Saying Goodbye To Those You Don’t Want to Leave – Part VI

May15th – 16th

Monday night/Tuesday morning Nat and I were both in and out of sleep. Being self-conscious of the time and wondering if we had set Jenny’s bedside clock alarm right, we were paranoid about being late. Young Nat was picking us up at 4:00 am to drive us to Newcastle Airport. Having literally thrown everything in our check-in luggage, we only had to pack our toiletries and we were off and running.

Young Nat, having travelled just as many miles as an astronaut in his career, could walk through this airport blind-folded. Once we arrived at the check-in gate, Young Nat pointed out a Newcastle United Football player, Jamaal Lascelles (former captain in 2016) walking by with his wife. I was in awe, having never seen a real life professional footballer. I may be a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, but I’m also a lover of Newcastle United and even Manchester United.  Getting back to business, Nat and I were soon informed that we would have to transfer to Gatwick Airport once we arrived at Heathrow. Dumbfounded, we had no idea. If we were told by our travel agent, we had long forgotten. Young Nat looked a bit worried for us, as he could no longer be of assistance, so we said our goodbyes as he watched us walking hand-in-hand off into the abyss!!

The flight to Heathrow was short and sweet, but then the bloody aggravation began. We had no idea where to go to catch our transfer and even with a 3 hour layover we managed to use that time completely by just getting to where we were to go. We had no idea that the small square piece of paper stapled to our ticket was actually the British Airways Transfer ticket we were to use for the bus. Oblivious to it all, we wandered around the airport asking anyone that would walk by where the transfer buses were to Gatwick. Very surprising to find out not too many people even knew there was an area where buses and taxies lined up to take you somewhere. Finally, an intelligent woman, along with following a few “Arrival Transfer” signs hanging above us, we found where the buses at least came through for pick-ups. We, however, just didn’t have a ticket (despite the fact it was in my purse all along)!!

So exhausted, frustrated and barely dangling by a thread, we both said “to hell with it” and purchased a National Express transfer ticket for 54.00 Pounds. Now getting really anxious, our bus finally arrived and we were whisked away to Gatwick for (what were the odds) another adventure.

We’re now walking through Gatwick Airport, for what seemed to be miles, to get to our gate, of which we did not know the number yet. It had not been posted on our tickets. We checked the Gate board and were informed the number would be posted around 11:00 am. Our flight was leaving by 1:00 pm. Waiting and waiting, constantly checking the board, no number was being posted even though it was now past 11:00. We had  no idea what was going on, when Nat asked someone and with luck he told us it had been posted, that we somehow missed it, and with the number in hand, we made a bee-line to get ready for boarding. My heart ached for Nat, worried about missing the plane, trying to slow down a pace to keep an eye on old miss cripple walking behind, he witheld his frustration. Finally arriving at the gate, no one was there. God almighty, please tell us we didn’t miss the plane!!!!!  No, thank God, we hadn’t. The attendant told us we had a half-hour at least. Then suddenly other passengers came literally running in, thinking the same thing we were. Having no idea what was going on, British Airways had somehow managed to confuse a plane full of passengers now in the departure lounge.

At last, finally, we were boarded and sitting in our seats. With no one beside us, we felt we would have a private time flying home. We were informed that several passengers were missing and with that a head count was now being taken. We soon found out – about an hour while sitting on the tarmac – that their flight from Florida had been delayed and we had to wait until they, too, were boarded. We were still lucky as none of the missing passengers were slated to sit in the empty seat beside us.

We were ecstatic to get into the air and looked forward to another boring flight only because we were so tired and knew this would not be the time to get any sleep at all. The meal was soon served (Chicken with Chirizo and soggy chips) which, naturally, I turned my nose up to. Nat tried some just to fill a small void. We then watched a little TV – very old American shows – but were soon put off so we gave up and tried to sit quietly in our seats. Somehow, someway we both fell asleep long enough that when I finally woke up, the rest of the passengers were licking away on Ice Cream Bars – big, fat ones covered in chocolate. Somehow it seemed right as nothing was going our way that day no matter how we tried.

At long last landing on Canadian soil, we had no choice but to gather up as much energy as we could to make that bloody long trek to the baggage claim, customs and  Niagara Airbus pick-up area. Another extremely long walk, winding in and out of the line control areas to get to customs area. Not having travelled in over 7-8 years, some changes had been made and unbeknownst to us, a lot had been computerized. Getting close to where we had to “check-in” on one of a dozen computer screens lined up along the wall with our passport, fill out the Landing Declaration and get a receipt, we soon became even more confused. I was able to follow the instructions, for the two of us, but not realizing that once I completed my turn, I was to have Nat follow, as we would end up with one receipt. Trying to figure things out, along came a snotty-nosed, arrogant and very angry attentant to help us. Not saying a thing but looking at Nat and repeatedly saying “Put it there!!”, “Put it there!!”, Put it there!!, “Put it there!!!”  pointing to the screen and tapping her little stubby fingers on the passport screen for Nat’s passport which had to be scanned. Nat was ready to deck her, but the poor man could hardly lift his arms. Don’t ask, but we managed to get through the whole process, as we began another long trek to the Airbus area where we crashed until our driver arrived.

We were picked up for our last ride home on any kind of airplane, bus or vehicle, and arrived at our doorstep early evening. By way of coincidence we had a retired RCMPer drive us home. I was wearing an RCMP t-shirt I bought while in Regina so he asked me about. Nice man!!!

Walking in the door, Nat and I literally dropped our suitcases and went straight to bed. Only being 8:00 pm, we didn’t give a damn. Nat stayed up long enough to text Susan and Laura to let them know we were home and didn’t want to be disturbed until morning.

We have never felt such exhaustion in our whole lives. Our spirits had been broken. I felt like I had Fibomyalgia (like dear sister, Gail), bent over and walking as if I lost my cane and walker, my whole back wanted to cave in and drop to the floor for a thousand nights. We admitted we were becoming a bit old to travel like that any longer. Nat felt the same way only his legs are in better shape. Those large airports are beyond our capacity to walk through and any time differences in travel would take us twice as long now to get over.

