Category Archives: GRIEF


The first day’s sun
the new appearance of being —
Who are you?
There was no answer.

Years went by.
Day’s last sun
asked the last question from the shores of the west
in the soundless evening —
Who are you?
There was no answer.


I was a little afraid of today but it has been a sweet melancholia and quite beautiful.  I THINK I have the new place as well. I do, of course, have no idea about what the upstairs people will be like but I proceed. I make a head decision not to remain in this atmosphere. Tomorrow I will have tasks to do. Acquire the bond and fill in the application form.

WE LOVED EACH OTHER so dearly in Life – it makes no sense to me that that would stop now. I don’t figure I shall have another relationship. I figure that I continue to bathe in the beauty and warmth and security of Izzy and Lynne. This year has been the kindest since 2014. I woke that morning. And he was gone on his run. He did that most days.


The Police came and my daughter who was talking to me on the phone screamed. A scream I can still hear like a Celtic wailing. The police took me up Valery Road to where Izzy lay beside the road in the dust. Covered in a blue sheet like all the movies tell us. I didn’t kneel. I didn’t kiss him. I knew he was gone and myriad sparkles of light flashed out all over the place in the Forest. As if his body could no longer contain all the energy he had and all the things he wanted to do. He was Life to me, Izzy was.

He bubbled and sparked and sang and played and talked and mowed. He was Life. I am the Passivity. The Receptacle. I did not know whether or not he had poured enough Life into me for me to continue. Some days I still don’t know – some days I do.


I continue quietly and singly. The space at the new place will suit me but I don’t know about the neighbours. No matter for now. I shall deal with it. When and if it happens. I think I am ready to enjoy my space again after so long. I think I am ready to come down to the amount of possessions I had in Bilambil. I think it is time to get what I do own in order. I am so much stronger than I was even one month back.

i thought that death was death

the words people wrote meant nothing to me

now i think that death is no less strange

than all the rest

The day will come
When the sight of this earth will be lost
I will take my leave in silence
As the stars look on

I know the sun will rise again
The hours will still bring pleasure and pain
In heaving waves.

When I think of the end, time crumbles
I see by the light of death
That the lowliest existence is rare
And the worst moments are precious

What I longed for will be set aside
The things I pursued in vain —
Let them pass
Let me turn
To things I overlooked
And carelessly threw away
To possess them truly until they are mine

As the stars look on.


He went to the core of inner silence. What did this silence tell him? First it made him aware that death is always stalking us, every moment of our lives, not as an enemy but as part of the Unknown that surrounds existence. You have only to look over your shoulder to see that death is a little closer than the last time you looked. Having faced this fact, should you live in perpetual anxiety? For Tagore this knowledge made life magical, because he was forced to change his priorities. ‘Things that I longed for and things that I pursued, let them pass away,’ Tagore writes. ‘Instead let me truly possess what I overlooked and ignored.’

‘Just Show Up’: Sheryl Sandberg On How To Help Someone Who’s Grieving : NPR

My interactions before — I would drop my kids off at school and, you know, the parents and I would all wave to each other; show up at work and everyone would chit chat. A lot of that just stopped and people kind of looked at me like I was a ghost. And I think they were so afraid of saying the wrong thing that they hardly said anything at all.

Source: ‘Just Show Up’: Sheryl Sandberg On How To Help Someone Who’s Grieving : NPR

Unconventional Grief: Grieving someone Alive

Grieving someone alive is not a conventional form of grief that is often talked about, but is a real issue that is faced by the living. Death is often viewed as the base requirement for grief but mourning the deceased is only one facet of death. If you have never experienced this, you likely do not understand what we’re talking about. How can you grieve for someone that you haven’t lost? If you have experience this sort of grief, you probably are cheering inside your head that someone has finally put to words what you’re feeling.

Source: Unconventional Grief: Grieving someone Alive



Home again while my girl and her family are busy preparing for the funeral.

This is what the local paper says :

Gordon Braithwaite passed away: There will be many words written and said about Mr Braithwaite during the next few weeks … he was a giant of a man in terms of the legacy he leaves in the Valley.

Gordon Braithwaite passed away on March 2, 2017 at the Bellingen Hospital. He was 86-years-old. Mr Braithwaite spent more than 32 years as a councillor and 14-and-a-half years as either Mayor or Shire President, he is the longest serving councillor in the history of Bellingen Shire. The former logging contractor was first elected in 1971.

In an interview with the Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun in 2012 he said: “I have enjoyed my time as a councillor, but I’m now in my eighties and feel it’s time to make way for someone younger”.

He said that among his other achievements as Shire President or Mayor were three new libraries across the shire, two surf club houses, four senior citizen centres, sewerage extensions in Urunga, water supply to Repton and Mylestom, purchase of property for the Valley Rose estate in Bellingen, establishing the Connell Park sporting fields, funding for Bellingen and Dorrigo swimming pools and assisted with the establishment of the Nursing Home in Bellingen.

