Home. At last.


Today was a teary sort of a day.

We’ve been staying in Coorparoo for the last two weeks. Our original plan was for me and the kids to rent a house for a couple of weeks so I could take them in to see their Mum every day. The poor tykes have been feeling the separation from Tracey nearly as much as her. But rather wonderfully, Tracey was discharged from hospital nearly a full month before they suspected she would be, so we got to stay in the holiday home with her.

As I say, it’s been rather, incredibly wonderful.

Not only did the kids get to crawl into bed with us and kick us at all hours of the night, just like old times, but we also had Christmas together.

There have been tears, sure, but I’ve decided I really, really like happy tears. They’re a balm.

From a young age, men are told ‘boys don’t cry’ and rubbish like that. Bollocks. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. It isn’t in any way wrong. It has a place in our lives and we should let it in. This is what I’ve learned.

Not that I’m saying I haven’t cried before all this drama. I have. But happy tears are new to me, and I’ve never felt so human and real, and it hasn’t effected my testosterone levels at all. For example, I still have to shave.

One thing which has come out of this experience for us is an understanding of how much family, friend and community support is important in these circumstances. It makes all the difference.

I’ve never really known what to do when things go pear shaped for others, and I’m assuming I’m not alone. It always seems to be the same friends of mine who do things for people and I’ve always marvelled at them for it.

But I’ll be joining their ranks after this, and I’m happy to pass on what I’ve learned from the last three months.

If you hear of someone who is going through a tough time, bake. Bake, or mow their lawn, or buy some groceries, or fold some laundry, or whip up a spag bog, or water their garden. It helps. It makes a difference, and it’s hard to qualify, but the fact you know someone is there to help you is as important as the thing they’re doing.

But even if baking etc isn’t your thing, maybe simply communicate to them. Message them in some way, shape or form. Send a pm, or letter, or card, or flowers, or text, or care package. Whatever you feel comfortable doing. It’s nice to know people care and you’re not as alone as what you think.

Even during the last couple of weeks, walking around Chermside, Indooroopilly and Carindale shopping centres, Tracey and I had people occasionally coming up to us to introduce themselves and wish us well. It was just lovely. Of course, I never know where to look or what to say – it’s really odd when people know so much about you (because of the blog) but you know nothing about them except they have a similar sense of humour and are lovely (that’s a given). It was fantastic and took me way out of my comfort zone, which is always a good thing. Thank you Brisbane! You saved my wife and made us feel welcome.

What both Tracey and I want now, more than anything else, is less drama in our lives and more laughs, more hugs and more normal (whatever the hell that is). We just want to be ourselves again.

Although ‘ourselves’ seem to be a bit altered. I’m calling myself Bruce 2.0 now.

I wept as we left Brisbane (not a fantastic idea when you’re driving) because I was finally taking Tracey home.

Tracey cried as we came into Gympie because, as she sobbed to me, she knows how much this town has rallied behind her family in her absence.

We both cried when we walked into the middle of our house because we haven’t been a family in our own home for nearly three months.

The next chapter in our lives is finally ready to be written, and I’m more than happy to take on the role of scribe. There’ll be doctors appointments and operations over the next year to add to the ten Tracey has already endured, but we’re ready for that and both consider them nothing more than future speed bumps on our life’s journey. The real living will be done between dates with the surgeons – making lunches and checking homework and reading at bedtime and instilling values in our munchkins. Everything else is just fluff.

In the meantime, if you see us out, say hi. Life is too short, so don’t overthink it. Say hi, and we’ll say hi back. We want to. We love it. On top of seeing first hand the marvel of modern medicine, we’ve also been blessed with having so many people wish us well – hoping, praying, lighting candles, collecting pics of bird poo and contributing in so many ways.

