The thing that was always my priority throughout my working life was my family. My wife Jenny and our three children, Damien, Reuben and Emma. Eventually, as is natural and inevitable, our children grew up and left home, going out into the world to carve out their own niches. That left just me and Jenny. A big spanner had been thrown in the works a short while before the kids left. I had become disabled. What should have been a time of new freedom for us, as a couple, turned out to be something rather different.
We managed to do some things that we’d never done before in the first years. Things like going to local air shows at Lowestoft and Clacton-on-Sea. In time, our new ventures took us on a second honeymoon, on the other side of the country, in Morecambe. It was our 29th year married. And what a wonderful time we had! We saw things, and places, that were beyond anything we had ever seen before. For me, the peak was seeing the mountains of Cumbria, with the lakes nestled amongst them. It was quite something to be on the promenade at Morecambe and look across the bay to the beauty that is Cumbria.
Sadly, it would prove to be the last great adventure. Not long after returning, I spiralled down as I suffered bouts of pancreatitis. My weight plummeted, which was unfortunate as I didn’t have any to spare in the first place. Since I hit bottom, our outings have slowly ceased, despite some degree of recovery. We did manage some time away in a caravan, thanks to our friends Lorraine and John, in Hemsby, on the east coast of Norfolk.
Now, I’m rarely able to go out. Even visits to the doctor or the hospital test my strength and endurance wickedly. That means seeing far less of our grandchildren than I’d like, for me, though Jenny is still able to see them. That’s why I’ve been so prolific with my writing. It’s a distraction, at least.
There have been some beautiful moments with the grandchildren that I was lucky enough to witness. One was on little Logan’s “Name Day” (he’s the youngest, at the moment, the son of Reuben and his partner Dawn). It was possible to get all the grandchildren together with Jenny and get a photo’!
All I can do for now is hope that things improve sufficiently for me to rejoin the visit trips. It’s not the same only talking to the kids on the ‘phone or via emails or Facebook, and I’m missing seeing the grandchildren growing up. I missed enough of our own kids doing that because I was working.
Learn something from my story! Don’t assume that you have plenty of time to do things you dream of. Nobody knows what tomorrow will hit you with!