What happens when someone dies?

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What to do after someone dies, this means if you are the spouse, family or close friend of someone who has passed and you need to know what steps to take then this is a list that I found helpful when my husband died. If possible, look around your area and choose which funeral home you would like to use and also choose which coffin or type of coffin you would like. These are hard choices for the person left behind to make.

Death at home

If someone you know dies at home it’s important to try to stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions in the stress of the moment. If the persons death was expected it’s likely that their doctor may have been in touch with you or other close friends or family to discuss what will happen, and you can call the doctor’s surgery to ask them visit as soon as possible. If the deceased doesn’t have a regular GP the police should be called instead. A doctor is needed to examine the body to attempt to ascertain the cause of death and write a medical certificate. A funeral director cannot be arranged until this certificate has been completed.

If the death is unexpected or you are not sure if the person is dead call 000 immediately and ask for an ambulance and explain as best you can what the problem is and describe the circumstances. Once the ambulance crew arrives they will either contact the person’s GP or the police. It’s important to know that if the death was unexpected, not clear, is suspicious or the person did not have a regular GP, the police must be called. In some cases the Coroner may also be involved to conduct a post mortem to determine the cause of death.

Death at a hospital or nursing home

Many people die in a hospital or nursing home – and if this is this case the staff will handle most of the formalities and will be able to guide you through what to do. Also any next of kin will be advised what steps need to be taken.

Most public and some private hospitals will have their own mortuary and the deceased can be kept there until a funeral director is appointed and the body is transferred. However smaller hospitals and most nursing homes are unlikely to have facilities so it’s important to engage a funeral director as a priority so they can transfer the deceased as soon as possible (see below).

If you are present at the death, remove all personal belongings, check pockets or ask nurse or Dr to do it, take off watch, rings, other jewelry. Check for wallet or purse and phone. (this is very hard to do so try to ask someone to do it for you)

Notify family and close friends.

Contact the funeral home.

Organize time and place of funeral.

Put notices in paper and on social media. (please if you are not the next of kin, do not post on social media until that person does or gives you the okay to. Sometimes it takes time to tell relatives, especially if they are in different countries)

Contact anyone else who needs contacting or get someone to do it for you.

Prepare clothes for funeral, the deceased as the funeral home will want these and your clothes so you know what you will wear.

If people ask what they can do to help.

Have one person make notes of what needs to be done each day and be responsible for making sure that happens.

Have one person doing phone calls, putting notices in paper etc

Have another person to run errands, like taking clothes to funeral home.

Have someone bake some cakes or buy biscuits, chocolate and fruit.

Have someone preparing meals.


You will need to (if you are next of kin)

Speak with minister or celebrant.

Prepare what you want to say at the funeral or what you would like read out on your behalf.

Have someone stay at the house for at least 2 nights after the funeral. (you may feel like you want to be alone, especially after all the funeral preperation, so explain this to the person but say you would like them to stay just in case. Sometimes it is just knowing someone is there that makes all the difference.)

After the funeral

Check details on probate form and print it out. You will need to wait until you have the death certificate and then take the probate form, the will, your drivers licence or passport  and the death certificate to get witnessed by a JP. Make 10 copies of death certificate and get them all certified by the JP, get at least 3 copies of your drivers licence and 3 copies of Probate and will. Getting them all done at once will make it easier when the different organizations ask you for copies. All copies must be certified by a JP.

(Funeral home will normally organize the death certificate.If they don’t mention it, then ask))

See financial adviser to sort out your finances, make sure you take a copy of the will. They will not be able to do anything official until you get the death certificate, but they can help you get an idea of what will happen financially. Look here to see if you are eligible for any centerlink or govt assistance https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/subjects/what-do-following-death#a6

Work through list of who to contact below. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/who-to-notify-checklist.pdf

The following table lists the people and organisations you may need to contact if someone has died Person or organisation to be contacted

Have the details of any of these that you know listed, for example:

Contact person, phone number and address (if needed)

Details of person who died

(for example, account number, Medicare number)

Then start ringing or get someone to do it for you.