After almost 12 hours of sleep, we awoke Wednesday morning still a tad tired. I got organized – throwing a whole suitcase of clothes in the laundry, getting our meds and toiletries back in order. Nat (believe it or not) went to his usual Wednesday golf league while I stayed home and got caught up with paperwork, bills, etc.

It was later that night, it dawned on Nat, he should have stayed home from his golf. He couldn’t keep his eyes open while eating pizza for supper nor for the entire evening. He finally realized it was going to take several more days for us to get back to where we were before we left. Life was now going too fast for us!!

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Saying Goodbye To Those You Don’t Want to Leave – Part V

May 14th

Our last day had arrived just as we were getting somewhat settled in. Nat and I got a little sleep and as I wobbled downstairs to greet hubby, he was lying on Jenny’s “lift recliner chair” contemplating. By mid-morning we were pleasantly surprised to see Vicki, with her son, Michael, and twins, Gracie and Isla and their Aunt Adele. The twins were all decked out in their sweet little dresses and hair tied up with a big white pearl-dotted bow. Cute as the pearl buttons in their bows. It was a real treat to see Adele again. She had accompanied Jenny on her first trip to Canada and endeared herself to me right away with her wise cracks and wry sense of humour. We were also thrilled to see her sister, Vicki, as we did not see much of her on our last trip.

These were two of Big Robert’s three girls and another pair of beautiful women. They, too, had not aged a day, even after having their children. We were having a few laughs when Natalie called to invite us over to her home for tea around 1:00 pm that afternoon. We were finally going to get to see their new newly built home in Morpeth, just down the road from Bedlington where the rest of Jenny’s family had homes.

We said our final goodbyes to Vicki, Adele and the children, and were shortly picked-up by Nat. Driving through the big rod-iron gates we were both awe struck at the size of their 3-story home set back from the road and with a large semi-circle drive. We noticed other cars parked around the drive, along with Grace’s 18th birthday gift Mini – what I wouldn’t have given to drive that little cutie!!

We walked through the huge wooden double doors and were soon greeted by most of Jenny’s children and grandchildren that could make it. Fabulous surprise as Nat and I grinned from ear to ear to see them all. Yvonne, Sharon, her husband Alan, her son, Michael, Nat, Natalie, son Matthew and daughter, Grace, her boyfriend, Big Robert’s daughter, Lisia, and forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone. We were so overwhelmed as we all gathered around the island in the kitchen being passed a glass of wine or whatever else we wanted to drink. We chatted away and were soon taken on a tour by Natalie of their grandiose home that took their blood, sweat and tears to get built. We could see Natalie’s graceful and elegant touches throughout with the decor and design. We were, however, informed that her hubby Nat picked out those gorgeous wooden doors with squares engraved throughout, while Natalie picked out the 3-storey high Chandelier that hung from the roof rafters, falling down in tapered tiers to be the main event once you walked through the main double doors. Vicki’s (niece to Nat) husband, Michael, volunteered to install the Chandelier, being a professional electrician and took him up to 3 days to install. Along with hanging from the rafters each beaded string had to be individually hung, of which there were hundreds!! Mr. Middlemas we each have a deep respect for your talents!!!

As we toured each room – the TV viewing room with attached semi-circle recliner chairs, the pool room (3rd Floor), the kids bedrooms, their parents’ bedroom, to die-for bathrooms (2nd Floor), two downstairs living rooms with fireplaces, a kitchen you could dance in with built-ins and island, large viewing windows to enjoy the surrounding view and finally a paved patio with barbecue. Yvonne and I were in awe and jealous as we could be. We agreed that Jenny’s Nat had worked all of his life to accomplish this, from his constant studying as a young teen, to his higher education and working his way up the technical/computer ladder in various jobs trying to increase his salary to achieve the dream he had worked so hard for. His son, Matthew, is just as intelligent and is looking to achieve his dream in film and cinematography. He’s also working as hard as his father and has been blessed with a trip to Los Angeles in June to take a course with the pros.

Being different as day and night, his sister, Grace, as beautiful as her Mom, has become a fashion icon. What I wouldn’t give to have her closet as a young teenager. Her shoes are to die for, her clothes and bags look like they came from the pages of Vogue (stylish, chic, tasteful). She, too, works hard at her job to earn her way through this world. Plus she’ll be the first to admit that she and Matthew have been spoiled, but I’ll be the first to tell you that they don’t flaunt it. I also respect each child’s close relationship to their mom and dad.

After the tour we were treated to a really nice luncheon of sliced deli meats, corned beef pies, salad and rolls, along with an assortment of desserts. As everyone made up their lunches we soon all sat around the kitchen enjoying each others’ company. With perfect weather outside, we meandered to the back patio and enjoyed the sunshine. More great laughs and stories.

This is when the family told us of their mother’s surprise final gesture. As Jenny had planned her entire funeral arrangements after her husband, Robert, died, she set aside some time and wrote each of her 5 children a letter. Jenny was never a woman to brag, boast or express her personal emotions but just a down-to-earth woman that raised her family to the best of her ability. As one final gesture on this earth, she surprised her children by writing a letter to each one to thank and praise them for all of their love, adoration, achievements in life, family and help throughout the years. Each one was gobsmacked and never saw this coming. Just proves when you think you know someone, including family, you really don’t. Her funeral won’t be until 2 weeks later and rest assured each child will read their mother’s letters in quiet solitude reflecting family memories forever. One of the best legacies I’ve ever heard of. God Bless Jenny – she had the last word.

With a beautiful afternoon slipping away, Sharon drove us home and a few hours later, Vicki picked us up for another fish ‘n chip meal. She had stated earlier she wanted to do this and we were whisked away to our popular restaurant in Blythe. When we arrived we were tickled to death that hubby, Michael, their 3 children, and young Robert’s daughter, Paris, were joining us. What a great way to get to know Michael (another gorgeous man and whom we’ve only seen once before) and their gorgeous children. Young Robert’s, Paris, was quiet as a mouse and Vicki and Michael were wondering if she was feeling okay.

