Lecture # 1: Life is Beautiful

I don’t know where I am going with this – I’ve got quite a bit to say it would seem. Its lucky really that we have been told to keep a low profile the next four weeks, because this evangelical nature of mine needs some calming-the-heck down.

What Albie went through this last month is more than most of us will battle with in a lifetime. His journey, to the brink and then right back again, has taught us all so much. And I say us – to include you, the many people that read this blog. It used to once be a modest wee place for close family and friends to see what we are up to, but now there is a much wider group surrounding us – a whole community of Albie cheerer-on-ers. When things were stupidly tough, the things that many of you wrote and emailed to us buoyed us, carried us through. And I can see too, from your comments, and from my own heart as well, how much Albie is cheering us all on as well. There is a lot to learn from this lil’ guy. Its much more of a two-way street than I would ever have imagined.

This life. This one right now – that we are living in, right here. Its so stonkingly precious. I am so conscious at the moment of how LUCKY we are. Lucky simply because we still have our son. We still have him. That is where my heart rests at the moment, that is the measure of my luck. Nothing more. And with such a basic measure of total satisfaction, the world is such a beautiful place. The afternoon in the winter sun on the needing-to-be-mowed grass? Heart. Bursting. Perfection.

I don’t kid myself by thinking that this is unique to us. We are just feeling keener the reality that is in all of our lives. The world is normally so good at turning up the noise, so we get distracted from what really matters – from love, from family, from friends. Its easy in good health to take our loved ones for granted and just get on with concerning ourselves with goodness-knows-what.

But everyone’s life can turn on a dime and all of a sudden what really matters zooms into painful focus. There was a girl at Starship with a major brain injury after she jumped through the gap in the safety nets on their trampoline and landed on her head. Another family in Intensive Care were beside their boy whose mystery gastro-illness had near enough destroyed his kidneys. Just like that, everything changes. I don’t want to be a doom and gloom merchant with these stories – far from it. What I mean to say with them is that this life is precious, and none of it is guaranteed.

All we can do is just love harder and love consciously while and when we can. We aren’t sure whether Albie will grow to 8, 15 or 50. And to be honest, none of you can be sure of the future for you and yours either. We just get to witness this life, in all its awesome glory – however long it is. Love, love, love, LOVE it.

So much beauty has come from Albie’s story already. Friends have told me that reading what we have been going through has made them hug their children harder. Loved, and missed, people from times gone past are back in touch. Our community is reaching out to us and heart families from around the world are making connections with us. Its real humbling. He is an awesome boy. It makes me smile and teary all at the same time.

Lecture #1 in an undetermined series of lectures is now complete.



  1. You tell the most amazing story of your precious we son albie, may this little darling who has touched so many people continue to become stronger every day.x

  2. that made me teary reading that, you have a way with words. thank you for sharing Albie and your families journey and including us in everything that has been going on. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your little bubble. My heart children teach me everyday to never take things for granted and also just how strong our kids are!! Take care xx

  3. You are right Sarah, your experience with Albie has changed a lot of people. For days our family thought of little else and were messaging each other constantly about Albie. It makes you appreciate loved ones for sure. Your blog is amazing. Love Peta xx

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Your blog sharing your journey with Albie is precious . It is inspiring and so true the things you speak about. Love to catch up next time you’re in Taranaki bye for now Love to you all Janice Mannex

    • Thank you Janice – and thanks too for all the amazing love and support you have showered upon us during this difficult time. We have really appreciated and felt all the prayers you focused for us too. Much love xxx

  5. As I wipe away not the first tear that I have shed reading Albie\’s blog, it is a definite tear of happiness. You have such a way with words Sarah and Albie\’s journey has touched us all and made us realise how precious life is. As I rub my belly thinking about Billy\’s journey which is about to start, you and Marcus give me inspiration into how to be a great parent and also how to love every minute and not to take life for granted. Sending lots of love from me, Neil and Billy xxx

    • Helen – stop it! You’ll make me cry too at this rate! Thank you for the lovely comment – when are you due with Billy? It can’t be too far away now! We are having a quiet month but hopefully we get a chance to hang out before your beauty is here.xxx

  6. Thank you for sharing Sarah, your way with words and appreciation of beauty in life is incredible to read. As I count down through the last 2 weeks until my first precious bundle arrives, I’m thankful to you for heightening (even further) the ‘preciousness’ of what is about to arrive. Huge love to you and your family

  7. so beautiful and true! it made my day seeing you and your smiling albie out and about today. I’m looking forward to the next lecture in this series too.

    • Hey there Susie – it was so nice to bump into you too! I tried to find you on Miriams FB page, but had no luck. Add me from hers and we can go for some neighbourhood walks and such. Otherwise, I look forward to playcentre catchups in a month or so. xx

  8. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I’ve followed you through the heart mums FB page. I have a little boy who was diagnosed with a CHD last year. We are yet to face surgery with him, but already we are learning to take each day and treasure as much as you can from it. What a wonderful way you connect with all of us, looking forward to your next lecture xxx Melanie

  9. You’re so right Sarah, this life we have is so incredibly precious, and we never know when it will end. Albie is incredible. Thank you for the reminder, we can never be lectured to enough about how amazingly fortunate we are to have this life right now. Love to all of you xxx

  10. You have such a way with words. Crying tears of sadness for all that has been, and tears of joy for all that is to come. Albie has touched so many lives. He is truly wonderful. Thank you for sharing. And please keep the lectures coming! 🙂

  11. Your blog, like your journey, makes me cry but also makes my heart soar with joy. We can ask nothing more of this life, than to live loved and to love. God bless your precious little family.

  12. Agree with everything above! Beautiful lesson, beautifully written. So glad everything going well for you at home now xx

  13. Oh, to see the picture of those gorgeous little wee toes on the grass!!! Sooooo cute!!!! Albie is a truly inspirational and so are you, Sarah and Hoppy, as parents. Lots of love and hugs from the UK.xxxxx

  14. My husband and I had the same conversation this evening, how precious and precarious this life is. In the past 18 months I lost my Mom to cancer, and then gave birth to our heart warrior son, and we have traversed the subsequent surgeries including his Rastelli.
    Last week we celebrated his first birthday, a milestone and a major accomplishment for our little family. Now the time has come to debate my return to work, and I can’t imagine it. We are trying to absorb as much of this life as we can, trying to impart as much joy into his life as we can, for as long as that may be. I feel the challenge of being heart parents, hoping, planning, and looking to the future, without letting an ounce of today slip by, just incase today is all we get.
    I am encouraged, and inspired by your continued positive outlook and the obvious joy you all find in each other. My heart swells to hear you are all home, and back to the business of loving each day.

    • Lovely to hear from another Rastelli family! And what a clever boy to get through his Rastelli in his first year too. Happy Birthday to your clever wee man!!
      What you have said here I could have said myself too. We are looking at the return to work as well – and while a great part of me wants to resist this, another part of me knows that prior to surgery I was really hankering for some cerebral challenges! I am not sure whether I read it, or heard it, but I know I did take on board from somewhere the phrase “Lay down their life for them, and then live yours.” I dont know what this means for me and I imagine it will develop as he grows. Its so hard don’t you think to find the balance between rabidly soaking all these days all up, and living a life that draws on more of your talents than being a mother? Its important to me that, when the time is right, I allow myself to focus on the other facets that make me up too.

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