24.12.2012 - 24.12.2012 14 °C
I am hesitant to include this entry into our blog. We have put in a public space our joyful experiences as a family travelling and some would say our experiences of escaping the cares of the world. This is a record of our experiences to keep for ourselves but also to share and live with you our friends and aquaintances. What do you do when what happens has nothing to do with these things? I have chosen to share and I may give some reasons at the end of this post.
We had some terrible and very unexpected news via email this morning. We learned that Muriel's Dad had died of a massive heart attack on the evening of December 23rd. Muriel's Dad had undergone vascular surgery for his leg several days earlier to address the failure of a surgery earlier this year. He had gotten the surgery date much earlier than anyone had expected due to a cancellation. He had been uncomfortable in the days after the surgery due to complications caused by gallstones. They had just addressed this a couple of hours earlier when suddenly his heart gave way.
No words can describe how difficult it is to lose a husband, father, father-in-law, brother and grandfather especially so suddenly and unexpectedly. Muriel's Dad had driven off to the airport less than seven weeks ago and now he is gone.
We were very fortunate that Marianne, a great friend, was there with Mom when it all happened and is staying with Mom until Muriel's brother, Nick, and his wife can get to Victoria from Prince George. Obviously it has been a very hard morning here and we know it has been far worse for Mom back in Victoria.
After some time of tears and letting it all sink in we needed to face the reality of being far from home. A look at the Internet and possible flights out showed our plight immediately--getting home during Christmas would take a miracle. We decided to focus on getting Muriel home as soon as possible and worry about the rest of it later. Muriel and I drove to the airport to find no flights available today. The first few people we talked to were not unkind but could offer nothing. We finally ended up at a ticket counter with a woman of great empathy and considerable talent and she managed to get Muriel a flight out for tomorrow. We have much to be thankful for, especially this ticket agent who did the impossible with no expectation of acknowledgement or reward.
It may sound awful that Muriel cannot get out today-but in the end it was what was best. We decided to have Christmas in Barcelona despite the grief because that is what Morris would told us to do. We ate a much needed meal as we had not eaten all day and then played Christmas songs and exchanged gifts and talked about Dad. We experienced peace and love despite the circumstances and even a bit of joy knowing Dad is not suffering or facing the prospect of a life without mobility.
During this day Hannah and Abby have shown a maturity and strength that goes beyond description. While Muriel and I went to the airport they went out to shop for food for the day and for Christmas and Boxing Day knowing that no stores would be open. They planned not just subsistence but food proper for the holiday season. They did it in a non English speaking environment in the most challenging of circumstances. They had to be brave and independent when all anyone would have wished for them was a chance just to gathered up and cared for.
I share all this because it is life and it cannot be escaped. Our trip really never was about escaping life but an attempt to live it and experience it to its fullest. Our aim was to bond and grow as a family and take time to reflect on what is important. We are taking the time to evaluate and re-evaluate a lot of things. It has been generally a happy experience but it has been a stretch and trying at times too. The passing away of a parent is now becoming part of this experience and is a stark reminder that there is no where you can run and hide from the "real world."
We put our trust in all who read our blog to be gentle and thoughtful with what you do with what we are sharing. We are grateful to friends and family who have done a lot already. We just want to thank Marianne especially who has done so much to care for Mom and had to face all this head on in the absence of any other help.