LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-06

CwL Ep118 – Three years on…

LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-19

Three years on from the shocking death of her former husband, Lisa reveals where things are at.

Sharing honestly about Father’s Day, when she misses Nick most, when he comes alive for her, the ways in which his death impacts the kids, why 2022 is the first year in which a ‘normal life’ felt possible and the best thing to have come out of the past three years (the answer might surprise you).

If you are experiencing a hard season, then this episode will both validate and inspire you. Big love = big grief and big growth. 

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Hey, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life. And if you are two, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you are here. Enjoy

So on the 13th of September, it will be three years since Nick passed away. If you are new to the podcast, Nick was my partner for 16 years. We separated early in 2019, and in September of that year, he passed away. And if you want to know more about the story of what happened there, you can head to episode 64 and 65 where I share the story so far. Uh, and then all the lessons that I’d learned from, from loving him and losing him. And I just, I was actually last night. Um, I go to this little, um, sort of bar restaurant thing and usually do a bit of writing while my kids are at karate. And, uh, I was sitting there and Michael Jackson came on the radio or, you know, the speakers and Michael Jackson. He, Nick loved Michael Jackson. I mean, obsessed. He loved all music, but had a special spot for MJ.

And, um, I was sitting there and it was like he was alive in, in front of me. I could see every single move that his body would be making. And the crease lines on his face as he would’ve been dancing to this song, it was so real. It was like he was right there and I closed my eyes and I just let myself go and have him kind of be alive in those moments. And it’s equal parts, excruciating and delightful. And either way, it’s just, you know, it’s a, it’s a heart based feeling. It’s an expansion of, of it all. And I was just sitting there and just writing in my journal and thinking about it being almost three years, three years, what, what, it’s crazy.

I feel I’ve lived a million lifetimes <laugh> and yet it feels like yesterday in some ways. And I thought I’d share, I guess just where things are at three years on, because when you go through hard times, sometimes it’s impossible to believe or to know, or to trust that it’s all going to be okay. And I remember I, when he died, I just thought what the world, nothing will ever be the same and nothing has been the same. It was a, a fundamental shift. It was a life altering, everything shift and, and everything’s okay. And we are good.

And I am grateful for that, but then things sneak up, right? <laugh> not only is the 13th of September, his anniversary. It’s father’s day that first Sunday of September. I also have my birthday in September, my son’s birthday in September and my boyfriend’s son, his birthday’s in September too. It’s a really big month for us. The start is a little bit tricky bit there’s bits to navigate. And I, I go into it, not really knowing, well, the first year was just, we’ve been in, in lockdowns. <laugh> mostly the last few times. Um, so this third one, I don’t know, I don’t know how I’m going to feel. Um, and anyone who has experienced big grief knows that you’ve just got to kind of be open to the waves and to how it’s all going to evolve. I don’t imagine there won’t be a time where, um, the anniversary of his death doesn’t really, really hurt.

You know, it hurts me to think of, of him and the circumstances of his death and so much that he’s actually a mystery around it. Um, and the moment I was told, I mean, it was, it was as shocking and awful as you can imagine. And, um, and that’s still, that’s still really right there. And father’s day I watch my kids just kind of, we are just trying to figure out where to direct that energy this morning, they were asking me at breakfast, do we get presents at the father’s day store? Cause that sort of stuff they’ve been able to miss because of all of the lockdowns and not being at school, um, in Melbourne and, and they’re not too sure what to do. And I said, well, you can certainly buy me a gift. And then we talk about the other amazing men that they have in their life.

And I, you know, there’s just not a, um, I mean, it’s a whole sort of thing when you actually lose a parent, when a parent dies, the role that a partner of mine would have for them is very different as opposed to someone who has both their parents who repartner. And the role of that person is probably kind of clear. It’s been a really big thing for me to navigate. And it changes all the time, how we kind of explore this next phase of, of life and the role that a partner of mine might have for my children, but they are adamant they don’t want, there’s no one that will ever replace their dad. And that is right. That is true. Uh, but they have amazing uncles. My amazing dad, my amazing boyfriend, they have their karate sensei. My son has his awesome, couldn’t ask for better soccer coach, who he just adores.

There’s a lot of strong, awesome male role models in their life and people who bring them different parts of themselves to this, to, to them to kind of, you know, never feel and replace the void, but just give them something, um, of themselves to enrich their lives. And I am grateful for all of it. I am so grateful for all of it, but they certainly, we certainly haven’t had conversations about step parents and stuff like that. It’s just, I mean, I haven’t even been available for that kind of thing. It’s not, it’s certainly not where we’re at. Um, and I’m sort of okay with that taking time, not rushing, I just feel absolutely no rush and no stress over needing to label things, um, for myself and especially for my children, I am paying attention to where they’re at all the time, what they’re open to, what they’re feeling ready for.

