Raw and Completely Beautiful, and back in Cancerland

Well, it seems the unexpected and most feared by every cancer survivor has happened. I have been diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer.

There’s no easy way to deliver the news and each time I let my nearest and dearest know it feels like I’m ripping the band aid off over and over.

However, amidst the doom and gloom there are actually a few miracles going on behind the scenes and all is not as catastrophic as it seems.

If you’ve been following my story over the last five and a half years you will remember I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2015. Following that was a long and difficult couple of years of surgery, chemo, radio and several more surgeries. Over the last three or so years since then I have had many ‘new normal’ side effects to manage.

As hard as that time has been, it has also been the most beautiful in many ways through my personal transformation to healing from trauma, studying a Diploma of Psychology and a Life Coaching certificate, starting my own business as a therapist for women, building a Facebook Group to over 1,000 members, volunteering on two committees, public speaking, and working on writing two books.

It has been epic!

With all the side effects I have been managing like menopause symptoms, insomnia, food intolerances, forgetfulness, fatigue and joint pain, just to name a few, I have a high tolerance to pain and tend to just ‘carry on’.

In March this year, all of that changed.

Out of nowhere I experienced excruciating pain in my left hip for a few weeks that I knew wasn’t normal. It was so painful to walk that it often reduced me to tears.

In the back of my mind, fear was building knowing I needed to investigate, but I was also hopeful that it might have just been further degeneration of a lower back issue I was born with.

I went off to see my GP who I have been seeing for over 20 years and he suggested we check things out immediately. The initial x-ray showed a large black circle that wasn’t there on my last lot of images, so I was referred for further scans.

On a routine Friday morning as I drove to work, my GP called me from his personal mobile before he was due to start work in the clinic.

“This looks suspicious, and we need to get it looked at,” he said. “Oh shit!” I said. “Yes, oh shit!” he replied.

I pulled my car over to the side of the road as my hands and face went numb and my vision blurred. I pulled myself together enough, as tears fell and my voice wavered, to call work and explain that I wouldn’t be arriving. I then called Phil to tell him what the doctor had said, and gathered myself to drive home.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of appointments, scans, blood tests, tears and conversations. It was hard to tell the kids again and both Phil and I were on the roller coaster together of despair, overwhelm, relief, grief and positivity, sometimes all within one hour.

The despair took me straight to ‘When will I die?’

Through all the processing of the initial emotions we found out the miracle in that there is only one spot in my left hip, which is amazing news. Everywhere else is completely clear. I have undergone radiotherapy, and am now on medication newly available in Australia that has shown great results in helping reduce, hold stable or prevent any further progression of disease. I have a wonderful medical team who listen and take into consideration my decisions as I work out what is best for me.

My strength has reminded me that I can do this without focusing on fear, and instead I choose ease and grace.

I set the intention from the beginning that my life will continue on as normal, and this is just something that becomes part of my life as I manage it.

It all really is ok, and I feel great!

I have taken this opportunity to look within and discover what the learnings are for me this time around. And it didn’t take long to figure it out. I have been working on myself for long enough to be honest with myself around how grief and trauma have played out in my life.

It is simply now time to take responsibility for my self care, healing and growth.

I am not a victim, this is not a war, this is not a fight, nor do I call myself a ‘warrior’. You will also not hear me say “fuck cancer” or ask, “Why me?” I just don’t feel that way. It just is what it is.

It’s time to step up, get real and get on with it.

Thank you to all those who have supported me and my family so far. And an even bigger thank you to my hubby and kids. We are rocking this cancer experience together.

For those of you in Instagram, you can also catch the video post shared today to explain.

I will keep you posted!

Ali x

50 truths I’ve learnt on my 50th birthday..

Today I click over to 50. Woo hoo!

Normally I wouldn’t go to the effort to write about my birthday and tell the world about it, but this one is monumental, and not just because I’m welcoming in a new decade.

This birthday is incredibly special for me because I didn’t know if I’d get here.

Five years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45, I wondered if I would have any more birthdays at all. My Mum lived until she was only 46 and I wondered if I might share the same fate.

BUT HERE I AM!!

Leading up to my big day I have been reflecting for several weeks about what I think are the most poignant lessons I have learnt along the way. I have been through a lot from a young age, and even though I have embraced all I have experienced, I wanted to really take stock of fifty years worth of growth.

So, here we go. Here’s 50 truths I have learnt in my 50 years, in no particular order..

