The year that’s been…
Today marks the one year anniversary when I received that dreaded phone call from my gorgeous neighbour, Brigette, that threw the first real curve ball to our family:
“Hi Blythe, where are your girls? there is smoke coming out of your house, it appears to be on fire!”
Fast forward to a long 11 months, we’d just moved back into our new home when we were thrown an even bigger curve ball:
This time, it was my gut was telling me something wasn’t right. It was 7.22pm on 8th Sept 2016, my hubby should be home by now! Hmmm? so I decided to call (not expecting the phone to answer as he should be in transit on his scooter):
“Hello, this is Duncan (long confused pause from me)…… I am a paramedic (sinking feeling in my stomach)…. I am with your husband at RNS Emergency, he has been involved in a motorcycle accident (now I want to vomit)…. He is stable but you need to get here ASAP!”
> Read the news article on The Daily Telegraph below about the accident:
After a rollercoaster of events this past month, including urgent, risky open heart surgery, a few weeks in ICU & some rest & recovery, I am happy to report, Muzz ain’t going anyway just yet.
Fair to say, it’s been an eventful (& at times testing) year for the Rowe Family.
But here’s the thing, all of us get tested to varying degrees all the time. Little things daily, the rude customer, the demanding boss, the inconsiderate team mate, the prying relative. The real test, of course, is how we respond.
I was surprised when people would comment,
“Wow you are so positive, don’t you feel angry at all that they opened Muzz up for
Open Heart Surgery & it was a mistake?”
I can honestly answer “no”. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.
This past year has gifted me many things personally & for us a family.
We are closer & stronger as a family than ever before:
- My little girls have developed significant resilience & even more independence (if that is possible).
- Many of my personal relationships have strengthened. Our wonderful neighbours who have shared much of this journey with us, are now our extended family. My BFF who has housed us & mothered my children is part pf our family. Our wonderful builders and now great mates & many many more.
- We have re-focussed as a couple on what really matters to us.
- PLUS, we have a gorgeous new house, a new puppy (clearly a moment of weakness) & I have upgraded my hubby as he looks 10 years younger (whilst I may have aged 10 years) LOL.
Below are some key takeouts, that these challenging experiences have highlighted for me:
Life is beyond precious:
We know it intellectually, we talk about it, but for me when I was looking down the barrel of it, I actually got it. Life as we know it can be taken or changed in a heartbeat, often of no fault of your own - none of us are immune.
Nothing else matters:
Without love & connection, all that other stuff, it’s meaningless. The big house, the fancy title, the successful career, the status. Who cares? Without life, our health, love, nothing else compares. So I will continue to challenge myself & ask ‘am I spending my time on the things that matter?’
Cherish em, tell em, show em:
Tell the people in your world what they mean to you, show them often, don’t just assume they know you care. To be fair, I didn’t need the accident to do this, but it did cement the importance of it, esp when there was a point where I thought, “this could be it! What are the last words I want him to hear me say?” Luckily, Muzz is one tough bastard & is stuck with me for many more years to come!
When shit hits the fan, seek help:
After the fire, when the insurers declined our claim, at times, we were lost, feeling helpless. It was critical that we actively sought the right help, legal & otherwise rather than get stuck into “poor me, poor us”.
Accept the gift of kindness - don’t be a martyr:
Yes this means sometimes we have to replace our pride with pragmatism. The amount of people who offered us help from looking after our girls, to making dinners (yes please) to offering us beds in their homes, bring a taxi, doing chores around the house… the generosity was overwhelming. Everyone of those generous gestures is a gift and we accepted & continue to cherish them with gratitude.
Nurture your network:
I don’t mean your ‘professional network’. I mean your support network of friends, family & loved ones. I feel incredibly blessed with how generous, helpful, loving & supportive the people in our world have been & this has been incredibly important to us. Again, let’s not wait till tragedy strikes to express to our support network, the people who really matter to us, how much we appreciate them.
Focus on the future:
At times when the house stuff seemed to be going nowhere or when Muzz was couldn’t do the things he could normally do, I'll admit, it was frustrating. But we kept focussing our energy on all the amazing things we have in our life & more importantly what we are going to create together for our future.
A great friend of mine once shared with me this quote,
“You can look back but don’t stare!”
As a family, no doubt, we will reflect on this past year & the lessons we have learned but we will continue to focus on what we want to build together (not what we don’t want) & we are beyond excited for what this next year is going to bring - new beginnings, new adventures, bring on the new, exciting ride!
BLYTHE ROWE & Her Life on Heels.
The founder & director of Human Incite, is widely recognised for her passion, energy and her ability to shake things up. Blythe is brilliant at revving-up productivity & performance in organisations. Her passion made her to be an advocate in creating sustainable behavioural changes & creating meaningful relationships both personally and professionally with her most recent Keynote Science of Connection. Her enthusiasm simply is infectious.