Karen In Sydney, Australia

1920s Morley Style

Embee Louise

In The Navy (with Brisbane in the background)

31 July, 2011

My Grandad

So the last 12 months have been very hard at times. I cannot even find the words to describe it. I guess as a wise man recently told me: that I lost my rock when my Grandad passed away.

It’s hard to fathom that he has been gone for 12 months tomorrow.

I’ve thought hard and long about what I might write in my Morley Report when we got to this time. So many things... But I guess to sum it all up; I myself am going through a Metamorphosis, a stage in my life when you reassess different aspects of your life. Great Loss in life makes you see and think about things differently.
People you thought would always be there are not. Others you didn’t think would be there; simply are. The strangest things can pop up and make you sad, make you laugh and then slowly as time creeps by you lift your head off your pillow and take a breath and start to get on with it.

One of the hardest things would be that my Grandad would have hated how I have been. I wish I could snap my fingers and simply snap out of it. But for some reason this doesn’t work.

At times it’s just been easier to just be me (and Embee!) and keep to myself. Lock myself away from the world, which of course isn’t healthy, but it’s something that you just do, even though you know it’s not the best thing.

I’ve changed jobs and my goodness how happy am I now in my job ☺. That has been a blessing over the last few months.

Jake and Embee have been my salvation and I thank god every day for them.

Not everyone will get what I am on about. I guess until they themselves experience something similar it will be only then that they truly get it. But can I just say this: we are all different. How we deal with things, how we feel, the emotions that it brings up can all be so very different for each and every one of us. And what you feel, well there is no right or wrong way. You do what you need to do, as simple as that.

This my friends is what I have done. I’m not saying that I am completely healed. I think you don’t get over it, but that you just learn to live with it. And this is where I now find myself today.

And please don’t get me wrong, I still laugh my sad laugh at stuff. I smile, I don’t cry as much as I used to and I find that utmost joy in the smallest of things.

As you get older, you find that you simply don’t have the time or effort to waste on people that don’t reciprocate things back to you. Friendships, relationships that are a lot of the times one sided you don’t have the patience to put up with anymore. This doesn’t make you a mean person, just a real person who is being honest with themselves.

I remember last year being home from work, not long after Grandad had passed away and I was watching Oprah, as you do. There was this story about how Nate who had lost his boyfriend the in Tsunami a few years ago, was explaining how you shouldn't get caught up in dates/days. So Christmas, Birthdays, Fathers Day, the Anniversary of their death.

Nate said that we think about them every day, so why get hung up on a date, what makes this date different to other dates. And he spoke such wise words. This is how I have tried to think. So tomorrow I am hoping is really no different to say last Thursday or Friday. As I think about him all the time.

My Morley Vault this week is dedicated to Grandad (of course!) and to the time he and Mum were staying over and I was showing him Facebook on my Laptop and how it all worked etc. As I dragged the mouse around he thought that I had a little tiny black fly on my screen!! hehehe.

I want more than anything to celebrate my Grandads life and I have put together a slideshow of some of my favourite photos of him and I would love to share this with you. Grandad's Slideshow.

I would also like to share the Eulogy that I wrote last year for Grandads funeral, that Jake was brave enough to get up and speak for me when I could not. Of course it was too long (me talking too much, who would have thought!!!) and I had to reduce it for the actual funeral but today I would like to share it, in its entirety. And I share this with you, not to cry. Grandad wouldn't have wanted that! But to smile, maybe laugh and to be grateful for what you have in life.

So it’s 4am in the morning and my head is spinning with so many many thoughts of Grandad, his life and his impact on my own life. And I am thinking how do I even start to write and try and put into words what this very special man meant to me…..

I always remember at my wedding in 1988, in his speech, but I had heard it many times before: Karen, well I knew Karen, even before she was born! And I remember him telling the story of him and my Dad up at the hospital looking into the baby’s room trying to work out which one was me. And he would say that he knew which one was me by the piece of hair that was sticking up from my head!

