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I've come out of hibernation!

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Some will have noticed I've begun participating in chats here again and if you follow any of my blogs or sites, you will have seen changes and increased activity.

 

I do believe I've come out of hibernation. Why have I put this in the Health and Wellness section here?

 

Nearly 20 months ago one our my daughters died at the age of 24 years. She had been suffering depression but her father and I were unaware of it as she lived away from home and whenever she visited she was always our bubbly Miriam, the daughter we knew and loved. But the last few hours of her life were dark and miserable and to this day we still don't know what triggered her to make the decision she made.

 

For most of the time since then my husband has been suffering depression and I've had to withdraw from a lot of things. I couldn't go out to events away from home so had to stop going to business breakfasts and networking events as I was afraid to leave him home alone. No-one can really imagine what we've been through, unless they've been there themselves.

 

For several months I acted like a mechanical robot and just did what had to be done to keep my business running but I did very little else. In fact I'm not really sure what I did with some of that time, however some months later my husband gave me a new camera for Christmas, a Nikon D90 with accessories. A very expensive gift but I think it was his way of making up for forgetting my birthday (Miriam died 2 weeks before then) and trying to make some effort to show me he loved me. Ever since then I've buried myself in photography, renewing a passion I enjoyed in younger years and learning how to get the best out of the equipment I've had. Many of you will have seen the results at my photoblog, or via Facebook or Flickr or even Twitter.

 

Last June my husband and I travelled to Canada together (my first time there) to attend FoVA and our month long trip around Canada and Alaska after that brought much healing and for the first time in 9 months we could just be ourselves as no-one we were travelling with knew our sorrow. For a little while we could pretend things were normal.

 

3 months after we returned we found a gorgeous new home (new to us, the house was built in the 1940s with additions in 1970s and 1980s) on a 2 acre property. We shifted in at the end of October and then had to endure one of Melbourne's very hot summers and the potential for bushfires. We're now in Autumn with beautiful colours in the turning leaves and rain and occasional thunderstorms. We are loving our life in our new home and property and I'm in a photographer's paradise.

 

Over these months I've revamped my main website, my blog, other blogs, started writing again, am researching a new book, doing a photographer's course, added a new service to my business, gained some new clients and have started going out again to events. I feel like I've been reborn in some ways. Graham and I are even attending church again regularly now - I've been wanting to go for ages but he just didn't feel like praise and worship when feeling the sorrow he felt. He's now laughing again, bought a new mountain bike and is currently out exploring paths into the city (50km trip one way) in the hope of riding to work again regularly - he really does need the exercise and it does help depression.

 

Why am I sharing this here with you all? Because many of you have been my friends from afar, encouraging me and even putting up with my slow responses to things. You've given me room to recover and return to some sort of 'normality'. But most of all I want to let you all know that if ever you have something happen in your life that drags you down or makes you feel like you'll never be normal again, it's important to give yourself time to heal, time to recover, time to experience all the feelings and emotions that you need to feel. And give permission to yourself to do something different and it's ok to let go of things from the past if they're not beneficial to you. Don't feel like giving up things are breaking loyalties or obligations. Life happens - both good and bad. Just give yourself some room or if someone else you know is suffering, give them room too. And most of all be patient. I've had to be.

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Thank you for sharing. Every time for the past few months, when I see your name, I remember your daughter and your loss and lifted you up in a distant prayer. I've felt you've provided valuable input here from time to time despite what you've been going through. I'm so pleased that peace is following you. And thankful for the bubbly times that you had with Miriam. Thank you for staying in our world and making your wise contributions...for I always see your comments as very wise and stable.

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Kathie,

 

That is just beautiful. I have also prayed for you and Graham and enjoyed the time, even though brief, that I was able to meet you two at FoVA. I was so happy to see that you were going to be there.

 

I have never felt your loss but have felt the loss of losing a brother who was depressed. I always remember the happy times that we shared and I know that he will always be in my heart.

 

Thank you for touching my life and my heart. You and Graham are two very special people.

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Thank you Judy and Patty. We have felt the prayers of many people and they have been very much appreciated. I belong to a group online called Proverbs 31 Women and they have been a wonderful support for me as I've needed to support my husband. Our church has also been there for us and for the first 10 days after Mirri's death they fed us daily, brought food to us, drinks, did our shopping and anything else we needed. Graham's sister and brother-in-law also came to live with us for a period of time. They're retired and live in another state but were here for us, as was one of my sisters and her daughter from another state (good thing we had a big house, hey?). One of the lady pastors at our church has become a friend of mine and she and other women have met me from time to time for a cuppa or lunch just so I had someone to talk to and would follow me up with emails and phonecalls. Us girls need each other a great deal, don't we?

 

My husband has a wonderful best friend (who also happens to be our youngest daughter's father-in-law) and I am so thankful for Dave. I've sent him cards, emails and texts to thank him for being there for Graham. A wife can be most things to her husband but she can't be his best mate in the way a man can. God has surrounded us with the people we've needed to get through this and you know, if I had been in a corporate job I don't know that I would still be in that job now. How many employers allow you to just muddle along till you're ready to return back to normal? My husband's employer (or boss actually) has fortunately been happy to let Graham go at his own pace. Graham's field is a specialist IT architect and they would have to scour the country or look overseas to replace his experience and knowledge. His boss has allowed Graham to work from home when he wants and that's been good too. We're both in the right place for the work we do.

