Tuesday, 28 April 2015


You better grab yourself a cup of coffee and a tim tam for this blog, I can't believe it's been so long since I've written anything and there has a been a lot going on.

I've been drinking way to much and I've even had a couple of cigarettes which I feel awful about and very disappointed in myself,  I'm not exercising and I've been crying alot!  My body is aching and I look at myself in the mirror and think that I've aged 10 years.  I'm letting myself down and feeling battered for the way I have (not) been looking after myself.  Its time to make some positive changes, time to eat more fruit and vegetables, time to quit drinking Sunday - Thursday (OK, Mon - Thur) and its time to start exercising again and looking after my health, not just for me but for my boys too.  I've been taking Reef to run club twice a week at school and the kid is now faster than me when we run the 300 meters around the oval, not to mention the cross country training, I get left behind all the time.  I've got some work to do! 

The boys have gone back to school and Joel is at camp this week (which I'm on edge about).  Week one of term 2 was a little bumpy with me having to go and pick Joel up on the very first day back.  He was so distressed it broke my heart (and I think the guidence officers heart as well) but after day one the rest of the week went smoothly with no more phone calls for early pick ups.  I can't believe he's gone to camp this week.  Such a brave boy.  Reef the little legend is just soldiering on as strong as ever.  I am so proud of both my boys.

I did my first day back at the YMCA today it was such a difficult morning.  When I pulled into the driveway at work it felt like that elephant was back sitting on my chest again.  I couldn't breath and I couldn't control the tears.  It was the first time since Adam died that I was back there.  Why I pulled up into the same park that I was in the day Adam died I have no idea but when I realised I had, I just couldn't turn the engine off or my tears for that matter.  I wanted to reverse out of there so fast and get back home as soon as I could.  I cried and cried and told Adam that I couldn't do it.   I felt sick and panicked - how on Earth was I going to be able to do this.   I figured I had two choices (we always have choices),  I could text my boss and tell her that I was in the car park in a mess and that I couldn't do it or I could at least have the courage to  go and tell her in person that I couldn't do it.  I chose the second option,  I pulled myself together and dragged myself out of the car and very unsteadily walked through the front doors where I immediately bust into tears and told her "I couldn't do it" and that "it was too hard".  She was brilliant, she hugged me and put her arm around me and said softly "yes you can Jodie, yes you can".  We walked into the gymnastics hall and she said "you just help me set up and we will see how you go".  Then she held my hand for 5 hours while together we took 4 classes and she was right, I could do it, and I did.  

Five hours later I was exhausted and  I'm feeling pretty wrecked right now as well!   The balls in my court now, its up to me to make the next move about when to go back on a more regular basis.  (breath Jodie, breath). Decisions, decisions.

I was fortunate this weekend with my sister-in law (Adam's sister) coming to visit.  We had a fabulous time with lots of laughter, too much food and wine and generous amounts of howling; and I mean howling! Not just little lady cries but great big huge bellowing snotty cries.  I felt both relief and shock but slept extremely well that night.  I  feel blessed that I have an amazing family on both sides who are here for me and that are not afraid to grieve along side me.  We are happy to make our ugly faces together and we heave and sob and snort and then we feel a little better even if it is only for a short time.

There is no right or wrong on the grieving process I understand that, but for me I don't understand my own thoughts right now on the whole thing.  I find myself standing in the isle of Woolworths staring blankly at the shelves while people move past me and carry on.  It feels as though the floor is about to open up and I will fall through.  I have to stop myself from breaking down and I do that by blinking and shaking my head but then that shakes the image of Adam out of my head.  It stops me crying, but it makes me sad as well because I want to fill my  mind with Adam not stop the memory.  Sometimes I do want to hide in my bed and fill my mind with him and the adventures we had and the marvelous memories that I have of him.  I don't want to shake him out of my head, I want him to stay there forever just like he will be forever in my heart.  I can't believe he's gone.