Australian Taxation Office 132 865

Banks,  Also while getting these details from the bank get the interest to date on all of the accounts separately and which accounts are in joint name and which in individual names (you will need this for the estate tax return)

credit unions

Centrelink payments 132 300

Child Support services 131 272

Clubs (e.g. the Returned and Services League)

Credit card/hire purchase

Department of Veterans’ Affairs 133 254

Australian Electoral Commission 132 326


Executor of the will

Foreign pension authority (if authority’s details are unknown contact Centrelink’s International Services) 131 673

Funeral bond Yes/No

Funeral insurance Yes/No

Health benefits fund

Health professionals (e.g. doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, podiatrist, optometrist)

Hearing centre


Insurance companies



Local council

Medicare services 132 011

Local post office


Professional bodies (e.g. solicitor, accountant)

Public Services (e.g. library)

Public Trustee

Religious advisor

Social Worker

Superannuation fund

Telecommunication providers (e.g. phones, internet)

Utilities (e.g. gas, electricity and phone companies)

Vehicle registration and licensing authorities


Power of Attorney and Guradianship

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These are the other two forms that you will need filled out before you die or become incapacitated. Once again, these are not substitutes for seeking legal or medical advice, just general advice to help with getting your affairs in order.

The power of Attorney gives the person the rights to manage your financial affairs if you become unable to and the Guardianship allows the person to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself.

Enduring Power of Attorney

This enduring power of attorney is made on the …….day of……….2017 by …name of person… of …address….in the state of (Western Australia under section 104 of the GUARDIANSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION ACT of 1990.) replace this with what is relevant to where you live.

  1. I APPOINT ….name of Power of Attorney… of ….address…in the State of (the state where you live) as sole Attorney.
  2. I AUTHORIZE my attorney to do on my behalf anything that can be lawfully be done by an attorney.
  3. The authority of my Attorney is subject to the following restrictions – NIL
  4. I DECLARE that this power of Attorney will continue in force notwithstanding my subsequent legal incapacity.

SIGNED AS A DEED BY………………………………………………………………………….

WITNESSED BY:…………………………….          ………………………………………………

Signature of Witness                                         Signature of Witness


…………………………………….             ………………………………………

Full Name                                                                      Full Name

…………………………………                …………………………………………

Address                                                                      Address

………………………………                  ………………………………

……………………………….                ………………………………………….

Qualification                                                                    Qualification


Acceptance of Enduring Power of Attorney

I, …(name of person listed as Power of Attorney)…, The person appointed to be the power of Attorney created by the instrument on which this acceptance is endorsed accept appointment and acknowledge:-

  1. That the power of attorney is an enduring power of attorney and will continue in force notwithstanding the subsequent legal incapacity of the donor.
  2. That I will, by accepting this power of attorney be subject to the provisions of (Part 9 of the GUARDIANSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION ACT 1990.) Whatever is relevant for where you live.

Signed……………………………………………………………………….     Date …………………………………………….

Name of Person accepting to be power of Attorney. (Donee of the Power of Attorney)

Dated the _____________day of ___________________ 20____


Donor: (Name of person making this agreement)


Donee/Attorney: (name of person who is listed to act as power of attorney)



This enduring power of guardianship is made under the Guardianship and

Administration Act 1990 Part 9A on the _______day of________________2017

by ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________________________(Person’s name)



in the state of (state where you live) who was born on ______________________.

This enduring power of Guardianship has effect, subject to its terms, at any time I am unable to make reasonable judgments in respect of matters relating to my person.

  1. I APPOINT my ____________(relationship)________________________


        __________________________________________________(address) in

the state of (wherever the person lives) to be my enduing guardian.

     2. I AUTHORISE my enduring guardian to perform in relation to me all the functions of and enduring guardian, including making all decisions about my heath care and lifestyle.

