Four places


Tonight we read oh! The places you’ll go! In honour of Sully’s fourth birthday. Sullivan only lived a few short days, and every year, everyone that knew his family ,and many that didn’t, join in to remember his life and his journey.

I had a complicated pregnancy. It was long. It was harrowing. It was true trauma. It ended well. And it took a lot to get through, and a lot to get over.

I know how hard it was for me, for us, for our families, all of that hanging on. For about seven bloody months (literally). Bloody. How every little milestone counted. How at first, I didn’t understand that the relief of making it, the giant breathing out that came with a real baby and a very happy ending, it didn’t quite erase the trauma that had come before. That trauma which required it’s own time, it’s own grieving, it’s own healing. How hanging on with everything you’ve got, yep, that takes some serious refuelling time.

So I imagine, then, having gone through that, without the happy ending. And that is the end of what I can imagine. That is what my friend S must face, every year, every birth, every pregnancy, every newborn, every similarly aged child.

After my short struggle, my breath catches when someone says “so will you go for number two?”. It’d be like saying to someone who just climbed Everest “fancy a jog?”. And still, over 2.5 years later, a memory of it will stop me in my tracks.

So for S, yep. That’d be four years of climbing everests. To be walking around, and breathing in and out, you’re doing great. I understand less than 1% of it, i suspect. And while I can’t truly get it, I, we, can remember. We can do small acts to remember great heroism and impossibly wrong outcomes.

If you get a chance, folks, read “oh! The places you’ll go!” To a loved one today. Stick a photo or a comment here, on Sully’s memorial fund page. It means a lot to his family.

In memory of Sully. Happy birthday. The places you’ll go.

Oh, the places you’ll go.

Today would have been the second birthday of a precious little man called Sullivan Darcy Kippax. He was born to two lovely friends of mine in 2011. We had very similar periods of bedrest in pregnancy, for different reasons, with different outcomes. Sully only lived for a few short days.

Today, Sully would have been a big brother to Darcy, born in 2012,, and a little brother to Kev, and nothing can ever replace him, or heal that over. Time, and new family additions, just makes it more familiar to sit beside, but not easier.

His mums ask in his memory today that you read Oh! The places you’ll go! By Dr Seuss to someone you love. Many are sending them their photos, sharing this story with their partner, kids, dogs, cats…. Or you can watch the YouTube clip from burning man festival here.

If you email the photos of you sharing this book, clip or app to, I’d be honoured to pass them on to Sully’s mums in his memory.

Let’s take little Sully lots and lots of places today. Share this if you can.

End of slideshow, click to exit

“End of slideshow, click to exit”. Thanks Microsoft, profound. Weird that these words were the last I saw at the funeral. After I’d sat there, bawling my eyes out, remembering moments I’d forgotten with family until now, like getting all the kids, when they were kids, to stand on a 45 degree angle lean as i took a grandkid snap in mums backyard, seeing decades flash before my eyes, so many family moments, and this is all Microsoft can add to the occasion. Click to exit.

It struck me, as I sat there, that the six grand kids can’t ever be together in a room now. That there will never be a photo of all six. Just five, then a birth, then a tragic death, then five. Jensen arrived, and exactly 9 weeks later, Simon left.

Grief, (and I don’t pretend mine is on the same planet as that suffered by Simon’s immediate family ), is awful. If I haven’t had a dream/ nightmare about him, or the funeral, or some other mother -child anxiety, then each morning I wake up and remember again what has happened. It is like putting on a backpack full of bricks every day. It is resting beside the bed, sometimes I forget it is there, and each time I have to remember to wear it, it seems there’s another brick inside. The weight of it just that little bit more oppressive with each remembering. There is so much I would like to say about the tragic death of a young man, at 22 years old, by his own hand, a young man who’d had some health issues and was sick of being sick. .

Simon, as i said before, had a rough start as a premature baby. More bowel operations at about ten years old. Then 2-3 years ago, an assault on new years eve saw him lose nine teeth with a single punch. There’s been months of dental work and thousands of dollars. He just got the perfect smile in time to be a groomsman at his bro’s wedding.

Two years ago (?) simon got a blood disorder, called ITP. Low platelets, recurring bouts of illness, low energy, transfusions and steroids. The last (third?) bout hit on the Tuesday. He got a mate to drive him home and left bis car at work. And Thursday, he decided enough was enough.

The rest isn’t my story to tell, and the Internet isn’t the place for it. I thought the funeral last Monday would help make my nephew’s death real, help it sink in; in reality I just kept expecting him to show up. We saw him across the bar. We heard him, but it was one of his mates. It isn’t any more real to me than the day we first heard. Suicide is a stone dropped into the pond of our family’s lives, though it feels as thought the ripples will never cease. Perahps a tsunami in the family ocean would be a more apt descrption. Let’s hope everyone remembers to keep their heads above water, and just keep on breathing in and out.

It is such a hard thing, to sum up a life, to sum up a person, to remember them for who they were, which is so much more than the sum of what they did. Most importantly in Simon’s case, his life was so much more than how it ended.

The jman was an angel at the funeral. Just a few mad little peeps and squeaks during the slideshow with photos of his cousin’s life, his own exclamations on the sombre occasion. He snoozed through a lot of the wake, and dished out a few smiles and cuddles the rest of the time, mostly to those who really needed it. He helped some of the family look up, and look forward, even as we leave so much behind.

Since then we’ve kept kind of quiet, tried to absorb what went on, done a bit of cooking and meal distribution, done a bit of quiet reflection without much blogging or non family time.

From a slideshow in memory, to a slideshow in anticipation. In a way of looking forward, without much of a segue, just because I need to affirm life, here is a slideshow of the many moods of the Jman so far, in his little 11  12 week long life. We can’t really click to exit, microsoft, because these moments travel inside us, wherever we go and whoever we become. 

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