I was admiring the recent pictures of my new baby step-grandson this morning. One, in particular, is a beautiful reminder of the lazy afternoon he spent playing on the loungeroom floor with his Uncle and Aunty, both completely smitten with this squishy little bundle of joy. Reflecting on what it means to be Nanna Miller to a new little human, my thoughts drifted to my mum, as they often do. It was always her dream to have a grandchild. She had knitted a collection of baby clothes, in the hope that my older brother or sister, both married at the time, might soon be starting their own little families. Tragically, she never got to meet any of her beautiful grandchildren. Although, I am certain she is looking down on each of them with pride and so much love. She was taken from us far too soon, like many other good people around us, every day.
Aiki Flinthart, a fellow author, was a formidable character of unwavering kindness, who I greatly admired. The courage she showed in her life was like nothing I have seen before, and I know it will stay with me and inspire me through the adversities that have yet to cross my path. Aside from us both being authors, we shared a love of martial arts, and a calling to help others. In the last months of her life, she spent time setting up a program to help aspiring authors follow in her footsteps. I pray that should adversity like that ever come my way, the warrior within will stand up to the challenge with the same fierceness. As Geneve Flynn recently said, ‘Aiki skidded sideways into Valhalla.’ I'm grateful our paths crossed, even just for a while.
Another incredible warrior and brave soul to recently pass, was my friend, mentor, and champion aficionado, Major Tim Moroney. I know that all my friends know how much Tim meant to me, but I don’t know if Tim knew. Like many people, I never told him enough, or with the right words. I often said thank you. I can only hope he knew how much meaning was behind those two little words. I am certain, if not for Tim (along with Clive and Kel), that Remember would never have been published. But more than that, I’m not sure I would ever have had the belief in myself, in my ability as an author, if not for his belief and encouragement. He came along at a time when a major crossroad was before me and he guided me to the path that I now find myself on. I know Tim felt immensely proud to have been part of sharing Remember with the world, and the vision we shared of it helping other veterans, especially the vulnerable and in need.
I hope that both Aiki and Tim’s families find peace and that their own treasured memories bring them comfort as time goes by. I miss my mum every day, and I am so thankful for the photographs and memories of our short time together. While I have always known it, it surprises me to recognize that we only had twelve short years together. Time too short, yet I am thankful and honoured that she was my mum. I find myself, some thirty years later, still always trying to make her proud, to pay respect to her memory. I know she would have been a wonderful Nanna. I wish she had had that opportunity. Being the same age now, that she was when she died, I vow never to take the precious role of being a Nanna for granted. Cradling my little grandson, she was there. This experience is a gift I now live for both of us. Grateful that I can, yet wishing that I didn’t have to.
Life itself is such a gift, one that goes by far too quickly. I’m not sure I have all the answers, indeed, I may have even less than I imagine, but I think it is important to keep listening to my heart. Doing good, not because I want something in return, but because it is good. Avoiding wrongdoings, not to avoid punishment, but because it is wrong. Holding values of compassion, respect, equity, and kindness above all else. Being real. Not being afraid to show that side of myself that I sometimes worry is too much for others. Too deep. Too thoughtful. I’ve mentioned the following Marianne Williamson quote in an old blog, but it seems just as relevant today… ‘You playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so others won’t feel insecure around you. As you let your own light shine, you indirectly give others permission to do the same.’ So then, the questions I ask myself are… ‘How to shine, without becoming conceited? How to keep going when self-doubt creeps in?’ The answers, I think, are love and courage.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4
Although I may sometimes struggle with the path I am on, there is one thing I am certain about. I am a writer. I am an author. And that means experiencing all that life has to offer. Delving into the places of memory and emotion that others may fear to tread. Making sacrifices without complaint. As the great writer, Robert Frost was famously quoted as saying, ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.’ In pursuit of this passion to write that has always burned within me, I honour the memories of lost friends and loved ones. Living with purpose, wholeheartedly, bravely, and imperfectly me, I hope that I might brighten the lives of those around me, and I hope more than anything, to always make them feel cherished, valued, and above all, loved.
Life is precious.