I move through the shopping center trying not to be too observant because when I do I become a little distressed watching life "carry on".  Smiling couples holding hands and dads with kids are the two hardest for me to see and I don't want to think badly of these people but I can't help but feel the knife in my heart twist a little bit more each time I do.  Life moves forward, the world keeps turning and I'm doing my best not to spin out of control. 

I wish I had a crystal ball to see if we really will be OK.  I worry and I wonder what will become of the three of us?

xx Jodie

Thursday, 16 April 2015

I miss you Adam

I've been a bit wobbly today, its been 8 weeks since Adam passed and I woke up this morning feeling exhausted and emotional and have been contemplating more than my navel today.  I'm really struggling with the whole 8 weeks thing.... The boys have been blissfully unaware as they spent their day filled with fun with their friends which I am very grateful for. 

This week as a whole has actually been pretty calm and at times peaceful.  I've bunkered down at home with kids (my own and the neighborhood) coming and going and we've eaten our way through a whole bunch of frozen meals which have been lovingly made by numerous friends, work colleagues and our school community.  The boys have filled their days with friends and holiday fun.; fishing, jetty jumping, BMX riding and hanging out playing x-box (perfect holiday really).  I've had numerous friends drop in and say hi, drink tea and coffee and the occasional wine on the deck and have generally felt OK. Sometimes I feel as though I'm coping but then I feel guilty, guilty that I feel OK.  Shouldn't I be in more of a mess than I am?  I'm afraid that I'm burying my grief and ignoring the enormity of what has happened   I don't want to be wracked with grief so fierce that I can't operate. It frightens me.

Today really wasn't a great day, I've been shaky for most it and felt on edge from the minute I opened my eyes and very teary.  I think I'm going to cry again. My heart is broken and I am so sad.  I miss him and I want him back (please)

How is it possible for life to carry on, when it feels like my world has stopped still.  My heart aches when I see kids and their Dads playing, laughing and living.  I feel robbed and I'm so heart broken for my children that they will never have that again.  Its so not fair.

I walk up to the wetlands almost everyday to visit "Adam" and today was no exception.  Its such a beautiful place, so peaceful and still.  I wanted to lie down on the ground today right where he fell but I couldn't;  I wondered what people would think if they happened to come around the corner and saw me lying there.  Why do we care what people think anyway?  I crave closeness with Adam.  Sometimes I reach into his wardrobe and hug his shirts and jackets, it feels a little like I'm hugging him but not the same.  The tears always fall.  

A very lovely lady sent me a link  and I would like to share it with you.  It helped me today (It took me three goes to get through it though) and if you think it might help you then you should take an hour out of your day and listen to it.  Here is the link     Tapping for grief

 I miss you Adam          

xx Jodes

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Slowly slowly

I feel like I am in a cloud, a heavy cloud, a cloud that is distorting me and my feelings.  I feel nothing, but I feel everything at the same time.  I'm walking on egg shells waiting for my kids to fall in a heap and at the same time trying to keep it together myself. 

Its been over a week now since I blogged and the longer I don't blog, the easier it is not to.  It's much easier to not write because that means I don't have to feel and not feeling is a much easier option but I know that by  not recognising and facing my emotions I am only putting off the inevitable and that is the rollercoaster ride that is GRIEF.   (Hey, now there's a great name for a new ride at any number of theme parks out there- "The Grief") 

I've spent the last week on the Gold Coast with my family and some very good friends.  I swam everyday - oh and it was fresh, cold and amazingly beautiful.  There is something very special about the power of a wave and diving underneath to the sandy bottom to avoid been tumble turned by the enertia that is a moving power force.  Just makes you feel alive.   Swimming in the ocean is like nothing else and I love it.  I don't always last a long time, but I love it.  

Knowing I was on the Coast for 7 nights was a challenge of sorts.  As much as I enjoyed being there, by the 5th night I was ready for my Island home and so were my kids.  Joel said to me at one point "Mum, I want to go home.  Its been too long"  And I agreed.   

