Monday 17th January 2022

Leaving 22/51 #LifeThisWeek. 67/2021.

Leaving 22/51 #LifeThisWeek. 67/2021.

When I saw this optional prompt, my mind went to writing more about “leaving my role as a school principal” and then I thought, I have already written about that here and here.

Sometimes we can leave without knowing it will be the last time we do that.
I find that a challenge in some ways. Sad, but true.

This is my late mother on Dad’s 83rd birthday making sure there was a cake for celebration. She could no longer make one but a store bought one sufficed and my daughter and her kids, along with my niece were there…11 January 2007.

We did not know how unwell Mum actually was until the following couple of weeks which were a quick succession of trips to ED, back home, admission to private hospital, MRIs & more and then….a diagnosis. My mother had secondary brain tumours with within 2 months of this photo she died. She, along with Dad and her family and her treating doctors agreed ‘no surgery nor treatment’. We never did know the primary source.

Whilst we, her family, did expect that her health would deteriorate rather rapidly, it was always her wish to “stay at home” but she admitted to Dad, that she knew this was all too much for him as she became bed ridden  and incontinent and she agreed with his decision, made with her long-time G.P. that some kind of palliative care at a local private hospital would be the best for her.

So, Mum left, in an ambulance that Friday morning and was admitted. Dad and I agree NOW  that the Friday was a poor choice – no proper staff who could make decisions about her room and her care until Monday – but he too was exhausted.

She left here:

Then when she died it was from a room here: I can actually guess which one, but I won’t point it out. She died in the latter hours of Monday 5th March and Dad had been told to go home. She waited till then.


Leaving to meet a new sibling! As grandparents, back when we lived close to our family and were caring for the grandchildren we had no more privileged role on a special day in 2013 than to collect a grandson (from school) and granddaughter (from pre-school) to take them to meet their parents…and their new sibling…


And preparing to leave Sydney took a lot of doing.

The house we lived in had been ours brand new from 1998 onwards. It did though date itself over time, and as we had decorated and changed room configurations. Because my husband is one very talented renovator, he began the process in 2013 even though we were yet to firm up that decision…which in its own way had to be made at the right time…and it was in 2014..more on that here.


I wish I had known just how much leaving our home of many years,  our family, friends, my career ….and so on, would affect me emotionally. But…I know now that leaving as we did, affected me later, as my psychologist in 2016 told me ” emotions/feelings take longer than the events and decisions” to catch up with us. More about that in this post. and here too.

Fast forward to leaving hospital after my BIG cancer removal and mouth reconstruction in July 2017. What a happy day to be leaving…surgery done, lots of recovery to come and time….but LEAVING!!

And I cannot finish a post for 31 May with leaving a small tribute of love to my Aunty as it was her birthday. She would be 98 today.

Known as Poppy. Much loved aunt and great aunt. She gave us “the world”…even though she did not have much, it was always with love.

Have you found leaving is hard or is it a pleasure?


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Link Up #242

Life This Week. Link Up #242

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  1. Interesting, we both see leaving as a good and a bad thing. Very sad leaving people, or people leaving us. Nice post, though a little distressing for you to work through it again, I imagine. But hindsight makes us see through a different lens, and we can never judge decisions we made with the knowledge we had at the time with that extra layer.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Lydia for ‘getting it’. I have a much softer approach to how I think about my late Mum these days and in fact am preparing a ‘look at the women in my life’ Women of Courage story for the blog.

      Dad and I have talked over time about that decision to have Mum go in to the private hospital on a weekend.None of us realised she would not be getting a private room and there was no-one there who could help Mum much (weekend shifts are always a challenge) so she was somewhat distressed when we along with other family members visited over the weekend.

      Dad however, was physically and emotionally exhausted – although he would not admit to the latter for some years. Men, hey!


  2. Your post shows how difficult and how happy leaving can be. I felt tears reading about when your Mum left her home and then passed away. I was hoping my son and grandchildren would leaving Queensland today to come to Victoria to visit me. But as we’re now in lockdown the trip has been cancelled. My fingers are crossed for a time in the near future

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Jennifer, I thought about those who would find this post a sad one. I am sorry.

      I am heart broken for you this Monday as I know how long you have waited for it to be safe for your family to visit.

      I sure hope things settle soon and vaccine is available for all.


  3. The leavings that I initiated have been good for me. I think of the fun memories I’ve had with people in my social circles who have passed away so it’s a mix of sadness and goodness.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      That is a very good way you have been able to ensure leaving is on your terms. Not everyone gets that opportunity for sure.

      I can see the balance too in your words of how you view those who have died.

      Thank you Natalie.


