I can’t make you love me.

Life would be so different had my sister not passed away.

But she did.

There would be a teenage girl out there with a Mum to watch her graduate from school.

There would be a lady in her 60’s, who had not been made to Mother her Granddaughter.

Maybe her hate for the world would not be so strong.

Maybe she wouldn’t hate me.

I would still have a sister, she would have got to be a Mum for longer than 2 years.

She would have got to be an Aunty to my kids, a sister in law to my husband.

A sister to me.

But life does not always turn out to plan.

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My beautiful sisters body slipped from this world after a brave battle with cancer.

A toddler needed someone to care for her- My Mum took on that role. A hard one anyone would admit- no one wants to outlive their children, and no one expects to have to raise their own grandchild.

Life since my sister passed away became a roller coaster.

I grieved in private.

Mum grieved in public.

Neither way was the right way- but sometimes the fact we did things differently led to confusion with each other.

As the years went by, I met my husband, moved out of home- and out of my sharing role as caregiver to my niece.

We had her come for sleepovers, and tried to assist as best we could.

Little girls grow up into teenagers, with minds of their own.

Tensions soon rose, and an extra generation gap made things hard.

We offered to take my niece on, and into our home.

We thought we were helping, we thought we were giving them both a break, we thought we were going to allow Grandma and Granddaughter to work on being just that.

We thought wrong.

I was accused of kidnapping, of taking a teenager on in hope of making extra money.

I was degraded and put down and shut out.

I was belittled and yelled at.

It hurt.

It cut deep inside me.

I thought I was helping.

It seemed others felt differently.

I live in a fairly small town, and the words and whispers about what was being said about me got back to me regularly.

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I would be honest in saying some would hurt so much that they would leave me huddle in the corner for hours in a mess of tears.

I became depressed, and prone to panic attacks.

This was no ones fault- I had just been trying to be strong for too long.

After 8 months my niece ran away from our home- no goodbye, no “lets keep in touch”, no reasons.

It hurt.

It really did.

It especially hurt my two kids who loved and adored their cousin and did not understand why she no longer talked to them.

She moved to her Grandparents 2000 kms away.

She deleted me off Facebook, stopped following me on Instagram and ceased all contact.

This was almost a year ago.

2 weeks ago she came back for a short visit to see some friends and attend a party.

I heard from other people.

There was no phone call, no “lets catch up”, nothing.

It hurt.

It really did.

Meanwhile, my Mum is still painting me as the most negative person she knows.

She tells others that she attempts to contact me, and I shut her out- she doesn’t.

We attempted mediation.

4 hours of facilitated mediation was more of an excuse for the woman who brought me into the world to label every little minute detail of what she hates about me.

Some people are Motherless Mothers due to their Mum passing away.

I am a Motherless Mother because mine wants nothing to do with me.

I cant make her love me.

That makes me sad.

I worry about her health.

About never regaining a healthy relationship with her.

I worry that my kids have 4 Grandparents in close proximity, and not one is an active part of their lives.

There is a young Woman in the other side of the state either about to, or already having Graduated from school.

No doubt she will look stunning in her formal gown.

It will be a special night for her.

I held that girl when she was 2 hours old, changed her nappies, read her books and sung her songs to go to sleep.

She was a huge part of my life, and a little reminder of my sister who is no longer here.

It makes me sad that she does not want to be in my life anymore.

I can’t make her love me.

I worry about my Mum too, health problems, being lonely and of all the things left unsaid.

Time got to the point that I had to ask for respect.

I had to say I was worth more then being put down and ripped apart.

The comments still flow through the pathways to me.

For a long time I let them slide off my back, but at times, like now they hurt me.

The tears have flown a little too freely of late.

I cant help that it hurts,I cant make that stop.

I cant stop wondering how different things would be had my sister never passed away.

Oh how I wish she never left us- but she did, and I cannot change that.

I also wish I had a functional relationship with two very important people in my life.

But I don’t.

I just need to accept that I can’t make someone love me.

It hurts.

But it is real.

