Tuesday’s with Morrie

I’ve just finished reading “Tuesday’s with Morrie”, after a recommendation from some of my wonderful twitter buddies.

It’s a great resource to help you understand more about death, and why it’s not a bad thing.

It’s one of the simplest, most honest books I’ve read in a while, and came away believing that what I’m doing here with My Proactive Life is the right thing to do. I recommend you read it.

Life goes on

I came across this post a couple of weeks ago and felt compelled to share it with you. Take the time (about 10 mins) to read the entire post to understand the full extent of the message behind the words. This paragraph caught my eye, and along with my posts on crashing my motorcycle, part 1 & part 2), underpin just why I’m doing what I do whilst I can:

As mentioned, do yourself a favour and read the entire post. It may make you cry, but I believe it’s a fabulous post from someone who’s been able to share his thoughts up until the very end. Derek passed away on May 3rd, 2011.

EDIT 2nd June, 2011 (you’ll need tissues!) : Derek’s wife Airdrie has posted a follow-up post, and I urge you to read it for her reply and to find out more about Derek. I’m not sure we’ve ever had the privilege to get both sides of such a wonderful story – My heart goes out to anyone who has lost their soulmate or someone immeasurably precious.

I am doing my best to live each day deliberately, and with a goal of each day being better than the previous. How am I doing? How are you doing? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Thanks 🙂

Live each day

The world often conspires in ways to being things to your attention, and I feel that acknowledging these things is important to help spread the message. Here follows 3 tweets/blog posts that made me stop and think. Hard. About life, love and those that mean so much to us.

  1. On Monday, I saw a tweet about The Last Post, read the first paragraph and stopped what I was doing to let it soak in. I have read a little more of the blog post in the past 2 days but not digested it all (yet).
  2. Tonight, I saw another tweet from Sara Lucas (aka SassLucas), doing her bit to try and enrich the women & children of the world, and traced the tweet back to it’s owner, a lovely lady called Eden Riley:

    Eden’s blog post (Every Little Thing) is a real, moving story about the passing of her friend Vee’s husband one year ago. After reading the post, I then followed the link to Vee’s story titled Why You Where Here. Equally real, moving and a lovely tribute to one of the most important things in her life. I think both Eden and Vee are awesome, brave and courageous to share their stories.

  3. ADDED 12th May: I could not let this one slip. I saw a tweet from my wonderful friend Francie Jones earlier today which fits right into the theme here of loss and living your life.
    Ben Pobjie recently wrote of his experience with depression (aka the Black Dog) in a post titled Crumple Zone. (Many of you will remember the Black Dog Ride I participated in as a member of Riding4Cause in September 2010). It’s but a small way we can begin to see what it’s like from the inside, from someone who’s been to the brink of suicide. It’s a powerful post that brought tears to my eyes and I offer it here as part of the theme of “living your life”.
  4. Then, as a counterpoint to the above, here’s a blog post that I think sums up the nature of life for everyone I decided to photograph the reactions of my friends and family when I told them my good news – I’m going to be a dad! Please note this is NOT my blog post, but serves as a way of contrasting the loss for one person/family against the pure joy felt by others.

Life is a cycle. Things happen, they happen to everyone at different times, and whilst one person grieves, another celebrates. No matter what happens, you need to continue to live your life. Go out there and live it, love yourself, love your family and friends and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Blood…

For those that don’t know, I am very passionate about donating blood, simply because I know the benefits it provides and know that it’s a very small imposition on me to donate something which I have plenty to give. I recently received a medal for passing 50 donations (of whole blood – Apheresis donors can donate many more times per year) and recently made donation #57.

I believe that anyone who can donate blood, should donate blood.

However, I do understand there are many reasons why people don’t: some are medical, some are pathological. Consider the rise of cancers in the world today – more than a third of donated blood is used to help cancer patients. Do you know of anyone who has or has beaten cancer? I have heard many stories where people donate blood to help out a family member undergoing surgery, however your blood can also be used to help other people along the way. I like to look at people as I walk down the street and wonder if I’ve helped them in some small way. You can read the stories of many people who rely on blood donations, such as Georgio, Jai, Marnie or Sophia (in their own way these people have their own Inner Story)

Where does my donated blood go?