  4. I like how you’ve used the prompt to explore all the different sides of leaving and how it’s usually a happy and sad combination. Always a bittersweet thing! I’m sorry I haven’t engaged as much recently but hoping to catch up on your posts this week

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Sanch, don’t have been very much involved in life, work and of course ensuring that unit block lift doesn’t break down (kidding here, but honestly and truly!)

      Leaving is indeed something you are very familiar with and I am thinking of you and your family and hoping all if OK.

      Take care,


  5. Leaving was an interesting prompt Denyse, at first I didn’t know what to rite about but I had some thoughts during the night and just went with them! I enjoyed your take on it too and the emotional aspect of leaving is very obvious. I also appreciated the quote, Sometimes we can leave without knowing it will be the last time we do that – it is so true! Thanks for sharing these thoughts with us.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      It was an evolving post for me too, Deb.

      I have often considered that notion of ‘not knowing the time is the last time’ and whilst I don’t ponder it too much I do try to ensure I enjoy moments more these days.

      Thank you for your kind words,


  6. A very touching post Denyse which brought tears to my eyes. Many similarities between your Mother’s end-of-life-story and my Mother’s last year. I love the images and fun of taking the grandkids to see their new sibling in hospital. As a mum, this is always a beautiful moment as I am sure it was for you as a grandmother.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh I am sorry Jody, that we share these similarities and yet it’s what we find isn’t it as bloggers and women who share. Somewhat less lonely this way for me. I hope you are OK.

      I have such great memories embedded of meeting EACH of my 8 grandchildren. None the same – par for the course – and all special. The times I went as the grandma accompanying older siblings, I was always asked to wait and that was fine!


  7. Very thought-provoking on leaving. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Hi Denyse – an interesting take on the challenge from you and it’s a reminder that life is full of moments when we need to say goodbye. Our previous house is on the market again (the people who bought it from us 11 years ago are selling) and it’s completely unchanged inside – looking at the photos online feels like a trip down memory lane – so I know how looking at those photos of your previous home would feel for you as your wrote your post. x

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh gosh, Leanne. Yes, such memories are evoked.

      Our daughter shared when the first house we bought back in 1978 was on the market. She was so curious and living close by, she went to view it. So much her Dad had done to improve it still there..his kitchen for example. Room configurations were somewhat changed and the outside had been painted. She lived, along with us, in that house for over 14 years of her life. We brought her brother home to it in 1979.

      And like all things real estate, totally out of reach for anyone in our family to buy!

      We need to be reminded sometimes don’t we to be both grateful to have life’s experiences and then to let them go gently if we can. Hanging on can make leaving worse. I know that was what I tried in the first months of leaving Sydney. I tried to go back. It doesn’t work. For me anyway!


  9. Hi Denyse, interestingly “leaving” can be good and bad or just plain difficult or easy. Like the story of your mother, leaving my Dad for the final time would have to be my hardest example of leaving I’ve every experienced. Whereas, leaving my corporate life was difficult and stressful but ultimately a very good decision. I could come up with lots of examples, just as you have! I hope you have a wonderufl week! xo P.S. your aunt shared a birthday with me!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Yes it is interesting. I remember leaving Mum too. However, she did not ‘leave us’ for 3 days after that. She was waiting until everyone had gone. I recalled that you and my special Aunt shared the 31 May as a birthday. She, shockingly, would be 100 or 99 today I think!!

      Thanks Min, enjoy the celebration of you!!


  10. Lots of comings and goings in your post today Denyse. ‘Leaving’ is such an emotional word – we all seem to have experienced the happiness and sadness associated with it. Yours especially are poignant reminders of important events in your life.
    Funnily/Strangely I didn’t initially think about death when I saw your prompt…..the leavings I wrote about today have been ones of anticipation and discovery. I hope you enjoy the post when you come over to read it.
    Take care

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Cathy, I will definitely look forward to reading your post.

      Interestingly sometimes it’s not until I sit and thoughts come for a post that they then lead me down a particular path.

      I have wanted to highlight that we don’t always know when something is a ‘last time’ because of life…as it is so unpredictable. I don’t think telling Mum she wasn’t likely to return would have helped her in any way. But I do think we need to be mindful of occasions. That’s my thinking anyway.

      It doesn’t mean I am maudlin but it does mean I have a healthy dose of reality about how quickly life can shift and to enjoy what I can NOW!


  11. Hi Denyse, Leaving my previous job of 12 years was one memory that really sticks with me. I’d worked with a great team – we had become more than colleagues in that time. We’d gone through marriages, divorce, births, deaths etc. I’m still friends with them all. I left because the job was so stressful after a management change. The other one that sticks in my memory is my split from my ex-husband after 23 years. You can’t go through a divorce without it affecting you permanently. It was for the best but it was still very hard. My mum also had metastatic brain cancer and only lived 2 months – she was only 54.
    Take care, regards Christina

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Gosh Christina that is a list for sure.

