Stories Matter

I was a dog walker in New York City, and one day a Border Collie I was walking tripped Kevin Bacon.

I was working at a non-profit thrift store, when a man came in and masturbated into the racks of clothes. I was by myself. The second time he did it, I called the police.

I came out when I was 21. I didn’t come out to my mother until I was 23. Her response was “what did I do to deserve this?”. She then told me to never speak with anyone in our family about it.

During a spring break marine biology trip, I got together with my very first long-term girlfriend, after drinking copious amounts of Coors Light. Liquid courage my friends. Liquid courage.

I worked at the Disaster Assistance Service Center in downtown NYC in the months after 9/11- helping displaced residents and workers affected by the attack and destruction of the twin towers. I remember the smell still. I remember the people too.

My son died a day after he was born at full term.

I met one of my best friends via a Craigslist ad seeking a roommate.

I worked as an accountant for an entertainment company directly after college, on Astor Place in NYC. They filmed Felicity in the area, and Kerry Russell waved back at me as I frantically waved at her from my boss’s office.

I got my period when I was just shy of my 10th birthday. I thought I had cancer and was dying.

I had an encyclopedia of dogs when I was a kid, and several times a year, would make lists of which dogs I wanted.

I am not a fan of rollercoasters as a memory of me being too small for Space Mountain and not being strapped in correctly haunts me still.

At holidays as a kid, my cousins would make me laugh so hard, food would shoot out my nose.

I drove a stick shift car up the switch back roads of Teguise in the Canary Islands, while listening to the song Barbara Streisand while also attempting to not shit myself out of fear. It was one of the best trips of my life.


Shortly after that drive up the switchbacks.

When I was first told my son wasn’t going to live, I didn’t want to meet him for fear of it hurting worse.

One time I got a phone call at work telling me that my girlfriend had been attacked by dolphins. It was true.

On my 30th birthday, I got so drunk that I blacked out and laid down in the fetal position on a sidewalk. A homeless person picked a fight with me. Luckily for friends, I left that situation unscathed, except for my pride. It was at that point that it hit me- I had a drinking problem.

I have been to 7 Ani Difranco concerts. I am, a good lesbian.

My mother would call me “pedazo de mierda”, on the regular. I didn’t know that wasn’t a normal thing. She also hit me as punishment. One day when I had braces, she backhanded me in the mouth and made the inside of my mouth bleed. She never apologized.

I met Gina at a lesbian kick-ball game she ran. I had recently got out of a relationship with a functioning alcoholic, and was not looking for anything but a good time. 12 years later, she’s currently sleeping in the room with our daughter while I type this at 4 in the morning.

I have never felt so invigorated, as when I went to my very first Pride Parade.

Luca would be six years old on Sunday, and there is never a day where I don’t wonder what he would be like.

I have been a bridesmaid twice.

I have had two paralyzed dogs.


Sweet Penny. My first heart dog. Paralyzed dog #1

We tried to have a third child for months, over a year. It didn’t work. Being around families with multiple children and watching the sibling relationships is really hard. Being around other loss families who have been able to have more than 1 living child is hard.

Having one living child makes me feel like I have this opportunity to establish a love and connection so deep with Elia. Every day, I tell her that I love her. She hears me.

When I was a kid and would get angry, I would bite down on my wool blanket so hard, and then simultaneously pull the blanket out of my mouth- a way to release my anger, as I wasn’t allowed to without consequence from my mother.

I have run 1 marathon, and 3 half marathons. I have biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

I have 3 siblings. One is in jail, one is in mental jail-brainwashed by the bible.  I talk to one sibling- he’s still kind of on my shit list for telling me 8 years ago that I wasn’t allowed to show any form of affection to Gina in front of his children, but we are working on a relationship again. He said that when he told his daughters I was a lesbian, they said they already knew.  I laughed inside.

Holding my living Elia in my arms, after 18 months of life without Luca, was one of the greatest single moments of my life.

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Me and the healer.

I have moved across the country 4 times, once with a hamster named Weezy in the back of a U-haul.