We gave our orders and Vicki, being Vicki, decided to get cheeky. Being a “chocoholic” like me, she was insistent that we finish the meal with ice cream. Nat and I were so full, only finishing half of our meals, we insisted no ice cream. She tried to chide me by asking what’s your favourite flavour, but I didn’t bite. Thinking we had convinced her, away she went with the children and shortly came back with a cone each for Nat and myself. At least it was only a single, She gave Nat a Vanilla cone and me a Chocolate Chip (she knew there had to be chocolate in their somewhere).

We had such a wonderful time and were sorry we had to leave. Michael had driven off with the children, and to drop off Paris at her father’s. As we were driving home, young Robert called on Vicki’s car phone looking for a piece of clothing for Paris. This was our only chance to say Hi to Robert and tell him we missed seeing him. Arriving home we said our goodbyes and waddled through the front door fat and happy from our day out and couldn’t thank Vicki and Michael enough for their generosity.

Later that evening Michael, Jason, Susan and Lucie dropped in. We were informed by Michael and earlier by Yvonne, that Jenny’s family agreed Nat should take home anything he wanted as a memory of his sister, whether an item from the house or photos. Nat was dumbfounded and had absolutely no idea. He wanted for nothing and struggled to think of a thing. As we were talking Michael suddenly returned from upstairs carrying a small jewel case of Jenny’s. Again, he was so undecided, but when I saw a few of her rings – nothing expensive – I told Nat to pick out two he thought Susan and Laura would like. Done. He was satisfied and happy that his girls would also have a memory of their Aunt Jenny.

We soon found ourselves surrounded by a few photo albums, of which Jenny had plenty of stacked upstairs. Jason and Lucie were enthralled with the olden, golden goodies along with the stories his Dad and Nat would tell him. It didn’t take long before the 3 adults began to reminisce, while my Nat picked out a few pictures to take home to add to his family memories. With the subjects going back and forth, I suddenly found myself telling Susan how Nat and I met. She had never known the story and (bless her) was fascinated. We didn’t want them to go, but alas we had to catch a 4:00 am pick up by Nat E. for our flight at 6:00 pm.

The shortest, saddest and yet memorable trip we had ever been on. We miss gathering around with this family to this day. At least with social media we’ll be able to keep in touch with some of the adults and certainly a lot of the grandchildren. Plus I can’t wait to write some letters to Yvonne. Thank-you everyone from the bottom of our hearts.

…. and yet, still to be continued …. last one???

Saying Goodbye To Those You Don’t Want To Leave – Part IV

May 12th and 13th

Finally! A good nights sleep. We both managed to get at least 9 hours which was enough to get us through the day. We were up around 6:30 am, got some toast and tea. Sitting quietly enjoying the stillness of the morning when Natalie had called by 10:30 to go for a few groceries and on to the hospital to see Jenny.

It felt good, for some reason, to be back at an ASDA store now (much to our chagrin) owned by that American octopus, Walmart. Shopping with Nat, however, made it just a bit difficult. My only chance to have a look around at all of the British goodies, but alas we were there only for a few essentials to get us by for the next few days – chicken, English bacon, one potato, cereal, small pack of Sprite, etc. Natalie and her look-alike daughter, Grace, were already finished with their pick-ups and waited patiently for us by the door.

Back on the road to the hospital. Grace and I sat in the back seat and I, again, was in shock at how much she had grown, too. The last time we saw her and brother, Matthew, was at our going home party about 7-8 years ago. We had all gathered in a party room at the local pub, ate, drank and made merry with Jenny’s entire family. Such great memories, such fun. Grace at that time was a pre-teen beauty with long blonde locks of hair, all dressed in her red matching pants and top. Matthew was an adorable blonde-haired boy going along with the other youngsters in the room wondering who the hell were these old folks from Canada.

Arriving at the hospital, Jenny was still sleeping. More of the family were there. Seeing them all was wonderful and it didn’t take long before we all began to chat about various things. It was nice to see two of big Robert’s girls, Leah and Adele, and Yvonne’s daughter, young Yvonne. Like the rest of the Edington family, they were gorgeousw as ever. There was one brother missing, young Robert, whom I’ve seen on Instagram and has grown up to become a very handsome man, along with his adorable daughter, Paris. It was during that morning visit, I tapped (my) Nat on the shoulder to remind him we had to go for fish ‘n chips. I was NOT leaving Britain without at least one meal. How, I wasn’t sure.

As everyone mulled around Jenny’s bedside, coming and going from her room to leave room for the next shift arriving, Jenny’s sons, Nat and Michael, hatched a plan to take the two of us for that fish ‘n chip meal at lunch time. (I really did not mean for them to hear, honestly!!)

Within the hour the four of us were headed out to the best Fish ‘N Chip/Ice Cream restaurant along the coast of Blythe. Natalie had taken us there on our last trip and were awe struck at how fabulous our meals were, including the over 12 flavours of ice cream. Hubby and I ordered the Haddock fish and the boys ordered their dishes, with Michael ordering from the children’s menu. This smart man likes to eat smaller portions of food at different times throughout the day, which keeps him less sluggish and makes it easier to get on with his routine. He’s actually doing the right thing.

The portions were humungous but looking oh, so delicious with those chips cut large and fried to light golden perfection. At our age it was very difficult to eat even half of that portion of fish, but I managed until I felt like dropping. I had craved this meal for years. Hubby made a damn good stab at his plate, too. Michael, however, ate his entire (kids’) portion, leaving nothing but one small wee chip. It goes without saying the poor chap received a bit of flack from baby brother about not finishing his meal. It also goes without saying, older brother snapped back in defence. With that, the two brothers suddenly broke into their younger selves joking back and forth, laughing and giggling as if they were youngsters again. Hubby and I were being entertained and were glad to see the two boys release some stress and tension from the events of the past several weeks.

