Memorable month of March

We are only half way into the month of March and already it has been filled with emotion. Despite feeling very unwell, burst balloon in my gastrostomy tube, more district nurse visits than normal at home; I have spent time with all 4 of my siblings, we have pulled together and gave the love back that was showered upon us as we grew up. February was difficult and March became emotional, in this year 2021 I certainly will not forget this month, with so many memories – most definitely a memorable month of March.

Just a few weeks ago my Daddy Bear admitted he wasn’t feeling too good. Mid February, we brought a bed downstairs and the GP came to his home to see him. My sister, Hazel and I were there. The news from the GP wasn’t good and Dad didn’t have long; she reckoned a couple of weeks. The GP arranged for the District Nurses to come in to Dad. They would visit every morning and then assess how often the visits on top. As one of five we arranged a timetable so Dad need never be alone. He had constant care. The team of district nurses were fabulous, their care second to none. The support they offered was outstanding, they brought endless supplies. Our uncomplaining Father they said was a privilege to care for. They also commented on what a superb system we had in place for looking after ‘our Bertie’

The service from the NHS we can not fault. The District nurse thought it would be a good idea to get a hospital bed for Dad, he would be more comfortable on an air Mattress and it would be easier and safer to attend to him with adjustable height and the ability to raise his head, etc. Nurse Wendy telephoned for the bed at 11am, it got delivered at 2pm that day, and the nurses came at 2.20pm to transfer Dad from his own bed to the hospital bed at home. Service with a smile.

When I was home and getting treated by my district nurse, she asked how I was and how I was coping – we had a good chat. In the conversation I mentioned where my Dad lived and the area the District Nurses covered. My nurse knew the nurses personally. She had worked with them and commended their great work, she told me my Pops was in excellent hands and they would take great care of him. And that they certainly did.

The district nurses, Mari and Wendy asked if we would like extra nursing help. This came in the way of Marie curie Nurses. They were amazing. Came in twice a day to care after Dad. Nothing was too much trouble for the delightful angels that came to assist with Dad’s care. However, they not only looked after our Father, it was very apparent they were there for us too.

Knowing Dad didn’t have long left on earth I wanted to treasure every moment I could with him. With my health I’m not normally up and ready to go first thing in the morning. And during current restrictions I have been home and not seeing anyone. However, this situation put a different light on things and gave me an inner strength. I would get up in the morning, take off my night feed, get into the Wetroom and get myself ready to go to see my Dad. Getting washed is one of the most essential exhausting activities for me. Turning on the shower, getting washed, sitting on my stool, looking down at my bright red flushed feet. Getting washed exhausts me and brings on a carcinoid syndrome flush. Right from the tip of my feet, all the way up my legs, over my trunk, up my neck, leaving me with a bright red face. My heart thumping; I can hear it banging in my ears. I lie on the floor till it calms down. Meanwhile my skin begins to dry. I climb up on the stool and get myself dressed. Put on my creams, including my Dundee cream. I go to the sitting room where hubby, Steve has done all my meds. Take them for the morning. Put on my feed. Sit for a rest to get some energy built up. And then all set to go to spend some time with my amazing Dad. My brother Albert will be there in the morning too to meet up with the nurses along with me.

We only got just over one week to care for Dad. It was the most precious time and a privilege to be part of. I thank the lord for blessing me with enough stamina to go to the folks; our family home, and be with Dad in his last days. The love I have for my parents pushed me to go on. After the love, security and safe feeling my parents surrounded me with I would give them it back ten fold.

The love and dependability my parents gave me always made me feel safe at home. This is something I have always strived for. To make sure my children feel safe and secure and that they can always come home. After Dad passed away these words struck a heart string or two:

Sometimes I feel lost

You too?