I miss Luca. I often wonder why he had to die- why did it have to happen to us?

I reconnected with my only other (known) queer family member, and I treasure our relationship and the healing it has brought.

I have lived in California for nearly 20 years. I concur that the west coast is really the best coast.

I live for signs from Luca- in the form of songs, in the mother saying her child’s name out-loud “Luca” in hearing distance from me, in nature, in magical rocks with his name on them.

In the days before the anniversary of Luca’s birth and death, I can’t sleep. My body remembers labor and birth, and so I’m awake, being present in these feelings. I started this post at 4 am.


Remembering Luca.

There are so many experiences I’ve had that make up my story. Incredible, trauma-making, completely unforgettable.

We each have a history.

We each have a story.

As we continue living, we will continue writing these stories.

When we are out there in the world, crossing paths with strangers or acquaintances, there is no book of experiences to hand them that highlights what is weighing heavy on us that particular day.

If I wore a shirt that said “my son died”- would that remind the world to be gentler on me? Would it answer the question on why it is I look a little out of it today? Would you be able to recognize why I look like I’m daydreaming when I meet an almost 6-year-old?

Would a shirt that said “currently battling cancer” or “in the midst of a divorce” or “my best friend died” help people be nicer? Probably.

But I’m not seeing a huge market for any of these. Maybe that will change. Perhaps some day it won’t be frowned upon to be struggling.

In the meantime, be kind.

This is one of my favorite lessons from Luca’s life, and it’s a gift.

Remember everyone has a story.

Be gentle on people because you may have no idea what they are going through. You don’t know what experiences make up their story, and when they need a break from the outside world.

(this post brought to you by my Luca labor anniversary insomnia. ❤ )



Almost 5 years ago, we came home from the hospital to an empty house.

Empty not in that it didn’t contain things, but that the most important thing that the entire household had been prepared for, never came home to take its place in our world.

The loneliest and saddest car trip of our lives was that one by ourselves, driving the same route that we had driven in the ambulance, just in reverse.

No baby in my belly, no baby in our arms.

The day Luca died, I deactivated my Facebook account. I was ashamed, and in this totally erratic way, embarrassed that my son had died. I was ashamed that I couldn’t keep my baby alive and safe, and I didn’t want the entire world to know in those moments.

It was because I didn’t know grief, and I was completely unclear how to handle the intense emotions that came with the trauma and the complicated reality of losing my son at full term.

So for days, we tuned out from the world around us, a world that continued to spin and move forward, while our own world stopped and was turned upside down.

We felt alone. It was just Gina and I and the dogs with daily visits from our midwives that kept us alive. But I wanted to tell my story over and over to someone that didn’t already know every inch of it. I didn’t want to continue to be alone in my brain, whimpering until I had the energy to let out the full wailing and primal screams. I needed other people to help us. We couldn’t carry this grief on our own. The weight was crushing.

I felt like it was going to kill me.

And so on March 16th, 2 days after we got home from the hospital, and 5 days after Luca died, I reactivated my Facebook account, and posted this in the hopes that they would come:

Luca D’oro Grossini-Concha was born on Sunday, March 10th, and he died peacefully in mine and Gina’s arms on Monday, March 11th. We are so devastated and heartbroken, and looking for ways to cope with this tremendous loss.

My posts are not going to be happy ones for quite some time, and I won’t be offended if you unfriend me or hide my feed, but sitting here in the early morning of his official due date, I don’t know how else to reach out. We need help, we need support, we need our family and friends right now more than ever.

So many of you have texted and called and even come to see us, and it is usually the best medicine to know we are loved and have you lifting us up.

Most of you know how much we wanted to be moms, how much we wanted this little boy in our lives, and to come home without him is heartbreaking.

Please, if you can and want to, reach out to us. Come see us. Send us something- an email, a funny video, something inspiring.

It’s going to take a village.



I sounded the siren. I asked for help. I didn’t want to die from this grief.

And the help came.