  1. 50 is the new 40.
  2. 50 years of waking up each day means you’re winning.
  3. Our body is incredibly resilient.
  4. School days are the easiest days of your life.
  5. Every child needs to learn how to swim.
  6. We have choices.
  7. Having financial wealth means nothing if you’re an arsehole or a tight-arse.
  8. Forgive your parents.
  9. Forgive everyone.
  10. Accept things as they are, without judgement.
  11. Take responsibility and own your actions.
  12. Ditch the guilt.
  13. Apologise when you know you need to.
  14. Don’t apologise for every other little thing.
  15. Other people’s behaviour has nothing to do with you.
  16. Love yourself first, before anyone else.
  17. Marriage is a big deal, consider it carefully.
  18. It’s your job to teach your children to love who they are.
  19. Your children will press your buttons. They will also become your greatest teachers.
  20. Love your children unconditionally.
  21. Don’t tell your children how much they cost, their worth is not measured by dollars.
  22. Calm the f*** down.
  23. Don’t get angry about the little things. You will end up exhausted, and its a turn off.
  24. You have today. Right here right now. It’s up to you how you act.
  25. You have no idea what will happen tomorrow.
  26. Anxiety is worrying about things that haven’t happened yet and may not ever happen.
  27. Depression can be healed.
  28. Drugs and alcohol do not numb the pain.
  29. Find healthy ways to cope with stress.
  30. Never take your health for granted.
  31. Spend more time in nature.
  32. Stillness and silence are medicine.
  33. Meditation is medicine. Every single person on the planet should practice.
  34. I’ve come to accept that I’m not a stick, and never will be.
  35. If you are obsessed with being thin you are missing the point.
  36. I would however, just like to know what it feels like!
  37. Self acceptance is freedom.
  38. Sex is not dirty.
  39. Tattoos are not taboo.
  40. Make time. Steal it if you have to.
  41. Say no more often.
  42. Know your boundaries and be aware of who oversteps them.
  43. Love deep.
  44. I am intense, and I’m ok with that.
  45. I am a goddess of contrast. I’m also ok with that.
  46. Take opportunities when they come along.
  47. Bad stuff happens to good people, see it as an opportunity for transformation.
  48. Always seek the lesson, instead of being the victim.
  49. Expectation will result in disappointment.
  50. Do what makes you happy, and do more of it.

I could go on and list at least 50 more, it was hard to cull!

Something amazing happens during our lead up to 50, in my observations. This seems to be the time that many people experience a life altering event and rise from it.

It’s almost like a right of passage into the second half of life to go through something big during this time, resulting in our own awakening. Statistically, by this stage in our lives most people have been through at least one or two traumatic events, not to mention many other adversities and challenges.

The most successful people will draw on their wisdom and resilience to work through it and evolve, even level up their lives. They realise the suffering in holding on instead of letting go and moving on.

I am one of those people. Working through my trauma and grief has changed my life.

Experiencing all I have been through is now gifting me the harvest of purpose.

I now teach women how to work through their traumas and challenges to transform their own lives. Not long ago, never in a million years did I think I could do such a thing.

I read a great article online recently about how being 50 is a great time to start something completely new. At this age we have the tenacity, resilience, smarts, self belief and less fear of judgement.

Our children are older and more independent. We start to get some time back.

Many of us haven’t been good at looking after ourselves in the past and have instead given our all to being a parent. Sometimes it can all feel overwhelming to figure out who we are when we aren’t needed in that capacity any more.

This is the perfect time to focus on you.

It is the perfect time to give yourself permission to come first, prioritise your wellbeing and gain clarity moving forward.

Turning 50 to me means freedom.

Freedom from the younger me who felt broken, less than and not enough.

Freedom from judgement from myself and others.

It also means a deeper sense of breathtaking peace never before embraced.

Even through the minefield of chemo induced menopause and all the gifts it brings, I can now switch off my mind instead of ruminating about shit 24/7.

The simplest things bring me the greatest joy and I can easily get lost in the moment of complete presence and mindfulness.

We owe it to ourselves to strip it all back, get real, change what we don’t like in our lives and make decisions that serve us best. There has already been too much time wasted in living life according to other people’s expectations.

Just do it!

Change is both possible and inevitable, might as well create it for yourself first.

Embrace which ever decade you’re in, and know that it’s never too late.

