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Life Death and Other Pressing Issues

A trip back to Australia to say goodbye to a loved one.


It's not Wednesday and it's not coming from Canada, I'm back on the east coast of Australia, and yes however cliche it is, traveling from anywhere other than Bali to Australia is one hell of a trip.


I left my apartment on Monday evening took a flight from YUL to LAX on Tuesday morning 6am, spent the night in El Sugundo, CA (took some great photos and videos watch out for that soon), took a flight LAX to BNE 11am on Wednesday and arrived in BNE last night its now Friday. I am lost.


Why am I here? Aside from the ethical issues in announcing a death of a loved one in a blog, I feel somewhat pressed to write about this thing on a public forum. These are my thoughts and yes as a person with ethics and boundaries I find it difficult to share this all with you. Nonetheless here I am writing about it all, I really don't know what this whole blog is about, I just know that if there is a place for writing of such things, maybe it's here, or maybe it is in private with loved ones and family? Just know it is not a vow for your sympathy, which I kindly and awkwardly accept, but don't particularly enjoy, there is nothing wrong with sending your sympathies either I guess it hasn't ever gotten easier to accept them. This is an expression of thought, it is a way to have my point of view, out in plain sight, for everyone to get whatever it is they may get from it, or not? Maybe it is just for me because this is what I need. RIP Uncle Brett, you will be missed sorely and I am sorry that we didn't get more time.


It is rare that I talk about loss like this unprovoked, If you know me well enough you know that I am no stranger to grief and it has it's toll on life. Anyone that has experienced this "fact of life" knows what I am talking about. No matter how accustomed to this you become, you can never truly prepare yourself for the emotional response of a loss of a loved one. Uncle Brett was my father's brother, he like my father suffered a greatly disturbed childhood not unlike my own. Both of their parent's had passed away due to foreseen and unforeseen health issues. It really makes a person, to have to experience something like that, it also breaks a person to no end. From the experience, I can imagine they both acquired strength and maturity beyond their years, they would have both understood the depths of life and it's virtues, to a point, which they would have not enjoyed. Other than that I can only say that each of them most likely had an individual outlook on life, that only they would ever really understand. A huge difference between my two male role models, of the Hayes clan, and I, is that we grew up in a different time. Life was tougher for everyone in their time, men were required to do all the heavy lifting in life and women were also required to do all their own silent heavy lifting in life, and by required I mean they had no choice. I'm not about to turn this into an argument for men, women and their vices, I am saying that everyone had it tougher in life, especially these two men. [This blog post is about the men in my life and as a man I can only explain it from that perspective without ruffling too many feathers, perhaps I will write a post about the women in my life at some stage. BTW, I hate that I had to just explain that]. Both my Dad and Uncle Brett were tough men, they did their job and they did it well, too well. I remember being sick for school and being told "I go to work when I'm sick, so you have to go to school when you are sick" and I mean sick. There were nights where I'd have been up, all night long literally vomiting, and had attended school the next day. This is OK I'm not overly upset about it, I'm glad that I know now that this is not a sustainable approach to life. A point I'm making here is not that these men were evil and they were not fit to parent, it is that if this was what I was required to do, what were these men willing to put themselves through in their own lives. Both men died at work, from the exact same thing, so it turns out a lot. This is where it gets really sad for me. This is where it gets painful and ugly in my head and this is where I want to make an impact in my life, that will change the way I do things and break the chain of this type of lifestyle for me and anyone who is willing to listen. EPIC RANT! You see I have these traits, the ones where I have to be tough no matter what and suck it up, and get the job done. Often in the past I have expected this of those in my life and it is not fair to expect these things. I know where I got them from. I know now where that leads. For the past 3+ years I have been off in LaLa land chasing something that I have never been able to pinpoint. I really wish that it didn't take all of this to learn what it is, and to be honest I'm really not sure exactly what the lesson is that I am learning and teaching up in this meandering blog post. I grew up in a family with an expectation, that you work hard and achieve the dream lifestyle at whatever cost. Perhaps I've taken this too hard, and pushed extremely hard back in the opposite direction. I've jumped out of that socioeconomic race and I can pinpoint a time in my life where I knew this was not my destined lifestyle. This time I am talking about was when I was told by my concerned father "to leave school" and "take a rewarding career in the trades" albeit as a failing student, my dad only wanted the best for me and this, of course was his solution. So as a rebelling teenager I stayed in school and got my diploma, opposition syndrome working at its finest. It's really funny how life works, I only say funny because the other words I would use are not very nice, if I have to swear to make my point I am failing to find the words to express myself, and I have the right words. This was one of the very last conversations I can remember having with my dad. Another cliche that is ever so true, is that life is short, don't let things like this get in the way of your relationship with people you care about, if you can help it. I overcame many burdens to get myself to where I am in life and this is one big one, I've avoided thinking about it at all, but to avoid is to forget and I have not been able to forget. This is turning into a open heartened letter to the reader, I did not expect to be writing. This is what I am feeling given the situation at hand and I wish it were different. As I said I'm lost and through the difficulty of all these realities and I only want to learn and change the course of my life for the better. Long paragraph!


