You may have been wondering where I've been! Why I haven't posted in such a long time! At the end of April we found out Kris's dad had terminal cancer. On May 1st, we signed the final paperwork on our new house and a few hours later were on a plane to England. We had no idea what to expect although I'm sure both my husband and I played out different scenarios in our head to prepare ourselves for the journey ahead.
The plane ride was smooth, fast and uneventful. I reflected on the last time we were in England back in November and how his dad was then. I tried my best to keep a cheerful attitude not only because of the situation but also because Kris hates flying! We watched movies and talked for a bit and before we knew it, we had landed at Heathrow.
From London, we journeyed straight to the hospice where his father was staying. The hospice was a beautiful center filled with loving, and caring attendants. We met other families there who were going through similar events.
We tried our best to spend much of our time out in the garden. The weather was surprisingly beautiful for dreary England. There were many painful moments, many happy moments, and other times when we were all just mentally and physically exhausted that we just broke down and cried.
You learn a lot about people when you go through an event like this together. Cancer is not prejudice. It does not care if you are black or white, man or woman, 80 years old or 20 years old. Death is also an inevitable part of life, and I have always been of the mindset that once you know that someone is dying perhaps before "their time" you should try to celebrate their life while their still here. Try to create fond, happy memories. The person who is experiencing cancer is going through enough themselves and likely terrified of what is to come. It is incredibly important to make sure they are comfortable and happy. You develop patience if you haven't already got a knack for patience, and whatever walls you have put up around yourself, come down. You become vulnerable- but in a good way. A way, that let's other friends and families in. A way that draws you closer to other individuals.
We knew this trip was going to be difficult and it really was. There is nothing that can prepare you to see a loved one go through something like this. Like I said before though, there were happy moments!
Kris's dad insisted that we take a few days to go explore various parts of England that were close to his heart. We rented a car and drove down to Bournemouth to visit Kris's grandmother on his mom's side and to take in some of the surroundings. It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for your mind and soul!
The sun was shining bright in Southern England so we ventured to the New Forest which is filled with wild horses and cute little villages!
The horses just walk up right to you!!
It was almost as if they knew what we were going through and came up to comfort and console us.
We spent the day walking around Burley and learning about the history of witches in the New Forest. It was a wonderful treat and I will always treasure that day.
The following day we drove through the country side to Durdle Door. Durdle Door is a natural arch on the Jurassic Coast of England formed over thousands and thousands of years from the waves.
This day we took our time walking along the beach, taking in the sun, enjoying the fresh air and reflecting on life.
The views were incredibly breathtaking and there are miles and miles of paths to walk along the shore and on the cliffs.
After our jaunt around Southern England we took Kris' mom back to Heathrow so she could fly home, and on the way back visited Stonehenge.
Stonehenge has been on my bucket list for awhile and while it has sort of turned into a cash cow unfortunately (About $30 bucks a person just to get in), I learned a lot and loved every second of it!
After Stonehenge we ventured back to Birmingham and spent the rest of the time there with Kris' dad and grandparents. It was a difficult trip, but full of love and laughter. His dad is currently stable (not getting worse, not getting better) and we are settling into our new home. It's events like these that occur in life and make you really contemplate what is meaningful. Even though I'm not from England, I will always carry a bit of British spirit in my heart!