Grief pops up when you least expect it.

Today I am writing about grief.

I am working in the area of grief and I regularly talk to people about the circular nature of grief and how it can be triggered when you least expect it.

It hit me the other day when I least expected it.

I am very very well and I do not intend to upset anyone who has grief related to losing a loved one because I think that is so much more significant than my loss but I still experience loss in relation to my accident over two years ago. I had an incident last night where my grief about my accident was triggered. I feel terrible for the feelings that I have because I know my life is truly special but it is what it is and it still effects me.

I was sitting with my beautiful husband and daughter at dinner last night at a gorgeous little restaurant in Miami called Little Truffle. I felt so blessed eating beautiful food with two very special people.

David was telling me about his ride that morning and how he had a personal best up a big hill out the back of the coast. I love listening to David’s achievements and I don’t ever want him to stop achieving or doing amazing things or telling me about it. Last night however I found it really hard listening to all his achievements because I was jealous of his achievements and angry that an achievement of mine was not realized.

I will try to explain why….

On the day of my Accident I did personal best times up both McAffees and Mount Glorious. I was so fit and healthy. The week before I had ridden to Mount Tamborine and back – a distance of 140km with a decent Hill in the middle. I had loved it and was even better at the end of that ride than at the beginning. I was training to do a ride called The Peaks Gold Coast . I am a slow rider but my fitness was improving and I believe I was on track to be able to achieve my goal of finishing this ride.

I never got to do that ride and I won’t ever do anything like it again. This is not because I can’t train and do the ride, it is because at this point I choose not to do a ride like this. I am lucky I am still alive. I am very very aware now of the fragility of life and how easily life can change. It only takes a flat tyre descending a hill to lose control, a car coming to close and the mirror side swiping you, a car door opening as you ride past, a car not seeing you and pulling out in front of you. As a rider you are aware of the possibility of all these things happening but when you ride if you thought of things like this constantly the enjoyment of the ride would be non existent. My accident was due to my own personal error not someone else’s but I am acutely aware now about how quickly life can change. I know if I put my mind to it I could train just as hard as I was two years ago but my choices now are different.

I love my life. I am happy with the choices I make. Just every now and then I get caught by surprise by my emotions. These emotions include anger about what happened to me and sadness for the opportunities not realized and the goals not achieved. And every now and then I feel overwhelmed by these feelings. I can’t change what happened to me but I do love this journey of life and making new memories and achieving new goals. These feelings of anger and sadness are getting less frequent but they still pop up occasionally.

I think this is the nature of grief. You experience a loss. The feelings at the beginning are overwhelming. You deal with the day to day. Eventually you continue on with life and making new memories and making new plans. Your feelings become less overwhelming but they are still there under the surface. Every now and then those feelings bubble over sometimes when you least expect it. You don’t need anyone to tell you it is ok. You know it is ok. You just know that things are now different.

I hope anyone dealing with the emotions related to some sort of grief are managing ok. Please make sure if the emotions you are dealing with become overwhelming to get help.

There are many numbers you can call if grief becomes overwhelming

Lifeline—phone 13 11 14 for free counselling and support (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Lifeline also provides information about other grief counselling services.

13 HEALTH—call 13 43 25 84 for general health information and referrals (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

The Compassionate Friends, Queensland—support for families who have experienced the death of a family member. Phone (07) 3254 2585 or attend a drop-in centre.

Sands—if you have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death, call 1300 072 637 to speak to someone who understands.

beyondblue—phonecall 1300 224 636 if you are feeling depressed and want to talk to a trained professional about your problems (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Salvo Care Line—call 1300 363 622 for counselling provided by the Salvation Army (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Parentline—phone 1300 301 300 for counselling and support for parents (8am–10pm, 7 days a week).

Kids Help Line—if you are aged 5–25, call 1800 551 800 for free counselling (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

MensLine Australia—call 1300 789 978 for professional support and advice for men (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Until next time

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Thursday’s Grateful List

Today I am grateful for holidays.

This year we are not going overseas over the Christmas break. I am so excited. We are at the beach.

It is so lovely to not have the regular stuff to do.

