Not knowing it’s the last time

I still had sand between my toes and salty curls in my hair as I started writing this blog post last night.

I couldn’t resist driving to the Northern Beaches yesterday for my last swim of the season.

DD and I went to Palm Beach for a splash. The water was sooooooo divine: clear and warm and aquamarine.

We had a lovely beach stroll afterwards, then wandered into The Boathouse for bacon and egg rolls and flat whites.

How lucky am I?


As I drove to work, I couldn’t help thinking about “last times” and that you don’t usually know they are: the last time your child reaches their arms up to be carried … the last holiday you have as a nuclear family … the last time you give your grandmother a hug …

Then there are the times you know will be the last and mourn as they approach.

I’ll never forget the last time I breastfed my youngest daughter. I was back at work full-time, we were down to a feed before bedtime and another first thing in the morning. There can’t have been much milk left, it was more a special time we spent together in the rocking chair, just the two of us.

I was surprised by how sentimental I was about ending those feeds. I never enjoyed breastfeeding. It was agonisingly painful in the first weeks/months: bleeding nipples, mastitis, attachment issues.

I’d finally found my rhythm when the youngest was nine months old. But it was getting too tricky with my long work hours and it felt like it was time to stop.

As I held her during that last feed I was filled with unexpected emotion. I would never breastfeed a child again.

I felt the same emotion the night before we told the kids we were separating.

My husband announced on a Monday that he was leaving, but Dr Google said it was best to tell the kids on a day they weren’t going to school. My husband worked on Saturdays, so the next Sunday morning was chosen.

We kept up the pretence that nothing was wrong until then. I can’t begin to tell you how difficult and awful that was. It was particularly rough going to bed on the Saturday night, knowing what lay ahead the next morning. My husband and I lay awake most of the night, talking and talking in a way we hadn’t done for years.

My daughter was so upset by the day’s events that slept between us on the Sunday night. I was gutted, both because we had caused her so much pain and because I wouldn’t get to sleep beside my husband for the last time.

I know that sounds odd. But I was in denial about what was happening and desperately hoped it was a nightmare that would end.

Despite all that he’d done, I still loved him. I wasn’t IN love with him any more, but I loved him. And I was scared. And I didn’t want him to go.

The next morning, I helped him pack his clothes, towels, sheets and kitchen essentials. His brother in law arrived with a ute to help him move into his new flat.

And then he was gone. It was the last time we would sleep in the same bed together.

Except I didn’t really comprehend that it WAS the last time. I spent the next few months spamming him with psychobabble articles about how he’d made the biggest mistake of his life, convinced he’d be back.

I was wrong.

But, while it fills my heart with sadness to remember those first painful months, like my new blog write-off says, the end was just the beginning.

And because I don’t know what “last times” lie ahead for me, I ran into the ocean with my arms wide open yesterday.

Song of the day: Rolling Stones “The Last Time”


4 thoughts on “Not knowing it’s the last time

  1. I always wonder about last times. Some good to be gone, others painful to lose. Glad to leave behind parent-teacher evenings, doing spelling homework with the children. Sad ones to leave behind-the last time our children climbed into bed with us, the last time I heard their childish giggling. Ones you don’t lose-school concerts, dance concerts, children’s weekend sport -these come back with the grandchildren. Sad last times will come eventually -last time I see each child and grandchild, my last Christmas, my last swim at a beach, my last time snorkeling, my last dance to music, my last painting, last extended family dinner, last time I see friends. I am not looking forward to many future last times. They will occur and I won’t even know that they are last times.

  2. There are some last times that I wish I could do-over. Like my grandparents. They had come to visit me when I had my tonsils out I was 18 and a brat! I was in huge pain and frankly pissed off at the world and still cranky with my nan for giving me a bloody cheese knife instead of chocolate for Christmas. Mum called out to say they were leaving and I pretended to be asleep. Turns out that was the last time I had to ever be suffocated by Nan in a hug they were killed in a car accident 3weeks later.
    Same with my fiance we spoke a number of times the day he died but we had known each other for so long and we were going out that night to celebrate getting engaged which was not a big hooha thing just something for us because his first wife had left so it was going to be his second marriage. But we had always joked on one of our gazillion breakups at 17 that we would get married after one of us had been married and divorced. So we both knew we loved each other so much so we stopped saying it. But I did for some strange reason say it on his answering machine that afternoon. He died before we could announce to the world that we were engaged though his mum said to me at his funeral she was so happy for us because the last time she had seen him that happy was when we were together before he married his first wife.
    We never know when the last time will be and too be honest I am a little bit glad because knowing it is the last time can be incredibly hard to let go. There is no way I would have let him go that day if I had known.

    • I was a callous youth too to my great grandmother. The guilt still eats away at me all these years later. And that is AWFUL about your fiance, I had no idea. I am so, so sorry – you must have been a mess.

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