Our Toughest Year Yet....
For anyone working for themselves or running a small business, you all know it can be tough at times, it's not all smooth sailing, even though a lot of the time it can look like it is from the outside. Not only are you dealing with the stresses of everyday business, but personal life gets in the way sometimes too.
Some of you may know that the past year dealt us some blows on the personal front. Brooke's marriage broke up in the first part of the year and it stopped us in our tracks. Not only did it cause so much upheaval in her personal life, but she also had the business to deal with on top of her at home struggles. As i'm sure most of you who have been through a similar situation know, the kids come first, often leaving the parent caring about themselves last. It's tough to watch your sister go through this, and you feel so helpless and angry because you can't do anything.
Then, in early August of 2017 we found out our fit and active Dad had oesophageal cancer, that had spread to the liver and stomach. It shook us to our core. Our Dad couldn't be sick! He was still working full time! Still going to the gym a few times a week! It just didn't make any sense.
The prognosis wasn't good, but we were told that while Chemo wouldn't be a cure, it would be a treatment to delay the inevitable. While Dad was in St George hospital for a procedure to have a port put in place to begin treatment his behaviour changed. He started hallucinating and talking about people from long ago in his past. He thought he was somewhere he wasn't. At first the doctors thought it was the pain meds causing it and changed the plan of attack. When that didn't work they decided on a brain scan. They found tumors in his brain. There was nothing they could do, and we were told he had roughly 6 weeks, and would be moved to Calvary Hospital. The day they moved him from St George he was still well enough to walk down to the patient transport vehicle. When the nurses came in with the wheelchair he looked and them and quickly asserted 'i don't need that!'
I don't know if you can imagine, but to think of someone you love knowing they are dying is the worst pain you can feel. I just kept wanting to take the knowledge away. I didn't want him to know that. Dad deteriorated quickly. Which didn't surprise us as he would've had none of being sick for a long time! In a way i'm glad it was quick for him, but it made it all the harder on us to deal with. 10 days later, on the 4th September, just 4 short weeks from the initial diagnosis, our Dad passed away.
Still in shock we couldn't really wrap our heads around what had just happened. We couldn't fathom coming to work and dealing with the day to day. For anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent you will know it's a process. It's doesn't instantly get better after the funeral. It gets worse. Friends go back to their everyday life. But everything about our life has changed. It's an indescribable pain.
We have been so lucky for our beautiful customers in store. We had so many of you come in or contact us to see how we were coping. Some of you had been through the same thing and it was so comforting to have our chats. We can never thank you all for the support we received in the days and months after Dad passed. Whilst we would have loved to curl up in bed and cry, we had a business to run and just didn't have that option. You all did make it just that little bit easier and we will appreciate that forever.
So, as i'm sure you can imagine, we lost our business mojo. Everyday was hard and nothing seemed important. The wheels fell off in a way and we barely scraped through the last months of the year. All of our suppliers were so understanding. We cannot thank them enough for their patience. Whilst we still have our moments we are slowly getting back into a business mindset - we have to, our Dad helped us achieve this dream, we'll do it for him. So while we recover, both personally and business wise we will be getting back to basics, and finding the love for the business that got us here in the first place.
For anyone dealing with grief, i would recommend counselling. It's helped me and i've only attended one session. I'll be going back for more. Counselling is offered for free to family of patients at Calvary. Honestly the nurses and carers in that hospital are the most special people.
So, while we couldn't be happier 2017 is over, we are hopeful 2018 will be a better one for us. Here are some photo's of Dad showing what he loved most about life -His family and living to the fullest. I've even included one in all our 80's glory!
Thanks for the love xx
Brooke and Shannon.