3. My enduring guardian can only act in the following circumstances:

_______________________________(if all, just put “all circumstances”)


  1. My enduring guardian is to perform his/her functions in accordance with the following directions: _____________________________________

____________________________________(specify or put “as she/he sees fit”).

5. I have/have not* made an advance health directive at the date hereof.

(*delete as appropriate.)

SIGNED AS A DEED by:     (Signature) ________________________________

(Persons name here) ________________________________


__________________________            ______________________________

(Signature of witness )                                                            ( Signature of witness)

_____________________________________                __________________________________________

(Name of Witness)                                                                   (Name of Witness)

_____________________________________                  _________________________________________

_____________________________________                  _________________________________________

(Address of Witness)                                                               (Address of Witness)

_____________________________________                  __________________________________________

(Occupation of Witness)                                                          (Occupation of Witness)



I, ____________________________(name of person) accept the appointment of an enduring guardian.


Signed:________________________________   Dated:_________________________


Witnessed By:__________________________________              ___________________________________

Name of Witness_______________________________               ___________________________________

Address of Witness______________________________              ___________________________________

______________________________________________             ____________________________________

Occupation of Witness__________________________                ____________________________________

Things to do before you die.

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This is not my normal type of post, but I thought after all the events of the last year it was an important one, so here goes:

Most of us will know or have heard of a bucket list. This is a list of things we want to do before we die or colloquially, “kick the bucket”.

But do we ever give thought to the mess we leave behind for the people we say we love.

The greatest gift you can give your family is to work through the post below, preparing for death so that when the times come the family can focus on grieving and not having to spend all there time and energy trying to sort out the mess you left behind.

The good thing about this, if you get all your family to do this then it means you wont be left with the mess if perchance you are not the first one to go.

I would recommend you print this off and cross out each one as you do them.

I live in Western Australia so these are what are appropriate for here, you may need to make modifications for the country or the state you live in, but if you start with these you will be well on your way to getting everything sorted.

Before Death

Ring a lawyer if you live in another state or country and ask what documents you need to have such as will, enduring power of attorney, enduring guardianship. We thought we had everything covered with the Power of Attorney but when we checked with a lawyer they said we also needed Guardianship for medical matters, the laws had changed two years ago and we would have been in a pickle if we hadnt discovered this in time. Everyone I have spoken to since then did not know about the need for this, so it is worth a quick phone call.

  1. Make a current will that is witnessed by people whose address you know now. (see generic will form here)
  2. Also have Enduring Power of Attorney (for financial matters) (see  generic power of attorney and guardianship here)
  3. And Guardianship (for medical matters).(see link above)
  4. Also list and give to the person who you give guardianship what your wishes are re end of life. Do you want to be resuscitated, it so when yes and when no. Do you want to be left on life support, if so for how long?
  5. If you feel you can make a living will or a Health Directive, this just sets in place what choices you want made medically, so that everyone knows your wishes, including the doctors. You can download health directives, look for one for your country and state.
  6. Make sure you have Binding Death Nominations on any super or pension accounts. This is very important as it does not automatically go to who you have nominated, it doesn’t even go to your spouse, your children are offered it first, this takes time and can cause big rifts in families so fix it now.
  7. Put all documents in a folder with your will and have this folder in a fire proof safe or in the bank. Make sure your executor also has a copy of everything and knows where the original is stored. If you have a safe make sure someone apart from you and your partner have the combination in case you both die together.
  8. Do this for yourself and your partner and for anyone that you are executor for before they die.

Go to


Open an account and fill in the details for each person. At the end you can save it, it doesn’t send it anywhere, to send it you have to download it, print it out, get it witnessed by a JP and then post it.

When you are grieving you do not want to be sorting all these details out. Also it helps the estate to be settled quicker making it easier for the surviving party.

Have a list of all assets in the estate and list whether they are held in the state you live in or elsewhere. If shares or super then it is where the head office of the company that holds these is.

