Archive | February, 2014

A return to study and a return to Darwin

27 Feb

It’s been a big week. Last Wednesday I had a 4 hour introductory lecture for the Masters of Social Work program which starts next week. It was inspiring, challenging and exciting and I am really looking forward to this new challenge. I had a bit of the wide eyed country bumpkin about me as I navigated my way through the throng of keen and eager students and other city folk. It was wonderful! It’s been a long time since I have felt part of that world and I think I will enjoy being amongst it.

Then, that night, Maggie, Simon and I got on a plane and flew up to Darwin. It has been an emotional time. Memories assaulted me at every turn. Sometimes it was almost physically painful to be there. Around each corner was a memory of a healthy Tilda. A running Tilda. A happy Tilda. And I miss her so bloody much. I wish I could have just one day there with her again. Crocodiles, swimming, swings, we did it all. We scattered some of Tilda’s ashes in the lake near her favourite playground. It was a nearly impossible task. Walking the walk from our old house to the playground nearly broke me and it took a walk around the lake to feel like scattering them there was the right thing. The act of letting them fly into the wind and water was amazingly powerful though. There was some release and a sense of peace which I hadn’t expected.


Having Maggie in Darwin was lovely. Seeing her in Tilda’s old haunts was both wonderful and heartwrenching.


It is pretty hard travelling with a 1 year old. I must admit that I was less than patient a lot of the time as Maggie navigated a new town, the heat, a random fever and a change in routine. Really, she was pretty good but I think my emotions were on high alert so I found myself on the edge a lot of the time. A huge thank you to the Darwin branch of TeamTilda, in particular Nadia +Mike, Emily + Stu and Liz +Greg for their wonderful support and friendship.

We arrived back into Melbourne late last night, Maggie was a true champion on the plane and slept most of the way.  Now, it is time to get back to our new normal. We remember Tilda in Darwin with a smile and an ache.







The Tilda Effect

6 Feb

I’ve been pondering the meaning of life of late. There was no way that this experience wasn’t going to have a profound effect on my world view. But I still am not sure what it is. Not having any organised religion to fall back on and only the vaguest sense that there must be ‘something’ after we die, has left me with lots of questions. The biggest of all is Where is she? I cannot fathom how she could possibly just be gone. No more. Ended. Over. How can Tilda suddenly not be? Most of me believes that she lives on in one way or another, as part of our universe, in a way that is impossible to understand or know in this lifetime. Perhaps her soul has been reincarnated. I like to think that and perhaps one day I will get to meet this reincarnation and feel a little of what it was to have Tilda in my life. Perhaps she has become a star, a tree, a droplet of water in a river. I don’t know.

What I do know though is the profound effect in the here and now. The Tilda Effect, as one lovely dear friend put it. Many people have been kind and thoughtful enough to write to me and share how Tilda and her story has changed their lives. How she has added meaning, how they think of her and her smile and her strength. How knowing her gave such joy, how even not knowing her had an effect.

The Tilda Effect is to me, a comfort and a balm. Her effect on me is so hugely enormous that I cannot even begin to try and comprehend it all. To love and to be loved. She taught me what matters. She opened the doorway to show the kindness and compassion of the people in our world. She made me into a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, a better person. She taught me pain and heartbreak – part and parcel of the human experience.

I do not forgive Batten disease. I do not believe that she needed to go through any of it so that I could learn a profound lesson. I am still angry and sad and missing her every  minute. But The Tilda Effect, my balm, soothes some of my aching heart.

The last photo capturing that beautiful smile.

The last photo capturing that beautiful smile.

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