Right now, I’m embracing my special number and will enjoy several days of celebrating. In our family, we usually have a “birthday week”, but I’m going to see how far I can stretch this one!

50 feels alright. Happy birthday to me!

Ali x

21 reasons why women should love the skin they’re in..

Ok, so I’m going to get negative for a minute!

We won’t be hanging around there very long, but I wanted to bring out of hiding all the reasons I hear women say they are not good enough.

It doesn’t mean they are wrong. It’s the truth for some people right now, after all, and the last thing they need to feel is that they are less than perfect.

So here we go..

  • “I can’t do that.”
  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “I would never try that.”
  • “I’ve got it all wrong.”
  • “I never have enough energy.”
  • “I spend all my time looking after everyone else.”
  • “I feel lost.”
  • “I feel fat.”
  • “I can’t be bothered.”
  • “I don’t like looking in the mirror.”
  • “I’ve made so many mistakes.”
  • “I’ve not been a good mother.”
  • “I feel guilty.”
  • “I don’t deserve it.”
  • “I don’t believe I can be successful.”
  • “I feel numb inside.”
  • “I’m an emotional wreck.”
  • “I feel like something is missing.”
  • “I just don’t know what to do.”
  • “I feel sad all the time.”
  • “I wish I could…”

There are many more, but I think you get the drift. We have all related to at least some of these at some point in time.

When we are ready to give ourselves permission to heal and grow, we learn to first accept all that we are, then forgive and love ourselves.

Through allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and take responsibility for our happiness we can ditch guilt, let go of survival mode and thrive.

21 reasons for loving the skin you’re in looks a lot like this..

  • You will smile in the mirror.
  • You will laugh in photos.
  • You will stop crying.
  • You will find your joy.
  • You will sleep better.
  • You will improve your relationships.
  • You will gain clarity.
  • You will increase your energy.
  • You will bounce out of bed.
  • You will feel calmer.
  • You will improve your health.
  • You will eat better.
  • You will begin to heal.
  • You will attract new opportunities.
  • You will attract new people into your life.
  • You will worry less.
  • You will trust more.
  • You will tap into your intuition more.
  • You will build self confidence.
  • You will know your worth.
  • You will recognise the learnings in adversity.

All that makes it worth it, don’t you think?

Introducing the 21 day online course to help you learn to Love the Skin You’re In.

You can go at your own pace through the daily activities and be supported by me, your coach, in the Facebook group and through 3 x Zoom coaching calls included. You also have lifetime access to the course for as long as it exists.

I have been coaching women for three years, and this course is an extension of the powerful 1:1 work I do with clients to teach them the tools to transform their lives.

Love the Skin You’re In is the course I have been building over this time to ensure it helps women get great results in a short amount of time. It’s the foundation to a life of happiness!

You will have instant access upon enrolment to the simple daily tasks to help you create the change you’ve been searching for.

I am with you all the way!

Please reach out if you have any questions. You can find all the information here.

I look forward to you joining me.

Ali x

What a year of not buying anything new taught me..

At the beginning of last year I became curious about attachment to things as a source of happiness.

By things I mean material items, or people, or jobs and opportunity.

How often have you walked past an article of clothing in a shop window and thought, ‘Ooh I need to buy that!’ because you know it will make you feel good?

It is also very common to believe that when we meet that special person and fall in love, that will bring us happiness, or if we win that dream job, buy the car and fill our lives with people, they will fulfill us.

Last year I made the decision to challenge my own definition of happiness and my attachment to things to see what would happen.

So I made the declaration to myself at the beginning of 2019 that I would not buy any non-essential items as new for the remainder of the year. This meant clothes, shoes, household items and so on. I created the rule for myself that if I really wanted or needed any of those items they had to be sourced from thrift shops.

I have never considered myself as overly materialistic, but I was not prepared for the initial resistance that came up for me..

The first time I denied myself a new item of clothing, there was an element of panic that set in.

I felt like I was less than.

Boom, mic drop moment right there!

I realised I had allowed myself to believe all the conditioning, advertising and consumerism that having more things means we are worth more.

What a croc!

While this may be true in a financial sense, it doesn’t make us a better human.

We want more so we work more, and when we work more we are busier. The busier we get, the more overwhelmed we get, the more unhappy we become, and the more our earth is filled with ‘stuff’ that we just don’t need.

We create a cycle for ourselves that perpetuates more stress and we end up with little time to enjoy all our things.

After learning this awareness about myself I began to understand what happiness meant to me.