The list goes on …

“Whilst in the top job, I arranged finance through cash and loans for a new high level concrete bridge between north and south Bellingen,” he said.

“The new council at the time voted not to proceed with high level bridge to go for a lower, cheaper option.”

Gordon Braithwaite has made a huge contribution to growth and development of Bellingen Shire.


Gordon Braithwaite, not a large man physically, but in terms of what he achieved in his life, an absolute giant. Gordon was born and lived his entire life in Bellingen.He will leave a huge footprint. I can not recall anyone who could exceed his sheer physical output. By any ones estimation, an incredible worker, but also could put his hand to many other things. A sharp mind and an incredible memory. His brain an encyclopaedia, he never forgot a thing. Coming from a humble background like many of his day, he easily adapted to change. Axe and crosscut saw,over to the chainsaw, one of the first in our district, and later quickly adapted to the computer age. Still can recall the laughs from all those jokes via emails, all totally clean of course.

His name was floated about, but my first connection with Gordon was late 50s when he was share farming on Harold Raymond’s farm at Marx Hill, a weaner pig for 10 shillings. Gordon must have been in his 20s, I was just starting to grow hair on my chest. These were lean years.

Gordon’s career was about to evolve, the caterpillar tractor with a blade, and the stihl chain saw was about to revolutionise the timber industry. Suddenly, no tree too big and no mountain too steep, with that tractor and blade, if you could dig it, you could get there and get it. Gordon jumped onboard and this was the beginning of his long career in the bush. Everyone in the early 60s talked about Gordon with his chainsaw and Ian Younger with Huey Waugh’s D7. Into those huge trees where no one had ever before ventured. Stony Gully and Buffer Creek was where the big ones grew – a two log load was common, anything more than five was a no go.

I worked with Gordon and Ian (Bongo) Younger for several years as a (blue tonguer) offsider, hooking up via that 30ml, 300ft steel rope. I clearly remember at Stony Gully one Monday morning after a game of football on Sunday. I was a bit bruised and sore. Gordon quickly picked up on this, and said young fella, if you want to keep this job, better give the football away. That was Gordon 100 per cent always, no room for error.

Gordon’s next move was to branch out on his own and purchased a tractor, I think a D4 which Allan Scott drove for some time. Then there were log trucks and more dozers and he became quite a large contractor in the industry for a considerable period. But even this wasn’t enough for this man, who still had energy to spare, so he put up his hand and ran for council. Mayor for many years. These were the days when the mayor was the boss cocky.

For years, up at 2 or 3am, out to the bush, back home at 1pm, a clean up and down to the Council Chambers to fulfil his duties there. All this on top of his civic duties, he had a finger in every pie in the Shire.

He was a remarkable man. Just to of come out unscathed from working most of his life within the most dangerous of occupations is proof of his skills and mental sharpness.

However, more often than not, standing in the shadows, for every great man stands an even greater woman. Doreen, always there to keep the billy boiling.

As we say our farewell to our old comrade, let’s not forget all those that worked in the industry in those early days who can’t be here to-day.

Darcey Browning

Gordon Braithwaite was a staunch supporter of Urunga SLSC and it saddens the hearts of members to hear of his passing. Gordon and Doreen attended the 70th Anniversary Dinner on last year (November 19) in what was his last official engagement as Club Patron. Gordon was a Patron of the Club for more than 40 years. In 1987 Gordon, who was Shire President, was the driving force behind the Clubhouse as it stands today. On April 5, 1987 at the Official Opening of the new clubhouse Gordon stated in his Opening Address: “This new surf club facility is undoubtedly one of the best and most attractive buildings on the coast if not in New South Wales, Australia and must be the envy of many surf clubs. I pay tribute to the architect, Mr Steve Gorrell and in particular Council’s Health and Building Department staff who costed, supervised construction and organised all sub-trades as well as designing the observation room. I also pay tribute to the subcontractors involved in construction of this building, their fine workmanship has resulted in construction of this truly magnificent structure.”

Gordon also went on to acclaim our Life Savers: “Life Savers perform a very important service, that is of cause, saving lives, it is therefore important that a Life Saver is trained to perfection, and this perfection can only be achieved when there is a properly equipped facility in which to undertake the necessary training.”

Gordon’s involvement in Urunga SLSC has been one of a very supportive community member. He has only missed one AGM during the last 30 years that I can recall and that was due to an illness in the family. Gordon was never short of a few words to say and always addressed our AGM with stories of events and happenings of years gone by. These tales would often bring a wry smile to the members in attendance. Gordon and Doreen always attended the Annual Presentation and were in attendance in 2012 at the President’s Dinner to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Clubhouse’s opening.

Gordon’s achievements throughout the Shire have been varied and substantial. To Urunga SLSC, Gordon epitomises all that is good and will be sadly missed.

Lawrie Renshall


Gordon Braithwaite’s funeral is on Thursday, March 9 at 10.30am at St Margaret’s Anglican Church followed by a wake at the Bellingen Golf Club at noon.