We will be okay

It’s that’s time of year. The end of the school year and the anticipation of Christmas. Many moments for the kids and I to deeply feel Mick’s absence.

Mick wasn’t with me at the school presentation assembly today to watch our son collect two awards associated with the coding program.

He never got to go to any end of year school assemblies

or Christmas celebrations

or school concerts for our children.

He never got to read a school report or attend a parent teacher interview.

He died before they started school.

Now they are just about to complete year 5 and year 3.

If he was here, Mick would have smiled knowingly and quietly chuckled as he watched our son stand on stage, uncomfortably holding his certificates. Mick was also a bit shy in similar formal situations. He would have related to feeling out of place, trying to remain composed before returning to the anonymity and safety of the audience. Modest.

He would be relieved and pleased to see our son who is often shy and reserved starting to really find his groove, independence, confidence and interests. Stoked to see him being recognised for his strengths at school and also embracing and enjoying extra curricular interests such as sailing.

He also would have loved seeing our daughter beam when she too received an award at another assembly.

Most of all he would have been extremely heartened by the general comments in each of their reports. First and foremost, both children were recognised as kind, caring, empathetic classmates. Important attributes for friendship and the community.

When we realised that Mick did not have much time left, Mick said to me late one night, “Friendship and love for others is one of the most important values I had hoped to instill in our children. … Will you and the kids be okay as you continue on?”

As I sat in the assemblies this week and read our children’s reports I thought back to that conversation. Our children are in a good space and place. Our extended family and dear friends quietly cheer with us whenever our son and daughter connect with a fun aspect of life or are recognised for something they work towards and enjoy.

Our experience with loss and grief, and the love and support of our community has taught us about caring for others, kindness and the range and depth of emotions.

Mick, I told you with certainty that we would be okay. We are. You would be proud.

We will light a candle for you at Christmas and remember your hopes for our children, your light, love and laughter.

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