Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Building Memories

When you are terminally ill there is nothing more important than those special family red letter days. Anniversaries and birthdays become extra special simply because you don't know whether you are going to be around for the next one. (And for me I fear time is definitely running out). So it is vitally important that you pull out all the stops and create the best possible memories of the day that you can.

As we were
August 13th is our 31st wedding anniversary. When we married all those years ago we were blissfully ignorant of the pain and joy that would fill the coming years. Or indeed, of the big dark cloud that is PH.

The downs have been significant. The loss of our second son William at the age of twenty one days. The deaths of Peter's mother and father. The loss of jobs, money worries and a near divorce. However we survived it all because we are fortunate that our joys have been significantly bigger than our losses.

Buying our house and turning it into a home where we could raise two wonderful, handsome, intelligent boys and mould them into the men they are today. Out of all the things I've achieved in my life Laurence and Andrew are my greatest achievements and my deepest joy. Other ups include finally using my brain and becoming the teacher I always dreamed of becoming and hopefully one day will be again.

Though out it all Peter has been at my side to comfort me, guide me and encourage me. He never complained about the nights he had to spend on his own looking after the kids while I did my degree. He stood by me, holding me up when we buried our son and took my rages and venom in the dark days afterwards and when I was first diagnosed with PH, with quite stoicism. Since then he has become my carer and my protector, fighting my battles when I've been too ill and dealing with problems with H@H etc when I've been too stressed. He even gave up his city job in London so he could be more available for hospital appointments etc. However first and foremost he is my husband and my best friend and I know whatever happens in the future he will be there still. It's a very good feeling.

As we are now
Right enough of being soppy, what did we do to make this anniversary special? After a quiet morning in, well I say quiet, I had to ring the Brompton as H@H announced yesterday that they'd be around to pick up my pumps today, we went out for a meal and then spent the afternoon doing what we do best, photographing the countryside. If I was well, and we could both afford not to work, we'd spend our entire time with cameras in our hands.

First stop was The Bell at Westoning, Bedfordshire. We've never been here and a friend recommended it as serving delicious, authentic Italian food, so, as it isn't far from our home, we decided to give it a try. I must say we were not disappointed. The food was delicious. I had Spaghetti with a tomato, basil and mozzarella sauce, while Peter tried the Carbonara sprinkled with pork crackling. Oh my goodness they were both so delicious I wished I had a bigger appetite so I could try something else. They also do an extensive English menu complete with good old fish and chips so you don't have to have Italian if you don't want it. We loved it and it will definitely be a restaurant we'll be visiting again and again.

We then hit the road and drove to Harrold and Lavendon, places we'd never photographed before, and spent a happy few hours taking pictures. Unfortunately my health and the weather were both against us. We didn't realise just how quaint Harrold was. There is quite a bit of interesting stuff to see and photograph but getting to it was a pain. Ideally this is a village to park up in and take a wander around. Of course I couldn't do that, and even on the trike it would have been difficult due to the nature of the pavements which had deep kerbs and were very narrow.

We made the best of it though and I enjoyed exploring the church and nearby graveyard which had a few poignant memorials from the world wars. I've posted my favourite here because it made me stop and think how lucky I really am. The text reads 'Erected by those who loved him. Frederic Ashuburnham Hooker Whitfield (only son of the late FH Milton Whitfield Fleet Paymaster RN). 2nd Lieut, 3rd Middx. Who fell in heroic circumstances leading his company in the 2nd battle of Ypres, 23rd April 1915, Aged 25.'

By the time we headed for Lavendon the rain arrived so we decided to go home. We'd enjoyed ourselves but I was getting tired, we were both getting wet and I needed a nice hot cuppa. We stopped at a shop on the way home and bought a bottle of something nice and a few nibbles. The intention is to share the bottle and the nibbles over a film this evening. Unfortunately neither of us can go mad as we both have work tomorrow.

I suppose as celebrations go it isn't many peoples idea of a good time. However these quite celebrations are only a temporary hiatus. Once I am well the world will be my oyster and then there will be fireworks.

The most important thing about today is that we spent it together and built a few more memories. After all isn't that what anniversaries are all about?