Here’s what I’ve taken away from this experience so far – life IS too short and way too unexpected. Your life, or the life of someone you love and care about, can be altered in a moment you didn’t see coming. Live for now. That’s not to say you should quit your job and take up full time surfing. It just means you should consider telling the people you care about that you care about them, and stop worrying about dumb shit. Specifically the dumb shit they do which pisses you off, because I’ve got to tell you I can’t remember a single negative thought about Tracey these last three months, especially when she was sinking further away from me and the kids. If we’ve disagreed on things like floor coverings or the interpretation of yellow traffic lights – and we definitely have – then it certainly wasn’t front of mind. All I cared about was getting her back. All I worried about was not having her around for the rest of my life. All I wanted was for my kids to have a mum.

I also thought a fair bit about the prospect of not ever having sex again. Not proud about that, just putting it out there in the interests of full disclosure.

But I guess I’m saying don’t give regret a chance to take a foothold. Speak up.

We’ve been given a second chance. Next time, we may not.

We’ve always been pretty good at communicating our feelings in this big little family of ours. Still, I suspect that will only improve because of what we’ve just been through. I don’t want to be accused of telling anyone how to live their life, but it would be the most wonderful thing if our experience encouraged someone who’s reading this to do the same – tell the people who matter most to you they matter the most to you.

Thank you all for your support these past few months. Now, let’s see if we can’t find something to laugh about 😀

< Our Gympie Times interview >

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”


    • Started with an aneurism on her small bowel and went pear shaped from there – most of her small bowel died and has been removed. At this stage it looks like she’ll be lucky and her two bags won’t be needed and she’ll be able to survive without needing to be fed intravenously. But that’s all being worked out now… 🙂

  • Hi Bruce,
    So glad to hear your family is ALL back home!!! I hope everything goes better than expected for Tracey.
    After reading of what was happening to Tracey, I felt such grief for your children at the thought of them losing their mum! But it also made me think of my own family and wish things were different, a few weeks ago I reached out to my parents whom I have not spoken to in 15 years. We didn’t spend Christmas together, but after so many years of no contact at all, I have now had 5 phone conversations with my Dad, friended him on Facebook, and we are talking about meeting in the new year. We won’t become a ‘normal’ family overnight, but we are on the road there now.
    Thank you for letting me into your family through your blogging, for making me feel less of a failure as a parent and most of all allowing me to learn and grow through your experiences. If it wasn’t for you, I probably never would have made that phone call.

  • Facebook won’t let me promote this post to the people who read my page. It says it’s out of keeping with something or other. I think they’re wrong. This is (hopefully) the final post in a suckful journey. So can I ask you to do something I don’t normally and to share it for me? Thanks x

    • Shared for you Bruce!! I’m so thrilled Tracey is home. I was worried for you so I can’t imagine what it must’ve felt like living it. But it’s just so fabulous that things have turned out so darn well 🙂

  • Crying happy tears! You are so right with your thoughts about community and support. What a wonderful frame of mind you are both in to begin 2016. Much love, to all of you! X

  • Facebook is a twat sometimes! Bruce, I have loved your humour through this whole, horrible thing, its so endearing.
    My very best wishes to you and Tracey for a speedbump free future. May it be filled with healthy, happy family times with your gorgeous crew!
    I love reading about the goings on in your family, especially your littlest, her antics crack me up!

    Kind regards – Joolz xx

  • Bruce, I don’t know you or Tracey personally but have followed your blogs for some time, mainly because I am a fellow bank johnny who loves to write and I love your writings. I have laughed and cried over the past couple of months as you and your family went through this journey and you have just made me cry again – but with the happy tears this time. And what a miracle you have created for Virginia Bone too!! We each have our burdens to bear and I am taking your words to heart. When the prospect of never having a future with that family member looms, the negatives of their behaviours are very quickly forgotten so why wait until that happens. I wish you and your family a beautiful 2016 and look forward to many more laughs in the New Year. PS. Will be thinking of you every time I fall out of my new Seabreeze kayak which I was lucky enough to win in the raffle!!!

  • Best post ever . Best wishes for a house filled with happiness , laughter and noise of your special family.
    Health and prosperity to Tracey in 2016.

  • This post made me tear up. Tears are awesome, happy or sad, because they help us release what we are feeling.
    I am thrilled for your family. Thrilled.
    Here’s to normalcy in all its forms!!

