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The touch of trauma – suicide.

I often wonder what my life would be like.

I did wonder, often over the past few years. Many hurdles, so many curve balls, I managed to dodge so many or take them on and recover.

I did not expect this one. Suicide, a word we all fear saying, I must admit I am still hesitant as if I say it, it becomes more real. What’s real you say?

The fact that one minute your life was perfect (well had been) and the next it’s not. It’s gone, in an instant. One phone call changed it all.

The police at my door the night before, our last conversation where you were so lost, so confused.

Where to from here?

The days are long, the nights even more so. It seems the nights have become even more sleepless as the mind wonders. I only had you for a short time but we had memories from a long time, so I wonder how the minds of those who had you for even longer are managing.

I am sure they are not.

The tears come at the most random of times. It could be at the bakery where we had a joke about the long jam cream donuts, the songs you sang to in the car, the random places we visited or even the small sayings or just waking and sitting at window and having three coffees before 8am!

Trauma results in so much….. unease, confusion, disconnection, solitude, drive, guilt – as though you could have changed it and you question over and over how.

You can read books on how to manage the loss of someone by suicide but to be honest only some of the points are valid.

Some not.

Each journey it’s own. Each journey takes its own path, its own time.

I see, so far on my journey, the fear of reconnecting. The fear of moving further from my home than 50km. The fear of laughter, the fear of being with the family I love and know love me beyond words. I fear having touched them by suicide and more has made me even more of a ‘curse’ than before. Not that I am a curse but when so many curve balls hit you sometimes you wonder.

It’s hard enough realising you’re on your own again, your child on her own again. Our lives keep moving forward even if we wish they wouldn’t.

It’s a choice really, keep plodding or give up.

I wrote a blog about choice over a year ago, I also wrote one about time healing all wounds.

I so wish he had read the one about time healing all wounds.

The holiday of dreams, the laughter, the intimacy, the future and for once it was real it was perfect and then it was gone.

Everyone keeps telling me it’s time to get out, come here, visit here, dinner out, take a walk….. I know all of these would do my mind good.

However, it’s the fear, it’s the fear of the trauma that keeps you in that safe ‘vault’ that safe space.

How can one be happy, or laugh or even feel like you’re moving forward when to be honest you’re not ready.

The sweat beads form, your heartbeats so much faster but no one understands. You were never anxious before but you are now. You used to look forward to adventure and time away, new experiences, watching the students/children thrive and now organising a weekend makes you feel ill.

It’s normal some say, it’s abnormal others say. Who’s to know, unless you have been in these shoes.

All I know is it’s confusing, it’s hard, it’s emotionally and mentally exhausting. I have to trust that as I wrote before, but in so much a different context, time heals all wounds. I have been given gifts from this loss I could never imagine. People who have become such amazing parts of both my daughter and my own lives. Experiences, work, learning and more.

One has to try…. I mean try…… to take the time it takes to heal a wound when affected by losing the person you loved, finally to suicide.

What was once perfect was obviously not.

To question where you yourself went wrong will get you nowhere. I still do, every waking moment but one day maybe I won’t. Until then…

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I burst into tears today….

Emotions are a funny things. They can creep up on you ever so slightly and then completely take over in a matter of seconds.

It can be when you hear a song, when someone says something or even when you’re sitting alone reflecting on a simple moment in time.

I have found myself spending some time reflecting on what has been and what is to come. With the start of 2019 well and truly upon us I find myself looking at the upcoming year with fresh eyes.

It has been a while since I started a year with laughter, great company, trips to the beach and even some time to myself.

However, there have been moments when I have had open and honest conversations with people or those random ones where someone has said, out loud, ‘wow you’ve been married twice and you’re what, 34?’.

It’s happened, yes it has. I have digested that, but I don’t think I have fully accepted that what has happened in my life thus far has really happened…..

Growing up with parents who have been married for 45 years this year. High school sweethearts and the true ‘Cinderella story’ I always imagined that would be me.

I feel a deep sense of regret, sometimes on a daily basis that I failed myself.

I have to stop my brain from running away with itself and remember why I have already been married twice at the age of 34.

It was not that I gave up, it was not that it was to hard. It was to save me. To allow me and my daughter the best opportunities. The ability to grow and be the best we could be.