I can’t make you love me.

I wish I could.

But I can’t.

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Don’t Presume

As I sit here on a Friday evening, flitting between office work, laminating new price tags and getting myself organized for an early start for work tomorrow, I cannot seem to shake of this icky feeling that has been creeping up all day.

Hundreds of fellow franchise partners are currently kicking back in the middle of Australia, enjoying all that Uluru has to offer a the annual National conference.

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The day has been full of photos of the rock, of camel rides around the rock, of games and goody bags, of limousine rides from the airport and cocktails by the pool.

Right now they will be dining at a gorgeous outdoor buffet, and tomorrow will be once again filled to the brim with activities, and a formal Gala dinner.

But we are not there.

It’s funny how others like to presume why, because it was expensive, or out of our reach – it wasn’t, it was very cheap, cheaper than we will ever be able to travel there again.

I will tell you why we are not there.

Because no one will look after our kids.

This leads to another presumption.

That we must live in a different city to our family.

We don’t, the closest family member is approximately 200 metres  down the road from us.

We just do not have family members that wish to play an active roll in our lives.

They loved to tell us their opinions of our children’s names, or our parenting styles, the love to make comments to others about us, or complain about things that affect them.

But they play no active part in our lives.

It is amazing the Facebook profiles that display family members hugging up to and playing with our children, the ironic thing is that may be one out of a handful of times in which they have done that.

We have a new business, and with any business, it has been a lot of hard work, many days in a row.

People presume we have a team of babysitters on call.

We don’t.

We have taken the kids to events with us on the weekend, kept them out way past their bed time, or tag teamed with each other so one is at home with the kids and one at work.

And others presume that the fact we have a business means we have unlimited supplies of cash to get a babysitter at any price.

We don’t.

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Our business website and details mainly only show Jamie’s name, he was the only one who went to Sydney for the franchisee training course.

The franchise face book page ran hot that fortnight with photos of Jamie’s endless Barista training, and business training. The head of the company was photographed at the end of the training handing Jamie his certificates and gifts.

People think I was not there because I was not interested.

Purely, I could not go because no one would look after the kids.

Others presume that as individuals, we get plenty of “me time”

We don’t.

A recently single friend told me that only now she has become a single Mum, has she got so much more time to herself.

Ironic I know.

You see, like me, she had a husband whom worked long hours, leaving her to have main care of the kids.

Now she is single, people are offering assistance left, right and centre, and her ex has the kids at times too.

She has been on regular nights out, weekends away and even holidays.

I have been a Mum for 7 years and in that time have not had one whole child free weekend.

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Others presume that the fact our daughter has not filled in any names for the form for Grandparents day at school is because her Grandparents are deceased, or live miles away.

They don’t .

She has not even asked to bring any of them along.

They just don’t play a part in her or her brothers life.

People presume because Jamie and I have been together for so long, our journey has been easy.

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It hasn’t.

We have had our hurdles, and a lot of them, but we have stuck it out, and continued to grow.

It hasn’t been easy, in fact sometimes I have to say it has been bloody hard!

I bet you read this post and think I am a whinger.

A thankless/ungrateful whinger.

Perhaps I am.

Despite it all,

The missed chances, the hardships and hurdles.

I have one thing to be grateful for.

For being part of this awesome little gang of 4 people whom I get to call my family.

The way in which we have been treated, the things in which we regret, we get to make sure are not repeated.

While the unfortunate thing is too many people do not play an active part in these two gorgeous children’s lives.

I am so very grateful to be a part of theirs.

And while I moan and complain about the things we do not have in life, I never, ever, not once take for granted the fact that we were blessed enough to be parents to not one but two amazing little beings.

And when the tears are threatening to fall, and the dirty green eyed jealously monster comes out to play, and when I get away from Facebook so I can no longer play the “comparison game”, we take a moment to look at each other, and six simple words are said that make it all worthwhile .

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“At least we have each other”

And you know what?

That’s worth it all.