When we finally arrived home I think all three of us took a nice long breath and smiled.  There really is no place like home, and I love and appreciate mine.  I love my community, I love my friends, I love my environment.  I can't imagine being anywhere else and I have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon.  I am very blessed. 

I had a friend visit yesterday who I have known forever, she was the photographer at our wedding.  She came armed with gifts for me.  She had had a series of our wedding photos re-printed and enlarged - WOW (you can imagine the tears hey).  Adam and I looked like babies.  The way we looked at each other, you can see the love.  I can't believe that we found each other and had such an incredible 18 years and I equally can't believe that he has  been taken away from me so soon.  It really isn't fair but what can you do?  Nothing will bring him back and he would be pissed off if he saw be crumbling in the corner not able to breath or move or take care of our kids and so it is that I continue to get up every morning, breathe, say "yes" to the world and the flow of life, feed my kids and keep them safe.  I keep moving. 

The little puppy has been a God send for the kids and for me.  She is adorable and she absolutely loves being smothered with love that all of us give her.  I am not enjoying the weeing and pooping or whinning at 5am in the morning, but you have to take the good with the bad - such is life.   I would recommend a puppy to anyone who is grieving - honestly it is the best thing that I have done for my family and I in the last 7 weeks.  

I can't believe it will be 8 weeks on Thursday that Adam passed away.  It only seems like yesterday.  I will never forget that sequences of events that happened between 11am and 4:30pm on that day.  From the second the police officers came to my work to the moment I had to tell my two beautiful innocent little boys that their Dad had died and their incomprehensible wails that came.  Our lives changed forever that day but their little souls and the loss they were and continue to feel is debilitating.  It feels like my chest is in a vice and slowly being crushed, some times the ache is all encompassing right down to my knees.  Yes I'm hurting, yes I'm angry, yes I'm sad.  But yes I will continue to step into the river of life and live, yes I will continue to teach my children to have fun and yes I will continue to grow and to help my children become the best men that they can be.  I hope I do a good job.

Is crazy what little things set me off..........this afternoon I made a coffee,, it was a plunger coffee and I had to pull the plunger out of the cupboard.  I haven't used that plunger since Adam and I and the kids did our road trip to Sydney in the January school holidays.  So seeing that little red plunger sent me into a spin - crazy hey?

Thanks for tuning in, sorry its been a while.  It took a bit to get back to my keyboard but here I am.  Easter and the school holidays really weren't as easy as I would have hoped but like I keep saying, "one step at a time Jodie", "keep breathing Jodie" "slowly, slowly Jodie".


Friday, 10 April 2015

AB, Budda, Mate x

Argh, this blog really has grown legs hasn't it?  I've been away for a week and two of my most beautiful friends have both written amazing pieces to add to my little world that is "Over the Rim".  Thank you Kylie and Sam.....  So without further adieu, here is my incredible friend Sammy Enjoy.  And I will be strong enough in the next day or two to write my own piece. Namaste x

“ I have 3 relationships when I am with them”    I eagerly reported back to my mate (another Adam) only a few weeks ago, “ I love them so much. I get to have a relationship (friendship) with Jodes, one with Budda and then the two of them together.  I am so lucky.”

Those words are still true to this day except I now “talk” to Adam in his shed or around the point. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I can still hear his voice just as if he was here.

It’s a weird thing this death thing. And I really hope Jodie doesn’t mind me writing so candidly about it. 
You see, little Jodes, is my mentor, my amazing friend, who has seen me through thick and through thin. She (and Adam) have been there for me in my darkest hours and I would do any thing to bring Adam back for her, but I just don’t think I can!!!   (Damn it all).   

So now with tears cascading down my face, I just want to write so much: Adam, death,
Jodes, the boys, Coochie, tinder tragedies (OMG) that just made me laugh.

I first met Adam (AKA Budda, AB, mate, president - I was his vice president for a year or two) eons ago.   