I turned what initially felt quite confronting into a game. I started to ‘hear’ my inner dialogue around my self worth that I could no longer ignore. And when I really wanted or needed something new, before sourcing it at the thrift shop I would donate an article of clothing first. One out before one in.

What I learned about myself is that experiences are what connects me to my deepest happiness.

The more I threw out, the lighter I felt and the more I chose to experience, the more fulfilled I became.

Spending time with my people is what makes me happy, and they don’t care if I wear the same clothes every time I see them!

Fringe Festival, Adelaide

I would rather spend my money on visiting my bestie interstate than having extra pairs of shoes in my wardrobe. I also much prefer to share a meal, a wine and a cheek-hurting belly laugh with friends, or go to the theatre, than having more pairs of jeans.

While I’m incredibly grateful for all we do have in our lives, I could easily become minimalist. This is something I realise will take a while to achieve with a large family of adult children. Hash tag, long term goals!

For now, I remain mindful of those impulses that occasionally pop up. I instead pause, and ask myself if I really need it or do I ‘want’ it. I then consider if I want that ‘thing’ to take up space.

The Buddhists are on to something with their belief that attachment creates suffering.

The more we have, the more we fear we will lose.

To have less feels freeing.

To experience more is to feel joy.

So how did I survive the year?

I spent a total of $67 on clothes and shoes until October last year. Then I bought something new that I saved for over several months. It was something I wanted, and also gave me the opportunity to support a friend who is a local designer. It was an exchange of joy rather than just a transaction of purchase and supply.

I’m glad I challenged my thoughts and behaviours.

I’ve become more mindful of what really makes me happy.

Spending money, time and energy on my growth makes me happier. Spending money, time and energy with those I love makes me happier.

Maybe it’s time to consider what your true happiness looks like too.

I’d love to hear what you discover about yourself.

Ali x

How do we heal?

How do we begin to heal, and what does this even mean?

Many of you know my story. I lost both my Mum and Grandmother to cancer when I was 16. It was massive trauma that had a huge impact on my life from then on.

By the time I was 45 I had endured a range of adverse experiences, along with some amazing ones too, but I still felt empty.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself.

It was then, that I decided to stop living in survival mode and allow my own healing.

The signs were all there.

I cried every Mother’s Day, I cried every birthday, each time I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw. I cringed each time I had a photo taken, I thought I didn’t deserve to be happy, and I turned into a fixer. You could also call me a control freak!

All that trauma I had been through at such a young age threw a bit of a curve ball at my teenage brain and changed my way of thinking from most of my friends. This then created a lack of confidence and self worth in me that grew to epic proportions. By the time I was in my 30s I didn’t really care if I was here or not.

I suffered with depression and anxiety, and I was deeply unhappy. My soul wounds played out in my life through circumstances that were always filled with drama and challenges. There was never any joy.

As soon as I was diagnosed I decided to take responsibility for my life. I knew that the only way I was going to get through was to give myself permission to heal.

I looked within, stripped back my life and did the work. No one else could do it for me.

I immersed myself into understanding how I had reached that level of sadness, and what I learnt was nothing short of amazing.

I experienced mic drop after life changing mic drop! Everything began to make sense, and I could see the power of belief and the change it can create.

I studied a Diploma of Psychology through my adventure back to wellness also and gained the knowledge that helped me connect the dots of my past and create change for my future.

I had never realised how transformational my healing would be.

I really did change my life, and I really did become the happiest I had every been.

Breast cancer was the gift that created the me I am now.

As a result, three years ago I began working with women to help them change their feelings of doubt, sadness, needing to be in control, needing to be busy and stop the habit of putting themselves last.

As a coach, watching my clients transform their own lives is.. I’m not sure I can even find the words to describe my excitement.

I can see how they will change before they see it themselves.

Continuing this work has become my passion. It is in the simple daily actions that become part of your non-negotiable self care practices that will help you take your life to the next level.

To bring this work to the world, I am offering a FREE 5 day workshop called LOVE THE SKIN YOU’RE IN.

This is for all the women who are burnt out, sick of giving everything to others and having nothing left for themselves. It’s for all the women who don’t think they can change, and it’s for all the women who want to find themselves again. It’s also for all the women who have already been working on themselves but know there is something more out there for them.

All the details can be found here.

We start tomorrow, and I invite you to join me. Even if you don’t think you have the strength to participate, come and watch, and go at your own pace.