The boys then talked us into double cones of ice cream that always came with either a crunchy biscuit or chocolate “Flake” – a short round chocolate stick that flaked all over you when you bit into it and melted in your mouth in oh such goodness. We all headed back to the hospital feeling so relaxed and easy going. Hubby and I could never thank Nat and Michael enough for that surprise and selfless gesture.

Once back to see Jenny, my Nat was able to meet Jenny’s brother-in-law whom he had not seen in over 40 years. This time Sharon’s lad, John, was there. Another grandson grown up to where I didn’t even recognize,. I was embarrassed. Only an extremely quiet young boy when we had last met sticking close to his mom staring at the strangers in his gran’s house.

We were soon driven home to be picked up again by 7:00 pm. We stayed for an hour but this time we noticed Jenny was now breathing harder. Some of her girls were staying the night in the next room the nurses had fixed up for them. Nat and I could see the strain and worry on their faces and we felt helpless. We were then driven home with another day now at a close.

Just as we were both heading into a deep sleep, the phone rang at 12:45 am (Sunday am), jolting us up. Nat reached over and answered pretty much knowing what the news was. He was right. Jenny had passed. Michael’s son, Jason, would be coming by to pick us up to head back to hospital.

Most family members (excluding young children) were holding vigil as Jenny lay peacefully in bed. Suddenly, I had to leave the room and have my good cry. I loved Jenny, she was my pen-pal and listened to all of my tales of woe, happiness and just plain bitching. She never wrote back as Nat would call her every couple of weeks to get caught up on family news, but she loved getting my letters and I loved her for allowing me to write. During our visits at her home, whenever Nat was out with her late husband, Robert, or anytime we were alone, we would chat about family matters. She was so enlightening in her stories of my Nat and his younger years. Hubby is not one to express his personal feelings, but Jenny at least answered my questions and made me understand her baby brother, his two daughters, their relationship with each other since their mother’s passing, and his previous life. I regretted so much that she lived too far away for get-togethers. Bless Jenny’s first born, Yvonne. She would read my letters, and later announced that I could continue to write to her. She’s not a computer whiz like her children but still enjoys a good letter. I love her so much for that, and trust me, she’ll get letters. I never want to lose touch with any of Jenny’s family.

Once back home we headed straight to our bed and tried our best to sleep. Our heads were now swirling.

Later that morning after an unsettling sleep, we were up hoping for a somewhat quiet day. Natalie called to see if we needed anything. We couldn’t believe how attentive Natalie was. She had been driving us back and forth between Jenny’s house and hospital, grocery shopping and was willing to take us anywhere we needed to go. Always keeping her composure, being the strong one, along with her loving husband Nat, taking care of anything required. She’s had her medical issues, too, in the past and still remained calm and loving. Still looking like she was in her 30’s, she hadn’t aged a day. Always the young girl that we first met going on a double date with young Nat, Susan and Michael, while Jenny was living in the trailer.

Our quiet morning soon came to a close. The first of Jenny’s large family arrived were Sharon, Michael, Nat and Robert (Jenny’s children minus one). We were pleased to see them and they brought us up-to-date on what was happening. This would probably be the last time we would talk to the four of Jenny’s children in the same room. Each had their own lives, their own businesses and would try to get on with the rest of their lives now without their mother. We both knew that Michael and Yvonne would have a rough patch getting back to normalcy. Each and everyday Michael would drop by his mom’s, organize her medicines, attend to her needs, do any running around, attend to financial matters, any mail she received and kept his Mom company as long as his day would allow, after all he had his own to attend to. Yvonne would drop by later, probably taking over where Michael left off. They both have families and lives of their own, but Jenny raised very unselfish children.  Her five children had no idea about what was soon to come. God Bless Jenny – she left the best for last.

Shortly after the kids left, we were visited by Big Terry and Yvonne, and young Yvonne. Big Terry is still working diligently in the antique/older furniture business. His trips to Europe, especially Belgium and France still continued despite his age. He soldiers on as best he can taking care of his own family. Yvonne, as stated earlier would always see to her Mom’s needs during the day. Their two children young Terry and young Yvonne were busy with their own families and Mom and Dad were now empty-nesters. Young Yvonne is still another young women who has not aged a day and still gorgeous and fun loving as when we last saw her.

After getting big Terry’s famous bear hug (I love ’em) they were away and we were left with a lull. Not wanting a big meal we decided to maneuver around Jenny’s kitchen to cook up some of the chicken we bought. It was obvious Jenny had had an extremely difficult time while she was ill at home. Her hospital bed was placed along the back wall under what use to be her dining room window, with a small chair being used as a bed-side table. Her family had bought a proper table for her to use, but she would have nothing to do with it. The kids had also purchased a medicine cabinet to place on the wall in order to keep the enormous amount of prescription medicines, vitamins, etc. off the small dinning table standing beside her bed. Again, another no go. Jenny was adamant that things were just fine the way they were. Now I know where my hubby gets his stubbornness. Their Mom was the same.

With some bobbing, weaving and opening of cabinets and drawers, we soon found the fry pan and pot (behind the dish detergent) for our chicken and cut-up potato. As per our habit at home we like to pound the chicken into a cutlet, throw a few Panko crumbs on and then saute on the top of the stove. Not being “that” hungry, we only used one breast between the two of us and had to improvise on how to pound the chicken down to the size of a cutlet. Suddenly a can of beans became our weapon of choice not knowing that you can literally dent a can of beans with a chicken breast. (Sorry, kids, but whoever cleans out Jenny’s food supply and wonders why there’s a can of dented beans, you’ll know it was us!!)

Now deciding to grill the chicken cutlet rather than sauteeing, we managed to get it done to half-decent perfection and along with our one boiled potato, we were good to go. We cleared a little corner for ourselves on the small table sitting with the “bed-side chair” and Jenny’s bed, to eat our small meal. Must admit for improvisation, we did pretty good.