Upon moving to the Gold Coast, another life time ago, I started paddling with Gold Coast Dragons. I didn’t know much about much but I did love our sunset paddles, travels, and parties with the crew, who were to become my family.   And it was a family.

We were a gang, a family, a core of athletes who were to become world rivals in an upcoming  sport called dragon boating. But our fun didn’t stop on the water... we used to do gym  together, sushi together (Jodes can you remember that time I walked into the glass door on Chevron?), we did drinking together, parties, M parties, C parties, B parties, hell this  was my closest I had ever come to family.  In fact most of our family got married (even me
for a brief time).  We were closer than any thing I knew.

Adam was one of my favorite mates. Not many people mentally challenged me like he did.  I loved it.   It was like a game of “who dares wins”. You dare to make a statement - then GO!   

We would have fantastic debates, and I don’t recall winners (librans aren’t like that) but I  do remember learning.  Deep breaths and going OMG - now I see the world slightly

When I took this pic AB was swimming and we 
were blabbing about cold fronts and 
how cool they looked 

I am so grateful for those chats, many over the years - BBQs, meetings, Coochie deck, my old house and dinner parties! I miss you so much mate.

Anyway this death thing is bizarre. And I don’t mean that with any disrespect to Jodie, the boys, the Bowdens or anyone else. Death is just plain not “normal”. 

I have nursed my whole life, sat with people taking their last breath, saved people who took their last breathe, and was only 12 years old when my mum died.

My mum was 33 years old when she died. Way too young, way too sad and well for me, way too hard to comprehend. I guess I am writing this little bit for Joel and Reef (and myself)....

I remember as clear as a crystal glass being sat down and my uncle telling me my mum had died and wasn’t going to wake from her operation. A stupid operation to fix her leg from skiing. A simple operation. But that was it. BAM.  In his one sentence my world changed for ever.

I can’t remember much in the months that followed except that my emotions were cocooned and expressed through sport. Hence I became an avid sport-escapee. In those days softball, netball, Lacrosse and Water Polo. My art also saved me as did my amazing circle of friends. My dear friends whom were kids themselves just stayed kids and I think that is what I needed most. To stay a kid and not grow up too quick. Anyway I know in my heart of hearts the boys will be ok.

The last time I saw “Team Bowden” in it’s entirety was Australia Day long weekend.  

On one of the nights the “grown ups stayed up” and we went through photos I had taken from tinder of what affectionately shall always be referred to as my “tinder tragedies”.  We laughed so much we were all crying. Then Adam (and his wicked little side kick Jodie)  thought it would be funny to find all the guys in a 10 km radius (which included all the surrounding islands) and drag them to the like side. 

He was so proud of his crafty work telling me, “Sammy it increases your odds”.  He was very disappointed in the morning when I told him I had deleted my account. So funny!
Monkeying around!

I was shocked when Jodes called me with the news of Adam's collapse.   

Like everyone I knew things would never ever be the same in the world again.  It was a massive SHOCK!

I still shed random tears, some for Jodie, some for me and the mate I will miss, and some for Adam as I know how much he relished life.

Jodes has debated keeping this blog going.   I am all for it for many reasons, but mostly because we set it up when Adam was around. When Jodie showed him and explained her intent for doing it (fund raising for Mary, not drinking for the Febfast, tracking her journey) he simply beamed. He was so proud!

And for that reason alone Jodes I hope you keep blogging.

Much love always Sam xx

Friday, 3 April 2015

Stronger Than She Knows

I'll never forget the day the bottom fell out of the world – that's what it felt like when my husband, Adam's mate uttered those horrendous words that changed the world forever. I actually asked "Adam who?" like I knew several Adam's. Once he confirmed my worst fear, my immediate thought was Jodie – my beautiful gorgeous friend, my second was Joel and Reef – those precious boys I love like my own. My next thought was what I needed to do to help them survive this unbelievable chain of events.

