Love, and hope.

Many of you that live in this online world would have heard the sad news this morning that Julia Watson passed away last night after a courageous battle with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Shit hey?

You will remember recently when you guys helped bid on an auction to raise money for her husband and 4 daughters that are left behind. While you know it’s coming, it still can kick you in the guts when you hear the finality of the news.

I’m not going to pretend that we were best mates, because we weren’t. I first knew of Jules when she sent me a message in April 2014 of her hot new haircut (she took a snap of me to her hairdresser to celebrate the fact that her hair didn’t fall out from chemo). She rocked that platinum do better than I ever could, and we would message each other often about this or that, about making a tree change, about how surgery had gone, about puppies and new babies (me), about writing and starting her blog, about going on telly and spewing with nerves, about her book. I bought her a hot set of Anthropologie sheets for her to have because if you are going to be sick in bed with cancer, you may as well have hot sheets to look at right? I met her in person at the launch of her book last year, and again a few months ago when I was in Melbourne. I got to fuss and make her tea and feed her cakes and get her napkins to wipe off the sweat from that fucking chemo and give her a squeeze in her fancy frock as she won an award.

I can’t imagine how her real friends and family and community are feeling today. As much as you know it’s coming, here it is, and isn’t it even worse than you could have imagined. An empty chair where someone so FULL of life once sat. I’m so sorry for all of you, weren’t you lucky to have known her though? Weren’t we all?

At times like this it’s so hard to not feel how help less this all is. 4 beautiful girls left without their Mum. A husband without his partner. A home without a whole person in it, forever gone. For so many people, each day, when this insidious disease takes another loved one away before their time, from another family, or friendship group, from a School or community. Jules’ story is not unique.

I don’t have nor know what the right words to say at a time like this. There are some things I have been thinking of though.

Julia was passionate about love and hope. Always having hope, when things seem hope less. Her family and friends will think of that fire and passion for life that she had, and live theirs a little more, because of that. I hope they always remember that, and take comfort in it. Julia’s story has helped countless people, those suffering from cancer, their loved ones supporting them through the battle, and even people like me so far removed from it, with helping us stop, take in all the good that we have and enjoy it. I suppose anyone going through life and death stuff does this. If she saved one person from not ignoring symptoms and put their health first, rather and forgetting it or pushing it away, well then that’s something. I know she has done this.

For people like me, she has reminded me constantly to stop. Stop and take in all the goodness that is around me. Of life and all that this: busy, fast, crazy, loud, messy. LIFE. Aren’t we so lucky to be in it? Who knows what is around the corner for any of us, hold onto the people that you love and tell them. Show them. Be the change that makes you despair in this world that you so desperately want to see happen. Be kind to strangers. Love your children. Kiss your partner. Lay in bed in your home with your eyes closed and listen to the life and love that we have around us each and every day. Oh my GOD we are so lucky.

Julia’s passion and fire will live on through her daughters, and while her physical presence is gone, and hurts so much right now, she will always be there, through them.

Who knows why people come into our lives, for reasons or seasons. I bet each and every one of Julia’s friends are counting their blessings today that she came into their lives, and they will never forget all she has given them all. I am thinking of you all so much, today and tomorrow and over the hard years that you all have ahead of you. Much like the fighter and courage that Julia showed in her battle, I hope you can find yours at this really sad time.

I’m glad I had a little taste of Julia in my life, and I am grateful for all that she taught me in the short time I got to know her. Perhaps the shitty timing of all this, with it being Christmas this week and all, is in fact, the perfect lesson for us all. Stuff, well it doesn’t matter. Stressing about a list or a lunch or presents or family do’s, none of that matters does it?

If we have family, and friends, if we love and we are loved, well maybe that’s all that matters. In fact, I know that’s all that matters. Thanks for the reminder Jules, I will be reminded of it each and every week in the lead up to Christmas. The timing couldn’t be better for that reminder.

Be free, be pain free and rest after your hard battle. I hope where you are is filled with hot Anthro sheets and puppies and country tree changes. I hope you know that your lot back here will be looked after by your amazing friends and community that will do it for you, and for them. It’s going to be tough, but they will do it.

Thank you for being here, albeit too shortly. And here’s to that hope that you always went on about, may we always have it, and hold onto it.

You have done so much, so rest now.

And for any of you out there touched by Jules, or sad with your own battles and losses, empty chairs at your Christmas tables, I hope that you can be comforted by a happy memory, you can love that little more or hold onto hope, even when it all seems so hopeless. Be strong. Be brave and I hope you can all get through this week x

Comments

  1. Beautifully said Beth.

  2. Gail Virgona says:

    Beautifully said Mrs Mac.

  3. Man…. that’s the third beautiful tribute to the amazing Julia that has undone me today. So much love.

  4. So well written. I am reading this with tears flowing and I didnt even know this amazing lady. I dont know what else to say but thank you fir making us aware that life us about moments, not things. Thank you Julia, sleep pain free niw and thank you Beth for this beautifully written post. You are a beautiful lady. X

  5. lovely tribute.

  6. Perfect Beth x

  7. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    Beautiful Beth such a sad day Xx

  8. Beautiful Beth xx

  9. Beautiful words for a beautiful soul.

  10. Beautifully said….a very sad day. xx

  11. Thank you Beth for being the one to touch the subjects most people won’t. For putting your thoughts out there to comfort people in this busy world we live in.

    I started reading your post in the reception area of my colorectal surgeon whilst waiting my turn for my pathology results. I had to stop and come home and finish on the couch alone.

    Someone up there is looking after me! A suspect kidney infection lead to a month of tests finding a suspect appendix. I had it out 10 days ago along with some not so nice polyps. I am so lucky without the kidney infection they would have gone in growing, undetected.

    We must all take the time to be grateful, love those that support us through the ordinary because we don’t know when the unexpected will change our lives for ever.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. We move down in less then a month! Yippee! (Can’t lift anything for 3 more weeks so should make packing interesting!) When school goes back I hope I can shout you a coffee and say thanks in person. Sam

  12. a touching tribute with beautiful photos beth.
    how sad for her family, just before Christmas.
    I feel for them!
    much love m:)X

  13. Beautifully written Beth. I never knew
    My mum because she was taken by cancer when I was just a baby( 44 years ago) Julia was inspiring and my thoughts are with her family x

  14. Beautiful words, Beth. The week before Christmas is always a tough one for me but it does remind me to be so grateful for all that I have with my family. I wish I’d met Julia. x

  15. Beautifully said, Beth. Julia touched so many lives, and she’s left us all such an important legacy. Just like Julia, let’s make every day count xx

  16. You’re right. We are lacky. Emotional speech.

  17. Beautiful tribute. Beautiful words. Hope is often all we have to hold on to and she made hope shine like a beacon with her words. Xx

  18. Very well said Beth…..sounds like one amazing lady! Stay strong…..sending Healings Hugs from down the Coast! Xo

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