He Was Just Playing Cricket

It’s been a really long 2 weeks. I’ve shed more tears in the last 7 days than I think I’ve spilled all year. It all started with a visit to my friend Sheree, in hospital. Sheree was part of our June ’08 online mum’s group. Some of you may know her, or know of her story. She battled breast cancer – triple negative, rare, aggressive cancer – for over 3 years. It had metastasised into her spine, then finally into her brain. On top of having to fight this nasty disease, she also was lucky enough (please note heaviest sarcasm ever) to have to deal with a massive blood clot, cellulitis and lymphadema as well as breathing problems in the last months. The breathing scared her the most. When she found out there were tumours in her brain, she started brain radiation. A group of us went to see her after her 2nd brain treatment, and she was talking about Christmas. She was talking about her continual fight with this shit disease. She wanted to live for her boys, to see them grow up and become men, husbands, fathers. So when just 2 days later she told us she’d been given 3 days to live, we were all shocked. She had defied doctors at every turn of this nastiness, and I think we thought she would defy them again. She said she would go out fighting, and go out fighting she did. When doctors gave her 3 days to live, she made sure she lasted 4. Defiant and fighting to the end. She passed away exactly 1 week after we had seen her. She was only 39.

On the Tuesday I got a phone call from a friend. Another friend of our’s had just lost her sister. She had dropped dead while walking along the beach with her daughter. While she was revived, there was no brain activity and the family decided to donate her organs and turn the machine off. It turned out she had a tumour (?) or swelling of the brain that she didn’t even know about and she was essentially a walking time bomb, so to speak, that eventually exploded. She was only 54.

On Thursday, the day of Sheree’s funeral, Phillip Hughes died. I didn’t know him. Not personally. I didn’t know my friend’s sister, either. Yet here I was on Thursday, unable to hold it all together. I cried rivers for the 3 of them. Or perhaps they were all for my friend, but compounded with each new tragedy. The week was full of death, and I couldn’t handle it.

On Facebook ads keep popping up telling me “Sheree McLeod likes this” as if she is still here, looking at their Facebook page. Every time the radio or TV is on there is a tribute to Phil Hughes. I bawl every time. I feel a connection to the Australian cricket team – I know what it’s like to lose one of your own. Sheree was one of our own.

The outpouring for Phil Hughes has been incredible. I know that cricket is one of our national past times, but there are plenty of people who don’t like the sport. But I guess you don’t have to like the sport to feel a deep sadness for the teammates left behind, Sean Abbott who delivered the bowl that killed him, for his family who have lost their son when he was just playing a game of cricket. It was just a stupid, tragic, fluke accident and it’s not fair.

There have been two stories of babies abandoned by their mothers, left to die. I have cried rivers of tears for these babies too. For the one who died, but even more so for the one who lived, who will grow up and one day know what his mother did to him. Who will one day know he was so unloved and unwanted that she put him in a drain and left him for dead. But I hope that one day, he will grow up to have compassion for people who are so desperately mentally ill that they know no better or different. It is easy to judge these women, especially as someone who has battled fertility issues for 5 years. But judgement does not help anyone. It does not help the mothers, it does not help the babies. It does not solve the problem, which is that no woman should get to the stage where they feel these acts are their only choices. The comments on social media make me sick. There is no compassion, no kindness left in today’s world, it seems.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently it is that life isn’t fair. I’ve also learned that life is short, and if you’re not happy, you better do something to change that. I’ve learned that if you wait to do things, you might not get the chance. I’ve learned that you should tell your family you love them, even if you see them every day, send a message anyway. And I’ve learned that at the end of a really shit week, putting up Christmas decorations and having a few drinks can make you feel just that smidgeon better. It’s time to make changes.

Linking up with Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays!


13 thoughts on “He Was Just Playing Cricket

  1. What a lovely post my friend. So much sadness and heart ache in the world but also so much good if we can look past all the negatives, although it’s not easy when it seems they outweigh the good stuff. Yes life is WAY too short, grab it by the horns and chase those dreams lovely xx

  2. I’m so sorry for the loss of your darling friend and for your friends sister. Life can be so unfair. A friend of my friend died in May (she was 48) and her name and face keeps appearing on Facebook for me too. It’s eerie – I know how it feels. The tragic loss of Phillip Hughes has also had me in tears this week. I’m not a cricket fan and I didn’t even really know of him. But … a young man aged only 25 (3 years older than my sons!) has tragically lost his life and I don’t need to know him to feel the despair of that. It goes to show just how precious life is and that we must make the most of every moment because we never do know how many more moments we will have. xo

  3. I was so sad to read of Sheree’s passing on FB – it’s just not fair. Sending heaps of hugs to you. Life is too short to spend time regretting what may have been – enjoy each day while we can.
    With love
    Me xox

  4. There is so much sadness and so many tears in this post – so beautifully written. Sometimes life is not fair, sometimes life is heavy and it feels like there is no air. But these are the moments that perhaps shape and strengthen us in ways that no other moments can. Sending you lots of hugs xx

  5. Much of this so difficult to read and digest, but also so very well worded and felt, Aroha. Agree with everything you’ve said here and I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough time of it lately. Sadness is an important part of life but too much, you are right, really IS unfair xxx #teamIBOT

  6. This is the second post I’ve read about grief today and for the second time today I will send a virtual hug. I wish I could hug you in person. I’m so sorry about your friend Sheree. Life is unfair and cruel and so confusing at times. We must all hold our loved ones close and cherish every moment xxxooo

  7. Life is short, you really have to make sure you live a happy one. But it’s funny how difficult that can be at times. I love the saying “in life you have 2 lives, the second one starts when you realise you only have one x” Condolences for loss of your friend also.

  8. Oh my goodness what a sad week for you. I am so sorry to hear about your friend but she sounds like a wonderful person. I was was near enough I’d give you a hug but I’ll have to offer you a virtual one instead. Quite simply life ‘sucks’ sometimes. I cried for Phil Hughes too and I don’t even watch cricket! xx

  9. Such a sad post, so much grief in such a concentrated burst of time. I am so sorry for your losses. I am not one for tears but for some reason the loss of that young man and the outpouring of sadness had me in tears several times. Death is always a very sad affair but it seems to strike harder when it comes to people who still have so much ahead of them. Hope you are OK x

  10. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend, things always seem to compound one on top of the other…it’s often hard to know what the Universe is trying to tell us. We can understand death when it’s a person who has lived their complete lives. My grandparents died when they were 97 and 99, so even though it was sad, we felt that it was their time. My father died 2 1/2 years ago, suddenly at 70, he was so fit, healthy, one minute he was here and the next…. He loved his grand daughters and still had so much to live for, that was terribly hard to accept and I still haven’t. All the best to you xxx

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