Australia April: Life, Love, and a Haircut

Clive and the Aussie gang in Felixstowe last Sept.

Clive and the Aussie gang in Felixstowe last Sept.

We’re Australia-bound this week, to spend time with Clive’s family: his daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and three gorgeous grandchildren (ages 9, 6, and 2-1/2).  We’ll also visit his mum, though, sadly, she no longer recognises us, and reconnect with a few close friends.

It seems that without us realising it, a page of life was turned and suddenly we’re watching Clive’s grandchildren grow up. Wasn’t it only yesterday our own children were in primary school?

Australia holds so many memories for me, such a big piece of my heart. It’s where I went in 1995 with my first husband, Gary, and our ten year-old son, for what was to be a two year assignment for my job. It’s where we fell in love with Sydney, and stayed. It’s where my son spent his formative years, where we learned what it meant to be a global family, to live with the ceaseless ache of missing loved ones in other places, the physical inability to be in more than one place — one city, one country, one continent — at one time.

For all the joy I felt in Sydney, it is also the place where Gary was diagnosed with advanced gastric cancer in 2002. It’s where he died in 2003, halfway into our son’s senior year in Aussie high school, just before the Australia and U.S. college application process began. It’s where I wept and grieved and stumbled and fell as a widow, more times than I care to remember.

And then, Sydney is where I met Clive, a music-loving Brit who has had his own past family sadness, and who made me smile with his self-proclaimed ‘warped’ sense of humour, his courage and determination and unique outlook on life. It’s where, early in our dating days, he invited me to join him for his birthday get-together with his family. That evening seems long ago now; his first grandchild was not yet two and is now nine. Clive’s children are now my step-children, and in addition to my three step-grandsons in Connecticut, I am blessed with three step-grandchildren in Australia. In a few short days, we’ll be reunited with them.

As always, we can’t wait to see and hug and spend time with everyone in person. Sometime in the midst of our busy days with Clive’s family, I’ll find a few quiet hours to visit the place where Gary loved to scuba dive and my son and I scattered his ashes in 2003. And on my very last afternoon in Sydney, I’ve booked a haircut and blow-dry at my favourite hairdresser. I’ve found a great replacement in Felixstowe, but as others may understand, sometimes there’s nothing better than having that long-time trusted person do your hair.

Shelly Beach, Manly Australia

Shelly Beach, Gary’s favourite place, Manly Australia

Cheers soon and more from Australia.

6 Responses

  1. I hope that you and Clive have a good and safe trip.

    I love your and Clive’s story. And that is not to say that I don’t appreciate there have been really tragic and difficult things. But I love it because you have both survived and found one another later in life, and damn but if that does not encourage me in this moment.

    I know you both KNOW. Not many people do — or maybe they know, but they don’t get to the other side of it and let it all enrich them as people. Something like that, anyway. I’ve not had enough coffee to be really articulate yet this morning, lol. 😉

    Enjoy your time in Oz.

  2. Carolyn, you write so beautifully about your life, both in the past and future. I hope everything goes well for you. I didn’t really that your first husband died. Have a lovely time in Australia.

  3. Have a wonderful visit with your friends and family in Sydney! We are looking forward to your visit in DC in May. Safe travels……..

  4. Thanks for your comments and kind wishes, Karin, Rosemary, and Mary – much appreciated!

  5. Have a wonderful and safe trip to Australia! Enjoy time with your loved ones…can’t wait to follow along! =)

  6. Belinda, welcome and thanks for your comment and good wishes.

    Everything’s going great Down Under 🙂

    Cheers from Australia to Wales.

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