13 Jan 22

By Dominic Byrne

Single Parent Getting After It

The three year anniversary of Lou’s death was special but poignant.

Just getting to Momi Bay, Fiji was a challenge. The Omnicron Covid variant was on the loose in Sydney, severely impacting holiday travel. As a vacating family of 11 we were magical to dodge positive tests before departure. It was like dancing in the rain and not getting wet.

We timed our Island holiday arrival perfectly for a category one hurricane, yep, pretty much landed right in the eye of the storm.

As the weather cleared and the sun started to shine, Grandpa was exiled into isolation with a positive Covid test, and he went down sick too. Grandpa never gets sick.

Nonetheless, the six loved hearts are always making lemonade.

Anniversaries of a loved one’s death is probably the shittiest milestone to celebrate. For me, “celebrate” is the wrong verb to use. I see the milestone as an acknowledgement of the precious time we spent with the departed and a sombre reminder of how short that time actually was.

Five days into the holiday was Lou Lou’s anniversary. Three years to the day that she exhaled one last time wrapped in my arms, never to inhale a breath again.

We decided to take the remembrance party to Grandpa and organise some Fijian dancers in front of his ocean Bungalow. Grandpa loves a show more than anyone and this was the perfect way to cheer him up and honour his firstborn.

The weather was clear and the Fijian MC kicked off with a traditional prayer to honour Louise. I don’t know what he said but it was beautiful and it felt special.

Champagne in hand, sitting in the soft sand, the first entertaining dance started with a backdrop of the prettiest sunset we had on the holiday. Scattered flavours of blue and white, with some soft pinks in the distant sky and the palm trees waving at the heavens in the ocean breeze.

By the second dance segment, Evie had dragged her cousins up to mimic the three Fijian girls shaking their grass skirts to the beats. Louise would have undoubtedly been the first to dance, so it was fitting her pretty little girl was naturally taking the lead.

Darkness set in and the fire dancers hit our makeshift stage in spectacular fashion with bright blistering flames cutting through the black night.

Everyone was all smiles.


JBoy organised for the kids to throw some hand-picked flowers into the ocean and say something to Lou. Our own little ceremony to connect.

Noah stated he didn’t want to talk out loud when throwing in his handful of flowers into the lapping tide. We all tossed our flowers in one by one and spoke to Lou with a brief message.

When everyone had thrown in their flowers and moved away from the water, NoNo’s was standing accompanied in the pitch black, knee-deep in the warm South Pacific Ocean for a minute or so, his eyes shut and talking silently to his mum. He then tossed his flowers in the water and burst into tears.

I could see it coming so I’d turned off my phone and was right behind him. I picked him up, he latched on and cuddled me tight like a Koala clinging to a gumtree. He cried wet tears into my neck and sobbed.

We spent 15 minutes like this while I encouraged him to cry. I didn’t say much, I just let him cry it out. The deeper the love the deeper the pain.

It’s a cathartic event and a platform for Noah and me to talk.

I often attempt to explain to Noah how much his mum loved him. Maybe I just need to tell him “she loved you as much as you loved her” and he will understand.

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