In 2019 our family travelled back to South Australia many times. For those who don’t live in Australia, this is 2 days of driving (safely with a family), or a much shorter (but higher cost) flight from Sydney. Regular trips to South Australia was motivated by the news of my Father-in-law taking ill. This news prompted a strong sense of urgency to get home and redeem as much time we could with family. Every school holiday, a trip back to South Australia was on the calendar. Little did we know that 2019 would be the last time we could travel home to Adelaide with ease. We didn’t know what the future would hold or that in the following years that travel to South Australia would seem like an impossibility. We just knew that there was no time to waste and we had to take advantage of the moment.
Victor Harbor, South Australia, is place that rarely has a hot day. Despite this, time with Poppy always came with a trip to the local beach; no matter the weather, even in the cold of winter. The children loved it; my soul loved it. For Poppy, walking his dogs on his local beach was something that he did every day and having his family with him was a bonus. Our time on the beach was uncomplicated enjoyment; a walk, perhaps a cold surf in the waves, building sandcastles, or looking for Cockles (Pipis) in the shallows.
December 2019 we took our last walk with Poppy on the beach. It would be last time that I and my children would spend with Poppy. Our intention was to keep travelling home to Adelaide into 2020 and beyond, but the pandemic changed our plans. In January of this year, 2021, Poppy lost his battle to cancer. Gratefully my husband was able to fly home to be by his side and say his last goodbye. Six months later we would also lose Poppy’s partner, our children’s Nanny. We feel so blessed that we had the time to make those regular trips home to South Australia in 2019. That we could respond to that prompting to slow down and have our walks with Poppy. “Chasing Seagulls” is from one of those cold winter walks on the beach with Poppy. When I painted “Chasing Seagulls” I thought I was painting a moment where two of my children were enjoying their time at a beautiful beach in South Australia. Now I see that I was painting something so much richer. I was painting a beautiful moment with a deeply loved man.