Tuesday 17th May 2022

24/51 #LifeThisWeek. Telling My Story. Ch.26. 2021. Pt 1/3. Jan-April. 73/2021.

Nourish 24/51 #LifeThisWeek. Telling My Story. Ch.26. 2021. Pt 1/3. Jan-April. 73/2021.

News Update:

  • I might have been driving to Canberra today getting ready to attend a Parliamentary Breakfast about Head and Neck Cancer on Tuesday 15 June, but this was not to be. Covid19 in Victoria prevented many of the attendees from coming, so now we “wait” until another date!
  • On Saturday, our time, Blogging Friend Marsha from AlwaysWrite Blog published a post after interviewing me and taking a great deal of time (and energy) to research this blog and find out more. The photo and the link is is now on the side of this blog  and for convenience, should you like to read it, I have it here too. I am very grateful for the way in which this was done AND I am very proud to say how much it means to me that #lifethisweek continues.
  • Taking the liberty today of not posting using the optional prompt, Nourish, but sharing the first third of 2021 in Telling My Story. Chapter 26, here it is.

Telling My Story. Chapter Twenty Six. 2021. Part 1/3. Jan-April.

The backstory first:

FOUR years ago now ….I thought it was time, seeing I had a blog, to start writing my story. It was on advice from a blogging friend, now published author that I did. Then, for a long time I did not. Because cancer was diagnosed.

Nevertheless, I eventually returned to the story and now I am at Chapter Twenty Six. Telling the story as 2021 progresses in three parts. Today is Part One. January to April 2021.

So, in keeping with my ethical approach to all things, I am making the chapters about MY recollections to various changes in life for me, and us, and life as we knew it. I hope I can continue sharing the story without any intentionally negative or hurtful references to others who are in my life as friends and family members. All of the stories to date found here.

And with this chapter, a recent photo…taken overlooking the harbour at Dobroyd near where I grew up close to Manly N.S.W.

January 2021.

The new year here was quiet. I adopted the word “smile” as my word of the year. We got into planning and organising mode for our upcoming 5o years of marriage celebration.

It was to be “just our kids and their kids” at our place on Saturday 23 January 2021 – the actual day but NO.

Could not be done.

Why? The Covid Restrictions from December 2020 continued into January. There would only be a maximum of 5 people visit a house. So…with disappointment but resignation, we had the celebration over 2 days…and it also continued the following Saturday. Posts are here and here and here!

January is a boys’ birthday month in the family,

My Dad first, turning 97.

Then our son, 41 and his nephew, our grandson turning 20.

I visited Dad on the day.

The weather was pretty mild in January and we did not get any power outages…always a worry when temps rise in Summer. In fact, it was an excellent and pleasant summer month.

Here’s some highlights in photos:

February 2021.

It becomes a bit like back to school, even though we are retired. Back to some regular routines and some necessary health matters. It was me who got to have a gastroscopy (to rule out any bleeding, it did) and then an iron infusion in hospital It sure worked. Levels went from 11 to 225. I kind of noticed and I could go for more walks and sustain them too.

I continued walking pretty consistently most days, visiting the shops but rarely now having a coffee and something to eat. It has become too expensive to do this now as well. Still, I enjoy getting out and about and just window shopping..most of the time! I still keep an eye on clothing bargains and they come and go. I cannot buy on line much at all. I need to try clothes on.

I did like walking when I saw these.

Lots of the eastern states ended up having awful floods and torrential rain. We are in a pretty new & modern  suburban area but lots of roads were affected. I stayed away from places until it is safe and then I ventured out to take photos. Sure were high levels even after a break in the rain.

I got back to the first Head and Neck Cancer Support Group Meeting in a year. It was excellent being back together. The isolation of covid did not help with connection did it?

I went to my first in-person entertainment event (and a first for everyone involved post-Covid) at Newcastle for the Newcastle Writers Festival where Julie Gillard was interviewed by Rosemarie Milsom.


Covid restrictions were lifted for visiting at home, so I asked our son if we could all gather together at his place on the day for his Dad’s 72nd and we had fun with all the kids coming, and some play, chatting and eating Grandma’s cakes and snacks. And we got a much longer for FAMILY photo.

March 2021.