Remember I love you, and

Love brings you home

Who was our Dad? He was a caring, loving and kind Dad, husband, Grandad, Great Grandad, brother and uncle. He would give us kids his last. For Dad his family is everything. He taught us well, brought us up grand and fair. He worked very hard and built up his own business. We always had a car and we were the first folk in the street to have a tv. Mum was the love of Dads life, they loved to travel and enjoyed many trips abroad, including their beloved Germany, especially the Rhineland. They loved to take trips in the car , taking the grandkids out on adventures. When Mum died Dad gave up driving, he said he no longer had a co pilot to go out on journeys with him. Dad never got over Mum’s death, like me he just learned to live with it. Our folks not only provided a loving secure home for us five, but offered our children, and their children a place to come whenever they needed. They welcomed our friends, Mum chatted to them, offering a sympathetic ear and Dad could be found in the kitchen making a sandwich or ten. When it came to parents I reckon we hit the jackpot.

Dad picking plums at mine

It is going to take me some time to as they say get my mojo back. When alone I find myself thinking of something that reminds me of my very happy childhood, or the assistance as I went to university, having my children, moving home, going into hospital, getting treatment, need I go on… and I am reminded of all the happy times I have had with my folks and then the sudden realisation that this will never happen again. My heart sinks and I am filled with dreaded fear. I have to believe that my folks are at peace, I was well and truly loved and so very privileged to call Helen and Albert my parents.

If I feel upset I am not afraid to cry.

Tears fall for

a reason and

They are

Your

Strength

Not

Weakness

My Mum & Dad at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

The folks in the hot tub

Mum and Dad’s Diamond Wedding Anniversary

Helen, Albert, Hazel

Brian, Dad, Mum, Me

Turn that frown upside down

I would like to introduce a young lady who lives in Midlothian, Scotland. At present she works in an office however dreams of one day working full time in the writing world. Whilst chatting to Beth Merry I can feel her frustration and want to break out and get those fingers tapping the keys and tell the world all she has to say. Although Beth writes her own blog https://bethanybloggswriter.wordpress.com I suggested she write a guest blog for my site. Since my site is smile each and every day. I gave her the topic “smile everyday”. This was the heartfelt article I got back from Beth. Its about one of the hardest times in her life when she found it difficult to smile, whilst she was surrounded by sunshine, all that energy and heat failed to warm her heart and make her happy. Despite the rays from the big yellow sun and the beautiful blue sky Beth felt cold and alone and at many times incapable of smiling and having that warm butterfly feeling of comfort inside you when you know you are safe, loved and belong. Would she ever feel like this again, and be able to turn that frown upside down. I hope you enjoy it.

Why 2020 is Better than 2016 to Me

Before 2020, there was another year that as a society collectively decided was – to put frankly – absolutely awful. 2016 saw many beloved celebrity deaths, worldwide panic over the election in America, terror attacks seemingly around every corner, and plenty of other horrors that left the world pausing to catch its breath on the 31 December that year and crossing every finger and toe that 2017 would be kinder.

For me, 2016 was particularly awful because both my mum and my grandad sadly passed away, and I had to pull on my grown-up pants at 19 years old and pretend I was strong. It was one of the hardest years of my life; and now with 2020 being deemed an even worse year due to the pandemic, I’ve had time to do some reflecting on how much has changed.

Moana Beach, Adelaide, Australia

In 2016, I was living in Australia. My family had emigrated when I was 10, and while the first couple of years I had enjoyed, the shine eventually wore off and I found myself desperate to make my way back to the UK, back to my home. I felt increasingly out of place at all times, and desperate to tell people that I didn’t belong – the fact that I had absorbed the accent almost immediately did little to persuade folk. As the next of kin for my mum who passed away in June, I was left in charge of putting her affairs in order for myself and my younger sister which meant a lot of phone calls I didn’t know how to make and, more importantly, arranging a funeral. I grew up a lot that year – and fast. I was still studying, still working two jobs and getting over a lot of heartbreak. It felt like things would never improve.

