Taking Time to Look After Herself
Nanette Fogarty, Orange
What stood out for me in experiencing so much grief was that I needed to be strong and show the boys that I was okay, because they couldn’t help me. They were too young.
Everything changed the day my husband died.
We used to try to get away for two weeks holiday every January. Those holidays stopped. Everything we had as a family went. That was tough, and I used to feel for my boys so much.
We had bought a property in Millthorpe. That was our dream, we’d got there. Then he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The boys were just 11 and 16 years old at the time.
Less than five years later he was gone.
Fast track a few years, I lost my father – it was sudden. Then two years later, I lost my younger sister to cancer. I was very close to her and, again, that was hard. What stood out for me in experiencing so much grief was that I needed to be strong and show the boys that I was okay, because they couldn’t help me. They were too young.
There was also the grief of leaving the farm and the financial hardship. It’s tough when you’re grief– stricken and you’ve got to work and perform. But my work in a variety of health settings and nursing gave me a real sense of identity. It distracted me and it kept me busy.
About the time of my husband’s death, my eldest son also developed a significant mental illness which has been challenging. I have also had my own health issues to deal with.
I guess, at the end of the day, I could have curled up and been a total victim. Where would that have got me, my kids, my family?
I’ve looked for tools which have helped me in my own way.
Sometimes I knit… and I love gardening, I love the soil. Very early on I started going to the gym and I still go to the gym. I love sport and I do yoga. I also have a strong faith.
I was fortunate to travel to Nepal five times in recent years, as part of a volunteer mental health Rotary trip with like-minded people.
You can sometimes get tied up with the life that you had, and that which you no longer have. At the end of it – we’ve got what we’ve got. A lot of people don’t get an easy ride – the majority of us have to work at it.
My glass is always half full – I’m rarely negative. From the day my husband died I thought every day is a bonus; our bodies are special, and we need to look after them. We need to look after ourselves, no matter how hard we have to work.
I’m fortunate in a way, I’ve been able to be resilient.