Five More Minutes

Words by Julia Lorent

My mother was amazing.

When you look upon her life and what she was able to achieve it truly highlights something many people forget; adversity doesn’t have to define you. 

She was strong but didn’t really know it. With six children, including a daughter who was intellectually challenged, she needed to be. Mum was a lot of fun and enjoyed a good laugh. Life was hard in our house, but because it was filled with so much love and laughter; these became sacred bonds- unbreakable. 

This family of mine is etched in humour and support; we are there for each other, we argue like hell, but we love each other very much. Interestingly, all of us have careers focussed on helping others. I believe this is a legacy my Mum would be very proud of. 

Not many people I know have the relationship that we have; it often draws comment from those we know.

It is 100% because of our parent’s influence. A football team of kids would be carted from sport to sport in the car, and if anyone was in need, my parents were the ones to help people out. Material possessions were of no importance. 

Tragedy smashed through our door uninvited at age 46 for my mother and our family when the love of her life (my dad) died. With six children, no income, no life insurance and a broken heart; times were beyond tough. My mother was a strikingly beautiful lady; very Nigella-esque but without the sexy mannerisms. The next tragedy was the disconnection with her married friends. Husbands were hitting on her, and she became a perceived threat, she was often blamed. The womanhood did not support her. 

These were all tragic events that saw her trying to be very strong and support six grieving children who lost their dad.

It must have felt incredibly unfair. We all had our individual and collective issues about the sudden and unexpected loss of our father; totally overwhelming and insurmountable. She also had an intellectually challenged daughter who had bouts of intense violence and a system that echoed back with no help or answers whatsoever. There was just no help. Here was a woman trying to make sense of her own life, grief and heartache then depression while wondering the whole time what the hell she did to deserve it.

But somehow we got through it, not unscathed, but through. Even when we were at our lowest, our mother’s love and support kept us together.

Her one true friend and companion were cigarettes; she thought they got her through; it was her time out, her thing. While she always had intentions of QUITTING, they too turned on her. She was diagnosed with advanced Lung Cancer. She QUIT instantly, but it was too late. I try not to overthink about it because it fills me with sadness that when her friends should have been there for her, the only friend she could trust was her cigarettes.

It is very sad and breaks my heart to this day. We loved her deeply. 

We all ended up with a very strange sense of joint humour, which often bubbles up when tragedy strikes. It is what get’s us through, and we have our parents to thank for this. Dark humour can be an excellent tool. I wish we recognized it at the time. I wish we told her more how damn strong she was, acknowledged her more and just had five more minutes.

Only 5, how good would that be?

 

My partner Colin was definitely the love of my life.

Rather good looking, Colin worked hard, fun and very kind, he wanted to travel and work overseas, he, we, had big plans. He loved my mum, and she adored him, my whole family did. 

Colin came from a home with an abusive alcoholic father who used to bash his mother frequently until Colin was old enough to threaten that if he did it again, there would be consequences. Brave. 

Colin loved a drink and a smoke, and by all accounts, he was a normal healthy 25-year-old young man. Until that day, 26 November, when he passed away from a blood clot to the brain due to damaged blood vessels caused by smoking.  

There were no goodbyes, it was sudden, totally unexpected and such a waste of a life.

It is just wrong, he was 25 years old. I still feel so cheated. I never got to thank him for saving me so many times after my dad died or another family tragedy. I was so angry, angry with him for smoking – angry at the cigarette companies – angry at the world. He was always going to quit before he turned 30. That day never came.   

We had this incredible once in a lifetime connection.

He felt like home and was safe and my dearest, most absolute best friend. I miss him every day. If I only had five more minutes to chat with him about life, about what happened today or ask him how his day was…

Little did I know that this would not be the only time I would be what I call the – Hidden Victims of Cigarettes.

Anyone that has experienced the crippling anguish from losing a loved one knows how close it can come to derail your life. Instead of letting my grief beat me, I decided to channel it into helping others fight their own demons. For the next two decades, I would leave no stone unturned to find answers in helping people with addiction and practices, with no judgement. For the judgement of others is too harsh a force to be reckoned with. The result has been a career forged in helping others, and it has been successful. I think people understand I don’t judge and I have the skills to help them navigate a better life. 

I am the founder and principal practitioner for Melbourne Quit Smoking Clinic, Melbourne Clinic of Hypnotherapy, and The Savvy Changemaker.

Neuroplasticity, CBT and Hypnotherapy combined with a full range of therapies have formed the spine of a full offering to help people and seeing people step through their tragedies, their ideologies to form new confidence and health. 

When I see people flourish and live a beautiful life, full of authenticity and richness because of the work we have achieved together; it is the biggest reward I could ever ask for. 

The lives of those who love you are worth saving, not just your own.

 

Addictions steal our loved ones away, leaving them craving five minutes in a lifetime of longing. Torture of the heart is tragic. We never think we are hurting those we love by relying on outside substances to cope. This can be behaviours, cigarettes, drugs and food. We have within us the ability to change, and no one needs to be alone. 

2020 is the year you give back five minutes, if not for yourself, then for those you love and who love you. 

To get in touch with Julia, contact her on + 61 412 810 078 or email julia@thesavvychangemaker.com

Visit her site for more information about her services.

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