Posts Tagged ‘Parent’


I’m struggling, badly.

I hate writing these posts, but I hate not writing them more. I’m doing nothing with my life, I feel genuinely incapable of letting go of objects, people, and situations that I know are weighing me down. I’m fairly sure I’ve become symptomatic, some days.

I still have good days, a few in a row, and it’s them that keep me going and striving towards some kind of life. Ironically, my cancer count has continued to fall after stopping mainstream medication and there’s something that makes me think I won’t have cancer forever, that I will reach full remission. I can’t describe what that ‘something’ is but it just feels like something I know, like the sun will set tonight, a deep faith. I’m not religious, but if I was, I would think that God is looking after me in this way, and that everything is going to be ok.

Being in the middle still sucks though. Some days I even consider sending Bailey to school, just to give myself a break, but when my brain fog clears I know we’d both be worse off. I’ve grown more and more disenchanted with our education system, and more distrustful of government systems in general – I think having so much go wrong medically, learning about treatments available elsewhere that are illegal here, seeing a close friend being treated incredibly poorly by the Education Department, having my privacy severely compromised more than once has all taken its toll. Being screwed financially over and over doesn’t help either.

It’s alienating, feeling at odds with society in general, but also strangely freeing. Not my circus, not my monkeys – and all that.

I try not to write about Craig much anymore, but let’s just say he’s a letdown as a father and a human being. On the same day he told me that Bailey hasn’t been doing swimming lessons because of ‘too many bills’, he bragged about his new motorbike. It was Bailey’s birthday a couple of weekends ago and he was so slack. I have protected Bailey’s feelings more and more but unfortunately I can’t keep lying for and making excuses for him.

It’s a horrible lesson to learn that your parents aren’t who you want them to be, but unfortunately I think Bailey will have to start seeing Craig for how he is now, and that’s going to hurt both of us.

We’ll be ok though, we always are.

Ash x


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So, I’m feeling like me again.

I mean, I have pneumonia, I’m dead tired, blah blah, but I’m…me.

I’m not drowning anymore, right now, I’m feeling connected to life and myself and Bailey again.

Sure, I’m stressed. I’ve been waiting to start this stem cell treatment because I keep getting sick, and if it’s effective it will make a huge difference to my prognosis. The waiting is making me want to climb the walls, because its like I’m waiting for it to work (because it has to), before I start planning to, you know, have any semblance of a life ever again.

I’m sick of being on hold, but omg you guys, that is so much better than just not caring as long as I could hibernate and numb myself.

I don’t just mean I’m feeling like the me of a few months ago, I mean I feel like…I can’t quite remember when. The me who used to smile for no reason, who would never let a guy treat her like trash (especially while cooking him dinner every Sunday – seriously why didn’t anyone just slap me?!), who would sit in the park for an hour making daisy chains with the cutest child in the world. The me who will cry at a sad movie, and then get the giggles, who would actually appreciate things like fresh air, clean water, and food in the fridge every single day, who dragged her kid out of bed to watch lightning over the ocean.

I’m sure I’ll still have days where life seems hopeless and it’s hard to get out of bed, but this does -deep breath and praying I don’t jinx it- feel like a permanent shift.

And -another deep breath- I want to ride again, struggle on with my horses for as long as I can. I hadn’t really been wanting to, but I think that was more not letting myself want to, because it’s impractical and expensive and blah blah. I might not ever get back to competing now, but that’s ok. It’s never been about that. It’s about the feeling of being the first one to sit on my young horse, the first time our traumatised rescue pony walked up to me and ever so gently tickled my neck with his whiskers.

It’s early mornings, the smell of hay, mixing feeds with molasses, warming my hands under their rugs. It’s feeling that moment when half a ton of instinct and adrenaline decides to work with you.

So, for now, fuck practicality.

I’ve always been a dreamer, anyway.


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This afternoon, I was blindsided by this horrible surge of grief. Oddly enough, I’d been feeling stable, quietly productive. It was gorgeous today and I had all the windows open, sea breeze coming in, and I was curled in a patch of sun on the bed.

