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.