Within minutes of posting, the phone began to ring. Text messages and emails flooded in. Members of our village began to come over and listen to our story. They hugged us, or held our hands. They wrote his name in the earth. They saw things that reminded them of Luca, and they let us know. They sent us reiki. They donated to causes in his name. They did yoga for him. They sent us jewelry with his name on it. They painted us pictures of him. They made us mix-tapes. They sent us books. They brought us healing crystals. They sent us homemade granola from across the country. They kept us company while I stared into the distance, eyes blurry with tears. They brought us fresh berries. They brought us the entire collection of Curb Your Enthusiasm. They filled our refrigerator. They tattooed our bodies with his name. They loved their children harder. They held space. They hung out in the most uncomfortable space with a shattered family that had just had the earth slip out from under their feet, and they did it willingly.

All of these things, helped to keep us alive.

And even now, you still do it. Even after all these years. 5 long, beautiful and hard years.

I remember you all. I thank you all. I am so grateful for you all. You saved us. You helped carry our grief, and gave us hope that we could keep going. 

And here we are.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

With all of our love.

Carla + Gina + Luca + Elia


“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”



Lola’s story has a back-story. I think all good stories should. There are layers that you need to understand, to fully appreciate the depth of love that we had for this pup.

I’ve always loved dogs. I think I was probably a bit of an oddball kid. For the majority of my youth, I would open up the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds and make a list of all the dogs I wanted to adopt.

When I was younger, I had a hard time making friends. I had so much fear and insecurity about who I was and how I looked, that I felt alone much of the time. Until we inherited Teddy, my very first dog, and first best friend.

I had a hard time trusting humans, but Teddy, he provided me with unconditional love. He passed away when I was 20. I had never felt any feeling so intense before losing him.

A few years later, in college, I adopted Jake and Penny, the dogs that accompanied me throughout the most formative years of my adult life.

They took care of me. The kept me responsible. And I think, they helped to keep me alive.

I met my human partner with Jake and Penny. She had Jackson. Instantly we became a family of five. We bought a house, and shortly after, Jake died. I experienced the most intense grief I had felt up to that point, with Jake’s death, topping even that of Teddy’s.

6 weeks after Luca passed, Penny passed. Penny was my heart dog. Penny had eyes that would gaze into your soul and could tell you some deep secrets. Many of you who have had a heart dog, know exactly what I mean when I describe her. Some of you knew Penny yourselves, and got to have that experience too.

I was gutted when she passed. She was mine, and I was, so hers. But she was older, and we were still grieving Luca. It was as if I could barely produce any more tears in the days after she left her body. I still miss her so much.

Then Lola. Sweet baby Lo. Originally Cindy, one of 6 dogs dubbed the “Brady Bunch”.

She came to us during the hardest and darkest parts of our life in the months after Luca came and went.

We thought we would “foster to adopt”. And then quickly became foster failures when we couldn’t give her back. And that was even before we identified that the markings on her side, were of the number “10”.  A gift to us from Luca, she provided us with so much comic relief. She was a professional trash collector in her prime.


But she had a silent disc injury brewing inside her tiny body, that one day, left her paralyzed. Not even the six thousand dollar surgery thought to make her better, could give her the ability to walk again.

Over the last two years, we have had to express her bowels and her bladder several times a day. Any change in her diet, or accidental swallowing of Elia’s food, would leave us cleaning up the consequences for days. She lost weight. She lost some spunk.

But she was a fixture in our house. A member of our little family.

Just a few days ago, we helped her transition. We had to make the decision, and it’s incredibly heartbreaking to get to that point where you have to come to terms with the fact that your beloved companion’s quality of life is no longer good enough to keep them alive.

We had Lola euthanized at home, as we had done for Jake and Penny. We already knew the process, but it certainly didn’t make it any easier when the veterinarian knocked on the door.

Lola laid in front of Gina. We held her. I gave her kisses, and squeezes, and reiki. I told her how much I loved her, and what an incredible dog she has been to us, and what a healer she was.

The doctor administered the sedative and soon after, her little front legs began to run. She laid there, in a dream, she ran. It was her, running again. The dog we remembered from before paralysis, was there. I sobbed for her. For us.