I have these moments, staying here, where I feel young, and some of what’s happened just falls away. I think it’s the same beaches, the same house, the same smells and sounds. The in-between could just be a dream, right? I could just wander down to the paddock, chuck a bridle on my patchy pony to gallop bareback through the surf. I could walk for miles without being needed, feeling tired, could get lost and found again.

So I was feeling peaceful and young, and I guess my mind just drifted a bit far until I was immersed in a happy time, and when I crashed back, it felt a little…soul destroying? It’s been (OMG) over 2 years since Craig and I lived together full-time, and I don’t know how long since we last had a big ‘lets (maybe, possibly, oh wait actually, I’m not sure) try again’  talk. A couple months? Six? If I thought about it in treatment cycles, I could probably narrow it down.

About 10 years ago now, we spent a lot of time together here. We’d wander along the beaches with my then-puppy, hang out with my best mates, I’d scare him with my interesting shortcuts through gravel tracks.

Sometimes these days, I don’t think about him in an us kinda way for days on end, and then it hits me how real this is. We’re not getting back together. This isn’t just a glitch. Even if the first part of a miracle occurred and he got his shit together, I actually couldn’t forgive him now anyway. Not because he cheated on me, hit me, any of the things when you think ‘unforgivable’. Because he let me go through cancer alone, because I just wasn’t enough. The probability  possibility of me dying doesn’t provoke enough in him, and I know how I’d be if our situations were reversed.

That. Absolutely. Kills.

I’m just staying away from him. As much as I can. It feels like I’m being torn apart but I’ve done everything else.


I don’t think I’m cut out for marriage anyway, and maybe I shouldn’t just be realising (or admitting to) that now, but I think at heart I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe. I mean, in a relationship, I am committed and I do love very deeply but I also have itchy feet a lot, I genuinely enjoy change, and I need a decent amount of stimulation I guess. Aside from my relationship with Craig and my closest long term friends, I tend to have shorter but quickly intense relationships and friendships.

Or maybe I’m just hurting too much now, and ‘realising I’m not cut out for marriage’ is a bit of a cop-out. I honestly wouldn’t know at this point. I’m one of those blessed people where I don’t seem to find it hard to meet nice guys, genuine people who are funny and smart and kind but god forbid one of them should try to get close to me. I’m even like that with friends now, and I’m getting so. lonely.

The flip-side of all this is at least I’m really actually starting to deal with things (and I am definitely in touch with why I actively avoided this) and I can feel myself changing, and not necessarily in the negative ways people would expect. I think I’m either getting stronger or realising my strength, I’m more inclined to speak up, I’m noticing people don’t put nearly as much emphasis on my physical appearance as I do, and I just feel..free-er. People have been criticizing me left right and centre lately, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care, but I also haven’t compromised myself to please others who don’t even know all the factors behind my decisions :).

So? Win. I think. Who the hell knows, really, and it doesn’t matter.

Anyway guys, I’m sorry for the word-vomit, just wanted to get some thoughts out :). Bman is at Craig’s this week and I also have the week off treatment so I guess that’s why I’m thinking about all this stuff I generally try to keep out.

Love to you all 🙂


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I am not a fan of birthdays. Most years I have a predictable emotional shit storm in the weeks leading up to it, and then suddenly go ‘Oh ok. Not so bad’ when the actual day rocks around.

This year was better, and it was worse.

It was better because I kept forgetting it was coming up, and because I was so bogged down in the big stuff, it barely mattered.

It was worse, because you know how when things go wrong on your birthday, it seems harder to take than any other day?

What my birthday did not look like

In addition to the phone thing (which I may have a resolution for fairly soon) there was a mistake with a parking ticket, so I found out I’d been driving without a license for god knows how long :(. I was home alone – my mum had Bailey because it was my treatment day, and all I ended up doing was frantically trying to the suspension on my license lifted.