Just as we were cleaning up, in popped young Terry and wife, Emma. Despite our meager meal, we were complimented that it at least smelt good!! Again I repeat myself, young Terry had not changed a bit, only more mature and a bit more bulked up and taller. The two didn’t stay that long, but we were glad to have a great talk getting caught up with their adventures, taking care of his two children and that their entire family were “Disney-olics”, along with licence plates. Their faithful to say the least.

Thinking the day had ended, we were soon gifted with another nice surprise visit. Michael’s oldest, Jason, his girlfriend, Lucie, Sharon’s son, Michael and his girlfriend, Emma, dropped by. What four young kids drop by to visit a couple of seniors on a Sunday night? These two young men were a joy to see as were their girlfriends, who, believe it or not, also wanted to meet us. A great visit as Jason and I joked about how I mistook him for calling me a “carrot” on social media. Long, but cute story, Jason soon advised he was giving me a compliment. His father apparently also appreciated the joke and didn’t hesitate to spread it around the family. Somehow I truly felt like I was welcomed into Jenny’s family, along with their Uncle Nat despite their loss. My heart was swelling as we continued our wonderful Sunday evening. We both love Jenny’s family so much.

Sunday had now been filled with memories of times gone by and Nat and I grinned at each other not believing how wonderful this day had become. We watched a little television – American shows, such as “Cold Case” and “Without a Trace”- then headed to bed by 10:00 totally exhausted. We were still coming to terms with what was happening and all at once. Hopefully off to lullaby land ASAP.

Saying Goodbye To Someone You Don’t Want to Leave – Part III

The flight to London Heathrow was so bloody long and boring, and naturally, the lower class schmucks in the back were packed in like sardines!! As we were boarding Nat and I noticed what section the upgrade (Premium) would be like. Nice!! Each individual sat in a little half-oval pod where you could physically lay back, put your feet up and watch telly as you whiled away the hours. Another lesson learned and never to be repeated.

Nat and I tried our best to relax and get comfy with the room we had. Soon after midnight we were served a meal – Chicken Marsala (chicken, marsala sauce, rice). Yuk for me, but Nat ate it. The dessert was even worse – some sort of layered bars, along with a pudding of some sort. I just know it didn’t wiggle when I pressed the top!! It ended up with me eating the dry bun with (not enough) butter. I suppose I was a bit taken aback being served a meal like that at midnight (EST). As I really wasn’t hungry, I tried to push that meal tray away from on that bloody little seat tray. Just a country bumpkin that doesn’t appreciate good (cough, cough) food when it’s put in front of you. Shame on me!!

With the meal trays finally taken away, Nat and I tried to get a little sleep. We both tried to place the small flat airplane pillows behind our heads every which way but inside out and upside down. Couldn’t get a good placement no matter how we tried. So, we just sat there staring into the abyss for quite some time. At one point I tried to hook up my iPad to the Airplane’s WIFI. Another bloody ruse. You have to subscribe to British Airways in order to get connected. I gave up, so I played a couple of games I had previously down-loaded from home which did not require an internet connection, but soon got bored. The plane kept bobbing and weaving with the air turbulence and my stylus would bob and weave at the same time thus making me hit the wrong icons. It was now becoming apparent this was really going to be a long ride.

At long last, began our descent into Heathrow. Once in the airport we followed the crowd trying to keep up as everyone headed for the baggage claim and customs. Another massive walk, including a ride via mini subway car to the other end of the airport. That’s how massive this airport is – one of the largest in the world. I was ready to drop from total exhaustion. My legs were aching from hip to toe, with both feet swelling up with each step I took. (Found out later your feet can swell from cabin pressure and high altitude).

Despite a 2 hour layover, it took us that long to get through the airport, customs, and find where we were to catch our flight to Newcastle. Geez, if it didn’t involve another bloody walk!! With help from others – we had long lost the crowd we were following by now – we soon found where we were to board for the transfer with no time to spare.  Finally now seated on the smaller BA plane  we were even more exhausted. The trip was around 45 minutes which wasn’t that bad.

Landing at Newcastle Airport, at last, we found the luggage pick-up area quickly enough, but we had to ask an attendant, “Which one was the flight from London?” To which he responded “There’s only 2”. Bloody smart ass!! Could he not see my body draped forward as if I were The Hunchback of Notre Dame, along with the bags under Nat’s eyes and frustrated look on this face?? He’s bad for British tourism.

There is where I have to explain to some Canadians that don’t understand the naming system in Scotland. Jenny had 5 children – Yvonne, Robert, Michael, Sharon, Nat. Having said that some of them named their children after one of the parents – eg. Yvonne has a daughter, Yvonne, and a son, Terry (named after his father, Terry); and Robert has a son named Robert. Michael, Sharon and Nat bucked the system!! So when I mention one of the children of Jenny, I’ll refer to them as “Big” – no insulted intended as they’re all in good shape. Then when I refer to one of the children of the same name, I’ll refer to them as “Young”. Trust me, this will make it so much easier to understand.

Having arrived and picked up our baggage, we were out the doors to be greeted by Nat’s beautiful wife, Natalie. It had now been 2 days without a good meal and any sleep. Natalie was however a wonderful sight for very tired eyes. She drove us straight to the hospital (it was now somewhere around 3:00 PM UK – 5 hours ahead of Canada). Poor Natalie had to put up with two old fogies who were dragging their asses and trying to keep up as best we could. Naturally, loving husband was doing so much better, but I put my best efforts into it. In my defence, it was another long walk, including a flight up, to get to Jenny’s room.

As we walked into Jenny’s ward quite a few of the family were there – Sharon, her husband, Alan, Nat’s nephew, Nat, Natalie, Sharmaine, etc. With other patients in the same room it was difficult for Jenny’s family to gather around, but we found a seat alongside Jenny’s bed which was nice. (The family had a request in for a private room, later that day).

