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  • jdettmann

No Gold Medal


When we arrived in Perth three days ago, sixteen hours after Pappy’s death, we were running on what could charitably described as empty. Coming off close to a month of illness for May Blossom and me, with a few semi-emerged molars thrown into the mix, sleep was but a faraway dream.

Twenty-four hours later, things were even worse. The three-hour time difference meant that we had woken May Blossom at 5 am Sydney time to get on the plane and put her to bed at 1 am Sydney time the following day. She had about six hours sleep over a 30-hour period. Then a man knocked on the door and gave us a Parenting Gold Medal. No he didn’t.

By then were delirious: breakfasting on whole Nespresso pods that we swallowed like giant vitamin tablets and walking the streets at 6 am after two solid hours of wailing (I won’t pretend May Blossom was the only one responsible for that). I became paranoid, insisting on walking in between the stroller and any dogs we passed in case they attacked.

That was a hard day. It was a day of telling people sad news and trying to find accommodation for the following four days — four days that coincided with some kind of huge mining conference in Perth. It was close to impossible to find somewhere to stay, and as we send of dozens of requests to hotels, B&Bs, inns and brothels, we became more and more dejected. We were so tired we couldn’t see straight.

And then in the afternoon things got a little bit better. An email came back to say a lovely beach house in Fremantle was available. We went to the bakery and were each given a sample of fairy bread. We met with the funeral director and learned you can get a coffin painted in your AFL club colours or many other hilarious ‘personalised’ options (the funeral isn’t until Friday so I won’t reveal what we chose — don’t want to ruin the surprise). May Blossom started speaking with a Perth accent, which cracks me up (‘Noiii!’). We took her to the river and watched her paddle and play with shells. A dear friend fed us prawns with a whipped cream-based cocktail sauce she learned from the Women’s Weekly cookbook she received as an engagement present more than thirty years ago. We drank white wine and listened to H’s mum and her friends tell stories about H’s dad and laugh until they wept.

When we went to bed, we slept. So did May Blossom. Things haven’t been quite as hard since.

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