Um, that’s a whole complicated thing, but father’s day is tricky. It’s just another reminder. We would still talk about Nick. Most days there would be a reference to him, um, to their dad, uh, maybe happening a little less than once a day, I would say these days. Uh, but he’s never far from my mind, my son did well at his school athletics and went to his, you know, went into the district level and competed against other local schools. And, and he won he’s now his relay team is going to the divisions, which is the next level up in the state. And you know, it just, I say him, you know, it it’s just, dad would be so proud the way that you prepared for that race. And I’m proud of how you prepared for that race. It’s never about, you know, winning or, or the achievements it’s of course their celebrated for sure.

But, um, it’s his, it’s his work ethic. It’s how he shows up for it. And it’s something that, um, he absolutely got from his dad who had an extraordinary work ethic. Um, and, and I want, I want, you know, that’s a bit that still hurts three years on. Will I ever stop missing, wanting to celebrate our children with the man who made them with me? I promised I wasn’t going to cry on this, but that’s still, that’s still three years on that hasn’t gone away and I’ve kind of come to peace with the fact that it probably never will and it probably never should. And that’s okay. I’ve just learned to partner with grief, expect it, you know, bloody while you recording a podcast, but there’s, there’s ways in which it’s still playing out for the kids too. I mean, and it, and it will ongoing, but you know, we’ve done a lot of work lately with my middle child who just really started to, um, I’m and look, I thought it was the COVID years and the fact that we were together all the time, um, that then suddenly sleepovers, which had been fine for her just started to really not be fine.

It was that, you know, getting called to sleepovers or finding out that the parent was having to be with her, cuz she was freaking out. Um, but she didn’t want to go home. Uh, her starting to then just refuse to have me go away. And we actually thought we had a big breakthrough when I went to Sydney earlier in the year, but it was actually just deeply traumatising <laugh> for her and for me, um, because she was really, she was really not okay in herself really, really anxious, really, um, beyond sort of normal. I mean she stayed in her house and my mom came here who she loves and adores and feels super safe with. But, um, she wasn’t okay. And she hasn’t been, uh, since then she’s tried a few things and so I love kinesiology. I love kinesiology, um, as a method for figuring stuff out with my kids and with myself that our, that consciously we’re not aware of.

And we did some kinesiology around, you know, really what’s happening here? What is the emotion like what what’s going on in her beautiful self, because she’s always like, I, I, I think I’m going to be fine. She wants to be fine, but she’s just not. And the kinesiology has shown up a few different things, but the first one was, was fear quite which isn’t surprising, but we couldn’t like if anyone has experienced kinesiology, basically just muscle testing for where there’s some sort of block. Uh, and, and there’s all these, I mean, it’s sort of, it’s magical kinesiology get into it. If you haven’t already, I love it. And the fear ended up being through all the, the testing. She just, we weren’t really figuring out what the main core fear was. And I had a sense of what it might be. She wasn’t able to articulate it because she’s not conscious to it, but her body knows, right?

Like she, there’s something that her body is responding to. It’s creating this anxiety for her and she wasn’t able to articulate exactly what it was. We were testing, testing, testing. And I said, maybe I wonder if there’s some sort of fear that if I’m not there, that I might not come back. And that was her body when she sort of said that, um, that was it. And it is not irrational for my beautiful children to worry and have a lot of inner stuff around parents leaving and not coming back because they said goodbye to their dad who went on a holiday to India and he didn’t come home. Like the worst case scenario actually happened. And so she hasn’t been consciously aware of that, but her body was just like, no, no, no, mom, you stay here. Don’t go anywhere. She doesn’t want to be apart from me at nighttime, especially, um, during the day it’s fine, but to sleep, it’s like, no, this is how it happens.

It happens. And you are here. And, and for some reason, this just started to sort of kick into gear and we’ve done, I mean, therapy and kinesiology and all sorts of different things. And um, she’s going, she’s meant to be going on camp and next term, and this is why we’re really working on it because I don’t want to move my children through anything or, or put them in situations that give them like activate, um, the, the trauma of losing their dad. But it’s just kind of there. And it does get in the way of them sometimes doing things that they, they want to do. Um, they see the world through, through different ties because they had a really big event happen in their life. And it’s, it’s going to, it’s going to affect them in different ways. So I’m not too sure if she’ll get to camp or not.

