Family, Life, Life and love

Farewell 2022

As 2022 draws to a close, I reflect on the year that was. I have posted on my business pages already and now I begin to think about how the year went for “me”. The personal events back in 2018 had me thinking that no year could be worse, and thankfully no year has measured up in terms of trauma. Having said that, the past few years have not been easy. As we entered 2022, I was positive that it would be a great year, but it certainly threw some challenges, lots to do with business and staff shortages, but these all made for a bit of an anxious year. 

It was not all bad though, and I permit myself to brag a little, because we should always celebrate our wins, and because I have friends who feel nervous about self-promotion. This is a discussion I often have with other businesswomen. I have been in business for 18 years now and I want to set an example and give you all permission to always celebrate your wins. So, I share a photo to celebrate the two awards I won this year, neither of which I entered, and I had absolutely no idea that I had been nominated. In August I won a Local Hero Award for my contribution to regional tourism, then in November I was awarded the Dean Goddard State Award for Contribution to Tourism by an Individual in NSW. I am so proud of these achievements. 

I am also proud to have become a Great Aunt for the second time to beautiful baby Cali. I am happy that I got to celebrate my nephew Izzy’s 18th birthday with family in August and we had a little party for my Great Nephew Harlyn’s 2nd birthday in February.  I am grateful for friends and family and for a loving partner.

I will miss my “Other Dad” Alan Catt who we lost in November, he was such a wonderful man who has always supported me and my dreams. His family especially “Other Mum” are in my thoughts, along with my friends who are battling illness and those who have lost a loved one.

I don’t do resolutions these days, but I do like to look back at what I have learnt during the year. I have acknowledged that grief never leaves us, I think of my brother every day, and whilst I am celebrating my wins, I am also accepting my grief and thinking of the memories we shared. I am learning to block out all the toxic positivity and to be vulnerable if that’s what I need to be. I am learning to manifest my future. 

I feel like as a society, we are grateful for the end of every year, every week and every month just so that we can start all over. New beginnings so we can lose weight, travel more, work less. This can be done, but perhaps we are wanting too much and setting ourselves up for failure? Next year I am going to continue to reset but take small bites and not overwhelm myself with “things to achieve”. If I f….ck up, then I will just get back on that horse and try again. I won’t wait for Monday, for the beginning of the month or for 2024 to get on track. If I miss Monday, I will start Tuesday. And remember, we can’t succeed if we have never failed. 

I hope that 2023 brings you all that makes you happy, I hope the resilience we have gained helps us to accept that this is not a perfect world. I hope that we learn to care for our planet, love each other, grieve freely and accept that our happiness is not dependent on others, only we can create the life we want. Use your voice, it is your power. Ruffle some feathers. You have one life, make it matter. 

Happy 2023 and big love to all xx

Family, Life, Life and love, R U OK?

R U OK?

He is not just a statistic, he was my brother.

Today is R U OK Day. It is a day that is close to my heart and one that I never thought would speak to me so strongly. To be honest, before I was affected by suicide, I thought that R U OK Day was a bit silly, I wondered why we would choose only one day of the year to ask someone if they were OK?

I know now that those three words could be the words that a suicidal person may need to hear. I wish that I had asked those those three words more often. But it can be hard to ask the question, especially when we know that it could open up a conversation that can be difficult to address. R U OK Day was developed by someone just like me, a person who had lost a loved one to suicide. It was Gavin Larkin’s grief after his father’s suicide that lead him to champion this one question ; R U OK?

R U OK Day’s mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling with life. 

My brother wasn’t OK. I knew that, and I had tried to reach out to him, but days turn into weeks, and he wasn’t talking about it. It’s not easy when families are unsure of the resources available to them. We didn’t know what to say. I will never forget the day after he was found, we were handed a pamphlet, it explained what the signs were, what we should look for. It was too late for us.

James was the youngest in our family, the only boy with three big sisters who adored him. He spent a lot of time acting tough, but he had a soft nature. He had a beautiful heart, it was generous and loving and his cheeky smile radiated a room. I miss him every day, and would give anything just to have him back.  

James was a skilled carpenter and mentored many young builders, who often message me with stories of how much he taught them. Ironically at his funeral, his best mate spoke about James’s ritual on the jobsite, where he would get all the guys into a group hug and check in on them.

James was loved by many and left behind a devastated family, including a beautiful son. He had many friends. He just couldn’t see past his sadness.

Today and every day, lets check in on a mate or a loved one and ask them R U OK? Be prepared to listen. Times are not easy and many are struggling. Show kindness.

Fly high James. 1973-2018

If you need to talk you can also call the numbers below

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

To help you ask the question, there are many resources at www.ruok.org.au