Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Pammy was born on the 29th September 1949 and I was born on the 27th March 1949.  I was 19 years and nearly 2 months old when I met 18 years and nearly 8 months old Pamela Joy Austin at 9:30pm on the 25th May, 1968 at Geelong's Palais Royal Dance Hall (now a Bingo hall) and she died at 1:30pm on the 29th of June, 2015 at home with me, so if my calendar mathematics is correct, I have known her as a living person for 47 years, 4 weeks, 2 days and 16 hours.  How I wish it could have been for at least 50 years.

A few days after I met Pam, I took this picture of her at her house, with my Agfa Isola 120 film camera...

and about a fortnight later I was invited to come with her family, father Arnold Austin, mother Mary, younger sister Val and of course Pammy for a bus trip to Mt. Donna Buang.  Arnold drove the Trans-Otway bus (he was employed as a driver by Trans-Otway).  It was Sunday the 9th of June, 1968.  Here are some photos of Pammy on the tower there...

and this one is at the Donna Buang campsite with Arnold side-on at the left. Mary as seen from behind as she prepares food on the table and wearing the white cardigan and skirt, Val watching her mother and has her left hand in her jacket pocket and Pammy on the right looking at me taking the picture.
It's sad that time has attacked some of the picture quality, but I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world, and in the time I knew her, I learned that she was also beautiful of mind, extremely tolerant and happy to be alive and loved.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Her Birth Date

This morning I went to wish my Pammy a happy 67th birthday, fully aware that her ashes wouldn't hear me, but it did me a lot of good regardless.

We have had pretty bad weather here in Mildura in the last day or two and I was pleased to see that all of Pammy's grave decorations were still in place - and looking even cleaner as well.

A lot of good folk on Facebook wished Pammy a happy birthday too - and one lovely lady on there even commented as to Pam's and my mutual love. 

It's hard to accept that Pammy would have been 67 today.  I was 66 when she died and she was still 65.  It may change (and I hope it never does), but I reckon my love for her is as strong as ever - but here I am back at home saying I love her, but I'm really only loving her memory, I suppose.

This is a 'selfie' of me with Pammy's grave to my right...

...and this how her grave decorations survived the wind and the rain...
I'll love her for as long as I live.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Everything Failed Her - Even Pain

It doesn't take much to happen in my current life before I think of 'What would have Pammy done?'  A couple of weeks ago, my back started to play up and it soon turned into serious pain.  Pain is fortunately one experience that my lovely Pammy didn't have to suffer - the total loss of physical ability, bowel and bladder control, loss of her taste senses through non-use, nevertheless left Pammy fully cognoscente and able to still be (very) happy and comfortable.

I am glad that what happened to me happened when it did - so Pam didn't have to witness my bad behaviour.  My L3 Lumbar vertebrae had decided to self-destruct and caused what a short Google search will describe as 'intense pain'.  Well, reading the words is significantly different to actually experiencing the condition.  At night, if I'm asleep and I inadvertently move my leg without firstly preparing for it (which I can't do because I'm asleep), causes the localised ache to uncontrollably and rapidly feedback on itself into a full body-length Hell!  This wakes me up yelling in pain and no-doubt amusing the neighbours with the foul language that accompanies it.  I can't help thinking that if this horror had actually happened to Pam, she might say "Oooh!" and keep smiling regardless - which she would do because she felt so loved, and indeed was.

Another detail worthy of mentioning, is that I no longer feel the need to visit her grave quite as often as I did - once or thrice a week seems now to work well for me.

I thought I'd put this picture in because it reminds me of a time when my back didn't hurt...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A picture that Jeni found

I have lots of pictures of my darling wife, but most of them showed her in the company of others and there existed comparatively few face pictures.  Picture resolution normally prevented me from cutting-and-pasting face images from the group pics, but our youngest daughter, Jeni, contacted me with a cut-and-paste the she had made from a professional photo-shoot by Robert Pockley Studios in Geelong, on the occasion of Pam's and my engagement back in 1969.  She had found the original picture in a book that Pam had once written (and we had it professionally bound) called "Rambling Reminiscences of my Early Years".  In fact, here is what Pam wrote in its introduction.


Over the years, various people have suggested to me that I should “write a book.” This was undoubtedly due to the very long letters that I used to hand-write and later type (when I could no longer hand-write), on a regular basis to family and friends.  I didn’t take this suggestion seriously, as it seemed to me that I had nothing interesting to write about.
However, when a friend (Pat Dudley) mentioned to me that her daughters had given her a lovely journal in which to write what it was like growing up in her day, it got me thinking that perhaps I should do something similar for my girls.
After a little deliberation, I commenced writing this on the 16th August, 2002.  I really thought that I would have “my story” completely finished within a few weeks.  I didn’t expect to be able to remember so much, and I have also discovered that one thought can lead on to another, and so it goes.

So for my two caring, wonderful daughters Sharon and Jeni and their families, I have tried to recall items, places and events etc. the best I can, and hope that the following pages give an insight into what it was like for me growing up in the 1950’s, 1960’s and until the mid 1970’s.  As with Eric’s story, I will stop mine with the arrival of Jeni. 