If it is a spouse doing the probate, you don’t have to list any joint assets as these automatically go to the surviving party and are not considered part of the estate. I would list all the joint assets on a separate piece of paper in the event that both you and your partner die together. Also list any superannuation that has a binding nomination as they will need to be contacted upon your death.

If you have a binding death nomination on your super funds or pension funds then again this does not form part of the estate.

Info you will need to complete the online application. Fill in all the details you can and the others will be filled in once you have passed. Once complete place a copy with your will and give a sealed copy to your executor.

Exact date of death:

Place of Death:





Given names of deceased:

Surname of deceased:

Date of birth:

Last known Occupation:

Last address of deceased:

Address from Will:

Alias if one was used:

Address for service: (this is the address of the executor)

Date of the will:

Witness details: Full name:


List details of immovable property owned by deceased: House if not in joint name:


Full value:

Type of ownership: ie shared tenants in common, totally owned by deceased.


Details of Movable property: ie shares, super, bank accounts, motor vehicles, furniture and personal effects.

For bank accounts:

Name of Bank or institution:

the branch:

name and type of account:

account number:

balance as at the date of death.


Name of Bank or institution:

the branch:

name and type of account:

account number:

balance as at the date of death.



Name of Bank or institution:

the branch:

name and type of account:

account number:

balance as at the date of death.


Name of Bank or institution:

the branch:

name and type of account:

account number:

balance as at the date of death.


List all debts



Full value:

Type of ownership:

(Remember to include credit cards)




Full value:

Type of ownership:

If you are unsure of any of this as you are filling it out, make a note of it and ask a lawyer or citizens advice bureau to clarify it for you. Look here first https://www.slatergordon.com.au/wills/assets-not-controlled-will


Things to do.

Ask the bank you are with what happens to joint accounts if one person dies, also ask about credit cards, especially if one of you is the credit card holder and the other has a supplementary card.

I know that with ANZ the joint accounts revert to the surviving party and are able to be fully accessed. I am unsure about other banks and financial institutions.

Start a notebook for each person to be placed with their wills and place all the above information in it, as well as,

What they want to wear to their funeral:

Do they want to be buried or cremated:

If buried, where do they want to be buried:

If cremated where do they want their ashes:

Where would they like a plaque:

What songs would they like

What is your favorite flower and colour

Who would they like to conduct the service:

What memento would you like to give people: ie bookmark, order of service, stubby holder etc

Who would they like to do the eulogy:

{Get together with the person doing the eulogy, while you are alive and fill them in on some details of your life, especially the childhood years or the years before you met your current partner. If there if anything in particular you want included or excluded, mention this then}

If you don’t want to do this then get your partner to write a eulogy for you and you write one for them. You can then read each one and correct anything that is wrong or give more details if necessary.


Write a letter to your partner, and/or your children to be sealed and placed with your will to be read after you have gone. This is a great comfort to those left behind.

Organize photos that give a snapshot of your life and put them on a USB stick.

Make a list of people you want contacted when you die and list their phone numbers.

List the dates of any previous marriages and the other persons name and where the marriage took place.

List the name and birthdate of all children.

List tax file number, social security number, your date of birth.

Set up a joint bank account with funeral funds in it, you will need about $4000 each to be paid as a deposit the day after the person has died and then the balance usually within 28 days. As at 2017 average funeral cost is $13,000. If you don’t have these funds available then look at funeral insurance.

Work out what you want done with social media accounts and email accounts. List these with passwords and user names but make sure you keep this in a secure location such as a bank deposit box or a safe.

You can go to settings in Facebook and nominate someone who can Memorialize your account when you die. It is a good way to let the persons friends know what is happening and allows them to leave condolences messages.

Make a list of all social media and email accounts.

Make a list of any online sites you are a paid member of as these will need to be cancelled.

If you have a website, list the details and what fees you have to pay and to whom to keep it active. Who is your web host and who is your domain name listed with.