  • Great to hear u r all home together so pleased to hear this 2016 is just a few days away may it bring happuness health and normality to your family. Love and best wishes

    • Wondering the same thing… Why? And that’s a very real thing to think about – for all couples. I don’t think you should be ashamed for thinking about It…

  • Welcome home Tracey! I have been following your journey through a friend of mine (Steph). Bruce 2.0 you are amazing! Reading your blogs really hit home for me as on 24/12/2012 my husband suffered a life changing experience and we spent 3 months in the Prince Charles going through scary similar events. I cried and laughed as you shared your life’s ups and downs.
    So happy to read that you & Tracey were home for Christmas. Keep up your hard work guys ?

  • I’ve been a sporadic reader so far but am so thrilled to read this post! You guys deserve such blessed happiness from here in and I thank you for sharing your story and important life lessons

  • Bruce, you hit the nail on the head. It’s such a blessing to receive even the smallest gesture of support during difficult times. My parents have emphasized this from when we were small and now that I’m in my fifties and have encountered my own share of hard times, I can only say you’re right and they were right. Help others when and where they cross your path. Sometimes an arm around your shoulders, sometimes just a pat on your back, sometimes holding a hand of folding a pile of laundry. It makes a difference. Thanks for sharing the highs and lows of your family. Welcome home Tracy!

  • Bruce, now I’m crying again reading this beautiful post! Everything you have said is so so true. It’s definitely a MIRACLE! Wishing your beautiful family the best 2016 and Happiness ongoing! Keep up the great work with your blogs and Tracey, enjoy your wonderful family and can’t wait to see some photos on your Website.Welcome Home! Thank you Bruce! Will share now on FB!

  • Reading your posts bring home so many emotions.. so glad u all had that chance to spend Christmas together and best of all bringing in 2016 in your own home as a family xxx Crying geez always happens when I read writings like yours. Well anything these days so you can imagine what I am like when I read your blogs … A blubbering idiot… But so many times lately blubbering with a smile on my face .. I call it maturing … others call it old age …. Crying at drop of a hat but what your lives have experienced is more than anyone should have to endure… So bring on maturity with you guys doing it together. Laugh cry and enjoy life with your family…
    Tracey I send you so much positive healing for your recovery n what u still need to go through but with the support around you nothing can hold you back ….
    Hey Bruce keep strong as you have been. Blokes seem to fumble along and get the job done when they need too u always seem to get it done somehow. The dog may have his tail plaited the kids may be showering under the sprinkler but the job is done so who cares as long as everyone is safe.
    As far as sex ……..
    That’s another story entirely …
    Rated X
    Happy New Year to your entire beautiful family . X

  • We have met a few times through our older children and I was shocked to hear of this ‘road bump’. I am so pleased you have been given a second chance to be a complete family. I admire you for your strength, humour and fabulous writing skills. You have made me cry, laugh and wait with anticipation for the next blog. I wish you all every happiness and I will continue to prayer that the ‘road bumps’ ahead are conquered with ease. All the best. Tracey Gerrard.

  • I know all too well how everyone feels. This year on our 24th wedding anniversary I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I had my blood drawn at noon and by 2pm I was admitted and didn’t leave for a month. Then every 4th week I had to go in for a week of chemo. The type of chemo I received is too dangerous to give as an outpatient. When I wasn’t admitted I made daily 90 mile trips for blood work and received over 70 blood transfusions. I’m in remission at this time. Overall survival rate for this disease is 25% to 5 years. But I’m here now. I’m alive and enjoying every single month with my husband and sons (21, 18 and 15). I have prayed for Tracey and your family for months. I’m so happy she’s home. God bless

  • Wow you go offline for a month or so and it all happens! Congratulations on getting home again and all being together.

    I wept as we left Brisbane (not a fantastic idea when you’re driving) because I was finally taking Tracey home.

    No, not the best idea, probably going to keep happening for a bit. Good luck with everything moving forward, and with the slow processing of everything that happened – things will pop up when you least expect them, emotions blindside you at the strangest times. It’s normal(ish).

    And again, so amazingly happy that you’re home. Now to read the rest of the blog that I’ve missed!

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