Leigh and Adam showing off the catch of the day
Like most people who met him, I've had my “Adam”  moments. Discussions about everything from child rearing to international politics. Again, like most people I had my fair share of Adam take the opposite side of my argument not because he disagreed with me, but because he liked to see you test your argument, wanted to make sure you could justify your position. He'd wind you up, then grin at you and say, “You know, I actually agree with you...would you like another drink?”

My family has been privileged to spend a lot of time with team Bowden. You know that family you have a great, easy friendship with? The one where all the adults get on whether it's two, three or four of you together, the kids get on and it's just easy? The one where the line between being friends and being family is blurred? (I call Jodie the sister of my heart and I love her like I love my sisters.)

Sister of my heart
That's what we have with the Bowden's, they are a daily part of our lives. School drop offs, after school activities, dinners, days out, camping trips, boys fishing trips, girls days out – we did the lot and I can't remember a time we didn't have a ball of fun. Adam features big in those memories. Really, he was one of the kids. My kids adored him and he adored them back. I can remember him telling me he loved watching and talking to my daughter Kira. Not having a daughter of his own, he was fascinated by the difference between her and the boys. He also loved that she didn't let the boys get the better of her. I love that he didn't treat her differently from the others, but recognised her uniqueness and it's value. He loved my son Luke too. He always had time to talk to him, like he did with his boys. He included him in things where Luke got to learn from Adam  along side Joel or Reef. I loved watching him talk with Luke, taking him seriously, really listening to him, treating him like an equal.  He was willing to pull both my kids into line when they needed it. Basically he treated and loved them like his own. Spending such time with them gave us an insight to the Bowden's lives, their love, their team.
Adam with his two boys and his two "adopted"children
If you've seen it, you know what I mean. The Bowden's moved as one. The love and the commitment from all four to their family evident in everything they did. When they were together, they were so present in each other's lives. Every joy celebrated, every heartache shared. And Adam loved his family with every single inch of his body and soul. His jubilation at their successes, his tenderness when the boys hurt themselves, the way he looked at Jodie, touched her, smiled at her, his pure love and contentment when he was with them. If you are lucky (as I am) you will know exactly how it feels to be in a family like that and so you will know the enormous hole left by Adam.

Personally I've become aware of what he left behind in the boys. I took the boys shopping for a birthday present for Jodie and while they were comparing two items, Reef mentioned which one he liked better. Joel reminded him it wasn't what he like, but what mum would like that mattered. Watching Reef head off with a fishing rod and bait, ready to catch the biggest fish he can. Both moments are pure Adam.

I was going to say I'm in awe of Jodie, which I am, but the thing is I always have been. Even before Adam died I knew she was amazing, stronger than she gives herself credit for. I watch her now and am not surprised at how she is dealing with this. Her acceptance of the shittiness of the situation, her nurturing and protection of her boys, her ability to put one foot in front of the other, her determination to live this life in a way that would make Adam proud. Even her graciousness and concern for others who are feeling the loss of Adam, putting aside her own grief however briefly, to acknowledge the impact his death has had on so many. In the first few days after she lost Adam, she would look at me totally bewildered and ask “How can I do this? Adam was the one who drove this family. He made these decisions, I just followed along.” The truth is, she was always capable of making those decisions, taking the wheel and steering through the obstacles. However, like many of us, she was happy not to, happy to let Adam do it. Now she has to do it and she is doing it so well. While the fact she now has to parent on her own, has to forge her way through this world without Adam by her side is terrible and sad, watching her realise that she can has been incredible. Jodie's belief in herself is growing day by day – you read her blog, you can see it. And the girl can write. Jodie and the boys came to our place for dinner last night and we ended up talking about her blog. “There's all these people reading it,” she said in complete wonder “I don't even know who they are, but they send me messages telling me how much they get out of it, how it helps them. I don't even know what I'm doing!” I can't remember the number of page views she mentioned, but it was in the thousands.
Strong, capable woman
Team Bowden is missing a member. But like all good teams, those that are left are banding together and promising to see it through to the end. I know Jodie thinks she isn't as good a captain as Adam, but I beg to differ. She will lead differently, but she is more than capable. In the meantime, she has another amazing team surrounding her in the form of family, friends and the community she lives in. She also has the team of people who read this blog. It helps to know others are out there,  thousands of you  reading, praying, sending love, crying, hurting, acknowledging this journey, backing Team Bowden. 