I don’t iron when I am at the beach. I don’t plan meals. I do as little cleaning as I can get away with.

My plan these holidays is to walk, meditate, read, journal and rest.

It is so important to take time out of the normal routine of life to rest.

Even if you can’t take time out for a holiday it is important to disengage from your normal routine and have some down time in a place that fills you up.

My happy place is the beach. Yours might be the bush or even a night in a beautiful hotel with a white fluffy bath robe and room service.

I encourage you this Christmas period to take some time for yourself.

Happy Thursday to you all.

Until next time

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Saturday’s Grateful List

Today I am grateful for just one thing – that David didn’t do the L’eTape race down in Thredbo/Jindabyne. It is pouring with rain. We are down here for David and two of his mates to do it. They have all decided to be sensible and not do it. Instead we are having a day of napping and reading. It is lovely.

This was the BOM this morning.

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Tuesday’s Grateful List

Today I am grateful for goals.

It is over two years since my accident now and I have decided it is time for some achievable fitness goals. These goals are

  • To ride 40km as part of a team of very special friends at the Noosa Tri in November next year.
  • To run non stop for 20mins. I have no time frame for this. It will just happen when it happens.
  • To walk 30km in a team of girls in the Sunshine Coast Trek in May next year.
  • To walk the Bay of Fires with David next April.

I haven’t had many goals over the last two years because every time I gave myself a goal that I thought I would reach I didn’t because something came up that was related to injuries from my accident. It was very challenging because I am a person who likes having goals. It was also very challenging because I think our society is geared towards reaching goals. For example many people eat to reach a certain weight, or exercise to achieve a certain event or study to get a certain OP. It is actually a shame that we are so goal driven. We should eat to be healthy and fuel our bodies to feel the best possible way. We should exercise within our limits so our bodies move well and remain injury free and we should study to improve our mind and be able to have interesting conversations and keep our minds active. When we are purely goal driven I think we lose these perspectives.

So I am going to work towards these goals but keep all the above at the forefront of my mind. Hopefully this will keep me balanced in the process of achieving these goals. And hopefully I will see you out walking or running or riding.

Until next time

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A Letter to my Grade 12 Daughter and her Principal.

Dear Principal,

I have written this email to you and I have attached a letter I have given to Lucy as I wish someone had given me some guidance when I was in Grade 12  about how to negotiate all the things that happen in life. If it is appropriate I would be happy for you to share it with the other Grade 12 girls in the hope that it might give them some strategies in addition to studying hard to cope with life after school.The only advice I was given when I was at school  was to study hard and have a career. I loved my time at Grammar and I know Lucy is loving her time too. I believe strongly in the value of education and our girls taking advantage of all the opportunities that are given to them. I also feel  there is so much pressure on our girls to have a career and extend their education and sometimes life just gets in the way. I would love for the girls to have a little understanding about the unpredictability of life and the value of all kinds of work. I know women who have amazing paid careers but I also know women who’s careers are stay at home mothers,I know women who are caring for disabled children, I know women who have dedicated their lives to caring for a dying partner or aging parents. I believe all these different types of work are very valuable and I would love my daughter to understand that life can lead to all forms of work giving her joy and being fulfilling.  Education gives women a wonderful start in life and then  life unfolds and it will be up to them to choose how to react to that path. I would love Lucy and her friends to understand that she should be proud of her Grammar education wherever or however  that education is used.

I believed I could do everything I wanted when I wanted when I left school. That was what Grammar taught me.   I expected that I wouldn’t have to justify the choices I made to anyone. That was what feminism taught me. I don’t think this perspective was realistic. I could do everything I wanted but not when I wanted because sometimes life happens and you have to alter how to contribute to life. I felt I had to justify my choices much more regularly than my friends who were male.

The way I have had to justify my choices is by answering many questions. Some of these questions have included – What are you going to do when you finish school? What are you going to do when you have finished study? What are you going to do next? When are you getting married? Why aren’t you married? When are you having children? Why aren’t having children? Why are you still working? Why haven’t you gone back to work? I can remember being asked all these questions and I am still asked questions about my life. For example – “Now your children are growing up what are you going to do?”Not only do I get asked these questions but also I ask myself these questions.

