real life

'It was the toughest conversation I've ever had.'

Dear Lottie and Tom,

I read an article last year by a journalist I used to work with, titled ‘tough conversations’.

This guy writes about rugby league for a living. Rugby league is a tough game… in a tough, often blokey environment. He’s a well-respected scribe, knows his trade, and he’s good with words – ‘gooder’ than me.

His toughest conversation was when he told his Dad he was gay.

A conversation he’d played out for years in his mind, and one he admitted after, that he felt better once it was had – but a tough conversation nonetheless.

The seven stages of grief on The Well. 

The article got me thinking about my own ‘tough conversations’ or to be more specific… the toughest.

And I didn’t have to think too hard, because I knew what it was.

Telling you both your mum had died, was, and will hopefully be, the toughest conversation I ever have.

Unlike Andrew, I didn’t have time to analyse, and potentially agonise over my tough conversation. Mine was forced upon me in minutes – not months, not years.

Yes it was surrounded by shock… and yes it was a gut reaction to a tragic situation, but it’s still something I remember clearly, something I’ve never doubted, and weirdly something that was and has become more empowering over time.

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That might sound strange, but knowing you can handle a tough conversation, or potentially the toughest, opens a tiny little window of wisdom to suggest that maybe the rest of those conversations you’ve been putting off, or hiding from, aren’t actually that tough.


I know I’ve got some tough conversations ahead for me personally, and for the three of us, and the tougher ones are probably the ones that I can’t plan for, or can’t foresee… but I also know that I’ve had the toughest one. And handled it.

Next week I’ve been invited to speak at a Canberra Wise Women event called ‘Men of Wisdom’, alongside a couple of other local blokes telling their stories.

To me, an event billed as ‘Men of Wisdom’ would, and should consist of real men of wisdom like Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Rumi who was tweeting around 750 years ago, and is still on the money now. A wise guy.

But I support the concept, I like the community element to it, and I’m looking forward to hearing from Todd Berry a former commando and now mental health advocate, and Brian Tunks from Bison Australia and Bisonhome… one of Mummy’s favourite local designers.

#LoveLove ❤️❤️ Yesterday, today and tomorrow…

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The idea of the night is that it’s good to tell stories, but more importantly, that it’s good to share and listen to other stories too – to learn from others who have had tough conversations and grown as a result.

So yes, it will be worthwhile… though I’m not sure how wise it will be.

But regardless, and any perceived wisdom aside, by the time you guys are able to read and understand this, you’ll know you can talk to me about anything, and you’ll know that I’ll listen, and love.

Tommy I love you lama, and Potts I love you Lotts.


The Grief Episode on The Well. 

This post originally appeared on The Daddy Letters and was republished here with full permission. 

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