Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in one post!

The Lows and Highs of 2013

Please excuse the fact that I didn’t blog AT ALL in 2013. It is pretty symptomatic of the year really.
It’s been a little overwhelming to say the least with some huge lows and some amazing highs. This blog post is a little long, there is a lot to say.

The year starting with us moving house again. Moving is hard work but we are back living in a home we own again so no more posts like this.

In March came the devastating news that Glenn’s cousin Debbie had a relapse of Breast Cancer and this time it was terminal. By the end of March Debbie was gone. What a rip off L 45 years old and so much to live for. So shocking for her family, two young children without their Mother. Quite simply it is a real tragedy. It all happened so quickly that Debbie didn’t have time to do the last few things she wanted to do. SO not fair! Debbie was so welcoming to me when I joined the Livingstone family. I enjoyed her company and her sense of fun. She was a very generous, warm-hearted and loyal person. I see the pain in her parents eyes every Wednesday when I go to work. She is so missed.

In May, my friend Lynda lost her sister Christine. Christine had ongoing health issues but no-one expected her to pass away in her early 50's. Such a shock and I see in Lynda the ongoing effects on their family as they struggle to accept the loss in their lives. So much living still to do.

Glenn and I went to the funeral of Rhonda Tucker in August. Another Mother going from this Earth too soon because of that horrible disease Breast Cancer. I didn’t really know Rhonda that well in person. I met her husband Gaven when Glenn was helping to try to keep Aorangi School open, where Gaven was a teacher. But I very quickly got to know Rhonda through her online presence on Facebook. We watched and learned about strength and making every moment precious when faced with adversity. Rhonda showed huge tenacity and courage as she faced her journey. And it was inspirational to see Gaven and Rhonda create memories for their children to last the rest of their lives. Rhonda showed us all how to live for now and make the most of every moment. And even though I didn't know her so well, I learnt some very valuable lessons from her.

Early in the year it was apparent that Mum’s health was failing badly so I downsized my life to be able to spend more time with her. We had some awesome times together and made the most of her good days. Towards September it seemed that the bad days were outnumbering the good days but Mum was doing her best to make the most of the good days. We attended the food show in September and had a great time. Mid-September the Doctor trialed her on some new medication. It made such a difference that Mum was feeling better than she had for a year or more. So much so, she drove herself out to the country on October 3rd to go to Mahjong. On the way home, a car plowed into the side of her car as she left a giveway sign. She knew she had made a mistake, she just didn’t see him. We thought she was going to make it, she was conscious when we got to the hospital. At first glance after a CT scan the injuries were recoverable. But overnight everything went pear shaped and Mum died around lunchtime on Friday 4th October. Saddest of sad days for our family.

On the 30th of December I went with my Isleworth colleagues to the funeral of a Teacher Aide, Karen, who also died from Breast Cancer. She battled the disease for 17 years but it finally won. She was determined not to die on Christmas day and let go at 1am on Boxing Day. Karen and I were definitely not close but she was so kind to me on the day that Debbie died. I’ll never forget her kindness.

On the 14th January we moved into our new (OLD) home. I don’t think I have ever been so happy in a home! 
This farmhouse was built in 1861 by the Brown family who owned a dairy farm in Shirley.
A 2014 goal for me is to find out a bit about the history of this home and those who have lived here. It seemed, with so much going on, that we didn’t have a chance to really enjoy living here in 2013 so looking forward to really putting our stamp on this home, this year.

Matthew graduated in April. He had thought he might wait until he had finished his honours year but with his Grans health failing, the decision was made to graduate with his Bachelor of Science. Thank goodness!

A very proud Mumma and Gran attended the ceremony, along with Glenn,Olivia and my older childrens' Nana. We went out for lunch with Gran after and Kirsten joined us – was fabulous! Matt then turned 21 in May – another cause for a family celebration.

Kirsten missed out on gong to Camp America but instead was chosen to attend an American University in Indiana in the second Semester of 2014. So exciting and the realisation of a dream for her! Shows that if you set a goal and dream a dream, it might just happen for you!

Olivia started work fulltime at McDonalds in Moorhouse Avenue and was quickly promoted up the career path to Shift Manager. She loves working there and has incredibly supportive Management and great friends. Maybe some study through McDonalds this year so life is rosy and full of opportunities. We took Gran out for lunch again on Olivia's 18th birthday.

My stepdaughter Simone attended and graduated from Sir George Seymour Tourism College in 2013, helping her towards her dream job. A very proud evening for Glenn to attend her graduation.

Briana and Joshua seemed very settled in their new home and said farewell to Wairakei School at the end of the year. Briana has some ongoing stuff since the earthquakes and it is hoped that a move to Marshland School in 2014, for both of them, will help her put that in the past.

We got a puppy!!
For a few weeks I thought it was the worst decision I have ever made, but we love Bagel and he seems to love us. A great distraction from all the not so good stuff last year!

I managed to finish my Postgraduate Diploma in Education with Merit amongst all the challenges of the year and resigned from Isleworth School to await the opportunities that 2014 will bring.

In September we celebrated Glenn's 50th birthday. It was a fabulous family occasion. We had a sense that it might be Mum's last family celebration as she was quite unwell that day and sadly we were right. But she had a fabulous time as was determined to see the night right to the end. Glenn was re-elected in October and is taking on the challenge of providing housing for the most vulnerable in Christchurch. He showed us how incredible he is as he officiated at both Debbie and Mum’s funeral. Not an easy task but made it so much more special for all of us to know that someone who truly loved these people, helped send them off in the most amazing way. I know he had to dig deep, it’s part of the reason I love him. I knew he could do it, both times.

I was reflecting last night as midnight approached about a New Years’ Eve 16 years ago, at a difficult time in my life. I saw that New Year in all on my own as 3 young children slept and I wrote in my journal, that although life wasn’t as rosy as it could be, a little baby was born that day. It reminded me that even if life can be a bit sucky at times, that there are always miracles in the world. Little babies are such a blessing and show us that there is always hope and joy to be found.

The biggest joy of 2013 was this little one

Even though we didn’t have Mum at Christmas, we had this little girl, and her sister and brother, with us. My great niece Pipi.
Mum didn’t get to meet her but she saw her numerous times through my niece Jenny's blog.
We were encircled by family at Christmas and that made it all a bit easier to start a new chapter in our family’s history.

Happy New Year to all – a new year brings new hope, new opportunities. I hope you get all your heart desires… and more. Welcome 2014… bring it on xx


  1. Wow such a lovely post Auntie Anthea - it made me tear up a couple of times while reading it. Thank you for including that lovely bit about Pipi and the cute photo. I'm sure 2014 will be a great one for us all x

  2. Fabulous article Anthea. 2013 was in many way challenging but most of all defining and sets a great platform for you and your amazing family to shine moving forward. Bless :)