I do believe you can do anything you want, but life happens around us and our goals have to fit in to what life delivers to us. Some of my life has been governed by fate and has not been a choice and that happens to everyone. I am not special in that regard. I want Lucy to leave school and understand if she doesn’t achieve her goals straight away that she can still love life and be grateful and contribute in a meaningful way and she can always change the world in her own way.

I always wanted to change the world. When I was a little girl I wanted to care for people and become a nurse. I believed that was a good way to make the world a better place and change it for the better. Once I finished school I did follow my passion and did nursing. I trained at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and graduated as the best practical nurse in my graduating year. I then went on to university and graduated from a Bachelor of Nursing with Distinction and then I became a charge nurse of a busy general surgical and vascular unit at Greenslopes Private Hospital. I loved nursing and always felt I was making someone’s life a little more comfortable and bearable. That was my way of making the world a better place. I then got married and had three children. I loved being a charge nurse but gave that up to be a stay at home mum. I struggled with this choice as I thought I should continue to stay in the workforce but my career became being a parent and a wife.  Again I thought I was changing the world just a little bit because I was raising three children to be wonderful human beings who hopefully will make a contribution to our community and I had enough energy to love and support my husband.  At the same time I was raising my three children I was able to support our community by working as a volunteer. These were the choices I made up until 2015.

In 2015 I had a bicycle accident where I nearly died. This was not a choice I made. I sustained a number of injuries – I lost my left kidney, punctured my lung, broke a number of ribs, broke some bones in my back, tore my spleen, bruised my bowel and broke my arm. My life changed dramatically for a number of months. I now have a much greater appreciation of how to live in the present moment. I understand that life can change in an instant and that the way you expect your life to look can be altered in an instant.  I also have a great appreciation of the choices that I have made throughout life and I have no regret about those choices. As Brene Brown has said “ living a happy life is as much about embracing our tenderness and vulnerability as it is about developing knowledge and claiming power”. I want Lucy to understand that life is a mixture – sometimes life gives you choices and sometimes life is decided for you. She can always decide though how to react to those choices. I believe many Grammar girls because of the wonderful opportunities and education that Grammar provided – myself included feel obligated to our families to pursue more knowledge and power through education and paid work. Education contributes to knowledge but it is not life. Life is what happens to you and how you react to it. So my advice to Lucy is not about more education it is about pursuing a life that has meaning and is joyful and learning to make choices that will add to that life when life doesn’t go according to plan.

I have attached my letter to Lucy. I hope Lucy finds it useful once she has have left school and is dealing with everything that life will throw at her.

Yours sincerely
Jennifer Tucker

To my dear Lucy,

I wish you a life that is joyous.

I wish you a life filled with travel and adventures.

I wish you a life filled with wonderful friendships and romantic love.

I wish you a life filled with learning and continued growth.

Before you embark on the next part of the journey of life I would like to share 12 life lessons with you.

What are the qualifications I have to share these lessons with you?

I have never won a gold medal.

I am not the first female prime minister.

I am not a famous opera singer.

I have never won a Nobel Peace Prize.


I am a mother.

I have been a Charge Nurse of a busy general surgical ward responsible for 36 patients and 30 staff.

I have changed my career from nursing to raising my three beautiful children.

I have an incredibly happy marriage.

I have experienced illness and sadness.

I am incredibly grateful and happy for my life so far.

So my lessons are:

1. Exercise. Your life expectancy is now 84.8 years. Sometime during that time you are going to feel depressed. Exercise releases endorphins or feel good chemicals that ease depression and make you feel good. It doesn’t matter what your exercise is – running, walking, swimming, boxing, cycling, yoga…. Just find something and make it a habit and as Michelle Bridges says “ Just freaking do it”.

2. Make spaces in your day. We have so many ways of staying connected – computers, iPads, phones and television. Many of us use all these devices at once. By disconnecting regularly you will allow spaces to have a clearer less cluttered mind.

3. Read. Read for fun. Read to learn. Read for perspective.

4. Travel. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness.”

5. Forgive often. And then forgive some more. People do the best they can in every situation. You have no idea what is going on in their lives so forgive them for not living up to your expectations.