Didn’t happen, so I missed treatment. I wasn’t devastated. My bestie came around ‘for drinks’..we had one and went to bed at 830. I was just exhausted. That week 2 members of my extended family had passed, there was the phone drama, license, treatment, my dog was out of control (Bailey’s dog I should say, my dog is perfect 🙂 ). Masses of bills, medical and otherwise piling up… We decided to get me out of the house the next day…I was sinking, badly. Of course we ran into one person I really hoped I wouldn’t when I decided to move back here. The kinda person you maybe don’t want seeing you at an incredibly vulnerable point.


That was last week. This week has been less awful, just with a couple of random extra things to cope with. Although my finances are being cut – again. I have to report every 2 weeks – still have cancer. Still have cancer. Still have cancer. God. Talk about demoralising. I’d love to be working. Unless I work something out (or start selling stuff) before too long, horses will start going, and my house next year and my previous life will really just be a memory, not something I’m on hiatus from and can go back to.

I don’t even know if I want to go back, but without rental income I’m fucked. Without a base, I’m also fucked because it is incredibly hard to find a rental here, and a single mum with cancer and two dogs isn’t going to make the top of any list.

These things happen, and I can survive ok for roughly 6 months (barring anything else absolutely unfair happening) before I have to make hard choices. Thank God I own my cars, float etc outright and I don’t have any store debt etc. I know that’s unusual for my age and situation – and a massive blessing, and it’s what’s saved my ass so far. If I just could have stayed in remission, I could have gotten through, recovered, without too much long term damage to mine and Bailey’s living situation. But it wasn’t meant to be, so now I just have to be in damage control, bucketing out water and trying to plug leaks so we sink a bit slower, hoping something comes up in the meantime.

I know we’ll be ok. If everything else goes and we have food on the table that’s ok. I’ll grieve, but we’ll be together, and sometimes that’s what left and you can focus on what’s lost, or you can focus on what you have and make it work.

First thing tomorrow morning I’m pulling my head out of the sand, finding out where I really really am, what I can and can’t afford to lose and regaining some control.

Love you guys


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I know I’ve said this lots of times, but my son is amazing.


Bailey and the dumbest dog ever. And my foot. Ew.

I love him, I love him, I love him.

I had to take him with me to get blood tests and a scan today. I usually wouldn’t but it was unavoidable and I felt awful about it. People stared a little, sympathy in their eyes as I towed him down a long corridor. My favourite nurse pursed her lips and asked if I wanted to see if the crèche was open.

‘No, he’ll be fine. He’s well-behaved and knows how to sit quietly.’

‘I know he’s lovely, it’s just that if you need to tend to him, we have to start again.’

My son is me. I know him. I can actually feel his feelings, know instinctively how he is going to react in most situations. I felt his pride, ‘I’m almost six, so I know how to be good’, and his offense at being doubted.

‘Honey, you can sit just there quietly and not interrupt, can’t you?’

Eager nodding.

More guilt seeping, the better he is, the worse I feel some days.

After, waiting in the pharmacy, she takes the seat on the other side of him.

‘You’re a well-behaved little mite, I can say that much. I think you deserve a sticker.’

Wide eyes, excited smile ‘Really?’

From behind her back she brings out a whole sticker book, a packet of smarties, a little metal car.

‘This is for being such a good boy for Mummy today. Do you think you can go over there and play while I have a word?’

He looks at me quizzically, I nod so he says ‘Thankyou!’ and scampers off, only to dart back and throw his arms around her, exclaiming ‘I’m so lucky’. She laughs and hugs him back, but I see her eyes fill with tears as he turns away.

Look love’, she begins, ‘I know we probably seem like a group of unfeeling fuddy-duddys sometimes, but in this job, if you don’t have some level of detachment, you’d be crying yourself to sleep.’

‘You don’t seem unfeeling… I couldn’t do what you guys do.’

‘I just’, she fumbles a little, ‘us, me and the other girls, we think you’re fantastic. You’re doing really well. We see all types in here, you know. But we all like to chat to you, even though we wish you didn’t have to come in’

‘Thanks…that means so much’ I probably sound kind of cold, but I can’t have another crying session at the hospital. And I never know what to say when people compliment me.