Next came the euthanization medicine. And shortly after, the doctor checked her heartbeat and said “she’s already gone”. Just like that. Through the tears I shoved my face in her ears, and breathed her in. Her smell. The last remnants of her.

Oh Lola. Dear Lola. We will miss you so much. We will miss Elia telling you that you are “so cuuuuute”. We will miss the sound of your scooting. And the silence will remind of us of what an immense affect your life and your love, had on us.

If there really is some sort of magical rainbow bridge somewhere, I sure as hell hope that you are able to run free and wild over there. With nothing limiting you. Doing your zoomies, with your ears soaring in the wind.

Thank you for all the love and healing you have given us Lola. Loliters. Woahwa. Woahwie. Lolanders. Rolanda. We will miss you forever.<3


Tahlequah, the Bereaved Mother

The story about Tahlequah, the killer whale whose baby died 16 days ago, has been incredibly moving, and one I’ve connected with so deeply.

On July 25th, the news reported that a killer whale mother had given birth to a calf, and it has passed away shortly after birth. The mother had been swimming, carrying with it, the body of its dead baby.

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I see you Tahlequah. Even if it’s “just” their body, you don’t want to let go of your baby. If you do, then what? What’s next? What will happen to it? Where does the body of your sweet little babe go? And I’ve heard you’ve lost babies before that. You must have been so hopeful, but your heart was likely hurt already. I get it, you want to keep your baby, you hope maybe, somehow. And you have every right to want to keep your baby safe.

Days later, the media reports she is still swimming around with her baby. It’s been a week already. People are commenting on how heartbreaking it is.

It is heartbreaking. I agree. I know. I only wish that the hospital and the nurses and doctors would have told me that it was an option to hold onto my child’s body for longer. To be able to take him in completely. I wish people wouldn’t think it was weird for me to want that. I wish I wouldn’t have thought it was weird to do. Maybe I would have pressed for it. Maybe then, I would have had a chance to bathe him, or look at his fingers and toes, memorize the curves of his nose and the smell of his head.

Tahlequah is starting to fall behind in her pod. She keeps having to retrieve her dead baby whenever it falls off her back and sinks into the sea. But she does, every time. She gets her baby and she places it back on top of her. She’s barely keeping up.

I also know this feeling. When Luca first died, I couldn’t do normal tasks without it taking forever. The brain fog, the emotional breakdown from the myriad of triggers out there in the world. If I spotted a pregnant woman, or a baby Luca’s age, or even someone from my prenatal yoga or birthing classes, I would lose my breath. I’d be unable to finish what I started. I’d run to my car to cry, and go home. I’d open the windows and scream Luca’s name while I passed over the freeways. It was paralyzing at times.

Most recently, the media reports that the other female killer whales in Tahlequah’s pod are now taking turns carrying the baby. What is probably the most touching part of this story to me, is happening now. The members of her pod have identified she needs help to continue to care for her calf.

Here are your family to support you Tahlequah. Here is your village. They’ve showed up to help you carry the literal weight of your child. But also help you so that you can survive. They show up.

I remember the members of our village that showed up, and show up still. The friends I want to remember were the ones that came to sit with us, hold space for us, and surrounded us with love in whatever way that meant for them.

Our neighbors at the time, would have us over on their porch at nighttime. Me healing from the traumatic cesarean and wrapped up in a blanket and reclined back on an anti-gravity chair, and them sharing beers with my wife, while their 2 girls were asleep, closely watched on the monitor by us all. I can’t even remember the conversations we had. But I will always remember the closeness felt by the love they extended us.

It was the old friend from another state who I hadn’t seen in years, that coordinated with a local chef to feed us for a week. The friends who sent us jewelry with Luca’s name on it. My father-in-law, who got Luca’s name tattooed on him, his first and only tattoo.

It is the friend in another state who still texts us every time she sees anything with Luca on it. She has a daughter just months older than Luca. She has never forgotten him.