6. Embrace your vulnerability. You as a woman are vulnerable. You are vulnerable because you have so many choices that you can be criticized for. On average by the time women have reached the end of their fertility (40 – 44) they have had 2.8 children each (from Therefore by the time you have reached 44 you will have made choices. Choices about having children or not to have children, choices about staying in the workforce or taking some time off to care for your children. You will be vulnerable if you can’t have children, you will be vulnerable if you have children and you or somebody else thinks they are not perfect, vulnerable if you have children and stay in the workforce, vulnerable if you have children and leave the workforce, vulnerable if you choose not to have children, vulnerable if you lose a child. Be vulnerable enough to consider all the possibilities life has to offer and do not limit yourself just because you might fail or be criticized.

7. Be brave. Be brave enough to make choices based on love not fear. Do not be fearful you are not good enough or may offend someone. Life is short do what you love. Be brave enough to choose a life that strengthens who you are. If you believe in yourself and nurture yourself you will be better equipped to deal with all the things life throws at you. Be brave enough to own your life.

8. Be fierce. Be fierce enough to stand up for what happens to you in your life. Be fierce enough to stand up for what is right even when you feel that you are the only voice who is making a noise.

9. Practice gratitude. Life doesn’t always go to plan. Even if there is only one thing you can find to be grateful about research suggests practicing gratitude can improve your happiness. It is useful to write this down.

10. Have a team. We need people we can laugh with. Laughter fills us up. We also need people we can cry with. Sometimes we can’t manage on our own and we need help. When that is the case get help. There are so many people out there to help you – find a good GP, find a good psychologist, phone a friend or phone many of the help lines that are open 24 hours a day. It is perfectly ok to ask for help.

11. Be connected. Our world is connected more than we have ever been. The Internet and our news cycles have allowed us immediate knowledge of all things going on around us. Because of our connection you should never underestimate your unique ability to make a difference.

12. Think small. “ Everyone on earth should believe that they have something to give the world which cannot otherwise be given” Nicole Cody. If you have made one persons life just a little bit better then you have contributed to our world being a better place. So go out and be the best version of you. You are enough.

All my love


I have sourced this information from a number of people – myself, Brene Brown and Nicole Cody.

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Tuesday’s Grateful List

Today I am grateful for teachers.

With my daughter finishing Grade 12 it got me thinking about all the wonderful teachers she has had over her 12 years of schooling. 

I am grateful for all those teachers that have helped her negotiate her school life. I am grateful for all the things she has learnt. I am grateful for the help they have given her to be ready to enjoy and explore life going forward. I hope she finds many more teachers in the coming years to help her develop new passions that she will follow. 

 I have many teachers because I have never stopped learning. I am grateful for all those teachers. 

I have a beautiful singing teacher Leslie. I am learning so much and I think my singing is improving.

I have had wonderful cycling coaches who I have learnt so much from. Marcel Bengston, Kirsty Broun, Adam Gill and Nicci Heath have all helped me to be a better and stronger cyclist. 

I have a wonderful personal trainer Tom who I have worked with for about 10 years. I do weights with him and will always try and do some weight training so I keep osteoporosis at bay. 

And then I have all those other wonderful incidental teachers that are my friends that I have learnt things from because I admire the way they live their lives. 

I encourage you all to value and cherish those people in our lives that share their knowledge and allow all of us to keep on learning no matter what our age. 

Until next time 

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Monday’s Grateful List

Today I am grateful for all the wonderful things happening in my garden this week.

My chookies are busy laying.

And my garden is growing madly.

Until next time

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Tuesday’s Grateful List 

I haven’t posted in a while. I can honestly say I have missed it. I love the habit of consciously listing what I am grateful about. It makes me stop and reflect on all the good things that happen in my life. Life gets so busy and it is easy to forget how blessed I am. 

So today I am grateful I have wonderful friends who are so encouraging. 

They are so encouraging they have encouraged me to enter The Noosa Tri in a Team with them in 2018. We are entered!  