Do you have a paypal account. If so put the details here and list any automatic payments that come out of your account.

Do you have any online shops or are you an affiliate of any companies, list these.

Do you receive money from Amazon or others for monetizing of your web page, Youtube, company facebook page etc.

List which automatic payments come out of accounts and especially credit cards.

Place all these or copies of them with your will: (Not all will apply, just so what is relevant to you)

Deeds, Titles, and Promissory Notes / Loans

Real Estate Property deeds (including any recent appraisals)

Mortgage documents (including promissory/loan notes)

Other Promissory or Loan notes (including loans owed to the deceased)

Vehicle titles and registrations (car, boat, RV, etc.)

Membership certificates

Insurance Policies

​Life insurance (including premium payment records)

Accidental life insurance

Veterans’ insurance

Employers or pension insurance

Funeral insurance (or other death-related benefit plans)

Mortgage and/or credit insurance

Credit card insurance (for balances)

Health insurance (including Medicare or Medicaid, “Medigap” insurance, private health insurance, dental, and Long Term Care insurance)

Property insurance (homeowners/renters insurance, car insurance, etc.)

Workers’ compensation insurance (and payment records)

Financial Accounts– Including most recent statements for all accounts and the list of Beneficiaries, if any.

Bank accounts – checking, savings, CD’s, etc.

Investment/brokerage accounts, IRA’s, 401-K’s, etc.

Stocks and bonds


Credit and debit card accounts

User names and passwords for any online accounts

List of safety deposit boxes, where to find keys, and names of authorized users
Other Financial Records

​​Survivor annuity benefit papers

Employer/retirement benefit (pension) plans, pension/profit-sharing plans, etc.

Veterans’ benefit records

Disability payment documents (State, Veterans’, etc.) Income statements for the current year (Social Security, pension, IRA’s, annuities, employment, and other income records)

IRS income tax returns (for the current and previous year)

IRS gift tax returns (for all years)

Property tax records and statements

Business interests held, financial statements and agreements, contracts, etc.

Loan papers

Other – investment records, etc.
Legal Papers

Will and/or Trusts

Deceased’s Final Instructions, Disposition Authorization, and/or Designated Agent forms (sometimes included in an Advance Directive such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, or in a Living Will)

Pre-paid funeral contracts

Organ/tissue donation record

Social Security card (or number)

Birth certificates (of all family members)

Marriage license or certificate

Military service papers, including discharge records

Domestic Partnership Registration

Court documents for adoptions and divorce (including any property settlement agreements, name changes, prenuptial agreements, etc.)

Community Property Agreements

Driver’s license

Passport, citizenship, immigration and/or alien registration papers
Personal Information

Names and contact information of closest family and friends

Names and contact information of all lawyers, accountants, doctors, financial planers, etc.

Family Tree, if available (especially if there is no Will)

User names and passwords for online accounts (including email accounts, financial records, social media accounts, etc.)

Passwords to access computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices

From <http://www.legalvoice.org/after-death-occurs-checklist>


Make a list of people you can ring for support after the initial wave of people have left after the funeral.

List any options of places you can go to stay, even if just for a few days, if you need to.

Organize for someone to check in on you each day at least once, preferably twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. You can just text them, “I’m up” ion the morning and “I’m home” in the evening. If you don’t have anyone then Red Cross have a free service where they will ring once a day, so contact them.

Article by Slater and Gordon

In Western Australia, only assets owned by you will pass into your estate and be controlled by your Will.

Jointly owned assets: Ownership of jointly owned property will pass automatically to the other joint owner(s) person upon your death, independent of your Will, if owned as joint tenants. 

This commonly applies to homes, home contents, bank accounts and personal effects, and other jointly owned assets.

The exception is assets owned jointly as ‘tenants in common’.  A person’s interest in such property will be controlled by their Will.

For planning purposes, joint tenancy can be converted to tenancy in common if appropriate at minimal cost.

