No more joy on your face when the kids get home. No more “Hey buddy” or “Hi sweetpea”. No more watching you soak up the rays, listening to 80’s music and adding songs to your “Dad’s Best” playlist. No more walks along the Kapiti coast.

No more “yay it’s the weekend” excitement and enthusiasm over us doing something as a family. No more Staglands, no more picnics. No more monopoly. No more spoiling the kids, no more strolls in the botanical gardens. No more carrying in the birthday cakes. No more drinking bourbon and listening to music. No more bad dancing and singing at nightclubs, where we look like grandparents these days. No more Nitro Circus, no more airplane trips, no more air balloons, no more luft balloons. No more bagpipes, no more GNR, no more AC/DC.

No more, no more, no more.

No more yelling at the cat when she scratches the furniture, and the dog when she goes into the rubbish. No more forgiving them instantly, but secretly.

No more camping, no more road trips. No more long walks, no more fishing, no more swims. No more “stinky town” (Rotorua). No more Orion. No more laughter. No more proudly smiling at the cuzzies playing together, no more Vegas.

No more naps on the couch. No more being up for anything. No more knowing exactly what you want, and then doing it, no matter what.

No more remembering to take photos because I forgot to, and hence always taking selfies “to show I was there”.

No more catching up with friends, no more hard at work. No more coffee and toast in bed.

No more hospital visits. No more cancer, no more struggling to breath, no more effort walking. No more steroids, injections, pills, needles, chemo. No more brain radiation mask. No more oxygen machine, no more wheelchair.

You are no more. Yes, you were, but that is not enough right now, nor will it ever be. But, I am grateful. For a life without you at all would not have done.

I know I can do all these things still, but that’s the point. It’s not the things you do, it’s who you do them with that makes it fun. A like-minded soul that you enjoy being with, wherever that may be. I could travel the world looking for that connection and never find it. But I had it, and that counts.

I’ll miss my rat til the end of time, but this tiger must carry on, as it has a monkey and a golden pig to look out for now. Recalling the whispers of encouragement and advice she used to hear from the rat, and remembering with a smile the adventures they had together.