      I am sorry that you had to leave your workplace as I did. It’s such a shame when we are not always supported. My case was that I ‘overdid’ my work at school and I couldn’t tell anyone how that was affecting me. Sadly, nothing much has changed except at the superficial level in education and I suspect health is similar.

      I am also saddened to read about your Mum. We could have requested an autopsy for Mum’s primary to be found but Dad felt that was distressing at the time. We’ve discussed it since (14 years on!) and he can see why it may have been helpful for Mum’s blood relatives.

      You have been through so much in your life and you are now helping others. Good on you.


  12. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, Denyse. Even though it was years ago, it is still hard, I know. I lost my mom in 2007 and I miss her still.

    Leaving is usually hard for me. I have a grandson who lives 2,000 miles away. Every time we leave his house after a visit, I cry. I miss the little guy! We have another visit scheduled now for the end of July, though, so that makes me happy.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much Laurie, and I send the same condolences to you too.

      I have to say I am better than I was about leaving the grandchildren over the last year or so particularly as they are getting older. I have to put it all into perspective about the wonderful times we did have when we lived much closer. I also find thinking about that has helped me.

      I know your situation is much more than that..distance + covid = so much missed. I am glad you have another visit planned.


  13. Leaving. It’s always such a mix of emotions, isn’t it? The leaving when you don’t know it’s the last time though, they’re the hardest ones. If only hindsight appeared before the leaving happened – but then, I guess, it wouldn’t be hindsight, right?

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      So true for me leaving Dad’s place each time, Jo.

      I imagine that your recent visit back to the family would have had an element of sadness because of the unknowns…more about covid and travel than anything else.

      Thank you for understanding it well.


  14. Hi Denyse,
    I actually got here on time! I agree with you that leaving is both happy and sad. Knowing that someone is leaving permanently is sad, but when they are very sick and their quality of life is no longer viable, it is a little easier to let go. Leaving a job is a little easier, if you did it on your own terms as you did. Leaving a job because someone doesn’t want you is miserable just as a divorce would be. Leaving our home of 20 years had elements of both. We left friends, but also bad air, lots of yard work, and very hot summers. We moved to an adult and family playland of lakes and biking, trails, kayaking, and pickle ball and other sports.

    I’m so excited to be hosting you as my next interview in the challenge series coming up a week from Friday. We will have two Aussies in a row! Hope you have a great week, Denyse.

    • How lovely to see you here today Marsha.

      So true about leaving..such a range of emotions.

      I love your description of where you live now. Sounds idyllic.

      Very excited too about you being on my blog, as a woman of courage tomorrow, and then I am on yours soon.

      Love these connections we have made.


  15. Aww happy birthday to your Auntie! Well this prompt is a bit apt, as my mum just left this world and I’m just leaving on a jet plane to be with her. Your mum looks so happy and well in that picture – it must have been so hard to say goodbye to her. I can empathise with all my “fresh” feelings.

    Your post really got me thinking leaving can be both liberating and heart wrenching all at the same time. I’ve been happy to leave jobs I have no longer loved behind and like you was happy to leave hospital after surgery but mostly, leaving makes me sad. I am sure I will certainly shed a few tears when I have to leave David and Teddy today.

    • Ah Sammie, when I pressed publish on this post, you and your Mum were very much on my mind too.

      What a time it is right now for you, and I send to you my love, a hug full of courage and some spare tissues.

      Crying is actually good you know..shares the load and helps raise endorphins. Thinking of you always.

      Safe travels….


  16. Hi Denyse, thanks for letting me know I didn’t comment. It is important to support the link up hosts. Leaving can be difficult but also an opportunity in many cases, to change direction or start something new. I love how you and others have approached the Leaving prompt this week. Have a great weekend! #lifethisweek

  17. People leaving this earth is always incredibly hard for those left behind. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be the person leaving. It’s something I’m quite afraid of, when my time comes. I hope one day you find peace in your decision to leave Sydney.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Christine, I can understand how anyone may feel just like that. It is a sombre thought alright about our passing…or that of someone we love so much.

      Thank you so much Christine for your words about leaving Sydney. My choice is better accepted by me now as it really was a joint decision.

      Each time I leave Sydney (the Big Smoke!) I admit now how much more calm and peaceful it is in areas close to us. To leave our place in north western Sydney was a wrench but it was also a huge load lifted when I could actually stop working (and answering to a range of employers) at 65.

      We are renting as you know but again, on balance the life we are both sharing now – since all my cancer years and travelling back and forward are in their 5th year- has a relaxed pace. Maybe I needed to allow time to pass as they say.

      As for when we leave and we don’t know…as happened with my Mum, she was incredibly unwell and went willingly to give Dad that respite she knew he needed. Sadly, she would never open up about her health or situation then and that is a reflection of both her personality and her nature I guess.

      Thank you kindly for your words.