It was the college friend who called me to tell me that she too, had experienced the loss of a baby.

It was one of my dearest friends, who flew across country to be with me on my birthday and my first Mother’s Day, just 2 months after Luca was born and died.

It is the people who remember us on the 10th, that remember Luca on the 10th. And any other time it strikes them to connect with us.

It is the friend who knew grief so well herself, experiencing the death of both her parents at a young age, that she helped to guide us through in the very beginning. 

It is the new friends I make that want to hear about him, about his story. And check in and ask honestly, how I’m doing.

And 5 years later. Even with a live child, I can barely keep up some days. And it’s why I still need help carrying this grief.

There are a lot of people who ignore our story. That don’t ask. That left our village. That minimize our loss with bullshit phrases that I don’t even think they realize they’ve said. But the inaction and the wrong words hurt. A lot. It’s hard to be vocal about something that means so much to me, and know I’m getting judged by people who think I need to be over it. Over him.

I’ll never ever, ever, ever, stop missing my son.


By remembering his story, and by remembering and honoring him, I carry him still. I carry this tremendous love, and in some moments, this unexplainable, heart-stopping grief. 

As the milestone of  kindergarten looms in our minds, we have reached another time where Gina and I ask ourselves, “what would he be like?”

That is a question that I will never be able to answer. 

But I know the suffering Tahlequah is experiencing.

I know.


I have stopped following most mom or parenting related groups on social media. As a form of self-preservation, I need to not be always seeing and reading about pregnancy and babies.

Because we can’t have any more biological babies.

Because I’m still missing Luca, my child that will always remain in my memory, as my baby.

I stay away from most groups because sometimes the grief is even too much for me. I have come to realize what is an unneeded trigger. And if I’m in a dark time already, I don’t need to challenge myself anymore.

I am so beyond grateful to have Elia. I am so lucky because she has given us so much love and healing. As I try to be as present and loving to her while she grows, I find myself remembering Luca less and less.

I can’t tell you how painful of a sentence that is to have to type.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about him. But I forget. And he seems far away now.

And though I may appear to be doing okay on the outside, there are times that hit me so hard. Sometimes completely out of the blue. Mostly in the days leading up to his birth-day every month, but other times when it’s completely unexpected. The grief comes over me like a heavy blanket, closes my throat, both comforting and stifling. I know it so well already that it’s familiar and I know what to do with it.

Most of the time I hold the grief myself. If I’m lucky, and many times I am, I have a friend who checks in and ends up holding some of it for me.

But often when the grief rushes in, there is no way for friends to know, unless I had one of those med-alert buttons to press signaling the need for help, or I could relay a bat signal.

So when I read on the internet of a mama friend feeling the sadness around the fact that her daughter would be entering kindergarten in the fall, I immediately send her love. I think about how that must feel.

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. Her daughter is just weeks older than Luca, and for the first time, I realize that Luca would be starting kindergarten in a month.

I’m fucking devastated.

I’m sad for what was supposed to be.

I’m sad for what will never be.

And I miss my son.

I look at pregnant bellies with envy. But I don’t want what they have, I just want Luca.

I look at families with a 5 year old.

Or siblings.

And I wonder.


Beauty in the Darkness

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

Today, I got the call.

It didn’t work. We aren’t pregnant.

We had already been at what we thought was going to be the final cycle, two months ago, and after another failed cycle, we decided on a last Hail Mary attempt in hopes that a more aggressive protocol would work.

And it didn’t.

It’s hard to explain to those who have never experienced infertility, let alone the loss of a child, how mind-numbing this can all become.

My cycle begins, we call the RE, I get an ultrasound and get put on medications that make my body go a little batty trying to make more eggs, more meds, then an insemination, then more meds and a 2 week wait that feels like a 2 year wait, just to find out, again, that we are not pregnant.

You are hopeful. So hopeful. You repeat the process over and over, until you make the decision that you just can’t anymore. Your body can’t take it, your mind can’t take it, and you are forced to make the choice on your quality of life.

And this is where we are now. At the end of the road.