I was young when I first got engaged. The ripe old age of 18. Yes, you read right, 18. I remember being ‘lustfully’ in love. Those amazing university days when life seemed so easy. I did call it off and realised I was to young, we were to young. However, a few weeks after this I found out I was pregnant. I remember speaking to my daughters father and my words were; ‘I have never and will never contemplate not having this child. You can be in or not. If not that’s okay I know I have the family and the support to go it alone’. We had been together 3 years and engaged for a time so we both new we had something. We decided to get married, be the family we knew we could be, or thought we could be to bring up our child. Together.

4 years on this seemed something we both could not manage. We realised that our lives had not even started at the age of 18/19 and we had a young baby. He was not sure where he wanted to be and and what he wanted to do and I at the time was self motivated and driven. It was like we were holding each other back. For us both and for our child unfortunately for us we knew being apart would be better. So that’s what we did. A lot of water, dirty and full of silt has travelled under that bridge since! However, I must admit my daughter loves her dad, and me, and she is growing up to be one hell of a young lady so we have to be doing something right!

The second marriage was a whirlwind literally forgotten in time at this point. It started with a simple question in what was known as ‘Friday’s’, a night club on the Sunshine Coast and it turned into an eventful 6 year relationship.

It was in this 6 years I learnt that I can be broken, everyone can. It’s how we get up that counts. There were good times, even great times. I learnt to be a step mum to a 12 year old boy. I had to manage the smelly room, the stares and two kids who knew they were not related but had to learn to live one another. With a FIFO husband on all sorts of rosters it was hard work. I always feared the words, ‘you’re not my mum’ and that made parenting hard and unequal at times.

It was in this 6 years I overcame mountains. Went through a long court ordeal and realised that anger and sadness are hard to bear when bringing up a family. It can consume you, unfortunately in my case it did. Not me however, my husband. It’s hard to live with someone angry and constantly negative. It takes effort and constant positivity. However, this can wear anyone down. You can only carry a family for so long before you lose yourself in it.

I began to lose me. I began to think I was losing my own child. Someone as magnificent as her. Head strong, stubborn and with so much love to offer all those around her. The end began when she began to withdraw, so had I. We felt we were not allowed to be happy or positive. The constant demands, expectations and failures. Even though we never failed, it felt like we did no matter what we did or how hard we tried!

I never understood how mentally and emotionally someone could trap you. I never thought that would be me and it dawned on me one eventful evening that that’s exactly what had happened to me. I had been caged and controlled and I was not coping. Even my daughter new! Before I did. How amazing are our young people!

So overnight the second marriage was done. Not even a day after I felt I had been freed. Like one of those amazing hot air candles that they release in Thailand, I felt free.

A weight had been lifted and life just opened up. Not just small doors but huge panel doors!

I could breathe……

So at 34, yes I have been married twice. It’s hard to say and as I mentioned I have digested it but it doesn’t make it easy to explain or talk about.

I am not a failure but instead I have learnt many things. Overcome a lot and I hope that one day when my daughter is older I can explain this all to her.

I can show her she is strong and how to be strong. How she must search for what she needs and someone who compliments her. Someone who holds her high and is proud of her. Someone who asks how her day was and thinks a romantic evening is fish and chips on a rug at the beach.

We may have high expectations but it’s the small things that count the most.

Next time you hear someone has been married more than once, stop yourself before you judge. Hard I know but that’s me.

It may be hard but I am proud of who I am and what I have achieved. There is so much more ahead of me and I can’t wait! 2019 here we come!

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Why doesn’t the brain have an off switch?

Have you ever wondered why our brain doesn’t have an off switch.

Wouldn’t it be handy!

I mean think about it, how many times have you;

  • gone to bed wishing you could just switch off for a few hours?
  • stop the thoughts going through your head?
  • wondered if you will ever get through what you have to do as your brain seems to run away with itself and make the small things, into big things?
  • been so tired that all you want to do is ‘tune out’?
  • seen the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other and they are having it out with one another and your brain is just in the middle and cannot stop the ‘supposed’ conversation taking place?
  • Turn off the hurt or the emotions that you have been experiencing?
  • Turn off the grief and loss just for a moment?
  • Turn off the memories, whether good or bad, just take a break?
  • Worried about the bills you cannot pay and the financial stressors in your life?
  • Been somewhere and you see before your eyes, like one of those old movies, the list of things you have to do or need to get done scroll upwards like the introduction to a star wars movie. You may even have the theme song playing in your head as this happens. Your heart races and you almost go into panic mode before you realize you have managed before and you will again?

