a change in time

musings on behavioural change – the small stuff and the big stuff.

Six months later


Today’s date, the 5th of October 2017, stamps this day as being six months since my husband, Peter, passed away.

Last night I watched a film in which the filmmaker used the technique of jumping between the past and the future, with words appearing on the screen declaring it to be ‘three weeks later’, or ‘four years earlier’. I kind of like this method of shortening time. Imagine having to watch every moment of what happened in between. For better or worse, in ‘real life’, we have to pass through every minute, there is no fast-forwarding, no rewinding.


Peter and I often talked of life being like a movie, it made some situations easier to deal with. (This photo was actually taken ‘five months later’. I wanted to choose something that looked a bit  cheerful. This was our first truly ‘Spring has sprung’ kind of day this year.) 

We knew that the disease would eventually overcome Peter’s amazing spirit. Even though we did what we could to prepare ourselves for ‘the inevitable’, we weren’t really prepared. The last blog post I wrote, on the 23rd of March, was only two weeks before Peter’s body succumbed. I still can’t believe our situation changed so quickly.


Peter took this photo of us on the 18th of March, five days before we returned home. Looking at it now, it is obvious that he was very ill. After having seen Peter’s appearance change so many times over the years, especially since diagnosis, I think I stopped relating to how he looked physically and instead looked past the body to be with his beautiful, irreverent spirit.  

Peter’s sister, Melissa, was brave enough to ask me if we had had a chance to say goodbye, in that ‘final chance to say goodbye’ kind of way. The truth is, we didn’t. Even though we had had many discussions over the years about that day eventually catching up with us, I think we had become so accustomed to planning for the next day, week, month etc, that the time to say such things came and went. I said to Melissa that in hindsight, I think it would have been too hard to finally admit to each other that ‘this is it’. With a little more hindsight, if I could rewind the days, I would make sure we said those words to each other. I wished I had thanked him for being such an amazing life partner. There are just not enough adjectives to describe who Peter was for me.

early days

This photo was taken when we attended the marriage of our friends, Michael and Rowena. I’m not sure of the actual date, some time in the 80s. I like this photo because you can definitely see ‘the look of love’ in our eyes. 

So here I am, six months later. You won’t be surprised to know that my saving grace has has been the support and love I have received from friends and family. Particularly family, especially ‘the kids’, as our mother, Edna, calls Louis, Tam, Yoshi and Helena.

having fun

‘The kids’ taking their mother on an outing to Plenty Gorge Park in South Morang in May.

 You read about people who lose their life partner, and how they appear to do all kinds of things that seem out of character. Some might choose retail therapy, others, the bottle. I might have done a bit of both, however my big one was to unintentionally take on my fear of flying; a secret I only recently revealed to my inner circle. In the last six months I have flown to Adelaide, Sydney and two trips to Tasmania. (My sister, Jann, and I were meant to fly to Japan on the 23rd of September, but that is a whole other story.)

While in Adelaide, Susanne and I visited the Monarto Zoo for a good dose of rhino therapy.   



While in Tasmania, I joined Jann and Tony on several walks along the beach. Being on the edge of the ocean, seeing the expanse of water, the surrounding mountains and the sky above, one is reminded of the beauty of life, and that we even exist at all.   

I am learning to live with the paradox that ‘life not turning out as one expected’ foists upon you, being forced to face the biggest change that life has expected of me. Peter is pretty much always in my thoughts. We shared so much together. I talk to him sometimes, mainly while driving, because that is where we had many good conversations. Some days I love living in this house, where everything has been touched by one or other of Peter’s creative urges, and sometimes I just want to run away.

Three months ago, I had my haircut. I think it is fairly common for folks to acknowledge a big change in circumstances via a visit to the hairdressers.

haircut 2

I now have to take my own selfies! Peter took lots of photos, including the odd photo of me, okay, he took lots of photos of me. I mentioned this to Melissa and she has taken on a bit of this ‘job’. 

The final paragraph.

And so our ‘Ruth and Peter’ film came to an end. It was not the ending we had hoped for. Everyone wants to grow old with the one they love. It is lucky we were more about the journey than the destination. We packed in so much, and I am grateful for those days.

Author: rhinophile

I’m interested in how we live and how we die. I like to try things on and see if they work for me. I find the human experience a fascinating one. No matter how much we hear about there being evil in the world, I also know there is goodness, and many people who are dedicated to caring for everyone and everything.

