Tag Archives: death

Homecoming. #writeme30

 

So…I’m a little late getting this week’s #writeme30 post together…

 

Saturday just past (the 19th April), I brought a new human into the world. Our daughter Amaya was born beautiful and healthy a week before her due date. We are both fine, but very tired so taking it easy over the next little while.

 

Mummy with Amaya

Hence, the lateness with this post…. 🙂

This week’s #writeme30 post is inspired by a photo supplied by Mr Matt Shilling, a friend from Youth Parliament*. Matt and I met in 2010 when we were placed in the same team as participants. Matt and I have very different political and religious views and this difference (underpinned by respect) is something I really value. If I wanted to just hear people agree with me all the time, I could just talk to the mirror!

Matt didn’t give any particular insight into this photo, just that he thought of me and my request for a photo when he was taking it.

The Photo:

Matt Shilling Photo copy                               Photo supplied by Matt Shilling.

The Response – Homecoming**:

Just until this song ends. We’ll sit right here. You and I. With our hands and eyes entwined. All you have to do is lean in.

His eyes flick to the side. Around the corner of her head. Listing. Reaching for the next question. The moment beyond this discomfort. He deliberately doesn’t respond to what she’s actually asking. Instead responding only to the literal. The actual. The direct. The intention behind her eyes is discarded in favour of his safety.

This has been their pattern. Their dance. Together. Apart. Together. Apart.

Lean into me. Into this. Into love. Into home.

 

**

It hit him coming round the curve in the old mail road, his hands soft on the wheel. Sharp and deep. Unexpected. The forgotten ache of home. Too long. Too long between drinks. Lucan pulled the car into the gravel shoulder. Left the ignition running and stepped out into the gentling darkness. Sucking in the smell of it. The smell of home. Of long lost things. Buried things. Growing things. Past things. Half remembered things. It hurt to be home. It was good to be home.

The house was dark. The key under the mat where it had always been and he let himself into the back door. The familiar kitchen opening under his feet. Nothing had changed. Except that everything had. The floor was cold. The air still and empty. The walls waiting. Every surface pregnant with loss.

Every surface trailed beneath his fingers felt too close, too real, too cold. Too close to knowing. And finally, that last empty room, with its large empty bed.

Sunlight smacked him into life the following morning. The edges of the old couch digging into his ribs and hips. His eyes stiff with the night before. The night’s darkness left behind for the day’s. Lucan didn’t bother with a suit. This wasn’t a town that needed suits. He pulled on jeans and a button shirt. Didn’t notice the soft wrinkles left behind by lack of care. He pulled a comb through his hair. Made himself ready in every other way he could.

The office was cool and smelt of cleaning products. Too similar to a hospital for Lucan’s liking. The woman behind the desk smiled at him with that soft I’m sorry kind of smile. He didn’t smile back. The smile held too long. Became awkward.

“Is there anything else?”

She blinked, startled.

“No. Just. You just need to sign here,” she said, sliding a sheaf of papers across the cheap wooden desk. He flicked through them all, slowly. Knowing it made her nervous. Not caring. Finally, pulling a pen from the cup on the desk and signing beside each marked x.

“Done.”

“Done.” She agreed, “I’m sorry for your loss.” The awkwardly held smile again.

“I know.” And he left the way he’d come. Back out into the fresh clean air.

 

 

*Youth Parliament is a fantastic youth leadership/development program for under 25’s building public speaking and debating skills alongside an understanding of the parliamentary process. Youth Parliament programs run in most states. I spent three years with the SA program, the first year as a participant and then two years as part of the organizing taskforce. It wasn’t something I thought would really be my thing and I only really went the first year because I had the opportunity to go for free, but discovered that I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, More info about the SA program here.

 

**I’m keen to spend more time experimenting with prose fiction. This post is obviously the beginning of an idea rather than a fully realised narrative.

 

Read the other #writeme30 posts here. Or subscribe to get them delivered straight to your inbox.

 

 

 

 

#DonateLife #havethechat #itsuptome

It’s Donate Life Week this week. A week to remind ourselves and others to have the chat about organ donation and make sure our friends and families know our wishes. And maybe, hopefully inspire more people to consider donating their organs if the worst was to happen. So have the chat and get involved with the thunderclap.

Alysha Herrmann in 'Random Girls' Rehearsal 2004. Photo Credit: Lucien Simon

Alysha Herrmann in ‘Random Girls’ Rehearsal 2004. Photo Credit: Lucien Simon

If you don’t donate your organs, what happens to them? They rot away in a box or get burned. That’s it. If you donate them – you’re positively contributing to  quality of life of another individual (and the people who love them), and for some literally saving their lives. You don’t need your organs once you’re gone. I know for some they feel a discomfort with the idea of cutting up their body (or the body of someone they love) or they have a sense of going on to the afterlife incomplete – I’d just say, people lose limbs, have scars, have their tonsils removed etc while they are still living. None of these things makes them incomplete or less worthy in the afterlife, none of these things makes their body less beautiful or precious. So imagine instead, the beautiful, generous gift you can give to extend and improve life of another through the donation of your organs when you no longer need them. That’s a legacy worth leaving.