Personally I have this happen to me at least once a day. I find my brain sometimes even has a conversation with me. Whereby I say to myself, just get out of my head, or file this, as I imagine a filing cabinet and then the to do list, the concern, the worry or whatever, is filed for later. This ‘filing’ in my head even comes with a slamming of the draw. Sometimes I feel internally satisfied that I have achieved something by being able to file away the non-urgent things.

Lately, in schools, education, workplaces and even on an individual basis we are becoming more aware of peoples mental well-being and mindfulness. Some schools have installed sleep pods, meditation classes or even built a well-being center. Some work places have created surveys or run frequent staff morale events to ensure their mental well-being is taken into consideration.

Facebook has become more populated with small advertisements which promote – ‘Do nothing for 15 seconds’, then you see this amazing rain falling on the leaves of a tree and you are meant to feel calmer and more whole after watching it.

Others have Yoga, Pilates, boxing or even a glass of wine to achieve the same thing.

If only our brain had an off switch!

Inside the human mind

It truly is an amazing organ, so much goes on in there!

No wonder we often feel overwhelmed and we can’t keep going. I mean our body tires out when we are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted so why cant our brain get ‘tired’. Maybe when we say ‘my head hurts’ because you have been using the brain too much this is in fact when the brain should be able to turn off. Maybe it is tired….

Maybe it is an evolutionary fault – not being installed with an off switch. Imagine what a difference it would make if we could go to bed and just like our bedside light, switch off our minds, completely. Maybe it is a fault of the recent generations, becoming more technology focused and reliant. Becoming busier and busier. Trying to complete what we would have done  in a week in only a few days.

Maybe it us, maybe we are not letting the brain switch off? Maybe we can’t for fear we will never be able to wake up, reboot, or even I believe our greatest fear is missing something. Maybe we will miss something or wake up and be left behind. We are afraid.

Then when we wake the next morning we just turn it back on and it’s had time to reboot. It’s had time to rest and re-group. We would be so much more productive!

Our phones, computers and everything electronic often requires time to be ‘shut-down’ in order to be able to work at its best. Why is our brain not the same?

The eye of a needle

Often when you are pregnant or even a new mother you are ‘told’ to read all sorts of parenting books. This doesn’t end though, even as your child grows up….. there are books about milestones, the terrible twos, the middle stages, the pubescent years and being 14.

Really there is so much literature out there about how to be a parent and how to manage every situation you may be confronted with.

Reality check!!!

A book is nothing when compared to what is “REAL”.

I am not discounting their value only putting it into perspective!

Every child is different, every family is different and NO one, I mean NO one can predict what your tiny helpless being will be like! What it will experience as it grows up.

I say this as I have read all those books, I have the being 14 book next to my bed right now.

Have I read it???? Not yet…. why you ask? Time….volcanic teenage eruptions… work….. assignments…. dinner…. lunch boxes… English…. maths and more!

I think you get the idea.

How do we know who we have in our house at 14 if we cannot read the book! Well you learn through the tears, the tantrums, the anxiety, the ‘life is not fair’ statement we hear more and more and beyond that. The list goes on!

Life is not fair – that’s one of the biggest milestones I think a teenager can learn at this point in their lives!

It’s been a huge year for the students, let alone our own children. What a change in learning…. started as normal (for most) and the next minute we are encapsulated by a virus we cannot control.

Life is nothing like it was before. No morning teas, no normal day do day lessons to chat and no sleepovers! Who would have thought.

To sum this all up, or make my point, my daughter is 14 and has worked on a project while learning online. Her mind has developed this amazing idea of what her design, or wearable art project should be, and here I am trying to thread some expensive as shit red cotton through the tiny eye of a needle.

It’s been a big few weeks! I am currently threading red cotton through a needle to sow black lace onto a shirt, one part of a massive mad hatter/queen of hearts themes assignment.

