When I typically write a Will Murray Update - it pours out of me. 5 min and it’s done. No thought, no struggle… what’s in my mind leaps onto the page. Last week, someone asked me “are you putting up another post soon?” “Probably”, I replied. “I think it should be something good about Will”, they said… and in that moment my organic, honest approach to this page got swallowed up.
“They’re right”, I thought. “Of course, people need to hear something good. They’re due for that… we’re all due for that.” “Hmmmm - something good”, I pondered. “What’s good right now? Come on, think??”
Friday rolled around and I watched Will slip to a depth of “flatness” that I have never seen before… nothing good about today I thought - best I don’t post. Saturday came and Will mixed flatness with rudeness… nothing good about today I thought - best I don’t post. Sunday came and I sat on the banks of the Barwon River watching my eldest daughter row for her school. I breathed in the most incredible atmosphere of rowers and supporters and I sat on the banks and shed very private, quiet tears behind my sunglasses for all the things that Will will miss… nothing good to post about today I thought - best I don’t post.
After the rowing… after another bloody sunny, Sunday afternoon that will forever haunt me and remind me of “that day” I sat in the car driving back to the hospital from Geelong and thought - “I shall never post again - I owe the readers something good and look at me, so negative and pessimistic that I can’t find something good to say about my son”.
And then - out of nowhere my mind took me to a mindfulness lecture I had once attended. I remember clearly the lecturer talking about the problems with families and how we raise our kids. He said, we raise our children like the Brady Bunch. If they are not happy or something is wrong, we tell them to cheer up and we put fun, “good” things in front of them to make them feel happier and better. We tickle them to stop them crying and tell them - “don’t be sad”. He went on to say, these Brady Bunch children grow up to be adults who believe that they should feel happy and should feel that everything’s ok all the time. So these adults do adult things to make them feel happy… they drink alcohol (each night) and place bets on horses (everyday) they work super hard and for long hours just to be told by their boss or their pay packet that they are good and worthwhile. And in search of always feeling happy they are left with addiction and lives that are out of balance. He went on to talk about the importance of teaching kids that it’s ok to feel sad and feel like things are not ok. It’s important to tell people to sit with their feelings and treat them as that… physical feelings in the body. We can still exist with a heavy heart or a desire to cry or the need to be alone as long as we know and embrace that feelings change… all the time. Wait a moment, or 2 or 3 and those feelings will change and then the thoughts and actions will change too.
So upon remembering this I felt inspired to update you all from the organic and honest place from which I write. I was waiting to find time in the crazy world we have stepped into to find 5 min to tell you all about how shattered I feel watching my son trying to grapple with the concept of an AFL tribute match taking place for him this week. I was getting ready to pour out my pain as to watching my son get flatter and flatter with each day and I was getting ready to spell out the exhaustion our family and inner support network are feeling and that each and every one of us is struggling to do this one more day.
Now let me take you back to what that lecturer said - sit with your feelings and wait. Don’t allow your mind to go into a million stories that make those feelings more powerful and more persistent - just sit with the physical feelings and those physical feelings that are created by a whole lot of chemistry in our body will change.
And guess what… whilst trying to find 5 min of spare time to write the most painful and depressing post that I’ve written - something changed. Something changed for Will which meant something changed for me, which meant something changed for our inner circle. I can’t tell you what changed - it wasn’t a finger moving like we all pray and hope for - it was just a subtle shift in Will’s mood and demeanour… but a shift powerful enough to shift my own gloom and doom to “I think we can stand up and put another foot in front of the other today”.
And so with this shift I have a renewed sense of energy and hope and just like that am back in touch with the massive army of followers that are supporting Will, praying for Will, backing Will.
I can look up today and see what is happening around me and be grateful for it once again. Today - I can see I have so much to be grateful for, Will has so much to be grateful for, our community has so much to be grateful for (I just better hurry up and post before these feelings change again)!