It’s a challenge not to look around at families with multiple children, in awe and with a bit of envy. It breaks my heart to look at Elia walk around alone, without a sibling of her own, without a built-in best friend. I can’t explain to you how much my heart hurts for her.

She came with us to the first appointment during this last cycle, and she told the doctor she wanted a baby girl sister. We were so hopeful.

And that, is why today, I am devastated.

I have Elia. I have Gina. I even have a crazy little dog on wheels. We have each other. And for them, I am so grateful.

We found out last Thursday that our friend who has been battling cancer, has now come to a point where they have ended all chemotherapy and entered hospice care. Her life, and the potential of it ending, has reminded me of how lucky we are. She has bright eyes and a sparkly personality. And soon, she will likely be leaving her body. I feel like this has been perfectly timed by life for my own lesson. 

Since last Thursday, I have been replaying the news, and these feelings, over and over again.

How can I complain about my life, when my friend’s life is ending?

We can’t compare the two.

I am allowed my pain, and my sadness. We are allowed our moments in the dark. After all, it is the dark that allows us to see the true beauty.

I can be heartbroken about my own experience.

But I also know well enough now, through my son Luca’s death, and the reminders from the precious lives of those taken too soon, that I can pick myself up at some point, and life will get lighter again.

When is that going to happen?

Can’t quite pinpoint it. Right now, I’m feeling all of it.  I’m down. My heart is heavy. I’ve had tears in my eyes for the last three hours, wondering what’s next? Wondering, what is this life about? I’ve been a mama to a baby and a toddler and now a preschooler, and she needs me less and less, and I’m not sure how to handle that transition when I was so certain we would have another baby.

But, in just a few hours, I get to pick up Elia from school, smother her in kisses, and play make-believe with her until it’s time for sleep. We get to wake up to her wide-eyes, and to her requests of what she would like to do and see, and then feel her wrap her little arms tightly around me in a big hug. I get to live in a beautiful city with the beach and the mountains and the desert, and the freedom to do whatever I’d like. I get to be surrounded by friends who know our journey, and give me a safe place to land when I need the support.

I get to live. And that right now, is certainly enough.


The 58th 10th. And Life Advice from Holly Butcher

I read a post that was written by a 27-year-old woman in the final days of life.

I’ve been reading it over and over, and over.

Although Luca lived just one day outside of my belly, his lessons on life and love shed light on me all the time. It’s when I’m wrapped up in the bullshit that really doesn’t matter, sweating the small stuff, or throwing myself a pity party, that I’m NOT growing or getting the most out of this life.

Many times over the last almost 5 years since he died, I have felt how unfair life can be. It isn’t fair that I lost my son. It isn’t fair that we tried so hard to get him, only to have him die.

But that’s not it. That’s not the point.

Life isn’t fair, and can be at times, completely devastating and heartbreaking.

But it is still beautiful.


And even after a terrible loss, or tragic event, you can feel love and joy and happiness, again.



Though I don’t feel a connection to a specific God, I do apply my faith in the Universe, and the fact that there are bigger plans for us than we may be currently subscribing to. I know people and events are put in our path to foster growth, and make us learn and understand life a little better.                                                                                                               
We lost Luca.

We had Luca though.

He made me a mom. He was beautiful, with a soul I felt was going to do nothing but love everything around him. We were lucky enough to have him. If even for a moment.

And I carry him in my heart, every moment of my day.

He taught me that life can be gone in a blink of an eye. The bullshit and stress that comes up does not need to be lingered on. We don’t need to bathe in it, and we certainly don’t need to complain or be in crisis, when our life is a good one.

And they are all mostly, good ones.

Today is January 10th. The 10ths are always special days of reflections for us, since Luca was born on the 10th.

This is the 58th 10th since he came and went.

This is the first 10th since Holly Butcher passed away. I wanted to share a bit of life advice from her, and I want to put her advice into action in my own life in honor of Luca, and for souls like Holly who were here to teach us:

“It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability.. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.

Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

Get amongst nature.

Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females 🤔.

Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

..’Til we meet again.