Letter to Tim McGraw

Dear Tim

I had the pleasure of attending your Melbourne concert last night and want to thank you in particular for one of the songs you sang but need to give some background first.

On Wednesday 1st September my 80 year old Mum got rushed to hospital having put up with a lot of pain over the previous month after a fall at home. X-rays revealed that she had fractured her spine but additionally she began to complain about pains in her abdomen and subsequent CT and MRI scans were conducted. On Sunday 5th September we got a call from the doctors telling us that she had terminal cancer and the first thing that crossed my mind were the words of your song – live like you were dying.

Mum was told she had months to live but over the next few days it became apparent that the cancer was very aggressive and we began to prepare for her passing – she didn’t skydive, mountain climb or ride a bull – but she did have the time to say goodbye to my sisters and I, our partners and her 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. It was an incredibly sad but uplifting time with nothing left unsaid.

On Thursday 7th September the ghosts began to gather and she told us of people who were standing around the bed and of long lost pets who were visiting. Might sound strange but she was totally lucid and knew that she could see them but we couldn’t. She lost consciousness that night and passed away at 1:15 am on September 11 giving my family another reason to remember that day.

So last night when you started to sing that song, the tears began to roll down my cheeks and whilst you didn’t know it, that song was for my Mum and so I am writing to thank you because for those of us who are lucky enough to find that we do have time to say goodbye the sentiments expressed in the song are important ones.

Many thanks
Laurie

**********************
For those who would like to listen here is the video – Live Like You Were Dying

http://www.youtube.com/v/XiOcW_YR1G8?fs=1&hl=en_GB

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Musical Monday – My Little Girl

It’s been a long time since I did a musical Monday post but having spent yesterday reflecting on what it’s like to be a father I thought I’d post this one for my daughters.

Change

We cannot change anything until we accept it.  Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses
-Carl Jung

Change before you have to.
– Jack Welch

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.  The sleeper must awaken.
– Frank Herbert

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
– Flannery O’Connor

Change in all things is sweet.
– Aristotle

Things do not change:  we change.
– Henry David Thoreau

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
– Jimmy Dean

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
– James 1:17

Change

We cannot change anything until we accept it.  Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses
-Carl Jung

Change before you have to.
– Jack Welch

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.  The sleeper must awaken.
– Frank Herbert

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
– Flannery O’Connor

Change in all things is sweet.
– Aristotle

Things do not change:  we change.
– Henry David Thoreau

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
– Jimmy Dean

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
– James 1:17

Workless Saturday


Not much work will get done in Melbourne this afternoon, it’s AFL Grand Final day and even if you don’t barrack for either of the teams competing, 90% of the population will be sitting down in front of the TV watching the game.

I barrack for Carlton – the not so mighty blues these days having finished near the bottom of the competition for the last five years. But despite that my club is still one of the most powerful in the competition and we all live in hope that a climb back up to premiership glory won’t be far away.

I had no choice about what team I followed and nor have my kids, my oldest son Luke being given his first footy jumper when he was a day old. But that’s not uncommon, if you’re born, raised in Melbourne or adopt it as your home, you will have a football team to follow. Admittedly, some will be more passionate than others, but an early conversation starter when you meet a stranger is still “Who do you barrack for?” Everyone knows that the person asking the question is talking about footy.

We have a national competition now with teams from all the mainland states involved in the competition but when I was growing up it was a suburban league and my family followed Carlton because that was where they lived. The tribalism has survived the relocation of teams and the intermingling of the barrackers in suburbs way beyond those where the game originated.

Carlton’s home ground used to be Princess Park, it still is used as a training venue but the game and it’s requirements for corporate hospitality overtook that and all of the other suburan grounds that used to be used.

I loved school holidays in winter when I was a kid because it meant that I would spend time staying at my grandparents and on Saturday afternoons my Grandad and cousins and I would head off to Princess Park to watch the game. There weren’t many seats in those days and if you got their a bit late it was pretty hard to see anything when I was still wearing my kids height. We’d spend a bit of time picking beer cans up off the ground and building a platform we could stand on that would give us another 6 inches in height. I remember the smells too – the intermingling of beer and cigarette smoke; the smell of meat pies and tomato sauce which either burnt your tongue when you bit into them or were on the cold side of warm. The sound of the lolly boys calling out – “Drinks, lollies, chocolates, peanuts and potato chips. The winds were cold and the rain sometimes sleeting but that didn’t matter we were there to watch our heroes.

The cheer squads sat behind the goals at opposite ends of the ground. They carried 6 foot long sticks with massive amounts of streamers in club colours taped to their ends that would be waved after our side scored a goal or in an effort to put off the opposition if they were kicking down that end that quarter. These were called floggers and we made a few attempts to make some as well but they were never as large or as colourful as those the Cheer Squad carried. You could always tell who was in the cheer squad because they’d be wearing their duffle coats with countless badges with player names and numbers sewn onto them.