My memory is not telling me any moments are standouts really. However, I do recall Easter was here somewhere in the mix. I also drove down to see my Dad in early March 2021 and went back to where he and Mum lived for many years (I did for 10) and had quite a spiritual experience. I became brave enough (it’s been from years of fear about having to use a toilet on way home on the M1) to go to St Ives shopping centre on the way home and treat myself to a wonderful coffee and a slice of carrot cake. Really proud of myself when I make those small shifts.

Felt Mum’s presence here…very close to where she lived…and also where she died, just across that part of the Harbour.

61. The same address as this house…but NOT this house that has replaced our home.

Mum and Butterfly sign…I loved that.

No-one visits us here for Easter – or on long weekends – at our request. The traffic on the M1 to and from Sydney is crazy. We had a drive over to see the water -sparkling – near Norah Head on Good Friday. And later that day, we got to meet the second son of our neighbours…who at less than a week old enjoyed nestling in my husband’s arms.

We just ticked along here at home, with some regular medical appointments and check ups and then….it was announced we could apply for our first dose of a Covid Vaccine. We enrolled at a doctors’ nearby as our GPs were not involved and it was a seamless, and painless and reaction-less experience.

April 2021.

School holidays happened and we were glad to host our son and his family. Great fun day with them, and the girls filled my art heart with joy when they got stuck into the activities they found in my study. The eldest and middle one had all started learning with me waaaay back at Glenwood to use media and materials. Fun.

Our daughter’s youngest was turning 9 and having a picnic birthday lunch. When I asked could I help, I was assigned “take home” bags and can you make them “non-gendered”. OK. I did my best and let me tell you, changing my thoughts about not for a boy or a girl but either was a challenge but I heard they were winners.

Here’s how it ended up. The event was held at Fagan Park and the kids brought scooters and had free rein to play, and then they all got a package of their own picnic. I have a very organised and thoughtful daughter.

Out and About In Nature.

Weather conditions.

Change of seasons.






I love it all and try to capture it with my iphone. Here’s what happened in Autumn.

Special Event: Sunrise on A.N.Z.A.C. Day.

It had been about 5 years since I had risen earlier enough to capture sunrise, so when A.N.Z.A.C. Day was on a Sunday, I rose at 5.00 a.m. and drove to Soldiers Beach Carpark (2o minutes away) and found a rock to sit on & watch, wait and give thanks for a year that has not been great but we got through. I figured too I was honouring the original A.N.Z.A.C.s It was an amazing privilege. 25 April 2021.

As I drove back home, I stopped and photographed the cenotaph at Toukley R.S.L. My collage is from 2020 and then 2021.

A Special Day To Visit My Dad.

“I’ll be down to see you next on your Mother’s Birthday.” I said to Dad. So it was on 26th April, I drove to Dee Why where Dad lives in retirement comfort to share some morning tea and memories with him. His mother, Gran to me, came to Australia as a war bride in 1920 and her life was ‘T for tough’ for a number of reasons. So, 26th April, I tried to get 97 year old Dad to have some gratitude and compassion for this woman he remembers as sad and cranky.  I said it would be helpful if he could, to try to see the challenges she faced after leaving her home country. I think it made a difference to his thoughts.

My memories from the day of my visit.

From my stop at Pymble: lovely camellia.

Dad agreed to a photo this time…and we even stood for it. He “is” however, holding onto me. On the right of him, the photo on the wall is of his mother and father on their Wedding Day, 1920.

I always try to do a life selfie on my way home.

And as I leave Dad’s I often drive to where I can see the beaches I remember so well from living nearby as a teen. How fortunate I was for those years to be near Manly, and to go to Manly Girls High School…which, funnily enough was/is in Brookvale and now known as Northern Beaches Senior Campus. This is from Freshwater looking back to Manly, North Steyne and around that cliff is Queenscliff Beach.

And that, is it for now. The first third of 2021. It was made easier with the photos to help me remember ‘what, who, when’.

Thanks for reading this latest Telling My Story.

The whole series is here.


Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

Link Up #244

Life This Week. Link Up #244

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  1. Wow, Denyse, you sure keep busy! As if the world’s weirdness isn’t complicated enough! Your dear father looks amazing at 97..I bet he’s around for a long time! I’m linking up today, of course with Sunday Stills “pink” telling my short story of being with family last week to attend my cousin’s husbands celebration of life in Oregon (6 hours drive from Spokane). Part of that storytelling as you will see is me getting back on the water in local waters for the first time. Your family is lovely and you are a blessed woman! Her is my link, and I’m also dropping the link into the link party 🙂 https://secondwindleisure.com/2021/06/13/sunday-stills-color-challenge-a-portland-summer-in-pink/

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Lovely to see you here Terri. I needed to do a lot of this as you see, because when we first moved away from all we knew anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome kept my away from who and what I loved. It was all part of the grieving at life’s pretty major transitions….and I got that intellectually but emotionally it was hard.

      Now I became better able to handle so much more through getting the cancer diagnosis and now, I am almost 4 years past the first major surgery, I get to play and love life so much more..I do and can

      I have so much to be grateful for and try to live that way now.

      Many thanks for your kind words and I am feeling incredibly blessed that we have ‘met’ along with my new friend Marsha via blogging.

      Your trip to family was a long one, but an important one to take. I look forward to seeing more of your snaps from Summer!


  2. You’ve had a full and fulfilling year so far Denyse! I can’t believe how wonderful your Dad is looking at 97! I think it’s lovely that you asked him to think of his mother with compassion for the hard life she had led. Lovely to see pics of your kids and grandkids. Your 2nd covid shot must be due again soon. Mine is not till 28 July. I wonder what the second half of 2021 has in store for you and for us all. Good things I hope! Have a wonderful week! xoxo

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Well done Min, our Covid vax #2 is this Friday! It is 12 weeks since #1 and we hope to have no side effects this time too.

      Yes, I can have difficult conversations with Dad these days. He used to be very bossy and domineering and it was not always pleasant to be in his company. I do challenge him on some long held beliefs and he is more accepting of them.

      This week, on Thursday, I am doing a Women of Courage story based on my 2 grandmothers, my mum and my aunty. It’s through my eyes but having done the series and knowing some of my family history I have made the post work for the series.

      Thanks Min, always good to see you here.


  3. Hi Denyse this is such a huge undertaking telling your story but won’t your family and friends appreciate your project? Your Dad is doing so well isn’t he? You continue to show strength and resilience Denyse and it is an honour to know you. Thanks for #lifethisweek.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Sue. You know even if no-one in the family reads the stories, at least they are done for ME to remember!

      I have printed them out and they are filed away. In my OLDer age, I can read them.

      Yes I am very glad to have done these. Thanks for your very kind words. I had a small confidence wobble last week but have righted myself now.


  4. So many memories Denyse. Your Dad looks much younger than his years. I can see a likeness between you. It’s lovely that you took the time to visit him on his Mums birthday and encouraged him to see life from his Mums perspective. As usual I love your photos

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Jennifer.

      You know that he wanted me to be called your name but Mum won, for Denise, then when Dad registered me, he made it Denyse…and I got Jennifer as my second name. I wished I had been called your name.

      As for looking like Dad ….I have been told that a lot, I said to my head and neck cancer nurse when she wondered if my ‘floppy’ double chins might have been lymphodema ….I said “nah, inherited…have you seen my Dad??

      I am driving to see him on Wednesday and shall tell him what you said about him looking young(er).


  5. A great update of the last 6 months Denyse – and it’s lovely to see you out and about again. I think we’ve been so very fortunate to live in Australia and to have the freedom of movement that low covid numbers has allowed. It’s disappointing when things are cancelled at the last minute, but we’re still moving forward and we live in such a beautiful country. PS I loved seeing your grandkids having fun with all your art supplies x

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you Leanne, sadly the recount was only the first 4 months…Yikes…that means I still have two more to do.

      However, I am grateful I can do this and have been printing them off for me to re-read in my future….

      I am so hoping our son will find the time to bring the kids up again these school holidays as I, like you, am in my happy place sharing art and craft with the young ones!


  6. There is a lot there. I will just touch on how weird it is to go back to places so familiar to you years or decades later and how they’ve changed. Still sort of familliar but also completely different at the same time. It’s a very odd experience. Lovely pics and the frangapani always make me smile…and inhale deeply.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Yes, this happens to me more and more.

      I cannot believe we are in our 7th year of living away from Sydney.

