I see dead people

I’ve been sent email reminders about my friends’ work anniversaries, notifications that they’ve been tagged in posts and for one dear friend that she is having a birthday. Actually no she’s not, she left us to join the angels last year. On Facebook, LinkedIn and in my email list dead friends pop up to remind me they’re not here any more. I can’t bear to delete them from my phone and social media won’t let me discard them either.

I see their shining faces in photos and I smile.

One darling friend has been dead for a year and now she has a new connection on LinkedIn

She lives on in my heart and the world wide web forever


What happened?

Thank God this year is nearly over. 2014 felt like a bad party that lasted all year, the kind of party where you turn up late and all the cool people left 20 minutes ago and you’re stuck with maudlin drunk people who don’t dance and only have one beer and a packet of stale crackers left. In 2013 I travelled to new places and made new friends. In 2014, the shiz got real; single mothering became the major focus of my life when my kids barely saw their other parent. These are the edited highlights of my year of slavery:

I dated different men, which became a social experiment rather than an exercise in true love

I finished the HSC (translation: VCE, O levels, graduated from high school). Well, my 17 year old daughter did but I wrote essays, made lots of food and threw some tantrums

Sports uniforms were big this year and the bills for the outfits were even bigger

My middle child completed her first year of high school without me sending her to a maximum security boarding facility for pre teens

I performed in my second solo stand up comedy show “Looking For Mike Brady” at the 2014 Fringe Comedy Festival and my darling friends turned up to laugh with me

I spent another wonderful year being a fool in hospitals in the presence of beautiful families

The Australian dream was flushed down the toilet by the worst federal government in Australian political history

2014 was a year of many tears, I lost too many treasures, “precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,” as Shakespeare put it, passed into the next world way too young. I went to 10 funerals this year. Two funerals were for my mentor and for my teacher, people who are largely responsible for my career. These were the only two funerals I attended that were for people over the age of 50. I learnt the hard way not to take beautiful young people for granted. I want to find a cure for brain cancer.

I found these words in the possessions left behind by one of my darling friends:
Walk slowly,
Water lashing at your toes,
Crane ready to take flight.
Wait for the tide to change

For many of my friends, the Year of the Horse was a year of heartbreak

And the world lost brilliant artists who made our lives happier, including Rik Mayall, Joe Cocker, Clarissa Dickson Wright, Shirley Temple, Alice Herz Sommer, Mickey Rooney, Doc Neeson, Phillip Seymour Hoffmann, Peaches Geldof, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Bob Hoskins, Stella Young and Dr Peter Spitzer who founded the Clown Doctors in Australia

I became an aunty again to a gorgeous girl and a fabulous boy

Two of my beautiful colleagues had babies

I travelled to Queensland to laugh and dance and cry and remember with my Clown Doctor colleagues from around the country

Malala Yousafzai accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and went straight back to her chemistry class

#YesAllWomen became the most viral feminist hashtag of all time

I went to my school reunion and reconnected with old friends who made me laugh out loud

Mary Lambert singing at the Grammys made my eyes wet in 2014

Two planes fell out of the sky breaking more hearts

Horror unfolded as the year came to a close in Sydney, Cairns and Pakistan

Sydneysiders and our visitors poured love and flowers into a memorial site in Martin Place to remember two shining stars we lost and to promote cultural tolerance. Our mission as Australians is now to replace hate with love

What a year! As Michael Clarke said at his best friend Phillip Hughes’ funeral, to honour our loved ones who have passed too early, ‘We must get through to tea, and we must play on.’


Does my sassiness upset you?

Dear Maya Angelou, the world is a poorer place without you. Thank you for the love, wisdom and joy your writing brought us. Your words gave me hope in the darkest days of my life. Your strength and dignity in the face of life’s challenges are an inspiration.


Sail Away With Me To Another World

I woke up this morning thinking of my gorgeous, generous friend and the times she and I would sing karaoke. We’d work our way through rock ballads, fabulous country songs, Patsy, Tammy, then Whitney and of course Dolly Parton. My funny friend also introduced me to the delights of Smooth FM and their back catalogue of hideous one hit wonders. A couple of years ago we gatecrashed an 18th birthday party at a pub and then it turned out C knew the family! She was there for me when I became a single mother and I didn’t know how I would cope. She showed me that single motherhood can be fun. Her funeral is today and I don’t think it’s right that two little girls don’t have their fabulous, funny mum any more. At 42 years old my beautiful friend had so much more to give, more books to write, many more songs to sing. Fly free my darling, your spirit soaring with the sun and the twinkling stars, thank you for your friendship. We will walk with your girls through this life. Love you, love always, always love

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.


May you find comfort

Yesterday another precious soul left us, way too young, surrounded by the love of his beautiful sisters and parents. It was an honour to watch his courage and strength. His mama and papa inspire me to be a better parent. RIP sweet boy, you are so loved