‘And you’re a good mum. Look at that little treasure. He adores you’

‘He’s wonderful. I don’t think dragging him to the hospital when he should be doing his schoolwork really constitutes good parenting.’ I’m smiling though, so she does too.

‘Because of this unfair mess, he’ll have empathy and resilience in bucket-loads. Don’t forget that, love.’ She pats my shoulder as she walks out.


I always try really hard not to spoil him out of guilt. I want him to know what it’s like to really, really want things, to have to work for them, know how much more stuff means when you’ve earnt it.

‘We need to stop at the shop baby, can you think of anything we need?’

‘Toys’, he jokes, grinning at me in the mirror.

I laugh, ‘How about some bananas and milk, um bread…something for dinner?’

‘Where are we going?’ he asks suddenly, a few minutes later, noticing we’ve veered off our usual route.

‘Just a different shop’

‘This looks like the toy shop!’, as we pull into the parking lot.

We hop out of the car, him asking if we need to buy a present, why are we here, can we look for a little while. I pick him up, struggling under his weight. Balancing him on my hip, I stroke his cheek and say, ‘Pick any toy you want’.

He’s confused ‘What for?’

‘Just because I love you and I want to buy you something.’

We’re there for about an hour, and I don’t rush him. I let him look at bikes, cricket sets, remote control aeroplanes. Eventually he picks up a little container of slime, $4.99.

‘Can I have this?’

‘Really? Are you sure you don’t want something different?’

‘I’ll keep looking’

Eventually I steer him to the Lego aisle (islands, he calls them), and catch him gazing up at the big Lego city boxes, even while he’s holding a much more reasonable fire truck set.

‘Do you want the big box?’

The look on his face is like all his Christmas‘, birthdays and special treats have come together.

‘But it’s huge-mongous. I bet it’s really expensive.’

‘If that’s what you want the most, lets buy it.’

He grins as I hand him the box. It’s a lot wider than he is, but he manages to get it up to the counter, and is almost vibrating as I pay and chat to the checkout chick.

‘I can’t believe I just got that! THANKS MUMMY!!’

It doesn’t make up for anything. But holy crap, it was good to suspend reality and day to day shit for a little while. To not ‘be sensible’.

Today, he just felt heaven sent.


I’m so annoyed my iphone is in the shop, because I’d love to show you guys a picture of him holding the box.

I’m so grateful for him, for kind nurses, teddy bears, sunsets, my friends, soft sheets, love in every form. I’m grateful I express myself writing, otherwise I don’t know what I’d do.

Much love


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I know no-one really wants to read this shit.

But I can’t talk about it, so this is what I have. Where I have.

I’m depressed.

It’s normal to be depressed. It’s a side effect of treatment. Probably also a side effect of feeling like your future is being ripped away, like you don’t want to die, but don’t want to live like this either. Balancing painkillers with productivity is hard. Trying to be strong for Bailey is hard. Making decisions about treatment and if I should send him to school and should we move back next year or sell horses but he wants his pony and I can’t see him lose one more thing is really motherfucking hard.

So I just try and try and try, because of one little boy who is unlucky enough to have me as the centre of his world, and try not to think too much, because it forces me out of that dark numbing depression but into something worse. Its the reminders that the stupid dog has his life more together than I do, that I have 3 horses that I can’t bear to sell, and can’t bear the stress of keeping.

It’s the ‘you might die, and what about him?’, feeling Craig’s desperation as he hugs me on Mother’s Day, every second person telling me about someone who’s dying or dead from cancer, ‘but that won’t happen to you’.

The aching, chills and hot flushes and feeling like 80% of my skin is covered in newly sensitive scar tissue.

I’ll take my numb bubble, for now.

Except my mind won’t let me.

It keeps forcing it’s way out, like it’s bubbling over and I just want to scream at it to leave me alone because I can cope this way.

I know this isn’t how I’ve really been feeling lately, I can read back here and see that, and the way I’m swinging like a pendulum scares me in an abstract, removed, clinical kind of way.