After many breaks over the years, I have finally completed this on 2nd April, 2006.  In the future, if you wish to do so, you may have the opportunity to add your own stories.

That's what she wrote in her introduction.

Pam had written 233 pages by the time it was professionally bound.  My book, that she referred to above, is called "A Past of Quaint Validity" which I started on 12th October 2002 (because of Pam's good book-writing idea) and it was finished and bound with just 201 pages at sometime in 2005 (I didn't record the month or day).

Here is that particular picture from Pammy's book...

And after Jeni's clever cutting-and-pasting, together with her and my hue-tweeking we then had...
...and for me, this is one of the best pictures EVER of the love of my life.
I had read Pam's book several times soon after she wrote it and finishing it, but given that this engagement photo was in there and it had been many years since I had last read her book, I read it yet again.  The effect of Jeni's cut-and-paste having been well and truly imbedded in my brain, together with the strong emotions and memories that it invoked, I cried like a baby as I re-read the book.  I'm not ashamed to admit that crying fact either - as I have told many, I will never stop loving my sweet Pammy and I miss and will keep missing her terribly.  I'll even admit this, although some sceptic mates have already decided I'm mad, I STILL get immense pleasure out of visiting and tending to her grave-site, each and EVERY day.  Her cremated remains exude oodles of Pammyness for me and I consider myself still to be her Carer. When my time is up, I have arranged for my cremated ashes to be thoroughly mixed with hers and to be stored and buried in a larger container.  (I thought that this was a very original idea of mine, but Ashley Whitehouse of Northwest Funerals assured me that is, in fact, a very common practise these days.)
I am hoping that this addition to the blog was worth the writing thereof.  I am afraid that if I don't keep the updates happening, it may all get deleted, for its non-use.
If any readers have comments to make about any of this, please contact me by email at efiesley@gmail.com
Well that was where I was going to end this post, but later last night, I had a great idea.  You might already be aware, particularly if you have read the post on this blog entitled "Images, images...", that I am the proud owner of crystal cube containing a 3D image of my lovely Pammy, gifted to me by my daughter Jeni.  Well, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a second similar crystal cube with THIS cropped photo in it - in 3D?  So I commenced communicating with Vision 3D about the possibly of my acquiring one.  I also sent the original so that they could see the shape of her cropped hair, which was done so as to keep my ear (mostly) out of the picture.  When I eventually get the new crystal cube, I will include images of it in this post.  I am so looking forward to its acquisition.
Well, here it is Monday 29th August and I have just received the crystal from Vision3D.  It didn't take long for me to unpack and assemble and it is simply PERFECT.  I was so pleased, I rang Daniel from Vision3D and thanked him sincerely.  Check out these pictures...

I think it's incredible how they do this from a 2D photograph and I am so grateful to now have it here at home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Anniversary of My Darling's Death

Here it is, the 29th June and yesterday, I was very pleased to see our daughters Sharon and Jeni, Sharon's husband Neal, with their daughters Kira (9 years old) and Erika (7), together with Jeni's children, Ellie (nearly 4) and Teo (nearly 2) who had come from Adelaide (Sharon's family) and Melbourne (Jeni's family - her husband George could not come as he could not get away from work).

Today we went to visit Pammy and be there at 1:30pm, the anniversary to the minute.  Here are some pictures...

To the viewer's left side of the tree is Sharon with Erika and Kira (Kira closest to the tree).  To the right of the tree is me at the rear, my left arm around Jeni, with baby Teo and Ellie in front of Jeni.
Here are the four grandchildren - as referenced on Pammy's headstone...
The kids got busy with some stones and made some stone flowers in addition to the others we brought along...


Here's Jeni with her two...

..and Sharon and Neal with theirs...