My Special Blood.
However, I have something special in my blood that I’d like to tell you about. I make regular donations 4 times a year like most others, but my blood is not used for transfusions. I am a member of the Red Panel cell donors, and in order to understand what this means, I refer you to an explanation from the Manager of the Red Cell Reference Laboratory:

The Panel is a project that has been in operation for over 20 years and continues with the support of special donors like Andrew. We currently provide three types of panels – Abtectcell II, Abtectcell III and the Phenocell A panel. Andrew is a part of the Phenocell A panel. The project involves the collection of donations which are sent to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Melbourne, where they are bottled and packaged. The product is then sent to hospital laboratories all over Australia and used to identify irregular red cell antibodies found in pregnant women and in patients requiring transfusion. By identifying such antibodies, we are able to give a patient blood which is compatible for transfusion.
Donors are selected to join this program based on their extended red cell phenotype. The blood groups of all of the donors in this program need to complement each other, and together they must cover all the blood groups that can cause transfusion problems.

Andrew’s extended red cell phenotype is:Group O; cDe, C-, E-, CW-; K-, k+, Kp(a-b+); Fy(a-b+); Jk(a+b-); M+, N+, S+, s+; P1-; Le(a-b+); Lu(a-b+); Co(a+b-)

Andrew’s Rhesus phenotype is found in just 2% of the population. When combined with his antigen negative status of some of the other blood groups, this makes him an especially valuable member of our program.

Why am I telling you this? In some small way it makes me feel special to know my blood is used in a way to ensure other units of blood are compatible before donation. You could say with the special bits in it (in no way am I going to use the language from the above text as I am not an expert and don’t claim to be) my blood is an enabler – in a way, similar to my view on life – to be an enabler to help others achieve their goals.

Perhaps you have something special in your blood and don’t yet know it? Let me know if you have any questions about donating blood by leaving comments below! (Please Note: I am passionate about donating blood but am not affiliated with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service)

Letting your flowers grow

A recent blog post titled “When The Petals Drop” by Sean (aka @writerdad on Twitter) prompted me to share some of my ‘petal’ moments with my boys. We generally don’t notice some transition points our children make but when we do, they’re quite powerful, even after time has slowly (or quickly) passed by.

  • Since age 6, my eldest (now 7) needed no help buckling his seat belt. Master 4 can put on one of his 2 belts in his child seat. I cannot remember the turning point where 7 no longer needed our help – now I think back on it, it’s all a blur. Where did that time go? I know that one day too soon 7 will be out of the sbooster eat and 4 will take it over.
  • Tonight, Master 4 says “I’m longer than the bath now” and he sure is – I can remember washing him in the bath when he was a bub; I looked at him and wondered when he got so tall ? He’s in pre-school now (and loving it) but will be ending that part of his life at the end of the year, off to big school like his brother.
  • Master 4 can now make breakfast for the family (except we have a rule that they are not to use the Microwave for porridge without an adult – some mornings I wonder where they would find such a person *grin*). Whilst on the surface this may not be a ‘big thing’, it shows a streak of independence I’m not sure we’re ready for?
  • Both boys dance and sing around the house and love listening to music – before the end of a song at least one of them are able to hum along with the melody and sometimes even pick up some of the words. Current favourites are Do You Know Your Enemy (Green Day) and Foreign Land (Eskimo Joe). When they started to sing and dance (especially Master 4) I cannot recall.

Like Sean, I, too have had a chance to just ‘watch’ Master 4 at Pre-school, but only for a few mins before he saw me and rushed over. During reading time, he was engaging well with the teacher whilst reading a story, interacting and following intently.

As parents, it’s our aim to best prepare our children for their later years. Children are ‘on loan’ to us for such a brief period of their lives – it’s up to you to lay the groundwork that will see them succeed once they mature and find their own way in the world. Having such a chance that Sean describes to see your children in their environment is truly priceless:

It was wonderful to see Max as a student without him knowing I was there. He sang, he danced, he took turns. He said thank you, he smiled, he laughed.

Enjoy the times you do have with your children, as best you can. Whilst both Sean & my accounts are personal, I’ll take this moment to recognise those who are not able to spend time with their children for a myriad of reasons; for most parents, we all hope our children will grow up to be happy, healthy members of society, and this hope weighs heavily on everyone’s heart & mind.

I’m off to play with my boys in the wonderful winter sun!