So here’s something poignant. My sister’s passing whilst dreadfully sad has meant something positive. The most important thing is that she’s no longer in pain and suffering from the cancer ravaging her body. There isn’t a person who would wish for life to be extended in those circumstances. It may be a cliche but the end was truly a blessing. And we, her family and dearest friends, are all thankful for that. For Caz and I there’s another smaller blessing.  Our trip to NYC to see my daughter S and  son-in-law E and our beautiful grandsons this w/e can go ahead. It’s not that we don’t leave with a heavy heart but if she’d survived for a few more days then our decisions would have been so difficult…

We are an incredibly close family and we haven’t seen our US-based kids for two years because of covid. It has been very difficult not least because at our age – 70ish – you sometimes wonder how many more chances you get to spend time with your family.  Look at my sister for goodness sake; gone in her mid 50’s. A two year break at our age is challenging. Also the boys are at an age when they develop so rapidly and we’ve missed those fast-changing years of growing up at 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 across the two of them. And let’s not forget we haven’t seen our daughter and husband of course other than on Facetime which is OK but not the same as being able to cuddle. Plus S’s been working like a Trojan to keep her experiential marketing company afloat when the last thing the world wanted was face-to-face marketing. But she’s done it with E’s support of course but without any help from us.

So getting out there has been in our planning for ages. Flight tickets have been booked, PCR tests have been done, negative results have been received and we’re good to go Houston. But of course Helen’s situation complicated matters enormously. If she’d held on I wouldn’t have felt able to go in case the worst happened. And even if the doctors had reassured us that she was fighting with all her strength and her chances were ok, it would have been awful to be out there expecting a call at any moment that she’d gone. Then we or I would have a decision about returning home immediately.

It’s The Clash case of rock and a hard place. Should I stay or should I go? Her passing has allowed us to go. It wasn’t a planned thing of course but all I can say is Helen, once again you’ve proven to be selfless. Thank you sis.

The reality is my younger brother Dave, my only surviving sibling now, is taking charge of all the funeral and estate arrangements (assisted by my cousin K), and has thankfully sorted a funeral once we get back in December. It does mean I have to leave him to do all the bloody admin which is enormous but hopefully I may be able to help with some heavy lifting at the end. And I’ll be online for chats etc. He and his wife D are bloody heroes and they’ll ensure my dad B gets minimal pain. I get off relatively lightly but D&D appreciate our situation. We’ll try and make it up at some point, somehow.

Family eh.



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