For you see we had this very special bond that even in words is hard to explain. He had a nick name for me: Fuzz Face! And he even penned my theme song: Little Karen Cheryl, Karen Cheryl Mead, when someone rings the dinner bell guess who’s in the lead, its little Karen Cheryl, Karen Cheryl Mead.

When I was little and visited Nana and Grandad on holidays he would say when I arrived: Peace is shattered……

I’ve heard the stories many times, of the time I sat under the table, cheating at cards, picking out the right cards and putting them in my hand and making out I hadn’t done anything wrong! The time Grandad went to drink his beer and thought it tasted strange to find that I had dropped a black aniseed jelly bean into the bottom.

And how they wanted me to call him Grandpa, but I couldn’t say the word so of course as you do, called him Ma Maaaa. And of the time at the Petrol Station I would be screaming out from the car, Ma Maaa, Ma Maaaa and all the men would be looking around for a woman and Grandad would be standing there and slowly raise he is hand: I’m Maaaa Maaaa.

When my parents divorced when I was 8 and Mum and I moved in with them. I never left him alone…. Our theme song was “Me and My Shadow….” I would follow him everywhere. He would go downstairs under the house at Paddington to the toilet and I would be waiting for him outside the door, waving my hand under the door….

We would go for drives, sit on the back stairs at night, just talk about stuff, look at the stars and point out The Pot (in the sky…..) and watch the bats fly over.

On our annual holiday we would go to the beach for a swim and sunbake together, go for our walks, in later life this would be me pushing him in his wheelchair, but how we loved our walks.

He would say that he knew he could talk but that even I COULD TALK MORE THAN HIM. And whilst I always knew we were alike, over the last few days, ringing and talking to his many friends, hearing such wonderful stories I realise we are so much more alike than even I KNEW.

As I got older and moved out of home, by the way, this was the only time, really, that I can remember him getting so very angry with me, cause You are supposed to stay home until you get married you know….. we still remained very very close.

When Baby Jake was born, he was soooo very proud. I remember him pushing Jake in the pram down at Coolangatta and people stopping to talk to him, the men at the pub asking him to come in for a drink but he declined – cause you don’t take a baby into a pub!!!

The time he, Nana and Mum looked after Jake every day when I went back to work for three months and Jake would have been around 4 months old. Jake was sick one day with a cold and a blocked nose. I remember ringing up from work asking how he was and I had given them these drops, iridescent blue drops that you gave through the mouth to help his blocked nose. But cause it said it was for nasal congestion they had put them down his NOSE!!! And Grandad said to me: but it cleared his nose and he can breath and I said, yesssssss cause it prob burnt everything out of his nasal passage!!!!

I don’t know where my Mum and I would have been without my Grandparents. They have done so much for us and for Jake.

In later years Jake would attend Grandad’s Battalion reunion with him, pushing his wheelchair. Helping Grandad program his video, Video/DVD player, clock radio. I couldn’t begin to tell you all the phone calls we had when poor old Jake had to explain what buttons to push, or write down the instructions in very very large writing so he could read it.

And Grandad loved our animals. He would butter bread for our old dog Dannii and hold it so she could lick the butter off. He would go over to our house when we were away and feed Dannii our dog and Puss and Herman our cats. They all loved him. And in the last four years there was Embee Louise. They shared a passion for potato chips and only last Saturday night in the hospital did he tell me to give her his stash of chips beside the chair in his room.

She used to sit on his lap in the car when we would go to pick him up at the Retirement Village. We’d cover him up with a blanket or pillow to try and protect his skin and sometimes she would sit on the centre console and give him a bath and lick his ear. He loved Embee very much and would always share his food with her.

In the later years he used to get frustrated and upset that I had to help him do up his shoes, put his socks on, help him with his seat belt, push him in his wheelchair etc. And I would say, well you know Grandad, when I was little you did all those things for me, now its my turn to return the favour!