Seafood Rise, Adelaide, Australia

Fast forward to 2020. As I write this, I’m sat in my house in the Scottish countryside that my partner and I bought together nearly 9 months ago. He’s putting together some units to complete the massive desk he’s constructed for our home office, and I’ve got a stew bubbling away on the stove. I’ve had an uneventful day at work – Sat at my dining room table lockdown style of course – stretching my writing muscles now. Saturday was my birthday, and I had a quiet barbecue in our newly landscaped back garden with some family, and on Sunday my partner and I ventured out to Gore Glen to finally see the beautiful waterfall and connect with nature. I can breathe fairly easy these days and my worries are far less significant than those of 2016

Gore Glen, Midlothian, Scotland

I never could have predicted that in 4 years time I’d be in the space to feel this content. In a time where my world was crumbling around me, I pushed through to venture by myself to the other side of the world where the love of my life and I have made a life together for ourselves. Coronavirus be damned – the opportunity to look back at the last 4 years and see how far I’ve come make all the lockdown restrictions worth it.

These days, I smile everyday because while there are still a few things beyond my reach. I’m a damn sight further ahead than where I was in 2016.and there’s so much to be grateful for! I’m home in the UK where I belong, I wake up everyday to my amazing partner and the views over the Pentland, and I have room to grow at my own pace. What’s not to love?

Me, happy, home

Farewell to a courageous brave friend

When Pamela Ter Gast and I made friends on Facebook four years ago.  Little did I know such a strong friendship would develop.  And just how much we have in common.    Our friendship began with a shared interest of neuroendocrine tumours.  Our chatting very soon veered to a personal level.lkkkkk  Pam, Dutch born now living in USA with her beloved Boo, has two kids – like me.   Only I have two lads, Pam has one of each; a girl and a boy.    We hooked up with two other Dutch zebras: Beth and Didi.  The four of us formed a close bond; sharing stories, we laughed and cried together.   We call ourselves the musketeers.   Of course we are alternative musketeers – Pam: Winnie The Pooh, Beth: Piglet,  Didi: Eyore and little old me:Tigger.

  

Pam was a very gutsy lady who I admired greatly.  You could always rely on Pammy to make you feel better.  When times were tough for any of us we would take a virtual travel together.  We posted our travels on social media and many people actually thought we were actually away to beautiful sandy beaches, climbing mountains, visiting castles and distant shores.  Now that would have been a treat 😉.  
This beautiful lady showered her kindness and picked me up on days I felt  pdown.  She always had an uncanny knack of knowing without asking……and offering that shoulder.   Pam did not stop at friending me.  She would drop messages to the men in my life.  When my mum passed away she was fab and sent messages to the boys, when Tony had meningitis she sent him a few messages asking how he was.  And on one ocassion when I hadn’t posted on Facebook  for a few days she sent Steve a message saying she was worried she hadn’t heard from me and asking if everything was ok.  As friends we sent each other photos, pictures, etc.  some would be funny cartoons to make us laugh others would be photos of landscapes or flowers.
This is a photo Beth took in Holland and sent to Pam.  She loved it.

  


Beautiful Pam with the infectious smile.  Always looking on the bright side of life.   Sharing a conversation brightened my day.  



  
Pam wanted to raise awareness of neuroendocrine cancer.  And whilst she bravely fought her own battle, she took time out to educate the public.  Giving talks, posting on you tube, etc.  Ever so proud of you Pam. 💕. 

Pam posted a video on YouTube:

A beautiful obituary in The Telegram 

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/telegram/obituary.aspx?n=pamela-ter-gast&pid=180298509&eid=sp_shareobit
I will miss my conversations with Pam.  Her friendship was so valuable to me. She will always hold a special place in my heart.    When Pam said to me she knew how I was feeling, yes I knew she really did know how i was feeling.  There was no bullshit from this lady.   I feel priveliged to say she was my friend.    Pammy you touched so many people: your loss is being felt world wide tonight.

We exchanged many pictures, photos, etc.  This is one that Pam posted on my Facebook page.  Rather apt, don’t you think?