Last year for the FilmLife Project I wrote a blog about organ donation called ‘One Life?’ and I want to share those words with you again and ask you to think about your position and #havethechat with your family this year.

One Life?

A life.

Only one. Just one.

One to live with, to soar with, to sing with, to love with.

What would you give? What would you risk?

For one more?

One more moment;

One more day;

One more life.

*

Lives held suspended along the length of a siren’s light;

Lives stolen, broken, smashed, ripped, torn;

Daily, nightly, weekly.

And we’re never ready. Never prepared. Never willing to hold those hands one last time. We haven’t asked. Haven’t spoken. Haven’t thought.

Just assumed;

You’d still be here;

We’d grow old together.

*

There are two sides to every story.

Two lives held in check, waiting on the other side of moments like these. Moments where a family sits together and waits. In an emergency room. Waiting to know – will they wake up? Will they be ok? There are other families sitting together and waiting too. In Doctor’s waiting rooms and hospital wards. Families slipping in and out of hospital rooms and home bedrooms watching loved ones quality of life, and sometimes life altogether slip away.

Strung together across cities and towns and farms across the country are people waiting. People waiting to live, people waiting to choose.

If your lover/mother/father/sibling/child was in an accident what would you choose?

If your lover/mother/father/sibling/child was dying from heart/liver/kidney failure what would you ask for?

There was a time people believed the things they were buried with went with them into the afterlife. There was a time people believed the Earth was flat and that the Sun was a god. We’re learnt a lot since then.

You can’t take your organs with you. You can burn them up. You can put them in the ground to rot.

Or you can Donate Life. You can end the wait for families you’ll never meet. You can give someone somewhere another moment, another day, another life.

You can know that some small part of you, or your loved one can live on and change the world.

Make the choice. Talk to your family. Make your wish count. Donate Life.

*This little blog was the winner of the FilmLife Blogging Competition, but there were many other fantastic blogs and films created to increase awareness of Organ Donation. Carly Findlay (one of the judges) shared some of the highlights here.

You can get involved with the 2014 FilmLife Competition by creating your own short film to highlight organ donation. All the details here.

Also be sure to head over and like ‘Sparking Life’ here.

@filmlifeproject Blogging Competition – Drumroll please

So I’ve been a little slack super busy the last little while and still haven’t finished updating my Watershed blogs or shared this teeny bit of news.

 

Waaaay back in February I wrote a blog called One Life? as part of the FilmLife Blogging Competition. The competition was to write a 300-800 word blog which could help spark conversations about organ and tissue donation in support of DonateLife Week 2013.

Annnnnddd……. I won!

One Life Winning Blogpost copy

The lovely Carly Findlay was one of the judges and she had these lovely words to say on her blog:

In deciding on a winner we were asked to consider whether a post inspired conversation about organ and tissue donation, whether it showed creativity, whether it was well written, whether it was presented creatively and whether it had any “x-factor” in capturing and using the theme in an unexpected way.

Alysha’s post scored high points against all criteria.

…………The piece adopted a poetic voice, mixed with a more conventional descriptive approach that demonstrated versatility and skill from the writer. Over three cleverly structured “acts”, each in a slightly different style, Alysha set out her case. We found her post beautifully written, and attractive on the page. Its compelling imagery and energy propelled us forward, and kept us involved to the end.

Read the rest of her comments here about half way down the page. You’ll also be able to watch the winner of the FilmLife Project short film competition(at the top), which is a fabulous parody of Gotye’s ‘Somebody that I used to know’.

And you can read some of the other blog entries here.

 

One life?

A life.

Only one. Just one.

One to live with, to soar with, to sing with, to love with.

What would you give? What would you risk?

For one more?

One more moment;

One more day;

One more life.

*

Lives held suspended along the length of a siren’s light;

Lives stolen, broken, smashed, ripped, torn;

Daily, nightly, weekly.

And we’re never ready. Never prepared. Never willing to hold those hands one last time. We haven’t asked. Haven’t spoken. Haven’t thought.

Just assumed;

You’d still be here;

We’d grow old together.

*

There are two sides to every story.

Two lives held in check, waiting on the other side of moments like these. Moments where a family sits together and waits. In an emergency room. Waiting to know – will they wake up? Will they be ok? There are other families sitting together and waiting too. In Doctor’s waiting rooms and hospital wards. Families slipping in and out of hospital rooms and home bedrooms watching loved ones quality of life, and sometimes life altogether slip away.

Strung together across cities and towns and farms across the country are people waiting. People waiting to live, people waiting to choose.

If your lover/mother/father/sibling/child was in an accident what would you choose?

If your lover/mother/father/sibling/child was dying from heart/liver/kidney failure what would you ask for?

There was a time people believed the things they were buried with went with them into the afterlife. There was a time people believed the Earth was flat and that the Sun was a god. We’re learnt a lot since then.

You can’t take your organs with you. You can burn them up. You can put them in the ground to rot.

Or you can Donate Life. You can end the wait for families you’ll never meet. You can give someone somewhere another moment, another day, another life.

You can know that some small part of you, or your loved one can live on and change the world.

Make the choice. Talk to your family. Make your wish count. Donate Life.

*Update – My little blog was the winner of the FilmLife Blogging Competition! Yay! Read more about the competition, the winning film entry and the comments from the judges about my blog here.