I am not a victim, I am not a survivor, this is not a vie for sympathy. This is a message and I believe it is a simple one, and it is as much for me as anyone. Men and women, if you aren't healthy, get healthy, perhaps this is not the greatest time to be shouting to the world, get healthy. I loved my Uncle Brett dearly, but I'm sure he wasn't healthy. If he was I wouldn't be here talking about all this, Or maybe I would. I also loved my dad, but he definitely wasn't healthy either. Perhaps the latter situation applies more to my message than the former. I have my qualms with both as both were quite avoidable. Men thanks to a reduction in patriarchy, you no longer have to "suck it up" you too can be vulnerable and open to things like a healthy balanced lifestyle. I for one am extremely grateful for this cultural change and hope to continue to find success in a balanced lifestyle. Women please don't push yourself to a level that men have in the past, the benchmark is false, you will not sustain a lifestyle such as this if you don't take a healthy balanced approach. Be vulnerable, talk about your feelings openly and proudly, you don't have to be a liberal junkie, talking about the healing powers of crystals. Talk about your health, physical, mental, relationships, it's OK to not be Okay. Grab a beer/sparkling lemon water or take a walk, talk with your partners, a doctor, a friend, a stranger (if it is safe to do so). Do something that connects you to life, nature helps me, surfing, hiking, writing, hobbies. Most of all don't push yourself to the point of no return, work hard but be aware of the consequences of not looking after yourself, there is always an opportunity to adjust your lifestyle to healthily reach your goals. I'm no guru or expert and I have a lot of learning to do, but I intend on living a long and healthy life, to be around when my children grow up (if I have them), to always make time for loved ones and friends, and never stop enjoying the great things that you can learn from life and its challenges. This is my goal and I hope it is yours as well.


Uncle Brett, you leave behind a beautiful 10 year old son, I know his life has now become much harder, and I know only some of the challenges he will face, I love him to no end and I know you did too. You leave behind an incredible woman, Kerrie, she is no doubt at a loss of comprehension, for what has just happened in life, and the sudden passing of her husband. I love you both and I can't wait to give you two a hug. Uncle Brett, I will always remember you as the big presence in the room, you were always such an incredibly fun guy, It pains me to have lost both you and my dad too young. I wished we had more time, I wished I'd have visited more, I'm sure there was always more to learn from you about life and how you managed to make so much out of what you were given, not a lot. Often I believe the stigma of male relationships was strong in our family and I wished I had the maturity to break through sooner to show you that it is OK to love each other without stigma or condition. I love you and I am going to miss you and your warm secure hugs. I will look back on your life in this time and remember how to be the best person and build the best life I can with what I've been given, thanks to your unconditional love.


Family and friends, I love you and never forget I am always here for you too.


Sincerely,

Joel

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 Photography by Joel Gregory Hayes & Keegan Taccori | routedelsol@gmail.com | +52 6647264347