Now the training begins. I know it is only 40km on the bike but it is the first time I have had a cycling goal since the accident. It is very exciting!!! 

Thank you girls. 

Until next time 

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Tuesday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for Ipswich Hospice Care. 

On Saturday afternoon I had the privilege of attending their annual Rose Planting Ceremony . This ceremony was instigated to provide an afternoon  for families to honour their family members who had died at Hospice by being involved in a ceremony where a rose was planted in memory of their loved one. 

The format of the day was music, the reading of selected prose and poetry, reading the names of the guests who had died in the last year and finally unveiling the memorial plaque and planting the rose. 

This ceremony has been going for a number of years and Hospice now has a beautiful rose garden with many plaques throughout. The blooms from the roses are cut and placed in vases throughout Hospice for the enjoyment of current Guests, families, team members and visitors. 

It was the most beautiful ceremony. I was overwhelmed with the emotion of the afternoon. One of the things that affected me was that 300 people were all in the one place honoring their loved ones. I looked out on a sea of faces – mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children and friends. They were all grieving for a loved one. They were all on a journey of grief but this afternoon they were all sharing their grief quietly together  in a beautiful setting at a beautiful ceremony. 

The names were read out quite slowly so each family could take time to contemplate their lost loved one. 

I was honored to be able to do a reading. The reading I did was very moving: 

                                                                                       Loving from the Outside in Mourning from the Inside Out 

I am sad and I am present to all that is good in my life.

I feel lost and I am finding my way.

I miss him and I choose joy

I am bereft and I am actively loving others in my life

I grieve and I love.

I love and I mourn.  

                                      Alan D Wolfelt  

The music was very beautiful too. A lady sang this beautiful song . 

I am so grateful for this Community of Compassion and I am honored to be part of it as a volunteer .

Until next time 

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Monday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for spending Sunday afternoon with a lovely group of people. Friends organised a get together for the group that was involved in the accident 6 weeks ago  on Doorknock Terrace where five cyclists got injured. 

It was lovely to catch up with all but one of them. I felt quite overwhelmed to be able to talk to them and give them a hug. To the cyclist who wasn’t able to make the afternoon – I am sending a virtual hug. 

It got me thinking about the advice I would like to share with them from the experience I have had following my nasty cycling accident. 

My thoughts are this 

  1. Be gentle on yourself. 
  2. Be gentle on your partner. That morning has effected them terribly too. 
  3. If you or your partner are struggling with what has happened or anger,anxiety or sadness are becoming unmanageable get some counselling. On second thoughts go and get some counselling anyway. Encourage your partner to do the same.
  4. Don’t be a hero – accept help when it is offered.  
  5. Practice being grateful. Start with the big thing – you are all alive . Then start appreciating the little things eg good coffee, yummy food, good music. It is helpful to write it down. If you can’t write it down there are plenty of apps you can use to record things like that. One I have used is Day One. 
  6. Lower your expectations. No really – lower your expectations. 
  7. Think small. Little changes in the progression of recovery are important. 
  8. Your world has shrunk. You can’t do the things you want to do at the moment. Try and get enjoyment from the little things like reading a book or watching a movie. Allow yourself permission to do those activities too. 
  9. Eat nutritious food and try and get enough sleep. Both are extremely important in the recovery process. 
  10. Surround yourself with a good team. Make sure you have respect and confidence in the people who are looking after you. Don’t be afraid to change those people if you are not happy with what they are offering. 
  11. Put goals on hold for the moment. There is plenty of time in the future to have goals. Focus at the moment on the day to day and making small changes each day.

Many people said to me two years ago that it would take me at least two years to get over my accident. I didn’t believe them. I thought once my surgical incisions had healed I would be back to how I was before the accident. I have learnt that we are never the same from one day to the next. I will never be the same person as I was two years ago. I am not the same person from one day to the next but I love life and I am very happy . 

I wish all those friends who have been injured and have a period of recovery ahead a speedy return to health and I hope you can focus on positive aspects of your recovery and not become overwhelmed with the negative. You won’t be the same person as before the accident but it is possible to enjoy life even though you may not be on your bike.  

 Until next time 

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