Sole ownership:  Assets in your sole name, including real estate, cash, vehicles, shares and units in trusts, will form part of your estate and be controlled by your Will.

Unit trusts and companies: Assets owned by unit trusts or companies controlled by you will not become part of your estate. The shares or units however, will be an asset which forms part of your estate. 

Discretionary trusts: Assets owned by discretionary trusts controlled by you will not become part of your estate. They are owned by the trust.

Life Insurance: The insured person nominates the beneficiary of their policy, often their spouse or family member.

The proceeds of a life policy are paid direct to the beneficiary and do not form part of the deceased estate.

If appropriate for planning purposes, you must nominate your estate as the beneficiary of your policies if you want the proceeds of the policies to pass to your estate and be managed by the terms of your Will.

If the policy is owned by a superannuation fund, the proceeds will be received by the fund. Again the proceeds will not pass through an estate, but rather they will be managed by the trustee of your superannuation fund in accordance with the terms of the fund deed. 

Superannuation: Assets held by a superannuation fund most often pass to a dependant spouse or children, not your estate.


From <https://www.slatergordon.com.au/wills/assets-not-controlled-will>

I will do another post on what to do after death, for the person left behind or the executor. (see article here)

Tell them….

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For those of you new to my blog, I am 54 and have just recently lost my husband. He was diagnosed with cancer in Oct and died in March although the Drs had given us much longer. He was fit and healthy, still working and neither of us had any idea he was sick, being on my own these last two months after being married for 25years has been the hardest thing to go through, but if I can remind others to look at the positives in each other and tell the other person what you see in them while you have the chance then something positive will come out of it.

Baby steps

Learning to live again








No relationship is perfect but we can focus on the negative or focus on the positive. Choose the positive. I had a sign on the inside of the pantry door which read, “if I am upset with Colin, what is it that I am not doing for myself?”

We may think they should do this or that etc but when they are gone you have to do everything for yourself as well as feeling a huge empty hole inside you that feels like it will always be there.

When I first started saying to Colin how much I appreciated our life together and who he was as a person, he said, “bloody hell, it sounds like you think I am going to die.” But I said, “why do we have to wait for someone to die or be dying for us to tell the other person that we are thankful for them and what we have together.

i am so glad I did as if I hadn’t I may never had got the chance. So many people die of heart attacks, car accidents or other sudden deaths that we never get the gift of parting moments. How amazing to know we had already told them all the things we would have wanted to say.

I challenge each of you to let the people in your life know what they mean to you. It may be a husband or wife, but also include, your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters and even your friends.

If the list or the task feels overwhelming then put one person in your diary each week and send them a card or even a text if you cant do it any other way.

To each of you my readers I say thank you for being there, for reading my posts and making me feel connected even at a time when I feel so disconnected.

My World Fell Apart

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It’s been a while since I posted, the reason is that my world fell apart.

On the 1st March, my beautiful husband of 25 years passed away. We had been told in Oct that he had Leukemia and would have 2-5 years. So when he only had 5 months we were very unprepared.

Fortunatly for him it was a blood clot to the lung that took him out and it was very quick, he was joking with the nurses and an hour later he was dead. He had been very unwell for 2 days.

We were blessed with the the fact that we both realised on the last day that his time was running out, so got to say our goodbyes in the afternoon and I was able to be with him when he passed. I will always treasure this great gift that was given to me.

So as you can imagine it has been a hard time of adjustment and trying to find my feet in a world that looks the same to everyone else but feels so strange and unfamiliar to me.

I realised something yesterday, so thought I would share it with you.

When you love someone and are with them for may years, you see the beauty in them, not the ravages of age.

With Colin I was beautiful and loved, he didn’t see me as fatter or older, he just saw me as the woman he loved and adored and through his eyes I saw myself like this too.

I saw Colin as the beautiful, handsome man he was, I always saw him as handsome and young, he was my love.