Learning to be my own hero

Someone once told me that life will continue to throw the same lessons at us, over and over again, until finally we learn what we need to know.

I have said for years that one of my life lessons is to become more assertive.

Over time, I have become much better, starting to stand up for myself more than I have done before, but I have so much further to go.

I am by nature a pretty outgoing person.

Regularly I will strike up conversations with random strangers, sometimes these are some of the most beautiful, enlightening conversations you can have.

Everyone has a story, and I love hearing what people have to say.

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I love to be around people.

There is so many wonderful souls out there.

The kind ones

The Caring ones

The loving ones

The giving ones

The happy ones

The beautiful ones

Thankfully on average I am mainly surrounded by the lovely souls.

The people that uplift me, and bring so much into my world.

Life isn’t perfect, and as much as we would love to, it is impossible to surround oneself in a protective bubble that the negative ones cannot penetrate.

Normally I will just let peoples bad moods and nasty comments wash off of me, I remind myself some people just have their own issues, it is their issue, not mine.

I also admit that sometimes I have been known to fall under the negative category myself, no one is perfect.

A few times lately I have been really put down and pulled apart in some really unfortunate events.

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You know what though?

The thing that upsets me the most is not what these people have done or said to me, it is the fact that I have not stood up for myself, that I have not been more assertive and told them that they are out of line.

So I have decided.

Time to be my own hero.

No more being pushed around.

No more being put down.

No more being walked all over.

I may be nice, but that does not mean you can use me as a doormat.

I realize that some times people put others down as they are insecure in their own skin, or sometimes they have had a bad day and take it out on others, or maybe simply they are just a jerk.

Heads up world!

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I realize that I have spent so much time fighting for others,

that I forgot to remember to fight for myself.

Now it is time to be my own hero.

Please Be Gentle with me

Six months after my sister passed away, I sat trembling in a Doctors surgery.

I had been experiencing blinding headaches and was worried about them.

He checked me over, shone a light in my eyes, then rested back in his seat.

“I really don’t think it is anything to worry about, just headaches” he said

Then he smirked at me

“It is not as if you are dying of a brain tumour is it?!”

He thought he was making a joke with a 20 year old lady, and was probably confused as to why that same young lady raced out of his surgery in tears.

I do not think I am a hypochondriac, but I am well aware of how unfair and surprising life is at times.

Cancer, that fucking disease (excuse the language, but I feel it is needed here), has taken my big sister, 3 of my 4 Grandparents,  a grade 8 class mate, numerous friends, and is the one reason as to why I have attended the amount of funerals I have.

I hate this disease, absolutely fucking hate it.

I hate what it does, what it takes, what it prevents.

I HATE IT!

While I am on the hate party, I also hate Dr Google, that friggin thing has had me self diagnose myself far too many times for far too many scary things, and I hate to say it, but more often then not it is cancer.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not think of cancer 24/7 and it is not as if I obsess over getting it, but it does cause me a bit of caution.

Two years ago a Doctor suspected I had a breast tumour, thankfully she was wrong, but I had already started fighting my battle in my mind.

A doctor was once dramatically alarmed at the result of my blood pressure test, once I told her in my quite, shaking voice that doctors scared me, she got me to take a walk, have a cool drink, take some deep breathes and return.

The next test was much better.

Thankfully, apart from my blubbering mess when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I do not make a habit of having break downs in doctors surgeries any more.

I am dealing with some health problems right now, and on Friday my doctor suggested I have some blood tests, as well as book in for an ultrasound and see a specialist (which I have to wait until August to see- but that is a whole other story).

Monday I get the call from the surgery that the results are back, I am right near by, so I duck in and visit them to get the results in person.

The receptionist informs me that the nurse needs to see me, so I take a seat with my energetic 4 year old and wait for 5 minutes.

The nurse comes to get us, and ushers me to a room.

“I am afraid that your results are of a nature that you will need to make an appointment with your Doctor to discuss them” she tells me.

My smile fades, my heart skips a beat.

I go back to the desk, find that I am not able to get an appointment that does not interfere with school drop offs and pick ups until 2 days later.