He also had a way with the ladies, but I think we all know this Norm Haer fact!! Even last Saturday at the hospital he was surrounded by the women he loved. His friendships with both Debbie and Janelle meant more to him than words could describe. His eyes lit up when they walked into his site! And I remember Yvonne who also visited and who works at his Retirement Village say to me after he had passed away that she would miss him a lot and that she would miss putting his socks on for him!

He just had this special bond and one of his friends said to me when I called them to tell them of his passing that Norm was a Woman’s Man!

But of course we all knew that his number one girl was Lou. We were only talking, him and I last Saturday night about how it had been 13 years since she passed away and how she passed away four hours before their wedding anniversary.
He talked about her every single day and now during this time, during our grief, my biggest sense of relief is that they are finally together.

Today, here right now, I know they are watching us, holding hands, young, vibrant, no illness’s so proud of their little family. So much in love and soooo very happy to finally be together again.

This gives me so much comfort that words can just not explain to you.

The fact that we had him those extra 13 years after she went, well we were all so very lucky to have him to ourselves for that little bit more.

He had so many sayings…. And hadn’t we heard THEM A MILLION TIMES…. Even in the last few days, with finding it difficult to breath, he would still joke, and talk….. it’s a wonder Talk isn’t his middle name instead of Victor!!

I joked that I bet all the way up to heaven he was talking and they wont know what’s hit them up there. There was def not a dull moment when he was around!
But prob one of my most treasured memories will be of last Saturday night. When I came back up to the hospital by myself and it was just him and me.

Me and my shadow, together again….. I spent a few hours with him, laughing, joking, talking about our family, how proud he was of us all and how much he was soooo happy we were together.

How much he loved his kids, grandkids and great grandkids. We joked about him coming on a cruise with me next year, talking to the nurses who are seriously thinking of doing this cruise by the way and of having a drink and a boogie.

Those few precious hours I will cherish for the rest of my life. And in my mind, when I left him that night, I can see me kissing him two times on the cheek, cause that was our special kiss and me saying to behave and not be naughty that night and holding his hand, playing with his toes to say goodbye and walking away but turning back to see his smiling face, his proud face and me singing out LOVE YA!!!!

I know I will see him and Nana one day again and you know we had this very special whistle and I know that when I whistle he will hear me and that way we will always find each other. Just like we used to do when I was little, down the coast on holidays and we would be grocery shopping in the aisles and lose each other but whistle our whistle in the shop to find each other.

The other day in the hospital when his eyes were half closed, I did this whistle and he knew straight away it was me! Fuzz Face, his little Karen Cheryl.

Ok, so I think I am done. Thanks for staying awake whilst Jake has done me proud to read my words and thank you for being such wonderful caring friends and family, to celebrate this man, this wonderful man who put everyone else before himself.

And he would want me to say this to you all: I don’t want you TO WORRY!

Have a laugh, remember a funny story about him but most of all have a drink in his honour. He would love that more than anything.

And Grandad, you are a true gentleman and the world has truly lost a treasure.

Love Ya

My plans are to get back into writing my weekly Morley Report. To start to reconnect some friendships that in the last 12 months have been put on hold whilst I sat on my lounge and pondered life and more than anything my biggest plan is to just breath, smile and get back to living and enjoying life. So watch out Groover’s Morley is back, back with vengeance! And she is about to shake up this town ☺

03 July, 2011

I'm back......

So for the first time since January this year, when I made a pact with myself to write my blog every Sunday night, I didn’t….

First of all I would like to thank my friends that have text’d, emailed, phoned and sent messages on Facebook. It has meant a lot to me.

I guess since my Grandad passed away last year, well the last 12 months have been a hard time in my life, and sometimes out of the blue a feeling hits you where you are just flat and feel like locking yourself away from the world.