Love the Skin You’re In is a safe space and a supportive community.

There will be video lessons each day, fun and easy tasks to do at home, and also an opportunity to participate in a live Zoom call to be part of a group coaching session where you can ask your questions.

I hope you will join me.

It’s time to give yourself permission.

Claim your place.

See you there.

Ali x

I’d pick daisies..

When I was younger, living in the land of ‘I’m a normal teenager, and my Mum is alive,’ each time I walked past the fridge I would notice the yellow piece of card stuck up by a couple of magnets.

It was Mum’s favourite poem, and it first appeared at least 35 years ago.

It didn’t mean all that much to me at the time. I thought it was kinda nice, but they were just words on the fridge. I did, however, read it often.

After Mum died, that simple piece of card took on more meaning. I took it with me everywhere. Each time I moved house, it was always on my fridge.

I often wondered where it had come from, and what Mum felt when she read it.

And then I lost it. For years.

I searched for it everywhere and eventually accepted that it was gone.

Until last month!

I found it stashed away in some old paperwork where it had been hiding for close to 20 years.

When I found it, I cried. It was like connecting with an old friend. I had been trying to remember those words for all of that time.

The poem is a life changer, and goes a little something like this..

I’d pick daisies.. By Nadine Stair (aged 85)

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.

I would relax; I would limber up; I would be sillier than I have been on this trip.

I know of very few things I would take seriously.

I would take more trips. I would be crazier.

I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.

I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would have more actual troubles, and fewer imaginery ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live life prophylactically and sensibly hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin, and a parachute.

If I had to do it over again I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay later in the fall.

I would play hookey more.

I wouldn’t make such good grades, except by accident.

I would ride on more merry-go-rounds.

I’d pick more daisies.

Bravo, Nadine Stair.

What a legacy she has left for us all, as did my Mum.

Nadine Stair was 85 when she wrote that poem. She would now be at least 120 years old.

She knew a thing or two, I’m sure.

I often wonder what my Mum and I would have talked about as two women discussing life. But I will never know.

It saddens me, but instead, I have those conversations with other beautiful humans in my life.

So, go pick more daisies, and talk about the big stuff in life.

Ditch your thermometer, hot water bottle, raincoat, aspirin and parachute.

Ooh, it’s just a little bit exciting to think of the possibilities that await outside restraint, isn’t it?

With love,

Ali x

Four years ago today…

4 yearsFour years ago today, on Friday the 16th of October 2015, I received a devastating phone call.

“We have found a lump”, the Breast Screen nurse said.

I was sitting at my desk at work when she called. It was a usual busy day with an office full of people.

As I tried to register the words she had just matter-of-factly blurted out to me, I remember losing awareness of my surroundings. It took all my strength to calmly make an excuse to leave without giving anything away to my colleagues.

Little did we know that it would be eighteen months before I would return.

Two hours later we were at the clinic and I was having a biopsy. An hour after that, Phil and I were sitting in the car in disbelief, crying as we held each other when he said to me, “you have only just become my wife, you can’t leave me now”.

I knew I had been a little complacent and had left it a bit too long for my yearly mammogram. Because my own Mother and Grandmother both passed away from breast cancer when I was just 16, I underwent regular screenings from the age of 31. I was shocked when the radiographer told me my last appointment was three years prior.

The next few days were a whirlwind of appointments, scans, conversations and tears. So many tears. Each hour was a see-saw between horror and the determination to survive.

Ironically, it was the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

My husband and I kept our closely guarded secret to ourselves until we knew what we were facing. Had the cancer spread? Would I survive? Would my family lose me so young as I had lost my own family members to this horrible disease?

Sitting our six children down and sharing the news with them shattered all the ideals of being the mother who would always protect her babies.

For seventeen years I nurtured, encouraged, held, consoled and fought for my kids. In one moment, in one conversation, we delivered news that utterly devastated them, and I couldn’t do anything to prevent their trauma.

I felt that I had failed them as their Mum.

The next two years were consumed with six surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hair loss, along with equal amounts of vulnerability and fierce strength.

Phil and I were overwhelmed with the incredible support we received from some amazing angels in our lives. We had meals delivered to help feed our large Brady bunch, and our families stepped in to make sure Christmas and birthday celebrations went ahead as planned when all I was capable of was laying on the lounge and watching it all unfold after being hit by the chemo Mack truck.

