2017 was easily the worst year of my life so far. Even though there were plenty of happy moments, watching my Dad fade away and leave us after losing his fight with cancer was easily the most challenging thing I have ever faced. I went from child to parent having to look after many “practical” matters. My Dad was a brilliant man who hid his light under a bushell. He was always a gentleman, fiercely loyal to his family and respected by many. There were numerous things I didn’t learn about my Dad until those last few months because he was so modest. Many only came to light after his passing while reading his memoirs that he had not told us about until his last days. As Dad reminissed about his life one of our best shared memories was a day we spent doing a photography course together in the Blue Mountains. It was a gift from my brother and I for Dad’s 80th birthday. I nearly didn’t buy it thinking I was too busy to go or it was too expensive. I am so glad I did. This is the last photo I have of Dad and just before he got sick. The memories are priceless.
Today I found a file on a hard drive of his I was looking through which contained all the photos I had posted on a blog of my time in London that I wrote so family and friends wouldn’t forget I existed. I didn’t even realise he had read the blog. I know he was so proud of my brother and I and also of his 3 grandsons. Everyone he met knew about his grandsons, he loved discussing family history, cars and building with the boys and anyone who was in contact with him knew his youngest grandson was a “rock star”.
We also lost my Mother-In-Law Elaine only 5 weeks after my Dad. She was the toughest lady I have ever met. Probably to her own detriment at times. She was a fierce protector of her boys and lived a frugal life. She was also extremely proud of her grandchildren and all the local shop keepers knew about her grandson the rock star.
There were also some big highs for 2017. I earned a promotion and while this meant leaving friends and students behind at one school I have met new friends and lovely students as a result. Dad was so proud of my career accomplishments.
I also had two overseas trips last year. The first was almost year ago to Los
Angeles and included a fun road trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona. My partner in crime was Trish from Florida and we had a ball. As well as my lifelong memories formed on the trip I was able to share the experience with Dad through my stories and photos. You can read more about those adventures on my blog.
The second trip I took was to Japan with my best bike buddy Corina. While Dad was no longer around to enjoy the photos of the trip he was keen to hear the plans before I went. As an avid reader and documentary watcher he had plenty of information to share. While I was there I was sad that he had never been interested in travelling overseas, he would have loved the Shinkansen. I also blogged about Japan over a few posts if you wanted to read more.
There were also some trips within Australia to round out the year. A night in the city with my Hubby Andy to celebrate our 3oth Wedding Anniversary and a very special family trip to the beach with all 3 of my boys. This was so rare and precious as I was the only one to have seen Luke during the previous year and so great to see my boys hang out and have fun together.
I have many things to be thankful for as I look back on 2017, My new work colleagues were very supportive despite my short time being there. I have a loyal friends both old and new who I can count on for anything. My brother was amazing with my Dad caring for him when he needed it the most. My Mum is stoic and practical and has gotten on with the business of life as a widow. My husband took care of things at home so I could spend time with my Dad. My boys and Celeste are amazing, caring and thoughtful and I could not ask for more. I looked back on my hopes and plans that I made this time last year and they are much the same again. Continue to work on my fitness, try and lose some more weight and continue to appreciate life, making the most of every opportunity.