My work is still going really well just so you know, but it’s more to do with life, friends and I guess just more life…..

Years ago when we were younger life was so much more simple. People made the effort to keep in touch with friends, to catch up in person etc. But now it seems people are so caught up in their own lives that they just don’t make the time, which is very sad…

I don’t like to bore you guys with all the dreary details but I am slowly getting back to me, so my advice to you is to enjoy the peace and quiet whilst this girl is quiet ☺

I was watching an episode of Australian Story over the weekend. It's such an inspiring television show. Sometimes you just need to get a grip and realise how luck you really are in your own life.

So over the last couple of weeks the world has gone on, I have completed a two day First Aid Course. First time ever and found out I have a reaction to Latex! How did I find this out you ask? Well by waking up on Day 2 with a small rash under my lip. Now maybe on the previous day I went in to hard on my dummy’s face…… who knows! Oh and I also broke his neck on that previous day and ended up with bruises on each knee! As they say: It’s a Jungle out There!!! Hehehe.

I also had a catch up with the girls that I did my Tourism Course in 1999 with. I hadn’t seen them for over a year so it was great to see them and catch up on the goss.

We had a lovely lunch at my house.

It’s funny isn’t it, that as the years tick by so many things start to encroach into our lives. Sickness, Separation, Death of parents/grandparents, new jobs, new babies. I guess you get to a certain age in our life when these things are inevitable.

As I say sometimes: It’s a tough gig being an adult.

I’ve changed my travel plans also for New Years Eve. We’ve cancelled the cruise and are now booked to travel to Hamilton Island at The Beach Club. It looks like a great resort, just for adults! ☺ When the days are cold here I dream about sitting in the sun by the infinity pool overlooking the ocean!

Saturday I had my hair done with a new swishy do, with a bit of a different colour. I had a great afternoon chatting with Jess my hairdresser. It’s funny how it can be such a small world, with the good old Kevin Bacon, six degrees of separation with us both knowing the same person.

Although this seems to happen to me a bit, I think it really is a small world after all ☺.

So I’ve been sitting hear trying to think of a story for The Morley Vault. Here is this week’s installment:

So many years ago, even before Baby Jake was born I lived in Townsville with my Ex Husband, who of course at the time was my husband…. Who would have thought! Hehehe

He was in the Australian Army and every so many weeks he had to do a Duties Week on the Army Base. So one Duties Week for some reason I needed to go up to the base and get a message to him, for the life of me I have no idea what it was.

My sister in-law lived up there too and on this day accompanied me to the base. So I leave her in the car and walk into the main office and I was wearing my sunglasses. I talk to the person on duty, explain my message and he writes it down and then I thank him and walk back to my car.

Now my sister in-law is laughing and laughing at me. I have no idea why?? Eventually when she stops crying (tears are running down her face…..) she tells me it’s my sunglasses. Now I am confused so I take them off to look at, and guess what? I only have ONE LENSE in!

So I have walked into the office, with one lense in, didn’t even realise and was talking and talking and explaining my story for him to write down. He must have thought it was a joke because come onnnnnnn, why would someone do this? How could they not even realise they had a lense missing…….

This is a story I have never lived down and prob is one of my most embarrassing stories. I can still see it now, the realisation that I had been a loser and walked in like that not even realizing!!!!!!!!!

My Boss at work is moving and has been bringing in bits and pieces for people to pick through. Kinda like his own Garage Sale but in the office. One day he came into work and said I have something for you. He said, when I found it, I automatically thought of YOU!

Where does he get such an idea? Hehehe.

Embee has been taking it easy and on the cold days find good places to catch some rays!

And what would a Morley Report be without a picture of my mate from work Seamus! I have unofficially become his 2nd mother and sometimes loves to sleep under my desk as I work away.

Well my friend’s things brings me to the end of this week’s Morley Report.

Promise to be back next Sunday with another report!

Me xxx
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