He asked how I could still see him as handsome as the ravages of illness took their toll, but I told him I truly did see him as gorgeous and handsome. I saw the twinkle in his eye, the way his face lit up when he smiled at me.

Those twinkling eyes, those looks of love are gone, yet I remain, beautiful no more, the mirror on the bathroom wall reflecting back at me the ravages of age and time.

When you lose the one you love you also lose a part of who you were. I was part of a couple, I was Colin’s wife.

Who am I know?

Julia, who is she without that beautiful, loving, caring man beside her?

I look in the mirror and see the harsh realities of life. Who is this stranger looking back at me? Where did she come from?

When Colin died he took who I was with him as well, he took away the beautiful reflection of how he saw me and left me looking at the hard cold reality of what I see in the bathroom mirror.

Years ago when my Grandfather, died I felt I had lost the only person in the world who appreciated me for being me and once again I am left in this lonely place of feeling that while people do love and appreciate me, that I am all alone.

My daily challenge is to find the joy among the sorrows and most days I have been able to do that, occasionally it seems like there are none, but if I reach out, and this is so hard when you are so lost, then there are people waiting to help and I am reminded that there is still joy in this strange unfamiliar new world.

So many people treat you different or become awkward with you that it is hard to find your way, I am so lucky that one person, probably the most unlikely person, has been there and been a real friend, just coming around to spend an evening chatting or going to somewhere new with me so I am not too frightened to go alone. I know at times he has felt uncomfortable and not known how to react to my changeable moods and constant questioning of myself, but he has let me know it is okay, he is there as a friend.

Having someone treat me as a genuine person, being honest with me and wanting nothing but friendship is a rare and wonderful gift, a true joy among the sorrows.

This person has coped flack for being there for me as people have questioned his motives and yet we have been able to be open and talk even about this. (I am not his type and he doesn’t see me like that).

I am telling you this here so that if you are ever in the position to be there for someone in a time of grief, be honest, be open, talk about the hard questions and what others are saying. So much of life seems unfamiliar, strange and scary that being a real friend and being open and honest is the greatest gift you can give someone.

Having lost so much over the last 6 mths, from all our possessions, our house, my husband, total unconditional love and acceptance here on earth as well as having a home invasion, then 4 mths later my house being broken into again and my car being broken into and ransacked, I feel that even my sense of security has been threatened so to know that someone is there when I need them is so impotant.

As I have dared to reach out I have found many people who are there for me in many different ways, but at the end of the day everyone has their own lives, which are going along pretty much as they always have been. So I need to find a new way to be, a new life, new interests, friends who don’t have partners and kids that fill their life so they have little or no time for themselves, let alone anyone else.

I value and appreciate all my friends and am so fortunate and grateful that they have been there for me and I know they will continue to be, but I also have to find out who this new me is and how to find happiness, joy and purpose without my wonderful man by my side.

So let’s begin this journey of discovery together and see where we end up……

I want to start the journey with two images, one I created just after Colin died and one more recently.


The pain of losing someone while in love https://artboja.com/art/s6w7af/

Baby steps

Learning to live again


Light in the Darkness

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My theme for my photography is Healing Art so although I feel so sad and shattered at the moment I wanted to use this blog to share our journey with you.

I am hoping that as I do this I will bring healing to my own life as well as to yours.

My beautiful, loving, caring husband of 23 years who has been  my rock and my support has been diagnossed with CMML2, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia 2. It is a rare form of leukemia for which there is no cure.

Let me give you a bit of a peek into the past.

Six years ago he was diagnosed with MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome, which also there is no cure for. They gave him between 6 mths and 5 years unless it turned to leukemia and then they could treat it, so at the time our one hope was that he would eventually get the leukemia with the hope that that could be treated.

When we got this initial diagnosis we went out and brought a second hand caravan and four wheel drive and hit the road, traveling around the northwest of Western Australia and the Northern Territory for four months.