I am tired after and emotionally exhausting day. After all a typical day as a teacher is far beyond what anyone can ever imagine. Yes, you may scoff at that as our next holiday approaches and many think we down tools at this time, however, for those who actually know a teacher this so so far from the truth!

Back to the needle……. The end won’t go through. It’s frayed. So we cut it again…. still it frays and just won’t fit. You lose your patience as you continue to try.

Persistence is key……

It may have just have thread through a tiny bit.. that small piece you try and grab… but as you go to grab the other end…. it’s gone and you have to start again.

To be honest, I think if we ran “threading a needle classes” our children would be better off.

There is nothing like trying to thread a needle for a costume that is due tomorrow for a hormonal 14 year old!

If that’s not a life lesson I do not know what is!

All I can say is keep trying to thread that dam needle…. survive the tears, the tantrums and more. It’s worth it!

To show you a snippet of what it has been here is the progression of that one assessment that tested me and tested us! There are no books written about how to deal with this!

Love you dad – thank you for being a mediator!

Piloetection.. what an awesome word!

Winter is coming…

Winter is here…

It’s been the phrase we have all heard over the past week or two. However, have you ever really thought about being a woman and winter! Sorry to the men… but winter is a real problem for women!

In summer we shave our legs, our underarms and all the various places as we wear less than we do in winter.

Winter comes around and I don’t know about you? but I breathe a sigh of relief in some ways.

The armpits may grow a little longer, the leg hairs a little bushier and who would know. After all we are rugged up… the jackets are on, the long pants or stockings become the norm and we wear more clothes to bed.

Lately, for me anyway, it’s been months.. Okay you’re already cringing, but it’s been months between shaving. I mean why not?

For me it’s a sadder story than most. For some it’s because you cannot be bothered, for some it’s the principal, for some it’s the reason/person you shaved for, has gone.

It had been weeks for me, actually I am not sure how long it has been between shaving all those parts…

All I know is I was sitting one Sunday afternoon in my work clothes and I looked down…….. the Amazon had arrived! Like literally in Australia.. It was here, poking itself outside my leggings! I was the Amazon! If this was my legs… what were my armpits!

It had been so long!

So the main job that evening was to start the deforestation project! A massive effort mind you.

Armed with the razor, and a new blade, I knew it would take more than one, the project began.

It’s always a nice feeling to shave I suppose. You feel clean, smooth and all sorts of things.

However, in winter, you step out the warm/hot shower and PILOETECTION or goosebumps happens and you realise what was the point!!!

Piloerection is the scientific term for goosebumps!

Why bother in winter? That smooth shaved feeling only lasts seconds! The goosebumps come as you step into the cold and you think, what was the point of shaving….

All those hairs just stood back up!

Square one!

Be brave and press play!

Remember all those posts you made on Facebook (FB) or even the photos you have taken in the past year or more?

No?

Well FB and your photos folders do.

It’s only in the past few months I have realised that my iPhone photos folder makes videos of all sorts of things…

Folders of family, friends and loved ones. Always with that sad memorable music as it plays.

Man oh man they are a flash backs to the past. Long ago past and of course those ‘best moments’ of the past two months or six months.

They are meant to be happy I suppose and bring laughter and those ‘oh my’ moments. But, yes I started a sentence with a ‘but’, they also bring tears. I mean your phone doesn’t know what has happened in your life. What may have transpired. After all it is just a tool.

In an instant life can change. In an instant it can become something you never imagined. In those times it can be joy, it can be happiness but it can also bring sadness and confusion.

Who knows, your phone doesn’t… it just does what it does.

You hesitate……. but press play. After all it’s a 6 minute video. In that 6 minutes you are transported to the time and place the photos were taken. Your mind builds on and takes you to those moments, scoops you up and you’re there again… right there…While the photo is a snapshot the memory is more, so much more.

The music never helps I must say… who picked it???

You smile as the images flick by, you cringe as you remember the real memory behind the image, after all you were there. You laugh at the small snippets of a video it chooses to show and you cry as it becomes real that these are now just memories.

6 minutes, that’s all it took for a phone to sum up an extraordinary amount of time. So much more in between but it did the best it could. After all it’s a phone.

