6 Weeks on…

Well, here we are 6 weeks on since Jenny died and 5 weeks on since her funeral and life seems to be running at a fast pace (certainly faster than it had been in Germany). It’s taken me a while to get around to writing on the blog again for many reasons – time, motivation and desire to name a few – but here I am feeling like I want to let everyone know what has been happening and that I’m ok!

Where do I start? Not long after the funeral Gemma & I (plus all 3 dogs) travelled down to Essex to stay with the Mackenzie Triplets (Amber had attended Jen’s funeral whilst Fiona & Ellie were in Germany) with the added bonus of seeing Lisa, who was also staying with them before returning to Australia. We had a great time catching up, walking the dogs and eating great home cooked food – drop scones to die for and eggs benedict fit for a king!

Later that week Gemma suggested we got away for a few days to Portugal to visit friends near Tavira on the Algarve – so we did. We had a great time basically doing nothing other than eating and drinking, something Gemma and I could both easily do for a living. It was great fun and a much-needed break – many thanks to Marie & Ray for looking after us. When we returned to the UK, Gemma went back to work whilst I chose to take some further time off (probably until the end of April) which seems to have been the right decision as I don’t seem to have any time to work! I have attended a few conferences over the last couple of weeks which have re-ignited a spark for returning to work and I can feel that when I do, it will be with 100% commitment, but only if I’ve had enough time off which is why I’m not in a rush to get back just yet.

I also travelled South, with my parents, to Wiltshire to visit my brother Glyn & his wife Georgina just before he was deployed to Afghanistan for a third time.  He serves as an RAF Regiment officer who this time around has a secondment to the Army for this 6 month tour. It proved to be quality family time and we all hope the next 6 months goes quite quickly and without incident.

I also had a surprise visit from Ellie who was passing through the North West and called in to say hello and to deliver an amazing bunch of flowers for Gemma’s birthday. It was great to see her, even if she was late for her evening rendezvous, and Gemma and I are hoping to visit her in Buxton this Friday for a cocktail or two!

Ellie & Andy Gemma's Flowers

I have a few plans in the next few weeks which include catching up with a lot of people, seeing Cirque du Soleil in Manchester (courtesy of Cathy & Gemma), visiting Belgium, going to Majorca to watch a 70.3 Ironman race, attending a wedding and a planned trip to see a fair few “clinic friends” in Australia sometime around July – plus much more – I just hope I will fit the time in to return to work! Last weekend Gemma & I decided to spontaneously return to Bad Salzhausen for a couple of days to catch up with many of our friends and this proved to be an amazing 36 hours, so much so that it warrants a post of its own…so watch this space.

In summary everything doesn’t seem too bad at the moment with the odd wobble creeping in now and again. I visit Jen’s grave once or twice a week and we are in the process of ordering the headstone and finalising all the legalities etc surrounding her estate. I think people are expecting me to crack at some point, but it doesn’t feel like that at my end – maybe they’ll be proven right in the future? What might be difficult for some people to understand is that, as mentioned in my eulogy, the ultimate outcome of Jen’s illness was something I had been preparing myself for over a relatively long period of time, and whilst you can never be fully prepared, the previous preparations in my mind have gone a long way towards helping me with the grieving process. Everyone is different, but I’m a realist and knew some time ago that Jenny’s death was a very real possibility, and during our time in Germany it became apparent, certainly in the latter part of our stay, that it was a question of when, not if.

The way everything unfolded in the final 2 months of her life, including the people we met, the experiences we shared and the environment we were in, provided us both with a very positive and thought-provoking experience – one I wouldn’t have thought possible under the circumstances, but one I took an amazing amount of comfort from over the last few weeks. What I will say is that these last few weeks have been easier because of the people around me – some very special people indeed (you know who you are) and I certainly couldn’t have done this without everyone’s support over the last 6 months.

Where do we go from here? I suppose all I can say is watch this space…

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