My First Morning at Home Again!

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“There is a kind of magic-ness about going far away and then coming back all changed.
~ Kate Douglas Wiggin

 

Hello, beautiful friends!

So, here I am, back in Australia once more. Can I admit to being a little misty-eyed when my husband Ben pulled up outside Brisbane International Airport to pick me up last night, and I spied two madly grinning dogs hanging out the car windows waiting to greet me?

I am so tired. To look from the outside, all I have to show for my time away is a mountain of dirty washing, a serious supply of tasty Philippines dried Mango and notebooks crammed full with ideas, plans and action-steps for the months ahead. But so much more than that has transpired. I’ve been able to reach a place of clarity about what matters to me, and where I want to place my attention. I have met some amazing people and made new friends. While I am exhausted from all of this living, I am also thrilled to have been able to adventure at all!

It has been an emotional few weeks. As I took a boat ride in Cebu on Thursday, the cool salt water peeling off the sides of the outrigger in plumes, I had just as much salt streaming down my face in the form of tears of gratitude. Honestly, there have been so many times in the past few years when I wondered if a trip like this would ever be possible again, let alone solo. There is nothing like the prospect of death to make life taste sweet and to make you hyper-aware of what really matters.

Thanks to the care and efforts of others I have coped fabulously on this trip. I’ve also managed myself and my illness mindfully. I parented myself to do things such as miss the welcome drinks and opt for an early night instead so that I would be fresh for the next morning’s work. There were adjustments and accommodations to be made in order that I coped. That’s okay. I do that anyway in my life here in Australia.

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Meanwhile here at home I have 3247 unread emails to attend to (I should NOT have turned on my work computer in a post-midnight bout of jetlag-induced insomnia), and innumerable phone messages and mail to sort. I have blog posts to write and students to attend to, and calls to return.

And I will get to all of it. Eventually. If you are one of the 3247 emails, or the 271 facebook messages, please be patient. I have triaged you all in the middle of the night, and will contact you in order of urgency.

But first I am going to focus on what matters most.

This morning my attention is on my little family, whom I missed with all my heart. After endless yes-I-am-really-here-now cuddles with Nurse Bert who can’t quite believe that I am home and who keeps checking in with his nose or paw on some part of my body every few minutes, I am heading out with Ben and Cafe Dog for some breakfast and a proper Australian coffee, made with fresh milk and espresso and a whole lot of barista magic.

After which we’ll do a few city-based errands and I’ll make one important visit before packing the ute to head home to the farm.

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Do you remember me telling you about Liz, who was recently diagnosed with end-stage ovarian cancer? My friend Liz arrived home to Australia on Sunday, and was admitted to hospital early last night after collapsing at home.

Luckily I was up and awake at 1.30am when her husband rang to let me know. Liz and her family had a wonderful holiday in Hawaii – the most magical holiday they have ever experienced – and everything went incredibly well. But Liz used up the last of her good days making those special memories. Scans have revealed that the cancer in Liz’s brain is causing problems that can’t be fixed, so it looks like she will now remain in palliative care as her doctors think she may only have days left to live, based on her rapid downhill progress in the past 24 hours.

No regrets, she told her husband as they were taking her off in the ambulance.

No regrets, he told me, when we talked for hours last night about life and death and getting your priorities straight.

Today I need to see my friend, and say goodbye.

So, you see, everything else can wait just a little bit longer.

I’m feeling just a little teary and heart-sore this morning.

And something else…

I am so filled up on life. I am so grateful for every single breath, every single moment, every single connection.

It’s precious and fragile, this crazy journey we are on. Dig deep, my darlings. Find your own heart-path and live a life that matters to you. No regrets. <3

14 thoughts on “My First Morning at Home Again!

  1. Welcome home! So glad to hear you had such a successful trip. Every time you mention Liz I burst into tears. But to be able to say ‘No regrets’ is such an achievement in itself. I’m thinking of her and her family.

  2. Welcome home Nicole. Lovely to read about your trip. Much love to Liz and her family xx. This has put a few things into perspective – NO regrets.

    Big Hugs

    Jacq xx

  3. Welcome home! Enjoy your hounds adoration. *waves to Ben*
    I decided on no regrets a long time ago, can make for a helluva ride but absolutely no regrets.
    Sending love and light to you and to Liz xo <3

  4. Welcome home Nicole and sending love your way to help you get through today. Thank you always for your inspiration and definitely no regrets xxx

  5. Heartfelt wishes to your friend Liz but so happy for you that you are home safe and feeling at peace. Enjoy this time with your family, cherish the feelings and love you have at home and in time you will catch up with everything else.

  6. Tears here too….started with seeing Ben’s big smiling face radiating Love, Joy & Happiness…your words always touch me deeply…and for your friend in her remaining earthly days…my Love to her & the family….🙏💋🙏💋🙏

  7. So happy for you that you have had such a wonderful time away, learning and relaxing. Touching to hear of the dogs reaction too and so sad, but so wonderful Liz was able to have her holiday of a lifetime. Wishing you big naps (and no more emails and messages 🙂 , and sending love to Liz and her family. Have fun enjoying your family xxxx

  8. I miss you even though we never met. I found your blog in 2011 by coincidence and since then I read your posts regularly. You have no idea Nicole how strong I feel connected to everything you say, to a point where I was confused and kept reading but stopped commenting. Here I am now reading and crying and feeling all your emotions. I wrote you in 2011 when I was still living in danger with my abusive husband. You gave me hope. Thank you

  9. Lovely to read your blog this morning and hear about everything special in your life, Nicole. Welcome home, you were missed 🙂 xx

    Prayers and loving thoughts for Liz and her family – glad they had that special time together. May the love of God and the Angels be around each of you as you spend time with Liz <3

  10. Beautiful post Nicole. So happy you are home safe and had such a wonderful time on your adventure. Much love to Liz and her family on this part of her journey.

  11. I have been a silent reader of your blog for quite some time and am so glad you’re home safe & sound and had such a lovely trip. I too have a dear friend facing a terrible diagnoses, bone cancer, with only months to live. Like your friend she is copping, getting things in order and having no regrets. I admire you for the way you handle your difficulty and your friend Liz for having no regrets . I hope I can be as strong. Much love to you both.

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