25 thoughts on “Six months later

  1. Beautiful Ruth. 🌸💖💚🌿

  2. I love you Ruth. You have and always will be such a beautiful soul. Thank you
    for all your personal sharings, I find them very inspirational. xxx

  3. Lovely Ruthie. Big hugs to you and ‘the kids’. XXX

  4. Ruth…. I hope you found writing this beautiful piece comforting. Your honesty is totally disarming. I didn’t say goodbye to Peter either and have agonised over this. But your own experience has helped me come to terms with my own grief… I am not sure that’s how it is supposed to be! You are right to say that we live each day at eternal optimists, somehow assuming (hoping) for better days ahead. It’s what sustains us in the moment and I think keeping hope alive is exactly what Peter would have wanted. I truly admire your honest and courage… Peter was my benchmark for living a life full of innovation, creativity, love and colour. He was an inspiration to me. But somehow that baton has passed to you. Thank you again for being prepared to share this. You have helped me so, as I say, I hope it has also,helped you

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response, David. I have been putting off writing this ‘follow-up’ post for, well, six months. Then I had a strong word with myself and said, just write it, and see what there is to be said. So that’s what I did. I’m very honoured and humbled to think that you have found some kind of solace in these words.

  5. Thanks for sharing this Ruth 🥑❤️🎥💧

  6. So hard isn’t it Ruth? If only we didn’t have to face these facts, but face them we all must. Sometimes things are better left unsaid lest they come out wrong and I’m sure that love-bridge betwen you two said it all any way! Lovely piece Ruth. Thinking of you often. ❤

    • There is much to face that is harder than one believes they can deal with. And in this case, that ‘one’ is me. But as you say, ‘face them we must’. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  7. Ruth, big kiss & hug. It takes a while and in ways they never leave. I’m always moved by this. I really miss my mum & dad. Both times I said I want to spend a month with them & they died before I got there, and the same with Peter. BUT, I’m always touched & moved to my core when I think of them, and re your sorrow/ loss/ enlightenment, I wish you the best in this new exploration Love to you Ruth

    • Thanks for reading, Claude, and for sharing your experience. I am slowly becoming accustomed to not having Peter’s physical presence in my life and now solely carrying him in my heart.

  8. Thank you Ruthie. Thank you Peter-in-Spirit

  9. Thank you for reminding me of what is important.

  10. This caught my eye . Bestt wishes to you xx

  11. Thank you for this Ruth. I have been thinking about you and Peter off and on and wondering how you have been navigating this transition. It is comforting to hear the love and strength and clarity and forward movement in your voice. Sending you my love to help light the way along these next steps of your journey xoxo, Patrick

    • It’s good to hear from you Patrick. I very much appreciate the love you send and I’m sure it will be a big help in lighting the way. I do hope to visit you and Renée again some day. R x

  12. Ruth, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I can feel from your words what Peter meant to you and it sounds like he was a wonderful man indeed. I remember very clearly clicking through to your blog earlier this year via Britt’s and reading your previous post, and I’m ashamed that I didn’t leave a comment or anything at the time. The truth is that I wasn’t sure what kind of comment to leave, given the situation you were in, and I was sad to hear of Peter’s passing upon returning to your blog. From this post it sounds like you are surrounded by a group of incredibly supportive people – that must be wonderful at a time like this. Sending all my very best from Brissie

    • Thank you for returning. I imagine it would make even more sense as to why I find myself in the midst of the need to examine old ‘identities’, and begin to let them go. Peter was an amazing person and I miss him very much. I understand why you would have felt a bit uneasy about leaving a comment in response to the last post. What does one say about such things. You are right in your observation, that I am blessed with a wonderful group of supportive family and friends.

  13. I missed this blog, dear sister of mine, it is so soul driven and from the heart, places you have lived your whole life. Love and hugs will be at your side whenever you need me to be.

  14. So touching. I like how yours words and the photos together tell your story. Thank you for sharing.

    • I have just noticed that I didn’t reply to your comment. Thank you for reading and commenting. It really makes a difference to know that my words have touched you. ❤️

  15. Thank you, Ruth. I began teaching college courses in Death & Dying in 1974 and worked by her request with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in 1976. If I had this post of your at the time I would have made it required reading for my classes, especially those advanced classes in which I placed selected students with dying patients and their families.

    Marco M. Pardi


  16. Hi Marco, I am touched by your response to this post. And also honored. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was an inspiration to me and I was fortunate to see her speak on two occasions, in SanFrancisco in the late eighties and also in Australia when she visited in the nineties. It was her views on death and dying that prepared me, as best as one can be prepared, for the ‘journey’ that Peter and I took in the years between his diagnosis and the day he left his body. It’s nice to think that if times had coincided, that your class would have been reading my words. Kind regards, Ruth W

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