You play it…. you smile, you laugh and you cry. Yet you play it again and again. Over and over.

That 6 minutes means it all.

Pictures are snapshots of the memories we make, it just attempts to put it together into something meaningful.

And… sometimes it gets or right. Sometimes it gets it so right you experience all the emotions you have as a person in just 6 minutes.

I guess all we can do it be brave and when it says press play, press play. It may be laughter it may be tears but at the end of the day you took those photos for a reason so why not see what they look like as a memory.

Be brave, press play 💐 I did.

The Prep Playground..

Nothing could have prepared me for today. The experiences I had in just half an hour were truly remarkable.

It’s started as a normal Thursday, well, as normal as normal is now. An 8km walk, breakfast, online classes and more.

However, today was going to be different. I had a ‘duty’ or ‘super’ as we call it. I had to look after the students in the prep playground for 35 minutes. Lunchtime.

Little did I know what this entailed.

I walk onto campus ready for whatever is ahead. In long pants, a sports top and trainers. After all the preps are crazy so who knows what lunchtime would look like.

I arrive and they are all calmly sitting eating lunch. This was such a false way of leading me into the time ahead. 12:30pm arrives and the teachers literally disappear. I mean disappeared. Doors shut, silence and I was alone. Completely alone. In the blink of an eye they left me in charge of the young ones! Their beady eyes now looking at me, the air of challenge ahead…. I could feel it…

It was like magic! The teachers disappearing! Wish I could learn that trick!

Little ‘H’ had to sit in the naughty chair for 10 minutes as he had tried to strangle someone, Miss ‘A’ had 15 minutes as she didn’t think the rules applied to her. I had to police the sand pit, the soccer field, the dinosaurs, the mini kitchen and of course the playground and tyres!

Here it is in a nutshell…..

I was obviously the flavour of the day for one little girl as she proceeded to tell me all about herself. Including about her asthma, her beach trips, her vaccinations and more. Then she stared up at me and said “are you a boy or a girl?” I was like um….. what do you think. She says after a fairly long pause… a girl… relief floods over me.. at least she knows her sexes….

Then she moves into serenading me with Frozen two songs, all while I let H off the chair, tell miss A she has to remain on the chair, keep an eye on all areas and pray for time to speed up!

Someone’s throwing sand, the tyre fell on a foot.. someone’s hurt. I go and have a look, but no, it seems the pain has subsided as the dinosaurs flew past and a new game was started. The pain forgotten, the tyre just another toy laying discarded on the lawn.

The sand pit… now this place is a hive of activity! It’s actually a dangerous place for any adult! I had to actually police it.

‘H’ wanted to dig a hole, right next to two others ‘Eiffel tower’, a mound of sand which you had to look at in awe and of course was an exact replica to the towering structure in France and of course the tunnel leading upto it!

‘H’ couldn’t dig anywhere else but right there. I said “H, why not dig somewhere else?, why right there?” He says “how do you know my name?” I said well you were in the naughty chair. I will never forget your name. That quieted him down! He still kept digging though! I did admire his persistence even if he was doing it just to be a pain.

Picture this;

‘Shovels and sand going everywhere, kids running around untamed.

Singing from all sorts of places.

Hands groping my legs and arms, being asked to listen to 10 different conversations all at once.

Having to admire and comment on the potion being mixed with the bucket which once contained the dinosaurs now strewn across the place.

Explain to another that the dinosaur wouldn’t survive being whacked against the pole again.

Calmly state; ‘H’ stop digging in that hole……

Your ankle is fine, no you don’t have sand in your eye

No your leg is not broken

Wow you had a vaccination, boy look at that scar. You’re so brave.

Is grandma okay…..

No 35 is not old’

Meanwhile I am stranded, dinosaurs continue to fly through the air, soccer balls have been found and the Eiffel Tower is slowly being dug out, which of course if causing a melt down in the sand pit!

It was like a comedy show…. it was the longest 35 minutes of my life!

Respect to all those Primary teachers!

I couldn’t do it! I barely survived 35 minutes!

Poetic injustice (no TV)

A romantic weekend away, all the plans set out in your mind. It is the first time you/we had managed to get away as a couple and you were nervous, gosh so was I. You were hoping the place, in this case Binna Burra lodge, was exactly like the photos showed it….

