I look out the window and see the washing on the line. It has been there since Thursday. I don't want to bring it in because everything has changed since I put it out.
I should be blogging about Port Arthur. I was blogging about Port Arthur on the night of January the 26th when my phone rang at 9.50pm. I remember exactly where my phone was - on the bench in front of the knife block. I glanced to see who it was and saw 'Lisa King' on the screen. We used to have this inside 'joke' that if she rang me early in the morning before school, it meant that Noah had passed away in the night in his sleep and so if she did ring me early in the morning, she would always preface what she said with, 'don't worry Noah is still with us' and I would always sigh with relief.
On October 8 last year, we did lose our Noah and in the split second before I answered, I thought, she is already going through the hardest thing of her life so I thought maybe she was going to tell me about something special that might have happened that day, to do with Noah and St Helens (or about all the fish Aaron wasn't catching). (she knows I don't go to bed until late)
I remember the exact conversation up to a point.... I remember getting louder and louder on the phone, almost yelling at Lisa saying, "what, what, what are you saying, what are you talking about, no, no,no". Our dear brave Lisa had just been through the unimaginable........again..........and she rang me herself and I yelled at her. Her next words were, 'he must be so happy with Noah now' and then 'how am I going to live? Do you see the common thread?? After everything she had been through just a short time before, she STILL put everyone before herself.
Yesterday as I drove to Launceston to meet Lisa and her family as they arrived back from St Helen's, I still thought it was surreal. As I rounded the little roundabout into their street, I irrationally held onto the idea of a bad joke but noone would joke like that and my head just wanted to refuse to accept the reality of what my heart already knew.
The first person I got to was Chrish, Chrish who wrote the most beautiful tribute here, and as we hugged, he cried saying he had lost his best mate.
And then Lisa, Aaron's Lisa - I just wanted to hold her long enough to erase all of the pain to make everything better, to take it all away. I know its something everyone would like to do.
I'm not going to go into details of that first day. It is tender and personal and ultimately is Lisa's story to tell, the way she sees fit. All I can say is that in amongst the indescribable feelings of loss and sadness, was a feeling of love and unity and support for the most beautiful amazing family any of us have ever met.
There was even a few laughs and smiles at times, over remembering things Aaron had said or done. And through it all was Kobe, oh Kobes, you are such a ray of sunshine. I will never forget the privilege of kneeling with your family and Grandma and cousins for family prayer, such a sweet moment and you singing a few lyrics of Party Rock Anthem and showing us your shuffling moves. And then going around your Aunties and Uncles and cousins and giving big smacker kisses good night. I will always treasure the SEVEN, you gave me.
This is one of my favourite photos, not my most favourite - that's the one at the bottom with Noah in it too.
This photo however is one of my favourites because it represents so much. It was taken 22nd of October last year during the Make-A-Wish fun run, its first one ever. These guys were featured on the front page of the Examiner promoting the run and we all proudly wore beautiful t-shirts of Noah. I remember texting Lisa later that day saying I was still wearing Noah's t-shirt as was she. Noone wanted to take their t-shirts off.
It was a courageous day for Lisa and Aaron and the boys, having lost Noah only a few short weeks before but they wanted to do this for their gorgeous son and they did. We knew how proud Noah was of his family. This photo was taken afterwards, after we had released some balloons and I love it for the way Lisa is looking at Aaron and how their arms are intertwined and shoulders touching. A picture says a thousand words right!
Everyone has been posting on Aaron's memory page about their favourite memories. It is so beautiful to read them all. My favourite memory of Aaron was only a few weeks ago when we were having lunch together at the Porter's house while the kids rode motorbikes. Our friend Jus was visiting and we were talking and Aaron said to me, "you grieve over what you wish you could have had with Charlotte and we grieve over what we did have with Noah". "Everybody has their pain". And then he choked up with tears.
Even thought it was sad, it is my favourite memory for two reasons. (1) I thought at the time "my grief was nothing compared to what your family is going through with Noah but you have the beautiful unselfish compassion of acknowledging and understanding my pain when your own pain is so much more fresh and deep". I don't know alot of people like that. (2) We saw Aaron the jokester and Aaron the prankster alot. He sometimes used to tease me about wearing glasses, until the joke backfired when he needed them himself. :) That day when I saw Aaron choke up, I got to see a glimpse of his soul. And in there I saw love and courage and humility. That day I had the privilege of seeing Lisa's Aaron.
We all have wonderful memories of Aaron to share. He was loved by so many because he cared so much, that we think of him as our Aaron but ultimately he is Lisa's Aaron and belongs to her and Jalen and Noah and Harri and Kobe and will forever and ever. Death can never tear that apart.