It was a lovely time and Pammy would have loved it - if the circumstances were different.
I know this is silly talk, but I also know that Pam and I would tell each other that we loved each other, possibly 50 or more times per day - and if I didn't tell this to Pammy as she was dying, I'd be really surprised. There's a reasonable theory that 'hearing' is one of the last senses to go in a dying person, and certainly Pammy would have been pleased if she heard me tell her "I love you so much my darling Pammy", yet again, as she died. Although I got there as a consequence of the Palliative Nurse's advice, I'm hopeful that Pam heard me tell her so. But did I really tell her THAT?  I (we) say it so much, we hardly ever remember ever doing so - I remember muttering something, but I have no idea what it was. Oh, that if it could only have been "I love you Pammy". It may well have been, but I'll now never know, and that's a thought which is not doing me any good at all.
Well, here it is now, a few days after posting the previous paragraph - in fact it's now Wednesday 6th July, a full week after Pam's death anniversary day.  On SBS TV tonight, a program called '24 Hours in Emergency' started off with the announcer saying "...and many, if not most people worry about whether they said 'I love you' as their partner died."  So I'm not the only one apparently!  When I heard this, my first reaction was to delete the previous paragraph and pretend it didn't even happen - but this was a learning experience for me and you, dear reader, may even well benefit therefrom.  At least I'm like the majority, apparently...
And now it's the 9th of July and yesterday was the 1st anniversary of my wife's funeral and of her cremation.  I have just finished watching a movie recording that we both enjoyed to watch, (you wouldn't believe what movie that was*), then went to the bathroom and cried like a baby - only louder. I still go to her gravesite every day and I KNOW I'm probably mad for doing so, but I love her so much and that's where she now is - what am I really supposed to do? I was not just her loving husband, but also was her personal carer for 20 years and I simply cannot stop caring for her. I appreciate bird droppings on her headstone, because that gives me something to do in cleaning it off. After all, her grave is in Belar Ave and Pammy is under Belar tree No5 - and birds rest among the Belar branches and leaves. At least, when I cry, it only lasts a minute or less - I am happy for knowing Pammy.
Yesterday, I went to the airport as my friend Richard Sims was awaiting his continued flight home to Melbourne. He had lots of laptop videos to show me of where he worked in Kakadu, including some old ones taken in the backyard of his old Mildura residence where Pam and I plus our two girls Sharon & Jeni were visiting in celebration of their son Luke's birthday party on the13th March 1987, just a few months after Pam's MS diagnosis. There I was, with a valve trombone, playing 'Happy Birthday' to Luke and following up with Helen Johnson's composition called 'Anna Karenina' and I played it for the guests without any sheet music (I sincerely doubt if I still can). Pam didn't get much filming on these videos, but she certainly got some, and I treasure those videos as a consequence. I will try a copy them onto a couple of CDs for my darling daughters to view...
* 'twas 'The Fugitive' - a ripper movie about a mythical Doctor Richard Kimble and was a story that we both were thrilled by. (If it were not for our beautiful daughter Jeni, I would have taken a much longer time to realise this little fact - a fact that would have turned into a major one before not much longer - thank you so very much Jeni.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Images, images...

Last Christmas, our youngest daughter, Jeni, gave me a lovely gift of a product manufactured by a company called Vision3D.  It's an illuminated crystal cube containing an image taken from a plain 2D photograph, but etched into the glass cube as a 3D image.  How that's done, I do not know, but it's fabulous!

It truly is a 3D rendering of a 2D image - as you move around it, you can see Pam's image from a different point of view, such as the tip of her nose occluding the edge of her right cheek as you move it around.  It must be appreciated, however, there is no more picture detail than the original; from behind, the image is concave.
But that gift was months ago and it only just occurred to me in the last week or so, to enquire as to the original print appearance, and so Jeni emailed it to me.  Here it is...
Jeni told me that it was taken during (our eldest daughter) Sharon and Neal's wedding reception, 01/02/2003.
I love this picture so much that it is now the one occupying my mobile phone's 'Wallpaper'.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Photos - what left have I?

The previous posting mentioned the usefulness of photos - but now, when I think of my poor darling, I often lay awake wondering what photos do I have which really show the uniqueness of her beautiful face.
Strangely enough, every day I walk past such a photo, but have only now just come to realise what I've actually got.  It's a picture that I got someone to take when Pam and I were holidaying in Tasmania in 1999 - that was the year we both turned 50.  I've got this picture hanging up on the passage wall, where it has so been for many years.  It beats me why it just now dawns on me that which I have...
To me, she is perfect!

Sadly, I felt I had to significantly compress the resolution of each picture for this blog, so if you do view it (and manage to zoom in), it will look a little blurrier than it should.
I am not mad, at least I don't think I am, and yet I can't justify what I do - but I visit Pam's gravesite every day I can, I have done so since her ashes were buried - and feel better each time for so doing.  I'm sure I will NEVER stop loving and caring for her.  As her gravesite is beneath a Belar tree, in Belar Ave. Murray Pines Cemetery, any occasional bird droppings must be cleaned off her headstone - and I'm the one who does that - so I really STILL am her carer (!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Usefulness of Photos

In a few days, it will be seven months since I lost my darling wife and I miss her as if it only happened yesterday.  Each day I visit her gravesite and talk to her, but only yesterday did it occur to me to attempt to find a picture of Pammy that I hadn't seen for some time.
Well, most of the pictures I've ever taken have been scanned onto my PC, but it has been known to me for moons that we have a cupboard in the lounge room which has a plethora of photo albums therein, which contain many pictures that I hadn't yet got around to scanning - so I looked through all of them.  One picture in particular stood out.
There's a saying that "Every picture tells a story" - well that's false!  Most pictures tell nothing at all (or at least, not much), but the one I found tells heaps about Pammy's lovely personality.  Here it is...
This photo was taken at Pam's 50th birthday party, 15 years previously.  She was diagnosed with MS in 1986 and this photo would have been taken in 1999, so here she is 13 years later and smiling as always.  I find this picture to be so lovely that I've made it my Galaxy S6 mobile phone's homepage.
I love Pammy so much and it's definitely better to be reminded as to how she once looked than the recent mental images I have, of my poor Pammy dying.