'If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.' Marjorie Garber

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


We live in a very public world in 2010. Twenty-four hour news coverage ensures we share in the highs and lows of humanity. The international high of last week has now been well documented. The Chilean Miners are etched into the consciousness of most of the western world.
But sometimes things happen. International lows. Out of the blue, terrible, tragic events unfold in front of our eyes that change the world and make us ask: "Why?"
Since my first Daughter was born eighteen years ago, through our television screens we have seen the mass graves of innocents massacred in Bosnia Herzegovina, Rwanda, and the Sudan. We asked: "Why?"
Media technology has developed at such a pace that we have watched in real time, civil unrest, famine and disease destroy thousands in African Countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Nigeria - the list seems almost endless. Constantly, we ask: "Why?"
When my Daughter was five years old,  the world grieved on mass following the death of Princess Diana, and watched on mass as the media circus went into mourning meltdown. Who can possibly forget the heartbreaking image of Diana's Brother, Earl Spencer, as he struggled to hold back the bitterness and tears when he delivered the Eulogy? He pointed a metaphorical finger at the papparazzi and together with him, we asked: "Why?"
The world has agonised over the aftermath of horrific natural events, news reel after news reel, all day, every day. When my Daughter was twelve, there was the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. We've viewed on our screens and on the internet the earthquake in Haiti, the floods in the USA, Pakistan and India. We asked and continue to ask: "Why?"

We watched the smouldering pyres of Foot and Mouth Disease disfigure the landscape of Britain, and rob so many of their livelihoods and lives. And we asked: "Why?"

We stood by and watched the rise and rise of political and religious extremism and suffered the unbearable consequences:
The Twin Towers. "Why?"
The London bombings, "Why?" The Bali bombings, "Why?" The thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, "Why?"
Much speculation and spouting of facts goes on in public to answer "Why".
But all of these international events have personal private stories too. People directly affected and asking: "Why?" Do they ever get answers?
And on a personal level, just three months ago, when my beloved Misha died, I asked, no, more like pleaded: "Why?" I started this blog to try to help me understand why. Pouring out my emotions on the internet, opening my heart to the public domain to try to find answers or maybe just to feel and read collective sympathy. Spreading my grief? Why? I don't know why.

Those of you who have visited me here via my Sister's blog, http://www.abuncandance.blogspot.com, are aware that Denise, myself and the rest of the extended family, have had more than our fair share of tragedy and grief of late. Many times, as a family, over the past few years, we have asked a collective: "Why?"

Eighteen years ago, in June, in Brisbane, Australia, on the day my daughter was due, I took a boat trip to Tangalooma on Moreton Island with my Husband, my Mum and my Aunty Julia. I didn't go into labour, not even after a four wheel drive trip across sand dunes and jungle. Instead, I had a great day laughing and enjoying the sun with my dear companions. 

A week later, my first Daughter was born. My husband, my Mum and my Aunty Julia were there when I gave birth. It was, and still is, one of the happiest memories I have. If I could have shouted my joy through the internet then, I would have. And I would never have needed to ask: "Why?"
Last week, after battling since January with a brain tumour, the loveliest, most gentle and beautiful person you could ever wish to meet passed away peacefully, at home, my Aunty Julia. She was 56. I know the 'where', the 'when' and the 'how', but I don't think anyone can ever answer this one for me: "Why?"


  1. Hello dear
    A great post, again. Very well written and very poignant. So sad. Of course, there are no answers, as in scientifically proven answers, are there? And maybe that's what life is all about, the indefinite answers, the uncertain reasons why...
    One of the other bloggers sent me a lovely email and she said, maybe it's not so much a life cut short by an early death, but a life completed. A life complete. That seems to help, somehow. And, the dead dears are never really gone, are they - they're still with us, just in a different way.
    Lovely post, take care,
    D xx

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your aunty. Sometimes there are no answers to why. It just is. That gives us little comfort when we are grieving I know. I hope you find comfort today, sometimes it's the little things that bring that.
    Thinking of you,

  3. Hi Sue
    What a thought provoking blog. Unfortunately I think alot of 'why's' can be answered with either 'money' or 'religion'. We, as a world, need to reaslise that greed and extremism don't make you happy.

    Very sorry to hear about your Auntie, but it looks as if you had some wonderful times together, so lots of happy memories.
    Regards Gill
    PS Could you make your next blog happy, tears have been running down my face again.

  4. why, indeed... I cannot know myself either. But so saddened to hear of the loss of your aunt and glad for the little window on her world and yours through your post. She will never be forgotten will she, so hold her close in that way. Love Helen www.happinesskindled.blogspot.com