In the days following Adam's death, two of Jodie's closest friends set up a Gofund me page. The idea was to raise $20,000 for Jodie and the boys. We're almost there, just under $4000 short. If 200 of you who read this blog, who haven't donated would be willing to donate just $20, we'd hit target.  Some of you knew Adam, some of you will only ever know him through this blog. He would have welcomed everyone of you into his house and showed genuine interest in you and your life. All of you either know Jodie or are getting to know her and the incredible woman she is. If you could see you way to supporting Team Bowden, lifting them a little higher, carry them a little further, we can help get them over this line.

Team Bowden
Donate here to support Team Bowden.

Cheers  Kylie (Sister from another Mister)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Decision made

Right, well it seems that I'm not really that bad at making decisions.......We bought a puppy and I've told work that I won't be back next term (unless there is an emergency and they are short staffed)!  So now at 9:30 on a Wednesday night I have had two crying children and a crying dog and the additional financial worry of not going back to work.....hmmmm, they both seemed like good decisions at the time.

I must say though the new puppy is very cute, she is in fact adorable, a little black fluff ball with the cutest little squished up face.  I can't help but love her.  Don't you just love that new puppy smell?  Her little feet and floppy ears- sheesh..  I'm not quite as fond of the multiple wees and poos on my floor though. That will be a challenge for me and my fear of other peoples and animals bodily fluids.    We are off to the vet tomorrow for a checkup and chat to make sure she is ok and to get her vaccinated and micro-chipped.  I think I will call into Woolworths as well to grab some baby wipes and disinfectant wipes.  Watching the boys play and cuddle with our new addition to team Bowden is heart warming and I couldn't help but smile today as they laughed and lay on the floor with her.  I'm so glad we decided to get Lil Miss Coco-Loco.

What is it about night time that always makes the grief worse?  Why does it feel heavier?  Why is it harder to breath.  I keep telling my children to "take nice, deep breathes" while I struggle to take them myself.  Joel has started having panic attacks which completely breaks me and Reef has started crying which,  I'm both relieved and heartbroken that it's starting to come out for him.  There is no right or wrong way to deal with these moments, I can only ride the wave along side my boys and try and talk them through the worst of it.  Sometimes my words help and sometimes they don't, sometimes they make it worse but I never know how the boys will react until I speak.  I can't not tell them how I feel, I can't try and hide my own grief, I need to share with them and be honest with them when they ask question no matter how left field those questions might be.  Reef my inquisitive little soul always asks the tricky/clinical questions which are always the hardest to answer while Joel, my sensitive little soul always asks the emotional questions like "why"?  How do I answer that?  I don't have an answer for him except to say that "Daddy is still here with us, he may not be here physically but he is certainly still here looking out for us".  "His big strong wings will always surround us and will keep us safe". 

The boys and I have promised each other that we will continue to live life, to honor Adam and keep on doing the things that Adam loved to do.  We will need to help each other out a little bit more each time we do those things.  If we go camping we will help each other set up, if we go surfing the boys have told me they will teach me what Adam taught them so that I can "learn to surf too".  We will do more road trips and adventures together.  We will step into the river of life and continue our journey that we began with Adam.  Because we deserve that and Adam would want that. 

This may be my last post for a week or so. We are heading off on our first road trip - woohoo - its Easter and a time to spend with family and friends so that is what we are doing.  I do not own a working laptop and my mothers computer is a bit dodgy and I will be too busy drinking wine with friends to ask if I can borrow their computer so I will speak with you again when I get home.  (Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring me a new laptop).  Take care everyone and Happy Easter.

xx Jodie