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Hi Kathie,

 

It is wonderful to hear that you are really spreading your wings once again. I have really enjoyed the photos that you have been publishing to Facebook and other places, you really do manage to capture the beauty in those photos so well.

 

I have an appreciation for the journey (thank you for sharing it), I have kept you in my prayers and will continue to. I have an appreciation for what you have been through because about 8 years ago now my sister died in similar circumstances... I was 22 and she was 24 at the time.

 

:bighug:

 

Love Rachel

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Thanks Rachel. Amazing they both died at the same age under similar circumstances.

 

I'm so glad you've been enjoying my photos. It's really given me a new lease of life. For those interested you can see a lot of my photos in different categories at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathiemt/ I've even begun selling some at stock photo sites - which has both amazed me but pleased me. It means that some are considered suitable to join the stock photography world. Perhaps a new passive income for my distant retirement days.

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Even though this post is over 2 months old, I just found it. I am so sorry for your loss. I do not think there is any thing worse than losing a child. I am glad that you embraced the healing process and have started to rejoin the world. Depression is a very nasty thing. You are an inspiration to all of us. It puts my whining of why my "3G network on my phone is sooo slow" in perspective.

 

A quote from a TV show:

 

When you lose your parents, you are an orphan.

When you lose a spouse, you are a widower.

But losing a child is so horrible, they do not have a name for it.

 

I am glad that you are on the other side and moving in that path. :thumbup:

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Kathy,it's wonderful to hear of the ways you and your family are healing through this and like so many others I've thoroughly enjoyed your photos.

 

I understand living with someone with deep depression and knowing the hardships of changing your life to keep them safe and be available to meet their needs above everything else. My brother has clincial depression among many other anxieties. It's been life changing ever since he became a teenager. It was around that time that I, too, found my interest (and escape) in photography. There's much peace in photographing God's beauty and witnessing His hand all around that eventually as the healing takes place it's easier to see His presence has been on those near and dear all the time. When the hurt is too close and deep, the obvious isn't so obvious.

 

 

Hugs,

~Ruth

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Graham is now doing the ride to and fro work once a week, i.e. rides in one day and rides back another day. It takes him around 2 hours 40 mins riding time each way so he leaves in the dark at 5am one day and arrives home in the dark around 8.15pm the next day or when he chooses. It's winter here now and wet and cold so he has to be choosey about the days he rides in and back again - it hasn't yet become a regular day of the week event. When the weather improves around September I expect he'll make one day his 'ride in' day and another day his 'ride back' day.

 

Mountain biking has been very good for him and in some ways probably makes him feel like Mirri is close as she used to go riding with her dad often and even participated in races with him. The next challenge has been Graham's other daughter, Miriam's sibling. Our other daughters are mine and while they've all been affected, I guess Meredith feels it more. She has a best friend who shifted interstate to live with Meredith when she was in Canberra but they've both been living with us since January this year. They're currently looking for a place to live now that Sara has found a job and Meredith is back at Uni.

 

It really has been a long slow journey and those who haven't experienced losing a close family member have no idea how long it takes. We're drawing close to the 2nd anniversary of Miriam's death and yet we still take each day at a time and not plan too far ahead. Well, sort of. We've had some carrots dangled in front of us, particularly for next year and it looks like we could be going to New Zealand early in the year for a friend's 40th birthday and later in the year I'm hoping to be back in Canada for another conference.

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Kathie, I'll have to show Arnold this post as he has been procrastinating riding his bike to work (and it's only a 15 minute ride). Give a big hug to Graham for getting through this on his own time schedule :)

 

As for your photography, your pictures are amazing and inspiring me to take up a hobby or something. I just can't find the time to do anything else but work and when I do, I'm tired and would prefer to snooze.

 

Arnold still wants to go back to New Zealand and visit old friends there. For those who didn't know, he lived there for a year or two and was a chef at some restaurant there.

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Yep, you tell Arnie! Graham is riding 50kms one way through hills and mountainous areas down to the flatlands of the city - mainly on bike paths and under roadways. He used to ride every single day, 22kms each way from our old home to the city and back along a major highway which scared the hell out of me. But he survived the travel all those years.

 

Re the hobby - I found it necessary to have something to distract me away from work and the dramas of our life. Photography was a childhood passion that's been renewed. Plus I was seriously in danger of suffering from lack of Vitamin D. I needed to get out. I started just going outside into my own backyard and frontyard taking photos of flowers and birds. Then I started travelling further to places I would pass at other times thinking they might be good to take my camera to. Now where we live I go out almost every day. In fact, I've just come back from a 40 min walk, rugged up in a woollen coat and beanie. It's just after 2pm here and I was venting from a frustrating service provider on behalf of a client and needed time out.

 

You know if you do pass by Aust to go to NZ then you have a bed here! And lots of beautiful Australian scenery and birdlife to see and kangaroos just 10 mins drive from here :thumbup:

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The kangaroos are 10 mins from here I mean. The scenery and birdlife is in my own yard!

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