You pack the eskie, I pack the clothes bags. Some outfits for all occasions as we are planning on going to dinner so you have to dress up, you are planing on doing some of the bush walks so you pack for that. You also prepare some of the other outfits, or the lingerie for the evening. I mean who knows! It was always an unknown with you! That truly was the best part of it all! Waking up to the present, literally a present.. it unwrapped as the day unfolded, first the bow, then the wrapping! Who knew…

However, as mentioned always an adventure. I miss that the most!

We had spoken about getting a DVD for the evening so I rang the lodge to check if they had TV’s in the rooms and was assured there were TV’s but to play a DVD we would need to bring our own DVD player. By this point we had started driving so we turned around and retrieved this from your room, also stopping off at pretty much the only DVD shop still open on the gold coast and stocked up on movies!! Excited for a night away. Finally, we set off off for Binna Burra.

Well the weekend did not go as we had planned, in fact it was hilarious and a total disaster.

Checking in was easy and we found out all we needed to in regards to dinner and what walks were around. We lugged literally all the stuff down the small tight pathway which seemed to go on forever. Anyone would think we had packed for a month!

We get into the room and we start to unpack.

It did not take us long to realise that in fact there was no TV, yup, no TV!!!!

We had in fact double backed for a DVD player and had DVD’s but there had been no need. It was hilarious!

This was in fact the first of three attempts of me planning a getaway where the DVD player did not work, there wasn’t one or in this case there wasn’t even a TV.

It made for a funny weekend of late night chats, listening to the man next door flush the toilet as the rooms were so close we could tell what was happening without even listening! You made so many hilarious comments about it all!

We sat on the small deck, hidden from our neighbours by the smallest wooden wall. Not allowed to smoke…. that didn’t last… the eskie full of cider and beer. The blankets wrapped around us as we watched one of many sunsets through the trees.

Dinner and the sunset on night two was beautiful!

You were never one to sleep in, instead it was an early wake up, the sun barely through the trees. Binna Burra was coming to life. We made coffee and walked through the small bush track upto the viewing platform near the lodge. We watched the sun come up in spectacular form! It was beautiful!!

Then it was breakfast and we were off, getting lost on the tracks available around the lodge. We loved the bush. You loved the trees, the sounds of all sorts of animals, the way it shaded us and surrounded us, separating us from the world. It was so glorious to escape!


You certainly made the most of all Binna Burra had to offer. Even the kids playground!

We got so lost! You even broke your thong. However, thankfully we had a bread clip!

We got so lost on one occasion, doubling back in the path we had taken. It was hilarious as you were always the ‘GPS’. I knew I could relax when you were around as you would always get us home. This time, while it made us laugh hysterically and wander in all sorts of directions.. we still found our way home. It did make for some funny conversation as yet again we wrapped ourselves in our blankets and watched the sunset on our little deck, all while listening to the next door cabin flush it’s toilet and us reminisce about how there was no TV.

You never let me live it down….. you always said when you planned the next getaway there would be a DVD player! You would show me up. Well you did, that’s a story for another time! It’s a wonderful memory and a DVD player will never be taken for granted again!

From here on in I will always take my own DVD player! In honour of you!

You are missed! More than you know!

I publish this as the name you said it should be. We laughed about the lack of a DVD player and you came up with the title. Well here it is ❤️

A typical ‘Teaching day’ online…

Just tonight I heard again, from someone close to me; you have so many holidays, teachers have it easy.

Well let me spell it out a little just so everyone is clear..

The two week break we just had… was it a break? In fact I don’t believe there was a day we as teachers were not planning or preparing for the school term as we see it now…. COVID-19 and all…

Have a break we are told. Do nothing. Focus on your own family. That’s what many think we did.

However, let’s put it into perspective…

We were marking, yes those assessments which we received in week 6 or 7 of term 1 but due to the chaos of the term we had to delay marking them.

On top of that…….online learning. Some of us taught up until the last Friday of term one. Some had student free days to plan for what was ahead. Who’s to know, it was all so chaotic and unknown!

