wings and things

Chapter 62: Unexpected memories

When I wrote Chapters 50, 51 and 57, I didn’t realise that I might suffer again in re-living the past by writing about it. In fact, I was quite light-hearted and pragmatic in writing about all of the ways Anthony and I somehow beat the odds against us, with our age difference being the least of our newlywed problems.

In writing about these experiences, however, I unexpectedly remembered how betrayed I felt when Anthony didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t defend and protect our marriage against what seemed a never-ending onslaught of criticism against me, us, and baby Ming.

Adult Ming and I had an enlightening conversation about Anthony the other day in which he said “Dad would have been so conflicted!” Lost in my unexpected memories, I just said, “I’m so glad you understand because I didn’t at the time, Ming.”

Ming: You can cry if you want to, Mum. I wanted Dad to come to all of my football games.

Me: He was too sick already.

Ming: He could have tried harder.

It seems a dreadful betrayal to now admit that I, too, thought that Anthony could have tried harder to just dash out of all of his illnesses and be the husband and dad Ming and I wanted and missed. But on one memorable sports day at Ming’s primary school it took Anthony around 40 minutes to get from one side of the oval to the other, with my help, and he was terribly embarrassed.

I so wish Ming had seen the way Anthony used to run through the paddocks, chasing cattle, but also just running for the fun of running! It is now my responsibility to tell Ming all of the Anthony stories before Anthony became so ill with Parkinson’s, including the warts-and-all unexpected memories.


Chapter 61: Tasmania! [1993-1994]

It would be our first Christmas as a married couple, I was promptly pregnant, and I wanted to give Anthony an amazing Christmas present. So, after the wedding in March, I began to plan an adventure – a trip to Tasmania!

At the travel agency, I said I was expecting our baby in early January so it would be fine to book the trip for a little later. The look of alarm on the travel agent’s face resembled Anthony’s reaction that first Christmas when he unwrapped the thin present: plane tickets to Tasmania, accommodation at lovely resorts – I had thought of everything and it had taken me months to plan and pay for with my savings.

I was very disappointed by Anthony’s reaction to my gift and his ingratitude was particularly hurtful. “We will have a baby by then,” he said, knowingly.

“The baby will just be little, Ants, so it should be easy.”


And it was easy: apart from Ming not being particularly fond of breast or bottle-feeding, and screaming quite a bit, and apart from Anthony having panic attacks at the airports, and apart from the resorts not being as resplendent as advertised, we had a very good time.

Needless to say, once we got home (and my love for the farm escalated dramatically after Tasmania), Anthony and I had to have a short series of debriefing conversations in which he asked me to promise him to never, ever give him a present like that again. I agreed.

Not long after we returned from our Tasmania holiday, friends visited and asked us about our experience. To my surprise, Anthony related the time we had at a lovely little restaurant where the wine was freezing cold and poured generously, and the smoked salmon salad was incredible. “And Jules fed Ming out in the garden – it was a lovely place.”

He had forgotten that the idyllic setting was marred by the fact that March flies were biting me while I was trying unsuccessfully to feed Ming. I was so glad to hear him have such great memories of this little restaurant and I will never forget it either, for different reasons!




Thanks to those who sent me links to possible ways to turn a long series of WordPress blog posts into an equally long Word document to edit but, alas I still didn’t find an easy way. The fact that I have written blog posts, for a little over ten years, straight into the blog format without drafting them first was, in retrospect, a mistake.

On the other hand, in WordPress, you can easily ‘return’ a blog post back into draft form to edit and I did this recently. The draft form is much easier to copy and paste from and that is the aha!

So I still need to do the job of going back to November 7th, 2011, when I first began blogging, and copy/pasting the posts that most pertain to this book about Anthony. Apart from the rather tedious nature of this task, it will also bring back happy and sad nostalgia so I need to be ready to meet those moments with strength.

Another aha! is remembering another bunch of anecdotes so I am going to tell those as I delve into the past – what fun!


Blog-to-book advice sought

To any WordPress/or other bloggers, does anyone know an easy way to convert blog format into a Word document for easier editing?


Chapter 60: Piecing it all together [2021]

I’ve been going around in circles over the last few days trying to figure out how to put all the bits of this story into a cohesive whole that isn’t chronological. At this point I have three separate sections: (1) the experience of Anthony’s Parkinsonism both at home and, eventually, in the nursing home, and this will include blog entries from way back that describe how this experience unfolded as it happened; (2) the ‘Imagined conversations’ that I blogged after Anthony died; and (3) the recent nearly 60 anecdotes/chapters that give context to the overall love story.

I have a few more anecdotal chapters up my sleeve and I still want to include more of Ming’s point of view, but I feel like I really need to concentrate on the structure of the book now.

Some of the things that I’ve written about over the years that I’ve been blogging have been really painful; remembering and writing about these things has also entailed a re-living of some aspects of the past. One of the strangest things I’ve noticed about myself is that some of the past traumas Anthony and I faced, as he became more and more ill, didn’t feel as traumatic then as they sometimes do now, in retrospect. From time to time over the years, I’ve experienced the dreadful overwhelm of PTSD symptoms and have sought professional help but thankfully this hasn’t happened often because the bulk of our story – Anthony’s and mine – has been so buoyantly happy, against all sorts of odds.

Another thing I’ve discovered is that on the days when I miss Anthony the most, it isn’t the long-ago healthy Anthony I feel the stab of nostalgia for; it’s the more recent, unwell Anthony. Sometimes I just want to be back in that nursing home in the chair next his armchair, or next to his bed, with my arm draped around his shoulder and my feet resting on his knees, watching comedies on the television. Sometimes it is these memories of contentment and acceptance that gallop themselves into feelings of trauma – weird!

Anyway, I won’t be posting much for awhile because the book is more or less written and now I just have to piece it all together.