Just over 3 months ago, it was a normal night. We had gone to a friend’s house to watch the first State of Origin, I had avoided all State of Origin’s until this point and I thought this was going to be the night I finally got through a whole game! But half time I had a missed call and a voicemail from my mum asking her to call me, and that’s the moment my world was turned upside down. I got one of those phone calls no one ever wants to receive.

Dad and my little sister Luci had been in a motorbike accident. They had hit a wallaby whilst riding through the Grampians near home in South West Victoria. Luci was fine and in Hamilton hospital under observation but my dad had been airlifted to Melbourne with a lot of fractures. I knew living on the other side of the country there were going to be times I had to make emergency flights down south, but that thought never makes it any easier.

Less than two days later I finally made it to the hospital, and although my mum is a nurse and wouldn’t sugar coat anything for my brother Henry and I, walking in to ICU and seeing dad in a “drug induced sleep” (it’s funny reflecting back later, no one ever said the word coma, although that’s essentially what it was. Somehow the word sleep is a hell of a lot nicer sounding than coma), with tubesand machines everywhere, no photos could prepare for that moment. Though no matter how hard that initial week was, how many tears were shed as we thought about how close we came to losing him and what the future will entail, as it was very unclear how he would recover at that stage, there were a lot of silver linings that week. I realised how incredible my whole family is.

It was incredible how quickly all my family banded together to support my mum in this traumatic event. Family were so quick to jump in cars and come sit with her in ICU, to make her smile, to give her somewhere to stay indefinitely, and just do everything they could. And in my week home I saw a lot of family I hadn’t seen in nearly two years, and despite everything we had a lot of laughs whilst talking and reminiscing.

But I want to do a special shout out to my immediate family.

My dad, the smartest man I know. You told me you remember somewhere in your drug induced haze someone saying that if your head had turned the other way that you wouldn’t be here with us, and I can’t imagine a world without you around, I’m not ready for that. You are incredible with how far you have come in such an incredibly short amount of time considering you were dealing with 20+ fractures on last count, and I wish I was there to celebrate you coming home last Friday, 3 months and 1 day after that horrific phone call. This could have broken you, it could have broken anyone but you are so strong and amazing.

My brother Henry. We haven’t always gotten along, but seeing you step up to the plate when shit got real, I am so proud of you. I was flailing and didn’t know what to do or how to help, but the second dad needed help with something when the nurses weren’t around, or if dad was yelling for help or just confused about where he was and what had happened, you were by his side immediately, doing everything you could and reassuring him as much as possible despite how much pain he was in (and how much he hated that bastard of a neck collar those first few days!). You are a very caring and pretty special guy.

My mum, the strongest woman I know. You dealt with all sorts of crap thrown your way and shouldered a lot of it on your own even with your wonderful support team of friends and family. You were continually travelling backwards and forwards between home and the hospital trying to deal with hospital dramas when you weren’t around and home dramas when you were in Melbourne. I tried to help a much as I could, to be a shoulder to lean on and vent to, and it killed me the few times you broke down and there was nothing I could do. But you soldiered on. I hope to have even half of your strength and determination one day.

And finally my hero, my little sister Luci. When the accident happened you were flung off the back of the bike into the bush, and as far as I know dad was conscious when you got to him, but the thought of you alone on the road for those few minutes with dad breaks my heart. I’ve been told that you flagged down traffic and when help came you were calm and collected and so brave, I know I wouldn’t have handled a situation like that amazingly as you did. Even now I’ve been so worried of repercussions from what you went through, but no you have just taken everything in your stride and nothing so far has worried you, including going in to surgery to have your thumb straightened, the only bone you broke from bouncing off the road! You are an inspiration and I’m so excited to see how you grow into a young woman, you are going to be even more remarkable than you already are.

So I guess the lesson from this, as cliché as it is, is don’t take anything for granted, because it can all change in an instant, and you don’t realise this until you are faced with a traumatic event. Hold your loved ones close, and tell them you love them. To my family, I don’t tell you enough, but I love you all so much and I miss you all each and every day. I will see you all soon.

Lots of love,

Eloise

PS. SONG RECOMMENDATION (I love sharing my music, so I’ve decided for each blog I’ll add in a song, old or new, that I love, maybe reflecting the mood of the blog, I don’t know I’m just making it up as I go along!)

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Holy Holy (Triple J Like A Version). I have a memory of being at home just with dad one evening, cooking dinner and playing the original by Joy Division and dad singing along, just one of those uneventful, enjoying the moment memories. This is one of my favourite Like A Version’s so I feel it suits.

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