I certainly hope for her, um, that we can move through this. And the timing of that will be perfect as it always is. Um, but that’s just a way I just thought, you know, I know, um, well, I often get asked, you know, how are, how are the children? And the children are fantastic, but there’s just little bits and pieces like that. That will sometimes surprise me. There’ll be times where my son is grumpy and I just really won’t know why. And he finds it hard to articulate. So I’ll just start kicking a ball at him or something <laugh>, or we’ll go for a walk. And, and suddenly it might just come out that, you know, one of his friends did something with his dad and, you know, he actually, he wasn’t angry. He was just sad.

And yeah, I know that that will continue throughout the years, but, um, on the whole, you know, they have this sense that they have a strength, their karate sense. I said to them last week, you know, um, life is going to get hard as you get older life gets how things happen in life. And we were talking, they were talk, they brought it up at the dinner table. And my daughter said, well, you know, I have already cracked my eyebrow open and my head and my dad died. So I know that that life is hard. I already know <laugh>. And, um, I’m like, and so we were talking about, you know, how levels of responsibility change as you get older. And, uh, all of those sorts of things like they’ve got no concept that pretty much every one of their needs is taken care of as children as it should be.

Um, but it was interesting to me that they put themselves in the category of knowing that really hard things happen. And we talk about that a lot. We talk about, um, allowing ourselves to be sad when we’re sad and the gift of knowing that you can be really sad and things can feel like we don’t know how we are going to do stuff, or, you know, I celebrate all the time when I do things that, uh, I wouldn’t have done if Nick had still been around. So always talking about ways in which I’m, I’m growing and, and learning and the opportunity that I was given, even, although it wasn’t what we wanted, you know, how cool that blah, blah, blah, because sensei is right, the curve balls, keep coming life isn’t linear and just gets better and better and better and better. There are things that happen that knock us a little bit and, and knowing that they can survive and even thrive after hard things happen, I think is going to be a really positive thing or that they think of themselves as people who, when we allow ourselves to feel our feelings and talk and share and, and stick together as a family and support each other, when the other person isn’t feeling okay, that that’s, you know, there’s strength in that they don’t have to be strong on their own.

Um, yeah, so much we have a very calm house, three years down the track. And, you know, there were times I thought, will I ever be able to just put the kids to bed <laugh> and walk away without someone, you know, needing me in a bigger way. And of course, I mean, my youngest can still really struggle at bedtime. Um, we talked about, uh, the way we talk, I talked to them about how Nick died, you know, she had just turned five, she was a toddler, she was in kindergarten God. And, uh, and she has some, she has worries at nighttime because I explained that the first thing that would’ve happened, would’ve been, he fell asleep. And so she equates going to sleep with dying <laugh> and, uh, oh gosh. I mean, you know, yeah. I, I’m never hard on myself for how I’ve navigated any of it because I genuinely have tried my best at every turn, which all of us parents do. Um, but yeah, there’s some things that I probably wouldn’t do again. Uh, but how, how to explain things to children. So they feel peaceful. I just, you know, anyway, she’s, she’s doing a lot better and, and our house is, our house is calm. Our house is loving. We have systems and we keep things really, really simple. The kids all contribute to the house in age appropriate ways.

And, and we found our rhythm, obviously this year 20, 22 has really been a chance for us to do that for the first time, without the interruptions of the COVID years. I mean, yeah. Being, Melbournes having whatever it was 265, was it days, um, locked in our homes over the two years following their dad’s death, not ideal, but then maybe it was, maybe it was, I mean, obviously it was, it was what happened and, but it wasn’t normal life, you know, it wasn’t at us doing things consistently and getting into a routine and a pattern and it wasn’t. Yeah, it was just, and then, and then the start of this year, I just kind of fell off the, the wagon. I mean, as you’ve heard, I’ve shared, you know, honestly that, like, I really felt off it’s like I was holding it all together, holding it all together and then suddenly, oh, just the Adrenalines run out. I just, I don’t have anything. I got nothing here. And, um, that was a confronting place to be for sure. And I definitely feel the tide has turned on that. And a big part of that has been us figuring out our rhythm and how we do this ongoing and it feels so good.

It really feels good. I think we’ve all missed routine. And without the threat of being thrown back in our homes, I mean, that was fucking traumatic <laugh> and it is taking a lot to, for so many people that I know here in Melbourne and know that Sydney ciders had a really rough time last year as well. So many, so many people, I mean, no one escaped the last two years without it. Um, but for us as a little unit, it just didn’t offer us the chance to really see what life is like. And so that’s why, um, it felt like a holding pattern a little bit. I felt like that in lots and lots of areas of my life.