We were taken aback somewhat as we had not seen her in over 7-8 years. She was so doped up on morphine and pain killers, she was totally confused and mumbling about going home, along with other hallucinations she was having. Her cancer had spread from her lungs to her liver, she now also had half a lung collapse, along with a chest infection which was being treated with one of the best antibiotics in the UK. Her entire body was black and blue from needle jabs, morphine drips and side effects. She looked like she had been kicked around in an alley. I began to get choked up. I could feel the tears coming as I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. We were told she had been more lucid earlier on, including one time mumbling to Sharon – “You’ve got your work cut out for you” – meaning clearing out her house once she passed. Clever Jenny, she knew exactly what was happening. She had previously expressed to her brother Nat that she was ready to go a few months back, so we both knew exactly what she was thinking. She, too, was just playing the waiting game.

After an hour or so, Natalie drove us back to Jenny’s home so we could get unpacked and settled in the best we could. As we arrived Sharon’s daughter, Sharmaine, pulled up with her son, Jayden, in her arms. That adorable little blond haired boy had asked her mom if he could meet us. Still in his school uniform, he gave a small grin as I expressed my love of his dancing videos his mom had posted on Instagram. He was so full of energy and cute as a button. I told him I looked forward to seeing more. With that they were off and running.

Natalie said she would pick us up again around 7:00 pm to go back to hospital. Despite our complete exhaustion, we managed to lay our suitcases in Jenny’s spare room, open them up and then headed downstairs to make ourselves a snack while we sat in front of the TV too tired to turn it on or even talk.

Later that evening when back at the hospital, another shift of family members had arrived, including Nat and Natalie’s youngest boy, Matthew. My God how he had grown and looking just like his dad. I love this young man for his good looks, his intelligence, kindness, selflessness and photography which he is now studying. (With a wonderful chance to go to Los Angeles for a month on a special course!!) I follow him and his sister, Grace, on Instagram with each child completely posting on polar opposites of the world. They both make me laugh and smile at their antics.

Jenny had now been moved to a private room and was sleeping from still being doped up. Her breathing was hard and once her Doctor came in she took Nat, Michael, and my Nat into the hallway where they could discuss in private Jenny’s future treatment. She was going to be taken off the antibiotic (it was no longer working) and she’ll then be reassessed after that. I’m so glad we were there so my Nat could be included in the discussion and understand exactly what was going on with his only Sister.

My heart broke when I saw Michael’s wife, Susan. She was really broken up and since Nat and I both adore her, it was difficult to see her hurting. She’s beautiful (stunning, actually), funny and has two fabulous boys, Jason and Bradley. These are the two boys who presented us with a crystal clock with their names inscribed on the back, while on one of our past trips and while still in grade school. I cherish that clock today as it sits proudly on our living room shelf beside a picture of their Gran and Uncle Nat. Shock had now set in as soon as I saw Jason, so grown up, very tasteful beard along his jaw and still as sweet and loving as when I first met him. Always smiling, always helpful. For some reason I feel very connected to him, with his dry sense of humour (like his Dad’s) and his love of cars and trailers. His younger brother, Bradley, is still a very shy young man and stayed home but we were hoping we would see him later on.

Natalie drove us home and we were able to get settled in for a short evening. We were both in bed by 9:00 pm, which is highly unusual for dear hubby who only sleeps about 5 hours and usually waits until midnight to retire. Apparently Natalie, along with Sharon and Lisia, stocked Jenny’s house for us with some essentials – milk, bread, etc. and made up Jenny’s bed with fresh linens and towels. We were overwhelmed by their kindness and forethought. Now we would at least have something to munch on whenever we awoke from our long, long awaited sleep.

….and yet, still to be continued …

Saying Goodbye – Part II

May 10th

Thursday morning arrived. We both had to pack last minute items before being picked up by the Air Bus at 2:00 that afternoon. We suddenly remembered that we would have to have some “travel-sized” toiletry items as the usual day-to-day items were too big, too bulky for travelling, plus Customs now had stringent requirements. Nat popped out to the Drug Store for what we needed while I finished getting the house in order for being away. We then had a bite to eat, watched a little TV while we waited.

We were picked-up by the Air Bus right on time. As Ridgeway/Fort Erie are always the first on and last off, we were alone until the first and second pick-ups in St. Catharines. We were then taken to Vineland for another Air Bus to Toronto, as our guy was headed for another round. The new bus turned out to be their Limousine Bus and what a treat that was. Nice quiet, smooth ride and the driver did not hesitate to drive through the crowded QEW to Toronto. Luckily he could take advantage of the High Occupancy Lane and we could watch those comuter suckers fly right by. What a treat that was. Nat and I are also so paranoid about being on time and this made us feel a lot more secure.

We arrived at Terminal 3, got checked in for our 10:00 PM flight to London Heathrow. Thankfully the lines were bare-to-none and we received our boarding passes just fine. By this time the two of us were a bit hungry, as we had missed our supper. Another massive walk, including two-three walking escalators/walkways, to the Departure Lounge, but on our way we came across the Smashburger restaurant. Nat was hoping to go to Tim Horton’s but not sure where it was. After asking, he was directed to go walk down and it was right around the corner. I went for the Smashburger and he headed to “Timmies”. We found a table and began our lunches. As I opened my little package containing a burger I was taken aback. It really was “smashed”. They take a bun, place the burger, the lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup and mustard within it, put on the top and physically “smash” that sucker. What a strange concept!!!!! Despite that, and after scraping off all those toppings I abhor, it was pretty good, as were the fries.

With our belllies reasonably happy we proceeded to our Departure Lounge. We were now getting exhausted, after such a long, long walk through that humungus Air Port. It was even harder for me, after being taken off the Fosamax (bone density) pill for four months before my dental surgery. My legs have becomes somewhat weaker from my feet to my hips. I had no idea that was coming but having no choice I had to soldier on. Poor Nat, with his long stride in walking, he was at times always looking back to make sure I was still with him and at other times tried to be patient with me. We both had no idea how bad I had become.

We found a seat at the WIFI tables and I tried to hook up my iPad to see if I could at least email any family, but alas it was a bit confusing for this deteriorating brain and I gave up. We found a couple of seats and began to watch the rest of the passengers coming and going. Fascinating to watch people from around the globe walking by. I love to check everyone out – what they’re wearing, how much luggage, how good looking, how geeky, etc. Terrible of me, but I truly am fascinated with people. It’s an education in any Air Port.