Colin was a long distance truck driver who pulled triple road trains from Perth to the North West every week, so it was familiar territory, but territory he had always wanted to explore, instead of just passing through. His dream had always been to travel around Australia by road, so I was determined to make that happen.

Kenworth 1web






When we got back they realized he would have at least a few more years and I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and had had a lot of difficulty in the caravan and 4WD, so we decided to sell our investment property, pay off our other house and buy a Motorhome so that I could keep traveling and Colin could realize his dream.

We found a Mitsubishi Bus that had been converted to a Motorhome, we called her Rosie and our adventures began.

Camp at dawn

Dawn over The Bus







Most people who get leukemia from MDS get CML or chronic myeloid leukemia and this can be managed with chemo tablets and enables you to have a much longer life expectancy.

So if this is the case why are we so shell shocked and devastated?

Two years ago Colin ended up in hospital with blood poisoning and his platelets were down to 30. I realized that at the current rate we only had a year tops, so I started to try to prepare myself, we spent the next year at home and then we put Rosie on the market, but then what we thought was a miracle happened.

His blood results kept coming back each month better and better. The Dr said this couldn’t happen but didn’t give us any other indications. As his blood work continued to improve they moved him back to three monthly blood tests and said he had a reprieve.

We were so happy. As he continued to improve we took our Motorhome off the market and started planning our next trip.

Colin went for a regular check up with his Dr and as he had been doing so well I didn’t go with him.

When he came home he said, “the Dr is not happy with my specialist and wants a second opinion.”

I was shocked. “Why”, I asked, “we are really happy your bloods are great.”

Colin said the Dr just wanted another opinion, so we waited for them to ring with an appointment and it was for a months time. We weren’t concerned as we thought it was just routine.

When we visited the specialist I told her we didn’t even know why we were here as Colin was doing so well. She told us they thought he had leukemia.

We were floored, we thought he was cured. Once the shock wore off we thought about it and said, ok, well if this is what brought his bloods up and gave us longer together then this is a good thing and if it is CML which was what they suspected then that would be okay as we could still have a life.

We felt like we were on a seesaw, up one minute and down the next. The fear of the word cancer paralyzes you, yet at the same time we knew this could be a positive thing.

We asked if we could still go away and the specialist said we will do some more bloods and if they are stable yes, so we were confident all would be well, while still feeling stressed and tense, almost like holding our breath waiting for the results. We continued to prepare to go away.

Then came the phone call, you need to come to Perth tomorrow for a bone marrow biopsy, this was Tuesday, we were supposed to be leaving on Friday.

We went to Perth, Colin had the bone marrow biopsy and as the Dr knew we were planning going away, she took them to the lab herself and the next day went and read them and then at 12 o’clock rang us to say, yes it is leukemia, but it is chronic leukemia, so you can go away while we grow all the cells in the lab and run all the tests to determine the details, prognosis and treatment options and made us an apt for when we got back in two months.

We were excited that we could still go away and that it appeared that the MDS had turned to CML and we would be able to manage it.

At the same time we were devastated as we thought he had beaten it and the fear of the unknown was very present. We told friends and family and everyone was sad and yet reassuring as they told of others they knew who had CML and were living a full life and dying of other things later in life.

As the shock wore off we got on with our holiday and tried to keep our mind off it. Colin was quite angry, which was not an emotion I saw in him very often and he kept pushing me away and pushing me to spend time with others. When I confronted him on this he said, “well you need to learn to live without me, I’m not going to be here forever.”

I was so shocked. When we had got the MDS diagnosis Coin had been so positive and would not even consider that he wasn’t going to be here.

This was such a different attitude. I said, “Bugger that, I will face being on my own when the time comes but don’t rob me of the time we have left.”

This was a turning point as we started communicating again and he allowed me to get close.

We got back home and by the time we went to the specialist appointment we felt that they would tell us it had all been a mistake as Colin had been so well…….how wrong we were……