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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I was born in England. I was born close to where my father had been born, my father died in 2000 but I still miss him.  He was a good Dad and I was lucky to have him.  We had a similar sense of humour.  People when I was little told me:  "Your Dad will never be dead while you are alive." and I wondered how that could be.  But now I know I carry him with me. He is in my genes, I am Paddy's daughter.  I look like him, I speak like him and sometimes I even think like him.  It is a pity as my Mum was pretty and small and feminine and I am like my I have the Woods double chins.

We came to Australia when I was seven.  For me I love it so much.  Australia is my country.  I have been back to England and loved it there too, my cousins are there, the green and pleasant land is there, it has a history you can walk into...but Australia is home. Australia is blue skies, wide open spaces, red dust, extreme heat and cold and isolated in the Centre, green and blue on the Coast. There is a layer of good pastoral land just inland from the Coast so we can grow most of what we need to feed our population.  I live on the Coast and  love the sea and the sand and the sound of waves crashing I can hear from my bed on a stormy night.  My Ray was an Australian, my three children are Australian so I became an Australian citizen too.  I am an Aussie and proud of it.

Migrants used to do very well here, plenty of opportunities to make a reasonable living. A while after you came here you could own land, get a loan, build a house,save money to look after your kids.  Not so much now, as a country we grew too fast and the world changed and no longer needs the minerals and metals we still have in such abundance. As a population we huddle in cities and around the coastline, only those born on the land and the brave souls who join them live in our stark interior.  It is a land of uncertain weather too so floods and cold snaps can be followed by heat waves and bush fires. And while some of our wildlife is cute and cuddly we also have the sort that would rather cause you pain or take a large chunk out of you. Here there are a lot of ways you can die from natural But we can live to a ripe old age too, well most of us do.

But still I love it.  At my age I have no wish to live anywhere else, I have now been here sixty years and have loved it for all of those.  I'd like to visit other places for sure, one day I might just knock on your door if we become friends, but always this is the place I will head back to. There is still so much of Australia I haven't seen so have some plans to remedy that.  It chokes me up when I think about it though as that is what Ray and I were going to do in retirement, become grey nomads and trundle around Australia in our caravan or campervan, stopping in a place we liked the look of, traveling on again when we felt the urge.  That never happened of course, he stroked too young. I still miss him and more than ever miss the plans we made that will now never happen.

On Facebook and in emails I get photos and descriptions of the places my peer group are visiting, some in Australia, some overseas.  Of course they don't mean to boast, just tell us all what a wonderful time they are having.  I do envy the couples : "Jim and I in Vegas", "Harold and I in front of a Buddhist temple", "Larry and I hiking in the Grampians".  Who wouldn't be envious of those smiling faces, especially seeing my women friends with that nice man with an arm around her shoulders.  That should be me and Ray I want to cry. But I am a widow and Ray died two years and nine months ago.

Today it is raining and cold and miserable, a typical June winter's day.  A pity as I had plans for today.  I went to a community lunch that was supposed to be outside and we huddled together in a small space so we could all keep warm and dry. The food was good for winter, pumpkin soup, kebabs and rice, bread and butter pudding and cream.  i skipped the dessert. I sat with the usual mixture of widows and couples with and without children, it was good.  But the small voice in my head said:  "This isn't where I should be, I should be up north as Reg and Georgia are.  I can picture them walking on a sandy beach where the temperature is close to summer and that is where we should be." I wonder how long it takes before I will finally abandon those thoughts?

And so my 100th blog is happy and sad, happy because I have had a good life, sad because I go on alone. It is what it is, all I have to do is head for that door marked "acceptance" without too much dilly-dallying on the way.

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Comment by only1sue on September 17, 2015 at 3:37pm

Still at this same place i think.  Acceptance is a hard door to find.

Comment by Blue Snow on June 12, 2015 at 6:20pm

What a wonderful description of Australia, Sue. You're a good writer.

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