The time had arrived to finally board the plane. Naturally, we were in the last group to board. Why they don’t start from back to front of the plane is beyond me. We have to walk the farthest and try to worm our way through the first boarders as they’re putting their “check-in” bags in the cabin above them, blocking the aisles. Yes, the more you pay the more privileges you get, but it just makes sense, at least to me.

We found our seats, got settled in and were soon up and off to the wild blue yonder, unaware of what was ahead.

Just Shoot Me Now!!!

Finishing off a battle royal with Nat Monday morning (more later), I had my dental appointment for dental impressions that afternoon at 2:00. The day started off shitty and pretty much ended the same way.

Some of my apprehension for having impressions done had been eased earlier, as I was told a lot of advancements had been made in dentistry over the years, including impressions. She Lied!!! And obviously has never had them done herself. It was the most disgusting, vile, horrendous thing I’ve ever had to do. Seriously, within  30 seconds of doing my lowers, I wanted them to shoot me.

The appointment started with quite a bit of prep work and I waited quietly looking out at the neighbour’s house through a somewhat steamy window. I was soon approached by one of the dental assistants with a solid metal plate shaped in the form of a half circle. She placed it on my lower teeth, asking me to shift my tongue upwards and then lower it while she checked for size. That was heavy metal, baby!!! Then she repeated the same procedure for my uppers. So far, so good, I’m thinking, not knowing what was coming. I also had to read a couple of consent and information forms regarding dentures and how they’ll fit in my mouth.

The Denture Nurse then came along with a tray of varying samples of teeth. She picked what she thought was the right one, held it up against my teeth and had me check out the colour match with a small mirror I was holding. It really looked like a good match, and in fact a tad whiter, so we agreed that was the one. She and the Dentist then began to fiddle around behind my back getting everything prepped for the hell I was about to go through. I’ll give him credit for filing down an upper back tooth that was broken and sharp and driving me nuts, thinking it might cause a problem.

I could feel my blood pressure rising as I heard the voices behind me, ask if they were ready. With that, my Dentist stuck some pink pudding-like, watery Silly Putty all over my bottom teeth. I began to gag, and with that he placed that heavy metal plate over my teeth, pressing down continuously with his thumb. I began to gag even more. The two of them sat me upright and asked that I bend downward and breath through my nose with my mouth wide open. This is not an easy thing, people. You’re about to explode, breathing heavy and trying not to concentrate on the alien goo dancing around my mouth. Trying to ease the situation they told me I was doing great, only 30 seconds left out of total 1 minute. Great God Almighty, it was finally over. The plate was removed and to my surprise there didn’t seem to be any residue left – the mould had taken and the Dentist said it worked perfectly. It had to, I was NOT going to repeat that process a second time.

Then the real fun began. He approached me with more alien goo, placed the plate over my upper teeth with his fingers and I was off and running. It felt like some of that crap was oozing around my upper mouth. Again, they sat me up and had me lean forward to avoid a lot of the gagging. More heavy breathing through my nose as I could feel my breath hitting his blue gloved hand. I had this great urge to bite down right on his hand, but I was good. Don’t screw this up, Twila, or you’ll have to do it again and this fun game was being paid for out of our lower-class income pockets!!!

At last. Done. Again I was told perfect impressions and the Assistant gave me a damp cloth and mirror. My lips and cheeks were covered in pink alien goo, including bits on my tongue. Now I understand why she was holding a large towel under my chin during the whole process. I just had to laugh – out of sheer relief, I suppose. We both laughed as I wiped myself down and jumped out of the dental chair so fast I almost fell. I couldn’t believe it was over. Somehow going back to the Denture Nurse’s office and paying a downpayment for the lab and dentures was the easy part.

More appointments were made – one for “waxing”, another for whatever. I’m just going along for the ride at this moment. As I had handed in a good picture of me smiling, she took a copy to give to the lab. After that, I will be able to check out my new dentures for shape, colour and request any changes if I wanted. That’s pretty cool. You can try and improve your look if possible which was never done in years past.

It looks like I may have about a month off before the appointments start for the pre-op and surgery in mid-July. Even after surgery I’m told there will be a lot of adjustments and eating only soft foods for 3 weeks – a real bummer!!!!! This whole process is for my self-improvement and esteem and so I can smile and laugh again. I’m in the home stretch. When all is finished I won’t stop grinning from ear to ear.

Back to the beginning of my shitty week. Nat and I had been invited to see Laura’s new apartment in April. My feelings for her since our last huge blast have not dissipated. Afterall she came dangerously close to breaking up my marriage, and that’s unforgivable to me.

The visit went well, but as I had nothing to contribute to the conversation she was having with her Dad, I played with Zoe, her Shih tzu dog, who was curled up in my lap and enjoying my petting.  Her apartment is nice, along with a neat long closet tucked behind one kitchen wall and the exterior wall. Clever. Nat and I also handed her an envelope we had received from her lawyers containing a Release of Interest for her Dad from her former house insurance. We advised it should be given to her insurance agent for his records. She threw that envelope onto a table in another room and returned. We had also asked that she give us a copy of the sale report (Nat had asked her lawyer to send us a copy)  which I assumed she would do there and then, but never said another word.

Lucas arrived home for a couple of minutes to get changed for going out with some friends. We had a few minutes to see him and check out his new tattoos. Then after the conversation came to a lull, Lucas and Laura went on their cell phones. Myself, I thought it was a little rude – but then, again, I’m really old fashioned. The conversations were all about Laura’s coming and goings, her job, etc. and I really had nothing else to add so I kept petting the dog, even after a snide remark about Coach Bags. She mentioned them once, and I remarked I liked them, to which she retorted “I have better things to spend my $300.00 on than a Coach Bag”. Well eexxcuuuuse me!!!!! Didn’t say I bought them, but certainly appreciated a good design when I saw it. (Let it go, Twila, let it go!!!)

