Saturday 18 August 2012

The Hard Stuff

Sometimes things happen in life that you never want to experience but you know you will at some stage or another. That is life. Part of life is death, it will happen to us all at some time or another but that doesn't make it any easier when it happens to those around you. Death is something you deal with a fair bit on a station. The death of pets, of dogs from snakes or poison, of cattle from disease or attacks, of a beast for meat but then there is the death of people (sorry, everyone I am trying to be as matter of fact as I can) and that is a whole other kettle of fish.

While living and working here I have experienced the death of two family members of the people I work for. Once two years ago and once last week. Both were elderly and loosing quality of life. They had both lived full lives. But you know, no matter how often you tell yourself that, it doesn't change the sadness, the grief and the emotional exhaustion that comes with it all.

On Tuesday last week, the 7th of August, the Grandfather of the children I teach died at 94 years old and after nearly a week of failing health in hospital. The funeral was Tuesday this week. We did come back to the station last week for a few days, to get away from town, but most of the last two weeks have been spent there, in town, waiting. Waiting for the end and waiting for the funeral. Family and friends gathered around and supported each other. It really was a beautiful sight despite the sad occasion. Seeing that gathering of people makes you think that if people are there for you in the end and there to celebrate the life you led than you had a great life indeed.

I myself didn't expect his death to hit me so hard but it did. I cooked cakes for him, had numerous smokos with him, opened the gate for him as he zoomed through on his scooter, listened to his stories of the old days, took numerous photos of him at the horse yards and cattle yards. All of that will be missed. What was even harder was seeing the family in pain, the kids in pain. They have lost a mentor, a husband, a father, a grandfather.

Now this is the truely matter of fact part. When working as a govie and those around you are hurting, the family you are working for are hurting, do what you can for them, be there to help, to support and to most importantly spend time with the kids. Schooling is no longer of the greatest importance but taking the time to talk about the hard stuff and to help the kids deal with their grief in a way that won't hurt others is.

I know the relationship I have with the family I work for may not be the normal thing but I hope it is for many. They are my friends, my second family. This meant I wanted to help out in any way I could and the way I knew I could was with food and with the kids. The kids most importantly needed someone that was familiar, part of their lives, someone they trusted to talk to, to hug, to share feelings with and most of all to distract them and have a little ... a lot of fun especially while we were hanging around in town. But also another piece of advise (one I think I need to take myself) remember that you are hurting to and to share your feelings, and don't be afraid to have time out. I know my way of coping with the hard stuff is to keep busy, to feel useful and so that is what I did. It helped me and more importantly it help the family, the kids.

At the moment we are an emotionally drained lot out here. There are still family here to support each other and help. We are getting school and station routine back. It all helps.


  1. You have written this so beautifully,it made me cry. Both your families are so lucky to have you as part of their lives.

  2. Thanks Mad or 'Mazing Mum (by the why I think the 'mazing part is the truest part and the mad is only in a good way).

  3. So sorry. I'm sure you've been an enormous help to all around you. Take care.

  4. Your post put a lump in my throat. Wondered why you were missing in action, I was missing your incredible photographs. Take care of yourself.

  5. Thanks Jacana, back on board now though so hopefully more photos to come. It will be busy in the schoolroom for a while but I will certainly try to take care. Thanks


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