Each day of the holidays it was teacher meetings or e-mails in preparation of what was to come. Hours and hours of planning. Who was to know, as parents often you do not see the work behind the scenes. Some do, and I thank you for being patient and understanding, others please understand the time it takes!

I am both a parent and a teacher so know it both ways!

I am trying to manage home schooling a 14 year old, as well as teach and prepare online lessons. We know it is tough. Nothing has prepared us for this.

However; anyone who says, you have holidays, time and always time to prepare and we should be thankful. Is living in a world of denial and complete ignorance.

Let’s just say those people are naive, and actually have no idea what teachers do. For children as a whole and in fact their own children.

Today for example – Monday week 2. Let’s spell out how the day went.

It started with a briefing for all staff. Yes we do start before 8am despite what everyone thinks. A catch up to see how we are doing. Us as teachers and staff. As a team of human beings. Checking in to make sure we are doing okay…. who would have thought!

Into tutor group we go and the day begins.

Period one – 65 minutes of talking to a screen. Sometimes the students answer sometimes they don’t. All we wait for is a voice. A face. Gosh we miss it as much as they do!! Class is taught through sharing screens, talking to a computer and drawing on the screen. A success?? Who knows. Are they there the whole time? Are they engaged? How do we tell when all we have is an internet connection and an initial in the screen.

A 10 minute break – to check in on the 14 year old, make sure she is online and doing what she needs to. Mind you had she had breakfast.. actually have I?

Next class begins, marking a roll of 94, usually takes no time at all, 30 minutes later I think I have it! Who would have thought. After that I deal, or we deal with, the 100’s of e-mails and texts and teams chats which have come through! It’s multi tasking at its best. Who is present and who is not.

How are they doing mentally? What about those who were mentally fragile already, now this?

The toilet, what is that. I think I only realised I was busting at about 12:30pm. That’s as after 3L of water, 4 cups of tea and 1 cup of coffee!

In those ‘spares’ we all are told we have to ‘relax’, well I was planing, preparing lessons, populating the online learning, updating the system, contacting parents and students and more.

So please… bear with us. We are learning the new way of learning. We know it’s tough! It’s tough on all of us!

I became a teacher to be in front of the 30 faces. Not in front of a screen. I miss the classroom as much as you as parents do, as much as your students do and as much as the ‘normal’ does.

However, time’s are not normal. We are doing the best we can!

Parenting, home schooling and also being teachers!

So please, all I ask is next time you think we have too many holidays, realise we never have them. In fact we use the time to ensure we are the best we can be for your students/children when they return!

We are exhausted! We are tired! We are just as done as you and your students are! However, we are doing the best we can! Always!

The pillow..

I lie in bed again tonight, alone, the pillow next to me fluffed and untouched. Still full and not like you had it!

It’s hard to digest and understand that you will never be in our bed, or next to me again. The pillow fluffed and full, one you used to lay on and tuck under your head, all while throwing your legs over me and within second you would be snoring….. well…… I won’t even mention that!!

I lie looking at the pillow, often at night, your jumper, which still smells of you in my arms, and wonder where you are.

I fall asleep every night hoping I may wake and it was all a bad dream but each day I realise it is not.

The pillow will now be fluffed, your snoring not a part of the evening. Rolling over and knowing you’re no longer here and never will be now part of every night.

It’s all now memories, the pillow talk, great memories. Many of which only you and I will know of.

But……..I cry myself to sleep, often.

The tears running down my face as my hand reaches out to the empty space wishing you were here just one more time? Just once.. just for a moment, filling the other half of the bed and your head on the pillow.

After all you usually took up all of it, the bed that is!

How do I manage with all this room? How do I manage knowing your head will never be on the fluffed up pillow beside me, how will I manage without you taking up the bed, snoring so loudly I would have to make you roll over.. your hand reaching across when I moved or mine finding you in the dark.

You’re no longer here.

You’re not here, but I am.

We miss you. I miss you!!

Taken to soon and without our permission!

Teaching…. 8am – 3pm.. um NO!!

I cannot imagine and even more so now having the patience with someone saying; “you’re just a teacher, you have so many holidays, it’s an easy job”…..

I think now more than ever I have never been so tired, so exhausted, so muddled!

