Life But Not As We Know It


by Lori Dwyer on May 10, 2013 · 9 comments

My children appear to have some kind of obsession with death lately.

It’s not so much an obsession with their father dying, or having died, as with the whole concept in general.

I’m not sure if it’s entirely normal, or ‘normal’ for children who’ve had to deal with death so close up at such a young age. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for them to discuss it so much. I don’t encourage it, but nor do I discourage it or shut them down when the topic comes up. I find myself watching keenly in order to see if I actually do hear the words ‘dying’ and ‘death’ as often as I think I do, or if I’m just overtly sensitive and tuned to the sound of it.

The characters in my daughters dollhouse- a mixture of porcelain nic-nacs, Barbie dolls and Maccas toys- are constantly dying, their whole families perishing in terrible hot air balloon accidents. The make-believe games that the Chop and her play often end in death, and my son makes dramatic declarations about what would happen, exactly, should he step into the gas heater (“Goodbye, family…” he roleplays, a mimic of seriousness attempting to squirm itself into a smirk on his face).

Part of the reason for this phenomena has to lay in the testostor-isation of my boy-child, the newly found roughness that’s come with Big School and Skylanders, Ben 10 and being five. And if I compare one child with the other, the Bump at this age to the way the Chop was two years ago, then her questions and discussions around death seem comparative with his. She still asks questions, about Heaven and death and Daddy. My son rarely questions anything anymore, and acts as some form of instigator of truth and their reality as he sees it. Generally it’s kind and gentle corrections, filling in the potential gaps in her knowledge with what he already knows. Only occasionally does it take a more fervent, aggressive tone (smacking his sister in the head because she dared to argue the topic of whether or not people can come back from the dead- the Chop obviously on the side of the negative- was a particular low point in sibling instruction).

As I do with most everything I’m not quite sure about, I’m leaving this one to run it’s course. I’d rather they talk about this stuff than didn’t. I’d much rather them mention it when they feel they need, than not be able to mention it at all.


Countdown To Borneo: 13 Days

by Lori Dwyer on May 7, 2013 · 3 comments

Countdown to Borneo: 13 days to take off.

Anxiety Level: Moderate

Organisation Level: Moderate to High


I’m existing in a bubble of my own self-inflicted anxiety. The things I’ve been meaning to do before I left for Borneo are piling up, one atop another, in a heap marked ‘Later’. (Visiting both the shrink and the dentist, toilet training my daughter…. all the best of good intentions that can certainly wait).

I am going overseas for the first time (kind of) in less than two weeks. The days are toppling onto one another like a pile of dominoes. A clicking, sliding house of cards that disappears flat into itself with such startling rapidity you barely have time to catch your breath before the next rows fold into each other.

Don’t think about it, just do it. I’m terrified. But, if nothing else, I’m an expert at just putting one foot in front of the other. And that’s how I’m choosing to approach the next thirteen days. One thing at a time. One task at a time, as it becomes important. Try not to forget anything. Especially breathing, in and out, and reminding yourself you will be fine.

I’m in a good head-space for it. I know this feeling- it’s bizarrely nostalgic, reminiscent of a another time when I was so terrified all I could do was one moment at a time, one task as it became important. But this time around, it’s laced with magic and adventure and excitement. I’m focusing on that- the exquisite, exciting apprehension of it. Because if I don’t, I may just find myself paralysed with crippling fear. And that won’t do, not in this situation. Not at all.


“”You are exactly where you are supposed to be, in this moment, right now,” Our yoga teacher said to us. My racing mind immediately came to a screeching halt to digest this new and profound information.”

Paula’s Story, published at Carly Findlay’s blog

“You know, I’ve been thinking, everything is…just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all of this. This rock…this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It’s entire life. Ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. There, in space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right…right here. I’ve been moving towards it my whole life. The minute I was born, every breath I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.”

127 Hours

I like to think sometimes the Universe presents you with tiny nuances, recurring themes to remind you that the world is much bigger than you can conceive. Signposts, perhaps. to tell you that you’re on the right path. To present you with tools you may need to do what you have to do.

Or maybe I just look too hard and put far too much significance in the blog posts I read, and the movies I watch.


I am exactly where I need to be, right now.

Things roll out the way the do for a reason.


A Different Kind Of Missing Someone.

by Lori Dwyer on May 6, 2013 · 3 comments

I miss my gran.

It comes in slapping gulps, every now and then, flashes of cold water reality shocking my psyche. It’s a different kind of missing someone, a different kind of mourning. My life has continued relatively normally since she’s been gone– there has been no huge adjustment to make, I haven’t had to reassess my entire existence the way I did after Tony died.

It’s just that my Gran has been so firmly woven into my life, ever since I was a child… sometimes my mind bumps over the expectance of her being here. I’ll drive past her street, or think of her in present tense.

I’m exquisitely aware of the absence of her. Of how she’s always been here…and now she’s not. It takes me by surprise. And every time, I cover it up, shovel life over the top of it until it doesn’t hurt so much any more.

I can’t grieve anymore. I’ve only just made my way out of the blackness of that pain, of missing my husband. I’m reluctant to begin mourning all over again. It doesn’t feel right, missing someone piecemeal and in parts, rather than as an all encompassing presence.

But at the same time, this feels like grief untainted and pure. Missing someone without being angry at them for leaving, without feeling a though the Universe got it wrong.

The memory of my grandmother is rich and worn, comforting and familiar; the softly worn paper of a book I’ve read a thousand times. I remember fretting badly, the night of Tony’s funeral, worrying that I would lose the sound of his voice. That it would fade out of existence and I’d no longer remember what it sounded like when he said my name.

I’ve not encountered that thought yet about my grandmother. Her voice comes into my head unbidden, so distinct it may as well be her there speaking in front of me. The crinkle of her eyes, the sound of her laugh. Her warm, comforting practicality.

I hold the memory of her as a omen, a token, a warm blanket to wrap myself in. Proof that there’s goodness in the world. Proof that lives well-lived are entirely possible.