Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Babies Know The Secrets Of The Entire Universe! (Until They Grow Up And Forget Them All.)

I had the utter privilege of spending Christmas with a family who have lost one of their people to suicide. My friend Megan invited me and my two boys over to her parents house in Brisbane and even though I felt like a TOTAL ring-in, they all opened their hearts and coffee machine and presents and presence with me. I felt so at home, so grateful, and a really, really strong sense of kinship. I am completely in love with Megan and all of her family, especially her parents. Her dad Geoff - just wow. Much more on him later but one of the first things I ever said to him was, "Hey I've never had a stepdad called Geoff before!" He is a Professor - so smart, so kind, so obliging, SO BEAUTIFUL. And Megans mum. We had a big chat, on the couch, about a lot of big things straight up.

You know when you find people and you can just cut straight through the bullshit? That. Megan contacted me almost three years ago after her beautiful, strong, naughty, gorgeous brother Simon died. She googled "suicide" "death" "grief" and other certain dark keywords and BAM! Up came my blog! She told me she read it for hours and hours, that awful night when she found out. I'll never forget reading her first email to me - it was about 10.30pm and I was having a really bad day (what a surprise!) and I keeled over and cried, I felt so much pain for this woman and the hell her family were going through right then. My bad day slipped away. They were having the worst day of their lives.

We always have bad days - as well as good - but some days, we call them the worst days of our lives. I've had many. I could probably stage my own Bad Day Olympics and win a lot of medals in a lot of the events. So Megan and I kept in contact and then, well .... my brother took himself away too. And Megan told me later her heart broke into tiny, teeny pieces for me. And she emailed me so many times and often I didn't respond because it was so hard to just get out of bed and stay upright for my boys. BUT SHE KEPT EMAILING. And then, we met in the flesh at Problogger and the very first time we met? I was CRYING because the guy at the front desk at the hotel reception was being mean to me and I was surrounded by bloggers and I was so overwhelmed and I asked Megan to come up to my hotel room and I was just LOSING IT crying and I do not do that in front of people, I just do not.

But I did with her. And I didn't care about the whole conference I just text and talked and talked with her. And I went through every email she ever sent me and replied back to them all, one night at the conference and she called me crazy and I said, of course I am! And thanked her for continuing to email me, even when it was too hard for me to reply.

Christmas day ... coffees lovingly made by my new stepdad Geoff. Megan has a pink strip in her hair. She's head librarian at an exclusive girls school. She's all colours of awesome and contradictions and humanness and pain.

We send video messages to each other almost every day. Sometimes funny. Sometimes sad. Sometimes I've CRIED in them. We both are not into making new friends - at all. It's hilarious. We went shopping one day and there was ten minutes left of this pop-up shop sale in this amazing Moroccan place that was owned by a brother and sister. As soon as we found this out, Megan and I just both looked at them and sighed.

"Ohhhh, that's so nice. Both of our brothers are dead. Suicide."

(I'm pretty sure I said that.) But Megan piped in with "It's just so nice to see - a brother and sister working together." And the people behind the counter were shocked, a little horrified, and stumbled their words out and I apologised and as we walked out of the shop we just started laughing SO HARD.


Because who tells people that, right? You're supposed to make sure your mask doesn't slip, out there in society. Megan and I have some of the most dark, awful, beautiful, hopeful, mad conversations.

She's going to kill me for posting this but I just love it so much. She was in the middle of sending me a video message but her beautiful Pud wanted her mango cut IMMEDIATELY so Megan had to stop talking about heavy stuff and held the mango to her temple for a while until she said goodbye.

Anyway this post isn't about all of that - well it kind of is. This post is about the brand new baby I got to hold on Christmas day - my biggest gift. All you need to know about the baby is that he's a boy. And that he belongs in the very close-knit circle of Megans family. He was just seven days old, and brand new in the world. And I got to hold him close and tight and pretend he was baby Jesus. For a few seconds I walked into the other room and closed my eyes and pretended he was my baby brother Cam but you know what? He wasn't. He is his own person, all little and beautiful and WISE. I asked his beautiful mum if I could Instagram him and she said "You want to what?"

And I said - "Oh I just want to circumcise him." And we laughed until I said - Instagram - I just want to take a photo and upload it to my Instagram account because he is SO BEAUTIFUL. And she said sure.

Here's the picture I Instagrammed:


I showed his mum and she was all, WOW! How did you get such a beautiful photo? And I laughed and said oh I've been taking selfies probably since the eighties. Since way before the word selfie even existed. I snap and snap and snap until I get that perfect one - and showed her my phone photo roll. Twenty-two photos it had taken, to get that perfect shot. And then I zoomed in, filtered it all pretty like and BAM.

Edenland = Mother Mary.

So here's some take-outs of the baby photo shoot. He holds a LOT of secrets, this gorgeous wee bairn. Told me all of them via osmosis. So I told him a few back.

"Who the hell are you, lady?"

"I'm a friend of your mums. It's nice to meet you. Welcome to earth."

"Yeah well .... mums tummy was much more chill than this place."

"Hey it's cool - you got born into a decent family in a privileged country. You're lucky. Life is hard, though. You gotta keep your cool."

"Life? Is that what it's called? What's the meaning of it? Like, why am I even here?"

"Ahhh, see straight away you've hit on THE very question that none of us know. We just have to live it, help others, endure the hard stuff, and find pockets of joy when we can."

"Ok cool so .... you got any milk in there?"

"Oh god no. I ran out of milk feeding my own babies and had to start them on formula when they were tiny. I failed at breastfeeding. But I always, always strive to be a good mum. I only just met your mum today but she seems like she's a really, really good one. You got lucky, dude. Not everyone gets born into such love."

"You seem like a pretty cool chick. I sense you've been through some stuff, in this "life" business. Is this how you do a peace sign? And then I turn it around the other way for the rude sign?"

"It is. I'm proud of you already. Now - give your mumma lots of sleep. Grow big and tall and strong like one of those huge trees your uncle used to climb. I think you might have met him before you arrived on earth. He would have dug you, like he loves his own kids forever. Sometimes people make choices we can't understand and sometimes life is full of much pain. You stay strong, little buddy. Make sure you cry when you need to - boys need to cry just as much as girls. We're all human. It's ok. I promise you, whatever happens in your life, everything is going to be ok."

"Ok strange lady well, glad we had this chat. You take care of yourself too. You do know I have all of the secrets of the universe inside of me right now but by the time I can articulate them I'll forget but they'll always be in there. The last place us humans look for the answers to things is inside ourselves. Can I have my mum now? You're wearing a skull necklace and you have tattoos. It's freaking me out a little."

"Ok sure little guyo just remember - life is too important to be taken seriously. Laugh often. Laugh loud. Let it all go."


So the next few weeks are a bit rough for Megans family (understatement) with certain painful, sorrow-filled dates. The lead-up is always the worst and I'm thinking of them heaps .... maybe you can keep them all in your thoughts. I'm so grateful to have met them - we've been burnt by the same fire and they're a little bit ahead of me on the grief path but it's a path that that never ends. Because love never ends. Never ever. Ever.

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