I see myself from the outside, joking and smiling, making breakfast, reading with Bailey and it almost confuses me. Talking to friends, them saying ‘you can cry anytime’…I couldn’t if I wanted to.  I’d love to.

You know it’s fucked when having a cry because you have cancer seems like an unattainable goal.

I’d love to go and ride, dance with my son, skip along the beach and try and shake this ‘nothing…now screaming anxiety….more nothing….PAIN’ cycle but every. part. of my body. hurts.

This is the part where I have a miracle remission, find Jesus, and meet the most wonderful man in the world, right?




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This is something I’ve wanted to write about for awhile. Of course I mean absolutely no offense and I know there are plenty of genuine family men out there who wouldn’t dream of straying. I’m sure there are also single men with morals and standards (call me)…I just haven’t met heaps of either lately.


Being single can be hard. It was hard last year, being the new mum in a small school community, from the next (also small) town. Single mums are the furthest thing from a rarity here, and despite what that says about the socio-economic structure, I’m enjoying it. When I lived ‘up the hill’ it was a rarity. I was a rarity. I was naïve enough to think it wouldn’t matter, because it wouldn’t matter to me.

I shouldn’t feel like I have to defend myself but I do. So here’s the disclaimer. I know that fairly often, when I have guy problems, some of the problem is me. I am far from a man-hater. I’ve been in a really bad head-space and at times I’ve unwittingly made people suffer along with me. Here, here, and here. Bad decisions, not being clear on how ill-equipped I really truly was for a relationship because I enjoy the fun parts, letting a nice guy try to talk me around. Not fair. Not nice. Not who I am inside.

However, in these instances I really didn’t do a thing. If a man is attached, to me, he’s unavailable. That’s it. It’s not worth the drama, and causing someone else pain. Sure, he’ll probably do it anyway. Not with me he won’t.

Yeah, I had some problems with other people’s husbands.

And I’m feeling ashamed writing this.

I just, don’t understand, I guess. One incident, which I could write pages on, was (still is, amazingly) one of my closest friends’ husbands… I mean we were all friends, to the point of him talking about how his kids from his first marriage are so close in age to me, that it felt like I was ‘another one of the kids’.

After, I was just like ‘Why? How could you? She’s in the next room. She’s gorgeous and she trusts you.’

And when she asked me to tell her the truth, I did mostly and it just sucked so bad.

That was after it dragged out for about a week, honestly one of the worst weeks of my life, with the he said, she said, wanting to vomit at every school run.

It’s really hard to be social with other mums, without getting to know their husbands. And more than once when I’ve chatted about this (without using specifics about what happened with who), one of my gorgeous friends has been like ‘Yeah, you have to be so careful. It’s not fair. You’d be totally fine with my hubby though’ with such assurance, and my heart has broken for her when it’s turned out that he’s not worthy of her level of trust.

Do men think that because I’m single it doesn’t count or something?

I know socially I can be funny and bright and helpful. But I don’t flirt with my friends partners, I wouldn’t even sit next to them. Does smiling and saying hi to someone constitute an invitation to be groped next time I pass him alone on my way to the bathroom? Does him pouring me a wine give him the right to ask me about ‘a bit of quiet fun’ next time we’re alone in the school carpark?

And you know what, if a man is committed it shouldn’t matter what I do or don’t do.

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t contribute to my decision to cocoon up in my hometown for this year.

I’m complicated. For anyone who’s been reading here for a little while, it’s no secret how much I enjoy physical affection…but these experiences made me feel cheap and dirty and ashamed. I don’t enjoy being touched uninvited, by someone who shouldn’t even be thinking of me that way. And -I’m justifying again- I never dated locally. As far as anyone knew there, I was single and celibate and happy that way. I was discreet…I guess what I’m trying to say, for lack of eloquent wording, is that I don’t come across ‘easy’, I’m not ‘known for being open with myself’, quite the contrary.

Is infidelity not as big a deal to others as it is to me?

Can anyone shed any light at all on this for me?


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