Coming to terms with the physical changes to my body has pushed the boundaries of self acceptance to a new level. I lost my left breast and had a new one reconstructed from the lat muscle in my back, that causes ongoing issues. My scars resemble a patchwork quilt and I suffer with lymphoedema in my left arm that I will now need to manage for the rest of my life. Then there’s all the wonderful benefits of being forced into early menopause. There are many foods I can no longer tolerate, I am a cadbury girl when it comes to alcohol and the days of high intensity exercise and running are long gone.

During the last four years we have found out who is in our corner, and who isn’t. Then there has been the financial devastation, as well as further family trauma as everyone struggled through in their own way.

My darkest days saw me sitting on the side of my bed with my head in my hands saying out loud, “take me now, I can’t do this any more”, and staring at my packet of strong painkillers wondering what would happen if I took them all at once.

My old nemesis, anxiety, returned and earlier this year reached the point of seeing me spending an entire weekend binge watching a Foxtel show curled up either in bed or on the lounge so that I could escape the constant turmoil of my own thoughts. I couldn’t leave the house and I shut down all communication with anyone outside my family.

Even though it has been several years since going through my journey, some of the side effects are lasting.

But out of the darkness, has also come some pure magic.

I found strength in allowing myself to be vulnerable. I learned to accept help. I surrendered to what was and forgave myself for not being the super mum and martyr I thought I needed to be.

However, I have never felt like a victim of cancer, and have come to appreciate the part it has played in my life.

It has been a very difficult journey, but breast cancer has been my greatest teacher.

My life will never been the same again, and there are many aspects that have formed the “new normal” which is a term that is thrown around a lot for cancer survivors. But I see things differently now and have a chance to live like never before.

Every day I wake up is a good day, and there will be many more.

That I am sure of.

As for today, even though it brings up many memories, I am not sad. I am grateful.

And I will be celebrating!

Ali Williams

 

Why wait, to learn to live?

old manIt was early on a Tuesday morning.

I dropped my daughter at training at 7.00 am and I went to my usual spot at a local cafe to write and sip coffee in the hour I could enjoy to myself before I needed to leave for work.

Tuesday mornings have become an opportunity for me to write, uninterrupted, every week amongst by busy schedule of working full time, studying and writing.

As I travelled back to my 20’s recording a moment in my life, I noticed an elderly gentleman who sat down at the table next to me.
We acknowledged one another and smiled as he said, “it was a bit cool this morning, wasn’t it?”.
We exchanged pleasantries, and continued chatting while he ate his breakfast and sipped his coffee.
I momentarily felt an anxiousness rise in me as I thought of the precious alone time I was losing, and then I let it go, realising that this beautiful man just wanted to chat.
I’m so glad I did. He made quite an impact.
He asked me what I was doing and I told him I was working on writing my story. He said, “that’s good, we all have a story”.
He asked me what my story was about. I briefly explaining that it was about my mother passing away when I was 16 after suffering through breast cancer, then my grandmother for the same reason and that I too had been through my own breast cancer journey.
He said, “that’s a good story”!
I then asked him what his story was.
He told me of some of his adventures, like the one about owning the fastest motorbike in the world that he eventually sold for $160,000, his road trips and how much he enjoys his life. He spends six months living in Queensland during winter, and six months in Adelaide where his two daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren live.
He said “gotta make the most of life”.
With pride he told me he was 88 and loves travelling around in his motor home that he still drives everywhere himself, including that distance between the two states.
Anyone who has made that trip will understand how far it is!
We talked about days gone by and what life was like for him growing up. He shared his concerns about drugs, land sales in northern Australia and the lack of jobs for our youth.
We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time!
He then went quiet while he finished his breakfast and enjoyed the last sip of his coffee.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I wondered why he was alone. He didn’t mention a wife or partner, and through his stories I got the feeling he had been alone for some time.
We smiled at each other again as we said goodbye, and I wished him well for his journey back to Queensland.
I hoped he would be safe.
I watched him as he left. He knew all the staff, asked them how they were and they were obviously as fond of him as I had become in that brief encounter.
I didn’t even know his name.
He reminded me of my Dad.
I recognised the same kindness in his eyes, and imagined what a loving father and grandfather he must be to his family.
What a gift to share those few minutes with someone so wise, who reminded me of the choice we have every day.
The choice to truly live.
Why wait?
All we ever have is right here, right now, and there is much to enjoy.
With love, Ali.