Going through this tragedy, and seeing everything I saw in the hours and days after the bombings, has made me much more compassionate. I’ve also developed what I call God’s Pillow. That’s the two or three seconds I take to respond to something that’s happening I don’t like. I don’t react anymore, I respond and lean on God’s pillow. If someone beeps a horn from a car and they yell “you idiot” or something like that—I take that 2 or 3 seconds and think, it could be someone rushing to the hospital with a sick child. It could be any number of things they need help or a hand with, and by the time I’ve said that to myself there’s no anger left. There’s no reaction, I get to respond instead via God’s pillow. Thank you God.
I now really enjoy my beautiful granddaughters, just like I used to play with Chloe. They smile at me sometimes and it is so similar to Chloe's smile. Even though they are white as snow and Chloe was a little brown beach babe, (my little Wahini girl.) Lulu’s laugh and affection is the same in many ways.
I also discovered how important it is to keep your sense of humour.
I was asked to speak for the first anniversary of the bombing, to represent all the families involved, and I was so honoured. The anniversary is held at Dolphin Point in Coogee every year on the date of the bombing. The Premier was talking and it was packed.
I was working with God’s gift, a woman named Diane Brian, who is the lady who looks after everything and everyone during the event. Before the presentation she looked at me and said, “Now listen Dave . . . .” She appeared nervous.
“What?” I asked.
“There are a lot of people here and TV cameras, if you get lost or concerned, just look at me. I’ll stand near you, so just take everyone else out of focus and look at me.”
“That’s good darling, where will you be standing? And where is the power box for all the microphones?
“They’re over there near the container. Why?”
“Could you stick near that? You might need to hit the off switch.”
“You can’t turn the power off—everything will go out.”
“Unfortunately, I should have mentioned this before, I have Tourette’s syndrome. If I suddenly start swearing and cursing, you are going to have to turn the switch off immediately.”
She nearly fell over with a heart attack! She had put so much work into this day. She started to wobble. When I said it, I could see what was going through her mind—I could see her imagining me blurting out all these swear words. I had to catch her and apologise.
“I’m sorry darl’.”
“How could you think of that?”
“I don’t know, but it made me laugh and it made you laugh.”
She never let me forget my prank. You've gotta laugh, you have to have fun. I want to make my day positive every day, because life is too short to keep wallowing in all of the negativity. This decision I make every morning to focus on the good is the difference between a good life and a bad one.
By Dave Byron: Girl with the frangipanis in her hair.
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