And I’m cool with that. <laugh> like, I don’t think it was a time to move forward on, on really big things or make big decisions. I sort of felt like I wanted to. And then I realised, I don’t think I’m, I don’t think I’m healed. I don’t feel whole, I don’t feel settled in myself. And that feeling has definitely started to switch and wow, it’s, it’s like I couldn’t have imagined three years ago what Nick dying was going to mean for my life. I couldn’t have predicted I was so scared and frightened. I was a, I can still feel alone without him, you know, there’s so there was so much to unpack so much therapy, so much therapy, so much learning about myself and so much just letting go surrendering to what is, has been the ultimate path to peace unsurprising.

And so, you know, people often ask about my new relationship and I’m like, I sort of was in something, especially in the beginning and I wasn’t fully out of the other thing. And that’s been, I mean, I just, I’m, I’m so grateful to be with someone who has allowed me to be in grief and messy and processing all the things post my marriage and my, and then the death of, of Nick. But honestly, um, it’s the cultivation of extraordinary friendships and the richness of my social circles that, um, there has been like a revelation to me over the last few years. Uh, I’ve always been blessed with amazing friends. I really have, but I had such little capacity and I mean, for a long time, nothing was spoken about because I wasn’t allowed to speak about it. And when I started to let the guard down and let people in and ask for help and share honestly, and be vulnerable, uh, everything changed.

And that is a path that, um, I’m just so grateful for the space that opened up when my whole, my relationship wasn’t my whole life. I will never go back to that level of codependence. And just that style of, of relationship, uh, exploring Lisa has been a trip and continues to be like, that’s what my life journey is about. Not, not, uh, care, taking a partner, not having all thoughts, be focused on someone else’s wellbeing. I turned that spotlight around onto me and having a relationship right now where that gets to be my purpose. And we get to do fun things and talk about life and future and love each other as the individuals that we are. That is the coolest thing.

It’s just, it’s a whole new style and I am digging it and it might not make sense to other people. I don’t give a shit <laugh> because there’s a million ways to do life there’s billions. And I really do honestly think that finding a dialogue and really digging into ourselves and finding peace right there, right at home in ourselves is, is the actual work. And when we do that, there’s we just realise how much superfluous crap we allow to occupy our minds. And that really at the end of the day, everyone else is just going to go about and live their lives. <laugh>. And are you really living yours in a way that feels good to you three years on that conversation is the one I’m most interested in having with myself, not trying to make things work or not the no. Like, how are you feeling today? <laugh> and where are you at? And how can we, you know, support you? And this is conversation I’m having with myself.

Ah, it’s just such a nice thing, a growing and developing insightful and interesting sense of who I am, I think is where I’m at three years later. And I’ve been taken to places in that without experiencing this big loss. I don’t know if I would’ve ever explored so three years on, there’s a big vomit worth of stuff about where I’m at. I sit in gratitude for the fact, I chose Nick gratitude for the fact that we had our three amazing children together. I’m grateful to myself for the way in which I have for, you know, whatever the outcome way I’ve navigated it with love, love for him and myself.

And I’m grateful to everybody who has loved us through it because I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without not only, um, having those people around me, but actually being open to receiving love and care and support from other people. And there’s a big difference. I figured out a really, really big difference. And I, I watch people who I know love me, love us, and I watch them in their unique ways in which they deliver that love. And it is beautiful. It is beautiful. There is love everywhere. And I just think that when we open our eyes to that, the gift of all of it, well then so much, so much changes.

Someone said to me once, like our only real job is to be a blessing. And that little statement, you know, if you really do think about it, you do your job is to be a blessing on the planets, not to be a walkover or, you know, um, all of that sort of stuff. But like, I don’t know, just have a ponder of that. That has helped me many times when I’ve tried to think that I need to get it right for my children. Just be a, okay, I can do that when I can get worried about being able to take care financially, take care of my children. And I worry for us. Um, you know, gosh, I’m just human. Of course I do. And then I think, you know, just be a blessing on the planet and that’s, and I, I literally run a business from that place.

Uh, if I doing good work, that feels good and integral to me. And if I, and if it helps people, then I’m just going to trust and trust that it’s all going to be okay. If you are going through a particularly hard season, I hope that hearing me talk three years after Nick’s death, you can see that these things do shape us, but they don’t have to ruin us. They just make the tapestry of you richer. And I wish you well, and I hope you are supported. And more than that, I hope that you are open to receiving the support and the love that surrounds you.

I’ll see you next week. Hey, if you missed out on joining the change room recently, never fear. We have created a wait list and you can jump on that right away and be the first to hear about the next time that we open the doors. If you join the wait list, I will keep you well stopped with ways in which you can make sure that you are creating some small tweaks to your life while you are waiting for this experience to open up again, it’s possible to feel different, better, different in your life. Join the wait list for the change room and I’ll be in touch. Hey, if you are enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world. To me. If you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review, it really makes a difference. And it’s my intention to get as many of us involved in real conversations that really change the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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