I have been lucky enough to have my side win 8 premierships in my lifetime which is roughly one every seven years, and I have also been lucky enough to see a couple of those live on this last Saturday in September at the MCG [the Melbourne Cricket Ground]. This is one of the great sports arenas of the world and if you live in Melbourne it’s simply called “The G”.

I saw several Grand Finals in a row when I was in High School. My mate David Palmer and I would get up early, catch a train into the ground and hang around the Salvos who would be given tickets that people couldn’t use and then give them to people in exchange for a donation. We got into the ground with standing room tickets for a few years in a row. In 1972 I went home happy when Carlton beat Richmond and in 1973 it was David’s turn when the result was reversed.

When I was in the police force I also saw a couple of Grand Finals in the 80’s when I was on the close personal protection team for the Prime Minister. They were good jobs because once he was inside his Federal Police gaurds stayed with him while we could go off and watch the game. And finally I was able to go to last years game as a guest of one of my works sponsors.

These days Grand Final day is much more of a social event than it was in the 70’s. Back then far more supporters of the participating clubs could get tickets, today 70% of the available tickets go to corporates and members of the AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Still the atmosphere is as good today as it was all those years ago. You can still get a beer and a pie with sauce, but also such eclectic foreign items and pizza and even sushi if you so desire. Thankfully, smoking is now banned inside the ground. Floggers have also been banned but people will still wear their club colours, although I haven’t seen a duffle coat in years.

I’m not lucky enough to be there today but I am sitting in my loungeroom in a comfortable chair and I’ll be barracking for the Victorian club in the game, the Geelong Cats, and hope they absolutely belt those upstarts and relative newcomers form Port Adelaide.

If you want to get a taste of Melbourne and learn a little bit about footy in general and this special day in particular then checkout the three Youtube videos below. The first two were used on TV, “Up there Cazaly” in the 70’s, and “Thats what I like about football” in the 90’s. The final one is by Paul Kelly and whilst not about football does capture some of the essence of Melbourne and that area around “The G”.

Workless Saturday


Not much work will get done in Melbourne this afternoon, it’s AFL Grand Final day and even if you don’t barrack for either of the teams competing, 90% of the population will be sitting down in front of the TV watching the game.

I barrack for Carlton – the not so mighty blues these days having finished near the bottom of the competition for the last five years. But despite that my club is still one of the most powerful in the competition and we all live in hope that a climb back up to premiership glory won’t be far away.

I had no choice about what team I followed and nor have my kids, my oldest son Luke being given his first footy jumper when he was a day old. But that’s not uncommon, if you’re born, raised in Melbourne or adopt it as your home, you will have a football team to follow. Admittedly, some will be more passionate than others, but an early conversation starter when you meet a stranger is still “Who do you barrack for?” Everyone knows that the person asking the question is talking about footy.

We have a national competition now with teams from all the mainland states involved in the competition but when I was growing up it was a suburban league and my family followed Carlton because that was where they lived. The tribalism has survived the relocation of teams and the intermingling of the barrackers in suburbs way beyond those where the game originated.

Carlton’s home ground used to be Princess Park, it still is used as a training venue but the game and it’s requirements for corporate hospitality overtook that and all of the other suburan grounds that used to be used.

I loved school holidays in winter when I was a kid because it meant that I would spend time staying at my grandparents and on Saturday afternoons my Grandad and cousins and I would head off to Princess Park to watch the game. There weren’t many seats in those days and if you got their a bit late it was pretty hard to see anything when I was still wearing my kids height. We’d spend a bit of time picking beer cans up off the ground and building a platform we could stand on that would give us another 6 inches in height. I remember the smells too – the intermingling of beer and cigarette smoke; the smell of meat pies and tomato sauce which either burnt your tongue when you bit into them or were on the cold side of warm. The sound of the lolly boys calling out – “Drinks, lollies, chocolates, peanuts and potato chips. The winds were cold and the rain sometimes sleeting but that didn’t matter we were there to watch our heroes.

The cheer squads sat behind the goals at opposite ends of the ground. They carried 6 foot long sticks with massive amounts of streamers in club colours taped to their ends that would be waved after our side scored a goal or in an effort to put off the opposition if they were kicking down that end that quarter. These were called floggers and we made a few attempts to make some as well but they were never as large or as colourful as those the Cheer Squad carried. You could always tell who was in the cheer squad because they’d be wearing their duffle coats with countless badges with player names and numbers sewn onto them.

I have been lucky enough to have my side win 8 premierships in my lifetime which is roughly one every seven years, and I have also been lucky enough to see a couple of those live on this last Saturday in September at the MCG [the Melbourne Cricket Ground]. This is one of the great sports arenas of the world and if you live in Melbourne it’s simply called “The G”.