My anxiety kicks in.

My fears take over.

I start to worry about all the things that could be wrong.

Two days later I finllly get to see the Doctor, she must notice that I look a bit nervous when she ushers me into her room.

“I’m sorry” She says

“Our Junior Nurse is not permitted to discuss results with you, it seems you are just a bit low with your iron levels”

WTF????????????????????????

I had imagined myself with many diseases, got worked up and stressed out, finally calmed myself down.

I told friends how I felt.

I shared my heart and soul.

All to find out my fucking iron levels were low!

Oh please doctors, I am a bit delicate,

Please, be gentle with me.

Brave Love

We have friends whom are going through a bit of a tough time at the moment.

The husband has been in hospital for a month now, after being sick for some time, he is more than aware of the feeling of pain, nausea, exhaustion, and feeling trapped inside a confined hospital room.

It has been a long, hard road for him, with a long way ahead before he can say he is 100% again.

With many tubes and wires hanging out from him for some time, and having been put in a medically induced coma, he understandably did not want visitors for a bit.

We finally got to go visit him last week, he looked better than I expected, yet a lot smaller than the guy we have become used to, also a lot paler, and that look of exhaustion written all over him.

I thought I had a pretty strong stomach, but after hearing some of the stories of horrific medical procedures he has endured, I found myself going fuzzy, and ended up sitting on the floor before I passed out!

I met this man through his wife, whom I became friends with first.

We have had an amazing friendship.

I look at this woman, and see a strong, amazing, generous, beautiful soul.

The only fault I can point out is that she does not see the person we all see, her ideas of herself are so low, she has no idea how absolutely amazing she is.

She has been there for me through so much; she is easily one of my closest friends in life, someone I am blessed to know.

However, this story is not about us, it is about her, and about them as a couple and a family.

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On top of having her husband in hospital, she has their 3 children to care for, with their middle child having his own share of recent health concerns.

Recent windy, rainy weather resulted in a leaky roof, their fridge also decided at that point to play up, and she also took on a pregnant foster dog, assisting this beautiful creature in giving birth to 11 puppies. Unfortunately one passed away soon after birth.

For days before this dog gave birth, my dear friend had many sleepless nights checking up on her, she told me that she remembered only too well how scary giving birth is, and did not want the dog to go through the same thing alone.

This is the kind of person she is.

On top of everything else, there is of course the financial strain of endless medical bills, and the fact that their main breadwinner is off work for an unknown period of time.

I think of love, and I think of this couple.

A woman who is drained, exhausted and battered, yet she continues to take the long journey to hospital every day to see the love of her life.

I see a wife who had to assist her husband with even the most basic of skills such as showering; a task which I hear could take up to an hour to complete each day.

I see a man who hates that his family have to see him like this, his oldest boy just wanting his Daddy home with him, and who gets upset regularly about how sick his Daddy is.

Love is beautiful, it is about finding your soul mate, and sharing your life with them, it is about the happy times, about laughter, beauty and passion, it is about those butterflies in your tummy and the wonderful moments you create together.

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However, love is real; it is about sharing everything with another person, the good and the bad, the sickness and the health.

So to my dear friends, this is my gift to you, it is not much, but it is words, I know using spoken words I sometimes get tongue tied and messed up, so I decided to write this post just for you. Even then I feel that I am lost for the exact words to say how awesome you all really are.

Life has thrown your family more than your fair share of drama lately.

I know you are both feeling more than a tad overwhelmed.

I just want to tell you both that I look at you as individuals, and a couple, as well as a family, and all I see is love and strength.

You are all there for each other when you need it the most.

You all love each other unconditionally, through thick and thin, hard times and good.

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To my dear friends, I know you don’t feel it now, but others look at you and are inspired.

You may not feel brave, or strong, you may feel that you have nothing more left in you to give, but you are and you do.

I look at you all and I am amazed by the love you all have.

The love you have is strong, and tough, it’s brave and beautiful, the love you have is real.

That is something so many people only dream of.