Our family history is littered with momentous years and then a period of stability.
Jassie’s wedding, your departure for London, the arrival of Billy, and; Kayla’s 21st Birthday all happened in 2003, I guess that qualifies it for the momentous tag.
Mum and I knew of your ambition to travel and work in London after you had returned from Central Australia but I don’t think either of us expected to lose you quite this quickly.
You were never somebody for doing things by halves but there would be very few people, who in the space of six months had gone from teaching in an isolated, hot, desert settlement to taking a role as a Special Ed teacher in green, cold, leafy London.
The “Desert Dog” was safely ensconced with Mum and Douglas and had, finally shaken the last of the red dirt from his fur.
I laughed when I saw you packing one day; a pair of once white sneakers were considered and then discarded, despite several excursions to the washing machine, the unmistakable ochre tones of the desert still lingered.
Hardly the attire for a morning jog through Hyde Park!
You were swapping the loneliness of the desert for the crowds of London in spring time and appearances mattered now.
Our middle daughter; she of the loud laugh, maudlin sentimentality and generous nature was leaving her parents and family behind to travel and work on the other side of the world.
The little group at the departure lounge was at once, happy and smiling and then, sad and full of trepidation.
Mum, Douglas and I watched you walk through the entry to Customs, more than a few tears were shed as we valiantly tried to hide the sadness and wave happily as you turned and blew kisses before disappearing.
There was an emptiness, as we walked into the sunlight and each of us respectively went back to work for the day.
This would be the first of many such farewells and we all shared the pain, the pride and the joy.
It had been a hell of a journey from the early days in Wagga Wagga and band aids on stubbed toes as we camped by the river at Bright.
The need for tissues had not diminished, however.