She also was a tad upset that her former mother-in-law did not tell her or the kids that their great-grandmother was in hospital and not alert. She’s in her mid-90s and has outlived all of her friends and resides in a nursing home. Laura’s kids wouldn’t go see her in hospital but were upset they didn’t know. I remarked it was nice sometimes to just sit and keep her company for a few minutes. She had no response.

Nat and I decided to leave as there wasn’t much else to talk about. She never asks about others, including her sister, even though Nat mentioned her new kitchen that she was pleased with.

Long story short – that night and the next week I couldn’t stop dwelling on her righteous attitude, lack of personal connection and feelings. Just brrrrrrr. After our last huge fight, Nat and I both agreed to be open and honest with each other. So as we were sitting in the living room this past Sunday I told him how I felt and that I had to say something because it was eating away at me. Poor Nat, I hit him hard. Being his favourite daughter, I could see it in his eyes, he was broken. Forgetting to get a copy of our report from her lawyers, Nat texted her to call. When she did, she was extremely puzzled why we had to have it. She didn’t understand the rush. (I just wanted my file closed and this matter over with, because she’ll soon forget). She’s never fulfilled requests for pictures or other things from me in the past and I didn’t trust her. She just had to hand-over the damn envelope addressed to Nat. I knew she would soon forget and we would never ever receive that envelope. What was the big deal? Nat seemed to insist after what I had said and suddenly she retaliated turning the whole thing back at me. Believe me, she’s very good at that. Never actually answers Nat’s questions, just retaliates with one of her own. According to her, I’m not friendly, I’m looking down all the time, I don’t join in the conversation, and apparently didn’t smother her with compliments about her apartment.

Seriously – she’s in her 50’s not her teens!!  I explained again for the umpteenth time that I have absolutely nothing to talk to her about. Her conversations are one-sided. She doesn’t watch the news, keep up with local affairs or even carry on a conversation about any topic outside of her little world. Plus she has never once asked me directly how I was doing or even my family. Maturity is not her strong suit. She did, however, take that envelope to her work the next morning where Nat could pick it up. Now, was that so hard?

I tried my damnedest to explain to Nat that there was nothing he could do. He kept repeating how he felt he should do something. We’re two very different people and I now have a harder time than ever before to let things go. He was also afraid that I would go into another depression again and he wouldn’t be able to cope. Does he seriously think I’ll be able to cope too??? I just wanted to vent my frustrations and the whole thing blew up in my face. So much for trying to be forthright.

I ended the discussion an hour before my dental appointment by agreeing to be the mature adult in this whole matter. I’ll take the high road and be the mature adult that I am whenever we’re together again, I’ll converse with her about her mundane world, let her think she’s always right, and lay it on so thick she’ll beg me to back off (I didn’t say that to Nat, however). Taking a very deep breath we headed down to my dental appointment to end my day  hoping to get shot in the head by my Dentist after even more torture. Why not, everyone has to pay for their sins!!!!

What A Clunker!

The month of April continues to be an odd one.  Nat’s new Laz-y-Boy chair arrived a couple of days ago. Really pleased with the look of the fabric. However, after one day of sitting in the damn thing, Nat became totally frustrated with the clunk the footrest makes when putting it in the down position. He was also having an extremely hard time trying to push the headrest back. He struggled no matter what he did.

Not wanting to put up with his frustrated anger anymore, I naturally did some research on Google. “Lazy Boy footrest making a clunk sound“, “Lazy Boy headrest hard to push back”, etc. With all things “Google’, I found all kinds of results, as Nat was not alone in his frustration. We ended up finding a You Tube video explaining how the Lazy Boys work, including the clunking sound. He had to make a few adjustments (via the wing nut under the chair) to ease the pushing of the headrest back. The “clunking” sound was part of the workings of the footrest and really had no solutions to silence the damn thing. There was, however, a hint on how to sit up straight, start to turn down the footrest to the middle position, then sit back and continue with the down turn, which eases the “clunk” somewhat.

So far, Nat’s come to the decision there is not much more he can do and hoping the chair will ease with age. We can only hope!

With my income tax rebate in, we put most of the money towards my dental costs, and I kept a few hundred to put towards an updated iPad. We headed off to Paradise (the Apple Store) at Mapleview Mall in Burlington and after browsing all the goodies, I had decided which iPad I was going to take. Along with the return/recycle of my old iPad I had saved much more money than expected and walked out the door having paid less for my new iPad than the advertised price. What a deal !!!!

I’m still getting use to the larger iPad than the Mini I had at first. The Mini was $100.00 more money than the larger iPad because it came with 129GB vs the 32GB iPad I was looking at. It was a no brainer. Plus the larger screen makes a difference for reading my Twitter feed and some of my games. I’ve also ordered a protective sleeve and small carrying case from Amazon which I can’t wait to get. Funky and fun compared to what I saw at the Apple Store.

My semi-annual report with Doc was great. We also had a good laugh about my dental expenses and his poor dog’s expense in having a tooth pull. The Vet charged $1,000.00 for pulling his dog’s tooth and he felt it should have been a root canal for that amount of money. His adorable “Pugsly” looked to be worth every dollar.

My appointment to have a filling refilled – Dentist’s personal decision due to lack of satisfaction – along with the molding for a crown for the same tooth, took place today. I returned at 10:45 AM for correction of the filling and then the prep work for the crown. This appointment wasn’t as bad as the last one, thank God, and only took about 20 minutes. The prep work for the Crown took about 10 and Nat and I were home in time for a late lunch. I had to return at 3:15 PM to have the Crown put in and luckily did not require a re-freezing. The Hygienist checked my gums by blowing air on them and they were good to go. It almost felt like some of the morning’s freezing was still hanging around. This being my first Crown, it feels very natural and I’m pleased with the results despite the $1,000.00 I paid.

My next appointment will be for impressions of my upper teeth. One of the procedures I’m not really looking forward to, but I tell myself I’m so near the end of this whole adventure and will definitely have time off for a couple of months before the surgery. So near, yet so far. We shall endure.