Tuesday, 8 July 2014


Today is a sad day. Today it is hard to find the silver lining. It is dark and the tears are flowing. It doesn’t feel right to smile. Today I found out about two women dying on Saturday. They were both friends of Love Your Sister. They both had breast cancer.

Moira Lye

Moira featured on the Love Your Sister TV Special. She lived in Canberra, wife to Greg and Mum to 5 children, the youngest of whom are twin boys aged 6.  She did not take her cancer diagnosis lying down. Moira was a determined person and she was willing to squeeze every last moment out of life, every precious experience and each little smile or cuddle with her children.
And she was selfless. Although she was terminal, and knew that there was no cure for her illness, she worked hard on fundraising and advocating on breast cancer issues. I am in awe of what Moira achieved in this arena, she really made a difference, and did it all with such humble grace.
Moira was the sort of Mum every Mum wants to be. Gentle and fun-loving, patient and caring, but balanced and intelligent in her approach to parenting.
Sam and the crew got to spend an afternoon with her, and they all came back raving about how inspirational she was, how incredibly life affirming it was to meet her, I really felt like she was what I should aim to be. A great mother. An advocate for breast cancer issues and someone with peace about her prognosis.

Josie Gaylor

Josie is wife to Kevin and Mum of 2 grown up children. Josie’s sister Jane contacted Love Your Sister while they were making arrangements for Josie’s funeral, when it became clear after fighting breast cancer for 13 years, that she was coming to the end of her time. Josie wanted to make a difference, she wanted to make her funeral meaningful for the future, and chose to ask her friends and family to give a donation to breast cancer research in lieu of flowers at her funeral. Jane contacted us to ask for a collection tin.
Obviously Sam was touched by her gesture, and given that she lived in Melbourne, he wanted to meet her. So they teed up a meeting and Sam went along to visit her at Cabrini palliative care a couple of weeks ago. You may be familiar with Josie, because she and Sam put a post on Facebook when they met in the hospice. Sam had a blast hanging out with Josie that evening, and she helped him face his fears of hospitals and end of life care.

Without knowing them well these women have touched my life. I am in awe of their peace at the ends of their lives, and their selflessness. These two women were remarkable in their own ways, and have left big holes in the lives of the people who knew them best. I know they will be sorely missed by their families and friends.

I send my love and thoughts to Josie’s and Moira’s families and friends at this very hard time of loss and mourning, and thank them for sharing them with the world. I am so grateful for the way they touched my life. Thanks for being a part of Love Your Sister and for showing me what life is all about.

Whenever we experience a death of someone we know, even if it is not someone close to us, it calls to mind questions of our own mortality. It causes us to question if we are living life to the fullest, if we appreciate the beauty and love in our lives. We automatically think things like when was the last time I told my sister that I love her?

Death is a profound part of everyone’s life, and when the grief is at it’s purest and harshest, it can distort the way we normally perceive ourselves.

I have been incredibly lucky lately. My cancer has been stable. It is responding to treatment after being very aggressive and non responsive in the early stages of the disease. So it went from running rampant, to being under control, something none of us expected. I was so close to death a few times that my family were called in. My kidneys and my brain shut down. I was in ICU on machines and drugs that were keeping me alive in the hope that I would get better with support, and eventually be able to support myself again. I remember many doctors and nurses telling me that they were doing everything they could do to keep me alive, and to keep fighting.

Being that close to death, and living with a terminal prognosis everyday has caused me to live my life in the present and make the most of my relationships, because I have come to realise that that is all we have that matters in this life. But even with my diagnosis I have become remiss. I have stopped scrapbooking. This was number one on my bucket list. If nothing else, I want to leave lots of memories, photos and stories for my children to remember me by, and to give them lots of information about their formative years that they won’t be able to ask me about later if they get curious.

I am in a lot of pain tonight, on a lot of drugs and needed to take a bath to relieve some of the discomfort, so the bath is not the place for photos obviously. But tomorrow I vow that I will sort out some photos, write a note in the boys journals, or do a little bit of scrapbooking. I will do a little bit of memory saving for my kidlets. I will also give them an extra big cuddle and tell them again how much I love them.

Thank you Moira and Josie for reminding me to make the most of each moment. May you rest in peace, free from needles, nasty drugs, scans and bloodtests, surgery and endless appointments.


  1. This is so very sad. I'm sorry that Moira and Josie have passed away.
    I lost a friend to breast cancer this week too - she's a mum of four. The funeral is today but I can't make it as I'm in hospital.
    Connie, you're so brave and your kids have the best mum. I hope your pain subsides soon and you can get some scrapbooking done. While I don't wish cancer on anyone, I marvel at how illness (of any type) can bring people together. Thank you for sharing the stories of these women, and yours too. Much love xx

  2. Cj you are an inspiration... I sit back and read, with a tear in my eye how so many people have to suffer from this horrible disease. We play the cards we are dealt, even though some are pure crap cards. Taking one card at a time, not to move too quickly or rash. Thank you for sharing your thoughts... Love you xxx

  3. Its just so unfair. You are so incredible in your sharing. Giving hope and courage to so many facing this. I hope you can get some scrapbooking done. It will be something your kids will always treasure. As Natalie said above, you're an inspiration. Thanks for sharing about these other brave women who's families have had to say goodbye all too soon. x

  4. Sam it is people like you that have true Aussie spirit. I am a friend of Jane (Josie's sister) and know that your visit was just amazing. Jane and her family are amazing people and i am grateful that you got to experience their beautiful spirits. Josie may you rest in peace.


Thanks for commenting. Sam and Connie read every comment.