I saw several Grand Finals in a row when I was in High School. My mate David Palmer and I would get up early, catch a train into the ground and hang around the Salvos who would be given tickets that people couldn’t use and then give them to people in exchange for a donation. We got into the ground with standing room tickets for a few years in a row. In 1972 I went home happy when Carlton beat Richmond and in 1973 it was David’s turn when the result was reversed.

When I was in the police force I also saw a couple of Grand Finals in the 80’s when I was on the close personal protection team for the Prime Minister. They were good jobs because once he was inside his Federal Police gaurds stayed with him while we could go off and watch the game. And finally I was able to go to last years game as a guest of one of my works sponsors.

These days Grand Final day is much more of a social event than it was in the 70’s. Back then far more supporters of the participating clubs could get tickets, today 70% of the available tickets go to corporates and members of the AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Still the atmosphere is as good today as it was all those years ago. You can still get a beer and a pie with sauce, but also such eclectic foreign items and pizza and even sushi if you so desire. Thankfully, smoking is now banned inside the ground. Floggers have also been banned but people will still wear their club colours, although I haven’t seen a duffle coat in years.

I’m not lucky enough to be there today but I am sitting in my loungeroom in a comfortable chair and I’ll be barracking for the Victorian club in the game, the Geelong Cats, and hope they absolutely belt those upstarts and relative newcomers form Port Adelaide.

If you want to get a taste of Melbourne and learn a little bit about footy in general and this special day in particular then checkout the three Youtube videos below. The first two were used on TV, “Up there Cazaly” in the 70’s, and “Thats what I like about football” in the 90’s. The final one is by Paul Kelly and whilst not about football does capture some of the essence of Melbourne and that area around “The G”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxM8XB61ZvU”>

Workless Saturday


Not much work will get done in Melbourne this afternoon, it’s AFL Grand Final day and even if you don’t barrack for either of the teams competing, 90% of the population will be sitting down in front of the TV watching the game.

I barrack for Carlton – the not so mighty blues these days having finished near the bottom of the competition for the last five years. But despite that my club is still one of the most powerful in the competition and we all live in hope that a climb back up to premiership glory won’t be far away.

I had no choice about what team I followed and nor have my kids, my oldest son Luke being given his first footy jumper when he was a day old. But that’s not uncommon, if you’re born, raised in Melbourne or adopt it as your home, you will have a football team to follow. Admittedly, some will be more passionate than others, but an early conversation starter when you meet a stranger is still “Who do you barrack for?” Everyone knows that the person asking the question is talking about footy.

We have a national competition now with teams from all the mainland states involved in the competition but when I was growing up it was a suburban league and my family followed Carlton because that was where they lived. The tribalism has survived the relocation of teams and the intermingling of the barrackers in suburbs way beyond those where the game originated.

Carlton’s home ground used to be Princess Park, it still is used as a training venue but the game and it’s requirements for corporate hospitality overtook that and all of the other suburan grounds that used to be used.

I loved school holidays in winter when I was a kid because it meant that I would spend time staying at my grandparents and on Saturday afternoons my Grandad and cousins and I would head off to Princess Park to watch the game. There weren’t many seats in those days and if you got their a bit late it was pretty hard to see anything when I was still wearing my kids height. We’d spend a bit of time picking beer cans up off the ground and building a platform we could stand on that would give us another 6 inches in height. I remember the smells too – the intermingling of beer and cigarette smoke; the smell of meat pies and tomato sauce which either burnt your tongue when you bit into them or were on the cold side of warm. The sound of the lolly boys calling out – “Drinks, lollies, chocolates, peanuts and potato chips. The winds were cold and the rain sometimes sleeting but that didn’t matter we were there to watch our heroes.

The cheer squads sat behind the goals at opposite ends of the ground. They carried 6 foot long sticks with massive amounts of streamers in club colours taped to their ends that would be waved after our side scored a goal or in an effort to put off the opposition if they were kicking down that end that quarter. These were called floggers and we made a few attempts to make some as well but they were never as large or as colourful as those the Cheer Squad carried. You could always tell who was in the cheer squad because they’d be wearing their duffle coats with countless badges with player names and numbers sewn onto them.

I have been lucky enough to have my side win 8 premierships in my lifetime which is roughly one every seven years, and I have also been lucky enough to see a couple of those live on this last Saturday in September at the MCG [the Melbourne Cricket Ground]. This is one of the great sports arenas of the world and if you live in Melbourne it’s simply called “The G”.

I saw several Grand Finals in a row when I was in High School. My mate David Palmer and I would get up early, catch a train into the ground and hang around the Salvos who would be given tickets that people couldn’t use and then give them to people in exchange for a donation. We got into the ground with standing room tickets for a few years in a row. In 1972 I went home happy when Carlton beat Richmond and in 1973 it was David’s turn when the result was reversed.