Yes, we may get to school for 8am, well I always aim for 7:30am, and I never leave before 4, sometimes 5, if there is a scheduled meeting. Never mind the parent teacher evening we have until 7pm, the sports training until 4:30- 5pm, depending on when the parents arrive for collection. Duty of care after all. We look after the students before anything else!

Then there is the lesson prep, the marking, the reports, the e-mails and of course the students in need. When you come across a student in need we may be making phone calls off our own private phones anyway between 6-7pm upto as late as 9pm. Just so we know they are okay. This happens even now when they are not even on campus. Our worries continue..

I receive e-mails at 1:30am asking about assignment work and drafting so when I wake that’s what I see, and that’s at 6:30am.

Lesson covers to help the staff who cannot attend, so the time you thought you had in the day gone, because we look after our own.

Today…. with this COVID-19 it’s even more pressure. Not only have we gone from having students in front of us and not having the interaction of students in a class as now it’s all remote. Online classes, talking to a screen, screen sharing and more.

We teach from a computer, we take roll call through that to. We use an app, a video/camera, a chat line all while trying to teach! Multi tasking at its best! Recording it, streaming it… and more… all so they do not miss out. That’s what we do!

Absences from a lesson fall on us, follow up and if a class is missed twice follow up with the parents. In a 6 minute conversation today with a family member I had over 18 e-mails to respond to.

I also had 60 year 11 assessments to mark, 28 year 10 assignments and scheduled teaching online for the year 12’s who are so lost now with the new system and an air of ‘who knows’ with assessment. After all the year 12 assessment is being dictated by a higher power!

Then to come home to a 14year old, a kitchen full of dirty dishes and her saying she attended all her classes but she found it hard. Tiring…

Her assignment is due Wednesday, a science one, my area of expertise and I do not have the energy. She even said; “mum you look buggered, lets do the assignment tomorrow”…

So while we as teachers are there for you’re children at this time of need, and always have been and will continue to be.

Remember, thats what we do, that’s why we are teachers and love what we do. That’s why we use the holidays, every spare waking moment ensuring your children are okay. Just remember we are tired do….

All at the sacrifice of our own children! Tonight I am to tired to help my own!

The fight for supplies!

It interesting times at the moment! My goodness who would have thought 2020 would start this way! Things have been emotionally? Physically and mentally more draining than ever!

All consuming to put it bluntly! However, I thought I would share with you what it’s like to get a hold of some toilet paper!

Yes toilet paper, of all things…. Who would have thought!

It was a Sunday morning. My sister in law in need of toilet paper. The Sunshine Coast stores depleted and there was just none on the shelves.

I was tasked with a mission…… get up early, be at the shops amongst the crowds and survive! Yes survive…. the throws of battling for a pack of toilet paper. A four pack, a twelve pack, who cares… just some TP (we will call it that!)

So here I was ready and waiting. The battle about to begin! The doors opened and I was funneled in with the crowd. All heading in one direction…. like robots on a mission!

It’s like I shopped with more than a purpose than ever! I entered, looking over my shoulder, the eyes of those beside you knowing we were all here for one thing… who would be first.. would we be at war?

I slipped down the aisle and peered through the empty coke shelves… why empty you say, well I reckon people need mixer for their booze.. army rolled past the empty spam.. yes the spam shelves… why????? Into the TP aisle….. there it was!! With a light shining on it (like in the movies)….

A twenty four pack… of TP still on the shelves…. I zeroed in on it. It was all I could see. The rest of the world faded and I knew the mission was… get the TP and run…

I grabbed and ran… okay not ran but fast walked… like those athletes that move their hips in weird and wonderful ways as they ‘fast walk’ their race!

The phone in hand, double click….. face recognition done.. the card at the ready! It’s all about timing! Who knows what would happen if I had slowed down…. after all it’s toilet paper!!

A fast barcode recognition and the card ready.. beep beep…..and away we went… escape was all on that was on the mind from here… make it to the car…

Fast walk, imagine hips moving, feet not lifting the ground, sweat beads on the forehead as you leave coles and head to the car.

Open the door, with your key, beep beep…. 50m away in preparation, open door, throw in TP, look over shoulder… get in car… start car and slip into drive!

Phew!! Made it alive!!

Mission a success! My niece and nephew can wipe their butts!