This post is about how life can bring unexpected surprises.
How new friends bring a sharing of new happiness
and sadness as we embrace friendships.
We live in the Blue Mountains in NSW Australia.
All our children have grown up here.
We have some pretty spectacular friends.
My eldest 3 boys went to the local public schools.
That was fine but I didn't get to know the parents very much.
Then my step son Gabriel went to Korowal,
an independent school in the mountains
that starts in kindy and goes to year 12.
It is an artistic and musical school community.
We were delighted with Korowal for Gabe
so our daughter Mara has also been there
since kindergarten and she is now in year 10.
Starting in kindy means that it is possible to make
long standing friendships and as parents
we have watched each others families grow and change.
A pretty special situation.
Mara and her (now) boyfriend Ruben
have been close friends since year 2.
I find it very special to see such a young romance
based on friendship.
These two friends can argue a point,
be competitive in a game of cards,
agree or disagree on the musicality of a song.....
say what they think and feel to each other
and continue to be strong in themselves
but at the same time they are devoted to each other.
I have not seen such a healthy connection
in such a young romance before.
For however short or long this romance lasts for
it is great to see these two young people
discovering what romance is in such a healthy way.
OK... well I had to say all that to set the scene.
There has been a lot for these two young friends
to handle over the last few weeks
and they have been courageous
and understanding, way beyond their years.
Both towards each other
and in support of Rubens family.
You see Rubens wonderful family
have been greatly challenged
over the last couple of months.
I have been finding that as parents
and as friends of parents there has been
much to hear and feel
and I really don't know what to say or do to help.
So I just want to acknowledge how great these two kids
are handling their complex world at the moment.
I love and respect you both so much. xx
Rubens step dad, Neill Duncan is an awesome musician,
originally from Christchurch, NZ.
He is a creative force and inspiration,
not only as a performer
but he also teaches music.
He has 3 other gorgeous children and is a great dad.
7 weeks ago Neil was diagnosed with a cancerous lump in his arm.
Our wonderful school held an end of year benefit concert
for their family as Neil has been unable to work
and over $4,500 was raised.
What a special school family we have!
Since then he found out that the sarcoma
did not respond to the chemotherapy.
He now faces amputation of his arm this week.
As an artist I use my hands every day to express myself
I am so deeply saddened by Neils story.
So I have been drawing him.
But sadness is not a word that should be used
in the same sentence as Neil Duncan
Neil is a man full of stories
and every one of those stories is full of inspiration.
I have personally only heard a few
but I can tell there are many more. ;)
This will be his next story
and it is bound to be even more inspiring.
In the face of this life changing time
Neil and Rachel decided to have a big final gig.
A send off party for Neils arm.
This man continues to be a creative inspiration
even in the face of adversity.
Musicians came to play.
Friends came to dance and sing.
It was a performance I will never forget.
It was not possible to cry
because it was full of love and joy for what has been
and full of courage for what is to come.
It is an honour to have heard you play with both arms Neil
and it will continue to be an honour to know you
and hear you play with one.
You are a very special family.
as he was being a wonderful big brother and caring son,
helping to look after his young siblings
at his grand parents place in Queensland,
while Neil has his operation.
We missed you Ruben.