When I was in the police force I also saw a couple of Grand Finals in the 80’s when I was on the close personal protection team for the Prime Minister. They were good jobs because once he was inside his Federal Police gaurds stayed with him while we could go off and watch the game. And finally I was able to go to last years game as a guest of one of my works sponsors.

These days Grand Final day is much more of a social event than it was in the 70’s. Back then far more supporters of the participating clubs could get tickets, today 70% of the available tickets go to corporates and members of the AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Still the atmosphere is as good today as it was all those years ago. You can still get a beer and a pie with sauce, but also such eclectic foreign items and pizza and even sushi if you so desire. Thankfully, smoking is now banned inside the ground. Floggers have also been banned but people will still wear their club colours, although I haven’t seen a duffle coat in years.

I’m not lucky enough to be there today but I am sitting in my loungeroom in a comfortable chair and I’ll be barracking for the Victorian club in the game, the Geelong Cats, and hope they absolutely belt those upstarts and relative newcomers form Port Adelaide.

If you want to get a taste of Melbourne and learn a little bit about footy in general and this special day in particular then checkout the three Youtube videos below. The first two were used on TV, “Up there Cazaly” in the 70’s, and “Thats what I like about football” in the 90’s. The final one is by Paul Kelly and whilst not about football does capture some of the essence of Melbourne and that area around “The G”.

Ages

“But though falling autumn leaves may reveal skeletal branches, spring reclothes the wood; a beloved grandmother dies, but as compensation for the loss, her grandchild enters the world strong and curious; when one day ends, the next begins, for in this infinite universe there is no final conclusion to anything, definitely not to hope. From the ashes of the old age, another age is born and birth is hope.”
– Dean Koontz, 1987 Twilight Eyes, W.H.Allen & Co., London, p.9

And so life goes on! Turning 50 has made me look back on the last 20 years in particular and the people who have left this world, together with the ones who have entered. Life does ebb and flow – death comes to all, but the circle continues to turn and for each person gone, many more have entered my life. Some have passed through, others joined me for a while along the way. In the end though the last journey is one we all do alone.

I don’t wish to be maudlin here but looking forward I know that the next twenty years will also bring great change. My Mum is 77 next week in the seventh month of the seventh year of the 21st century, which happens to be three times 7, all of which proves that you can look for 7’s in most places, and come to any conclusion you want to about that. But I know for sure that it is likely that she will leave at some time in the next 20 years and I hope in a dignified way and still in full possession of her marbles. I’ve seen several loved ones with dementia and the hardest part is that you can’t tell the moment that they have finally gone. It is the lingering that hurts more than anything.

I look forward to watching the continued change in my children as they grow older and reach adulthood themselves – I hope that they give me a little more credit for intelligence and good humour than I remember giving my parents. I wish more than anything that the distant father I seem to have become in the past few years is one that they seek out and whose company they enjoy. I fear growing old without them.

Time now for living, for company, for something other than work, an overseas trip, an exploration of space as well as that of time and self that I have been on for the past year.

What I want to conclude is that it is perhaps time to live like I was dying.

Ages

“But though falling autumn leaves may reveal skeletal branches, spring reclothes the wood; a beloved grandmother dies, but as compensation for the loss, her grandchild enters the world strong and curious; when one day ends, the next begins, for in this infinite universe there is no final conclusion to anything, definitely not to hope. From the ashes of the old age, another age is born and birth is hope.”
– Dean Koontz, 1987 Twilight Eyes, W.H.Allen & Co., London, p.9

And so life goes on! Turning 50 has made me look back on the last 20 years in particular and the people who have left this world, together with the ones who have entered. Life does ebb and flow – death comes to all, but the circle continues to turn and for each person gone, many more have entered my life. Some have passed through, others joined me for a while along the way. In the end though the last journey is one we all do alone.

I don’t wish to be maudlin here but looking forward I know that the next twenty years will also bring great change. My Mum is 77 next week in the seventh month of the seventh year of the 21st century, which happens to be three times 7, all of which proves that you can look for 7’s in most places, and come to any conclusion you want to about that. But I know for sure that it is likely that she will leave at some time in the next 20 years and I hope in a dignified way and still in full possession of her marbles. I’ve seen several loved ones with dementia and the hardest part is that you can’t tell the moment that they have finally gone. It is the lingering that hurts more than anything.

I look forward to watching the continued change in my children as they grow older and reach adulthood themselves – I hope that they give me a little more credit for intelligence and good humour than I remember giving my parents. I wish more than anything that the distant father I seem to have become in the past few years is one that they seek out and whose company they enjoy. I fear growing old without them.

Time now for living, for company, for something other than work, an overseas trip, an exploration of space as well as that of time and self that I have been on for the past year.

What I want to conclude is that it is perhaps time to live like I was dying.