Venting through the blowhole of grief

Blowhole

I have had grief described to me in many ways, and none of them have ever really described what it has felt like to me since losing Samuel. I’ve been searching for a metaphor that would adequately describe my experience and how varied it is from day to day.

After a lot of thought, the constant motion of waves against a rugged coast,  and the actions of a blowhole are the closest I can come to describing my experience of  grief.

The waves vary in size, sometimes they are a gentle swell rolling and sometimes they bring crashing waves, washing up against the rugged coast of my consciousness. Like a rugged coast my consciousness is full of cracks and crevices through which the the waves pulse and withdraw.  Sometimes as they surge and pulse …. Woosh.. There it blows..  emotion erupts releasing the pressure and I feel like I simply need to collapse, like the column of water after the eruption of a blowhole.

Sometimes there is a rhythm to cycle of the emotional eruption, some days I know it’s coming, I anticipate it and I can sit and observe the rawness and feeling of loss and sadness, other times the eruption seems to come from nowhere and just like standing next to a blowhole unaware,  I wind up drenched by the eruption.

As today marks two years since Samuel died, it is a day of expected emotion, and no doubt tears many times throughout the day. It is also a reflection on the passing of time. When Samuel was alive there were markers of time before and after his non-fatal drowning. We passed things like the point in time where he had been severely disabled for a quarter of the time that he had been our “normal” little man, then half the time, three quarters, equal time… and then.. well and then… it just was. Now that he is not here I find my mind watching that clock again…. two years.. almost as long as we had him “normal”.

  

Time ticks

Onwards time ticks,
its passing is stark.
Surging memories of moments sweet,
and moments ohh so dark.
Some dates are markers of time,
Defining our before, defining our after.

Through the pain we strive to remind,
ourselves of the moments of joy and of laughter.
That despite being apart,
with days sometimes flooded with tears
and the permanent cracks in our hearts
your memory will last all of our years.

Connecting with their hearts not their heads!

The last two days have been spent at the Australian Water Safety Conference, organised on behalf of the Australian Water Safety Council by Royal Life Saving Society Australia, Austswim (the Australian Council for the the teaching of Swimming and Water Safety), Surf Life Saving Australia and other member organisations.

The conference featured an International collection of delegates and presenters.

Social Media, Community and Effective Communication for Water Safety

In my role as the MD of the Samuel Morris Foundation I participated in the Plenary Panel discussion on Effective Communication. This panel looked at What is effective communication? The role of technology in effectively communicating water safety messages, the use of social media in our communication and a discussion of the state of core messages related to water safety. Part of my discussion on this panel was influenced by this great TED talk by Simon Sinek, and as result I was encouraging people in the water safety industry to connect with peoples hearts not their heads… or in Simon’s words to get to that “gut feeling” that the message is just right!

If you have been here a while you will know the story of How I got here and why I also presented a paper on “Non Fatal Drowning – A case study, advocacy and influencing water safety outcomes”.

Community readiness for drowning prevention

In this presentation I examined a model for community readiness for drowning prevention messages, the current state of community readiness, the contribution of Non-Fatal drowning statistics to community readiness (and how these statistics remain invisible in the current methods of statistical reporting), achieving the goals of the Australian Water Safety Strategy through partnership, collaboration and coalition, building new collaborations with emerging grass roots organisations, and discussed the due diligence checks that should be carried out to ensure that new organisations actions and ethics do not hold any surprises or any potential harm to your own organisations reputation. ( copy of the presentation is being prepared to be uploaded to the Samuel Morris Foundation website very soon).

Child drowning and near drowning continues…

Child drownings occur year round and in developed countries like Australia and the United States drowning is one of the top two or three causes of accidental death for children aged 0-4 and in some jurisdictions it is THE leading cause of accidental death, but as you can gather from the topic of my presentation this is only part of the picture because many more children are left disabled as a result of non-fatal drownings. (and the situation is far worse in developing countries) So no matter what season it is in your part of PLEASE take heed ……

  • Always supervise children in and around water (keep 0-4 year olds within arms reach)
  • Provide effective well maintained barriers to stop children getting into the water (four sided isolation pool fencing, or fenced off safe play areas)
  • Teach children water survival skills and to swim (commencing as early as possible)
  • Have an emergency plan (knowing CPR may well be the difference between life and death for a child if all of the above fail)

Keeping all of our children SAFER

Water is lots of fun, but lets make it SAFER for our children.

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