I salute you Rosie Batty

Australia Day 2015 marks an important era as four unique women accepted awards on the lawns of Parliament House,Canberra yesterday. Australia’s Local Hero of the Year Juliette Wright-Social entrepreneur, Young Australian of the Year Drisana Levitzke-Gray-Deaf Advocate, Senior Australian of the Year-Jackie French-author and my favourite Australian of the Year-Rosie Batty-Domestic Violence Campaigner.

I will focus on Rosie for a few reasons; as she has found her voice, and now a platform (Australian of the Year) as a victim of domestic violence in the cruelest of circumstances. She dedicated the award to her son Luke, and in her acceptance speech, vowed that her son’s death would not be in vain. This woman has been through the unimaginable loss of her young son, by her ex partner in a public place on February 12th 2014, here she is almost 12 months later, accepting the nations most prestigious award.

As a bereaved mother myself I share her pain, and her loss and part of her grief, I cannot profess to possibly understand how she has grieved that loss. I have never lost my son to a domestic violence dispute thank god, but I have lost a son to childhood cancer. Rosie has an opportunity, to act on behalf of the thousands of women that don’t have a voice in domestic violence. She is a role model and an inspiration to women all around the world, for she decided not to sit back, she took action, she spoke about her experience in main stream media, and people started to listen.

I hope that Rosie inspires many more Australian women in all walks of life to take action, we need role models & we need leaders. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Rosie Batty has certainly inspired and empowered me. Who has inspired you? Leave your comments, let’s start the conversation.

You can read more about Rosie’s story here http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/october/1412085600/helen-garner/mother-courage

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Wild about Harry

As it is ‘Dying To Know Day” which has been launched by The Groundswell Project today August 8th 2013, I decided to post this. Yes I could have talked about our experience with losing our children, but thought this more appropriate. Death, no matter what the set of circumstances is difficult. It is life-changing, the grief at times all consuming, but as time marches on we do learn to ‘live’ with it!

This post is about a fantastic Yr 6 teacher my daughter had during primary school in 2011.

Sadly he took his own life (he was in his late fifty’s) just prior to Christmas in that same year…

This extract is from a letter I sent to the principal just after a Memorial Service was conducted early the following year (2012) at the school.

“For those parents and students who did not know Harry and witness his magical talents as a teacher, and whose children he did not teach, we as a family have been absolutely privileged to know Harry, and to entrust him to educating our daughter Tayla from yr 5 – 6.
Under Harry’s guidance Tayla has grown into a mature, capable and confident student, she became SRC last year, as well as a Safety Ambassador, and was involved in many other activities throughout the school year, including the Anzac Day Youth Vigil, SAPSASA rugby/cross-country/Districts Athletics Sports Day to name a few.
Harry’s positive influence has seen Tayla transform from a quiet yet diligent student into one who now throws herself into many activities, without hesitation.

For those who don’t know me I have been a parent as this school for the past 7 years, both of my children have been students at WPS from reception to present day. I have been involved in class activities over the years, as well as a Parent Rep, helping with reading in the class, attending school excursions, and camps and recently attended the Edithburgh Camp for Harry’s yr 6 class as a parent volunteer, along with another parent.

Although I don’t think I had the opportunity to speak with Harry on a personal level, as he always seemed to keep on task with matters relating to education, I can honestly say I speak from experience, when I say without question, that after his daughter Kayla’s death I also knew what he was going through.

We lost our son Luke, after a short battle with cancer at just 2 years of age back in 1998, and Harry’s death as well as his daughter’s has had a profound impact in so many ways. It would be fantastic to see a day held in Harry’s honour, sometime in the near future as a mark of respect, where we can reflect and marvel in his talents as a teacher.

In closing I just wanted to quote a typed note that Harry gave out to his students with their end of year reports, which just happened to be typed on hot pink copy paper!”

“Howdee Everyone…Well Here It Is”!

“I need all of you to know that my time spent with your children has been one of, if not the most satisfying yet challenging, rewarding and memorable times that I have experienced. The calibre of your children, their response to requests, ability to adapt, perception and understanding of our intentions during lessons, and efforts to comply and develop are a credit to You. You have by and large given me your trust to run the class my way, instill a team approach, apply behaviour management as required and wrap each child in their own layer of thinking and humour. I am convinced by their regular positive attitudes and tangible written evidence that they are individually in the best shape possible for year seven.

To each and everyone of the previous Littlepudlians of 2010 and 2011 who are now the Giantpudlians of  2012 remember our Motto’s, use your fabulous writing and communication skills often, keep the humour going, enjoy each day and keep in touch”.

Auf Wiedersehen

Harry
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For more information on ‘Dying To Know Day’ go to http://thegroundswellproject.com/dying-to-know-day/ for a list of events around the country.

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Inspiring families

There have been some amazing families that I have met recently. For most bereaved parents re-living the past is still quite traumatic and still holds mixed emotions, but to then throw themselves into fundraising ventures for charities etc, I do find extraordinary.

One particluar family that I met about 12 months ago, set up their own fund in 2011 called ‘4in3’ the Mason Minniss Fund in memory of their late son Mason, who had MLD. The fund raises money exclusively for the WCH Foundation which is the official fundraising charity for the WCH hospital. The proceeds directly aid the Paediatric Palliative care Unit, here in Adelaide. To date they have raised in excess of $60,000.00.

The ‘4in3’ the Mason Minniss Fund holds a major fundraiser each year “A ladies night amongst the butterflies” where goods and services are donated by businesses, organisations, and anyone wishing to be involved, and then auctioned off.

It also holds other fundraisers throughout the year. Over Christmas it also delivered hampers to bereaved families of the WCH, donations were made by businesses and kind-hearted individuals.
This bereaved family like so many before it have turned a life-changing experience into a positive one!

For more information you can contact Cheryl or Rob Minniss by email: masonminnissfund@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/4in3themasonminissfund

www.twitter.com/cherminni

For more information on MLD:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metachromatic_leukodystrophy

https://www.facebook.com/#!/supportALDS

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The Beginning

Well, finally I have started my own blog, for a number of reasons.

  • To write about my journey as a bereaved mother.
  • To create awareness about many rare diseases,of which my daughter has been recently diagnosed with.
  • To provide information and resources on some amazing bereaved families.
  • To also share stories about other incredibly gifted people I have been privileged to know.
  • To also shamelessly plug a new book I am writing.