It doesn't take much to get me stressed! I have some English visitors coming tomorrow. They fly into Sydney tonight and will be coming up on the train in the morning. I am so looking forward to this as it is my lovely cousin Jacquie who I stay with in England. She has known me since I was five, we became penfriends when she became a Brownie after I had come out to Australia with my parents and my sister. She wanted a penfriend badge so we started writing then and have shared so much over 60+ years. She is travelling with one of her cousins on her mother's side and his wife. Jacquie will stay with me while the others go off on a tour and then when they come back will do various shorter trips to see as much as they can of my part of the world.
I am not the world's greatest housekeeper, in fact when I am busy with other things I can become quite untidy so it has been a bit of a rush trying to get the house to look reasonably clean and tidy for the visitors. Now as in the middle of all of this I lost two huge branches off the rubber tree up the back and had to cut it up into a pileable size with the help of one of the neighbours. With both of us using hand saws it was a bit of a challenge but we did it. Now I just have to cut it into loadable bundles,carry it all down to the front of my house block and apply for a council pick up. Why does this happen at the most inopportune times?
Jacquie and I both saved up madly when we were in our late teens for her to come to Australia and me to go to England. We were going to see the world! Then the inevitable happened and we both married. I used my savings to furnish the house Ray and I bought and she did the same with the house she and Jim moved into. We both had children, she has two sons and I have two sons and a daughter. We each have six grandchildren. Ray and I went to England in 1994 and 1998. Jacquie still hoped to come over but things did not go the way she planned. Then there was the long gap during the post-stroke and caregiving years and as you know I went back to England in 2013 and again last year and now FINALLY she is coming over to me.
It is times like this I so wish Ray was here. When we were in England in 1994 Ray put on an Aussie BBQ for some of Jacquie's friends. We set it up the way we would have at home, cooked the lamb chops, onions, sausages and steaks (they were expensive). I made several different garden salads and cooked beetroot and made a version of potato salad using zucchinis, The party was a big success. Now when I visit her she always says : "I wish Ray was still with you" and we shed tears and I know we will both shed tears when she arrives because she is here at last and he is not here to cook her a BBQ as he promised her he would when she finally made the trip. It is so sad isn't it?
I know people expect me to be over his death now and to a certain extent I am. I must seem to be functioning fairly normally and coping with life okay. I have resumed a few of my old hobbies and maintained as many contacts as I can. There are people I have not seen or heard from since he has died and I know they were Rays friends or friends of the couple "Sue and Ray", not my personal friends. I honestly didn't think much about that until I lost Ray, as my husband, my partner and the father of my children. We had been together for 45 year, 44 of them as man and wife. I have struggled with this for the years of my widowhood, I liked a lot of these people and did think they were my friends as well as Ray's but unfortunately they were not.
So I will be busy, with the visitors and fit in the rest of life around them. I will still have the church visiting to do and some other duties. I may not have too much time to read the posts on the forums or the blogs as diligently as I usually do. But I am sure you will forgive me for that. I will try to do the Blog Report as well. i do take my volunteering duties seriously. Sally says she will be okay doing Caregiver Chat alone if she has to. She is a great asset to Strokenet and I so value her as my co-host. Actually I think I am HER co-host now. She is the one still at the coalface. I am not there anymore but I can still be useful, I still have the experience to draw on to help others.
Friends are important, here and in real life and we have to devote some time to them in order to maintain the links.