Earlier this week, my family said goodbye to my mum's younger sister who passed away suddenly last weekend.
Just 69, Judy still had a lot of life left to leave, or so we would have thought, but her death is a reminder to all of us that life is something we are privileged to have, and that despite how much we cherish it, it can be taken away in an instant.
This has been a difficult period, and for my mum, it signals the final goodbye to her younger sibling, sadly, and suddenly.
My aunty's funeral was held back in northern New South Wales, where I was born and raised.
The land so loved by a young Dorothea Mackellar will always hold a special place in my heart, not just for the beautiful country that it is, but simply for the fact it was once my home.
The wide open skies and the broad flat plains that give way to the deep blue ranges at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range are forever etched in my DNA.
Whilst I don't get back there as often as I should, I often think of the place where my four brothers, my only sister and I grew up, and how lucky we were to be raised in a family where we might not have had a lot, but we also probably did not realise just how much we actually did have.
Life on the farm was different then.
The creek ran deep, with yabbies aplenty and a swimming hole.
Then there was the second farm my dad owned with his brother and their dad, which included a stunning stretch of the Namoi River where we grew up catching yellowbelly and catfish, long before there were European carp.
That waterway is now an empty ditch; the superb black soils are bone dry, and dust storms rain down on the family farmhouse when late spring rains should.
The paddocks are bare, save for the wretched dust.
As kids, we used to play cricket in summer until it was too dark to see, while for the other half of the year it was footy - rugby league of course, and those tense back yard encounters usually ended in tears or equally, the dark.
Mum's front lawn - her pride and joy back then, took a battering in school holidays from the daily abuse inflicted upon it by the fierce sporting contests it hosted.
As we grow older and as families can sometimes grow apart due partially to the tyranny of distance, we naturally bond with the generations of our own families that follow.
Our partners, our friends, our children, and then our children's families and friends, as life offers more paths to follow and more choices to make.
We might not always choose the right path, but hopefully we learn from each mistake, and from each twist and turn along the way.
Once regular visits to family far away become less so, and now, as age catches up and health issues become more a topic of conversation and an inevitable reality for ourselves and not just other people, we are all reminded of how fragile and finite life really is.
At the same time, we look out for one another a lot more.
We ask questions of one another about, and a simple "how's it going?" or "how are you?" can assume far greater significance than it did when we were younger.
The coffee shop conversations you can have with your mates can sometimes feel as beneficial as one with your GP, but the reality is they are no substitute, and we need to recognise this accordingly.
Looking forward to all the wonderful things that unfold as each chapter of our children's lives unfold is one thing, but we should never stop looking back at where we came from, and who we owe our foothold on this planet to the most.
Life can serve up some pretty horrible situations from time to time, and my old editor, the late Wayne Gregson used to always remind me after a tough day in the newsroom - and most likely over a beer, how important it is when we do go home, to kiss your wife, hug your kids and to never stop thanking God, or whoever, for what you have and how lucky you are to have it.
Working in a newsroom throws up many challenges and exposes us to the good and bad that happens in other people's lives, on a daily basis.
It's a privilege to be able tell those stories, to be trusted to tell them, and at the same time, we have a huge responsibility to tell them well.
It's not hard to be impressed by the resilience some people display, especially in times of adversity.
The reality is every day of life we have is one more to enjoy.
One more to be thankful for.
How we choose to do so is what makes us differ, and what ultimately unites us.