Was I too smug?
Just days before The Odyssey was due to end we were lunching with old friends and I was sprouting off about how well we’d managed our three months travelling around Europe together.
I do like to look at the positives and take credit for a job well done.
No missed flights, no muggings, no lost property, no sickness, no real dramas, no massive fights….
Just fantastic summer weather, great fun, beautiful sights, amazingly generous friends, quality family time with our daughter and her partner – all in all it was pretty much the perfect holiday. How well had I managed it all?
Yes, I admit I was feeling pretty smug. As an experiment to see how we could handle travelling together for a good length of time, we’d done brilliantly.
The saddest news
Until that awful phone call on our second last morning in the UK….our poor daughter back home in Australia had the worst job of all – she had to tell us some exceptionally sad news.
My father in law had passed away at home earlier that day, suddenly and unexpectedly.
We were, and still are, completely devastated. We were due to fly home the next night so we spent the time in constant contact with family back home and letting the tears flow. Thankfully we were with our eldest daughter.
We wanted it to be a bad dream but it wasn’t – it was very real.
It’s a long way to Australia at the best of times but when you want to get there quickly, it seems even further away. Just ask my daughter who has had to make this long flight home twice before in similar circumstances – for her uncle’s funeral four years ago and more recently my father’s funeral in January this year.
It was hard but we managed to do it, arriving home to a freezing cold winter’s day.
Maybe it was more than just the cold weather, but we’ve been home for a few days now and I just can’t get warm.
My daughters have now lost both their gorgeous grandfathers in the space of a few months.
And I’ve lost my ‘bookends’.
This special photo shows quite clearly the two amazing ‘bookends’ in my life. They were always there for me. Sadly both have now been taken away, and within a few short months of each other 😢 . What fun times we had together and how lucky we were to have had them in our lives. (Facebook post)
My thoughts turn to my mother in law who has lost her best friend, my sister in law who had to deal with things until we could get home to help, my daughters who are devastated at the loss of their cheeky grandpa, my other sister in law helping in so many ways, together with our niece and nephew who are mourning another loss in their short lives.
My husband who lost his younger brother just a few years ago, has now also lost his father. It’s simply not fair sometimes.
The Odyssey is over
We were almost home. We were so looking forward to telling Les our stories, sharing the photos and seeing his face light up at our enjoyment. But it wasn’t to be, instead we flew home to sadness. We’ll still tell the stories but it just won’t be the same.
He was a very special man, always happy and smiling despite what life threw at him. Everyone loved him. He loved his family and we loved him. We have great memories and they will sustain us in the coming days and weeks. I found this quote today and have taken strength from it, it sums up what life is all about – the good bits and the sad bits.
It just seems that I am back where I was in January, as we mourned the loss of my father. Celebrating life is important and we must treasure the good times and not so good times.
Our family is hanging in there, we’re starting to gather for our final farewell and will celebrate Les’s life together as he would have wanted us to. We’ll look out for each other.
This morning I went to the beach and sat quietly watching the water, the winter sun warming my face, and quelled the thoughts running through my head. I’ve been quite sick since we’ve been back and am only now starting to feel a bit like myself again. The sea can be a soothing place to sit and reflect. I realised I had company, in the form of a seal and it seems we were both quite content to sit and watch the world go by. I wonder what he was thinking?
We are thankful for our wonderful Odyssey, we know we’re very lucky to do what we did for three months and we’re naturally sad it has ended. We’re still not even technically home yet, but we’re where we have to be and that’s here with family.
But we’re even sadder to have to say goodbye to an absolute legend this way.
I’m not feeling smug anymore, I’m feeling sad and still in shock that Les has gone. I will be back blogging again soon but there’s other more important stuff to do first.
Thanks to everyone who has been following our odyssey, it’s been great to have you along for the ride. I have more stories to tell.
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