      I hope you are out and about this Queen’s Birthday Monday…I cannot imagine you would be at home.

      Thanks Lydia.


  7. I know I’ve said it before but I love that you’ve documented your life story. What a wonderful thing it will be to leave for your family. A lovely legacy.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Deb. They may never read it. They don’t read the blog…but they may be interested at times in the future.

      I am also printing each one out, now finally organised in folders and in my dotage…assuming I can still read, “I” sure will be interested!


  8. That’s a great recap as always. I love the pics!

  9. All I can say is Wow ……you make me feel as though I’ve spent the past six months doing nothing!

    As you’ve documented your journey through this time I’ve felt the different emotions coming through in your words. Disappointment Relief Anticipation Happiness Understanding The Life and Times of Denyse is definitely a good read.

    You know I’ve returned to places and 99% of the time wished I hadn’t. Unlike you my ‘ties’ had gone and I just felt disappointed.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Cathy, here’s something to make you feel a bit better…it was only the first 4 months of the year…LOL.

      Believe me, I need a bit of busy and a bit of nothing much added to my daily life.

      For so long, as my grief at leaving all I knew back in 2015 morphed into anxiety and IBS that “prevented me” from doing and being the retired Denyse I would have liked to be…I was so grateful (and still am) to be better post-Head and Neck Cancer to be able to get back into a more engaged and active time of my life.

      My husband and I are comfy at this stage of our lives but with both having chronic health issues we are going to keep at whatever is helping us feel well because we have heard, as they say, life is taking us towards a less independent life and we are postponing that for as long as we can.

      Yes, to going back. It is not the same and I thank you for your wise views on this too.

      Thank you kindly,


  10. Hi Denyse, it’s lovely to remember all the good things about the year. Especially family get-togethers and birthdays. Your dad is amazing for 97! My sister lived in Manly for a while, and further north from there in Berowra and Forster. It’s a lovely part of the world. Christina

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Christina, it was via the photos of the special get togethers that helped me formulate the post.

      I remember you saying about where your sister lived in NSW too.

      Manly is a very special place in our family’s memories and I am grateful to have them.

      I hope you are going well, you have had quite a lot on your plate in recent times.

      Take care,


  11. You never cease to amaze me denyse, and what another fabulous entry for your life story! So much love, joy and a bit of sadness thrown in. You’ve captured some wonderful scenes along the way as well and you are being brave as well! Thanks for the small window we get into your life and how richly you are living it 🙂
    I’m currently spending a few days with one of my daughters and 2 of my grandchildren – they’re so much fun to be around!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you Debbie, it is something i am always glad to have done even though at times it can feel a bit overwhelming.

      I am a bit more organised for the next 4 months, already having a series of images from May good to go. It helps that I like the pictorial record as much as the words…maybe more?

      Sure is a shame we can’t catch up this week, but somehow I am pretty sure it will happen. I am very glad you are getting family time in!

      Enjoy making those memories.


  12. Hi. I’m new to your blog but came to learn about it from Marsha Ingrao and some others. It looks like you’ve been busy with activities, and it’s good to see your dad turning 97. I hope my parents live such a long life — they are both 83 at present. 🙂

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you for coming on over, linking up a post and commenting. That’s great to see, Susan Joy.

      Yes, parents and ageing is/can be an issue.

      My mum died at 82 from cancer. Dad keeps on keeping on as they say.

      I am driving to Sydney tomorrow to see him and take him some home cooked frozen meals for his freezer.


  13. I definitely find that photos help jog my memory or else all the days and years start to blend into one another. What a lovely large family photo you were able to get this year.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Yes you are right about photos Joanne. They jog memories as does my phone calendar at times.

      The getting of family photos continues to be a a goal each time we see each other as a group and so far, this year, that was it!!


  14. I always enjoy reading your story posts, thanks for sharing them. Your dad looks fantastic for being 97! How nice to see your other photos too, and read about all the good things that you do. You certainly are an active woman.
    I actually planned to follow your prompt this week but my head was totally empty and I couldn’t figure out how to express myself about it and still make it before the link-up would end.

    • Well, Susanne, I am glad you made it to the link up.

      It’s always an option to use the prompt.

      Next week’s is Share Your Snaps: photos shared!

      Thanks so much for your kind words.