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Starting Over

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Posted 24 June 2014 17:56:26(UTC)

For those that have followed the conversation Mick's day of Reckoning I decided it was now appropriate to have a new thread so Mick's story can stay as it was,  a detailed account of one very brave Man's battle against this horrid disease.

The friends we made through this forum have helped all my family to get through the last year, many will be lifelong friends and frequently involved in our lives going forward.

I will remain actively involved with the Newark gang and continue to meet up with anyone I can in my travels and at Leicester and London every year. Many thanks to Simon and Vanessa ,Brian and Leslie, Chris and Shirley, Paul  and of course my beloved SS Julie who all came along to Mick's last hoorah and helped to give him a fitting send off.

It was a very unusual service and a true celebration of Mick's life just as he wanted it to be, we had a Humanist celebrant Andrew Key who was amazing. He helped me to bring together many highlights of Mick's life and a lot of the humour that was the Man himself. My brother Jed paid tribute by reading a set of limericks he had written (10 of them) he got a very deserved round of applause for his wit and appreciation of all that was my Man, Karen and Mark's Dad and Joshua's Grandad.

Mick's entry music was my uber talented Nephews arrangement and playing of Bring me sunshine, his music in the middle was the Shadows riders in the sky (albeit much to my shock a rather disco version that would have brought a very wry smile from Mick) His going out music brought many smiles and comments. The Monkey song from the Disney film of the Jungle Book it was a huge family favourite.

His message for the day were the words spoken by Captain James Kirk in Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan.

"How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life"

Over 100 people attended and many came back to our village pub for the start of the wake. The football and 5 o'clock deadline to leave the restaurant for people to enjoy a lovely meal on a summers day, saw a lot of people make their way home. However a group of 25 or so came back to the house and we carried on reminiscing and drinking whilst Mick's great friend Alan cooked an awesome BBQ which was enjoyed by everyone. Many piled into the lounge to watch the woeful England Uruguay game. The celebration of My fabulous, brave and very much loved Husband Mick's life went on into the early hours. We have raised over £1000 for our local hospice who looked after Mick so  professionally in the last weeks of his life. Thank you to all who donated so generously.

RIP Michael John Orr I love you now and always and will think of you every day for the rest of my life whilst  thanking  my lucky stars that we had 24 amazing years together.

 

xxx

Mandy AKA Mo

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Posted 17 July 2014 09:05:33(UTC)
So here i am 45 days or just over 6 weeks since I lost my woderful husband Mick.
Lots of people ask me every day 'how are you holding up?'It is a good question which taken literally could be asking if i had become a bank robber ...well let me tell you about how different Banks can be when dealing with the death of a loved one especially when that person is the first named on a joint account or the primary on a credit card.

No names here just general information.

Credit cards...as Mick was primary on the two we had they had to be stopped immediately the balance owing became frozen so no interest added both allowed about 10 weeks for settlement from the 'estate'
We always paid in full every month so i just cleared them but nice to know they give you breathing space.
Fortnately i had an incident several years ago when i was refused a $ pre paid card, this baffled me a)I was not aware of any credit issues in my name and b) this was for a pre paid debit card
So i followed up on it. It transpired i did not have a bad credit rating i just diid not have one at all!
I had no history with no loans, no mortgage etc. The remedy was to go to my bank and they set me up. With a credit card. I used it every now and then to keep it active. This card became my lifeline when all others had to be frozen. I could not have managed without it.

Joint current accounts ... should be easy take in or send death certificate and everything changes to sole name. Some banks actually insist on you makinng an appointment for this but most will deal with it sensitiively and on the spot.

Sole accounts ..current or savings and joint savings can get a bit more tricky, bigger the bank the higher the figure they allow before asking for probate ( i innocently thought that a mirror will where I was sole executor and beneficiary would mean that probate would not be neccessary) generally speaking anything below 10k or where 'your half' is less than 10k is dealt with sans probate.

Online or telephone banking for joint accounts be sure you both have registered and are able to acccess joint accounts.I uused to use Micks which got blocked as soon as the bank was advised.big mistake!
All in all we had been well prepared however if we had big savings we would not have known about probate so if you have it may be wise to split them across different institutions.

Anyway just one of the many subjects where pre planning can help even if it seems a morbid task.

As for me I am holding up pretty well, i do have bad days and nearly every day something happens that gives me a weepy moment but i get through evrything with the support of my wonderful friends and family.

Mandy Mo
Xxx
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Posted 02 October 2014 21:21:35(UTC)
After just over 10 days at our holiday Condo in Lake Buena Vista I started to feel really lonely and too far away from friends and family. Thankfully two girlfriends of mine came to stay last weekend, Leda is Stephanie's Mum, Mick and I cruised with them regularly and we see them often. They visited Mick in Hospice the week before he passed away. They are great friends and did a fantastic job of cheering me up and getting me through another weekend.
Monday morning I flew up to Atlanta Georgia having changed my plans by bringing everything forward a little, I was greeted at the airport by Joy and her youngest daughter Ellie, back nto the arms of "family" strictly not true but after 12 years of close friendship and being in the O'Fee family I consider them to be my family as well
We had a wonderful weather forecast for Wednesday 1st October and as everyone could be here we decided to scatter Mick's ashes today. Karen and all our family and friends at home knew the time would be about 7pm Uk time so that they could join in virtually.
We had a short delay for Robert to deal with an errant snake which had strayed into the pasture from the woods but we had a short ceremony of scattering his ashes under the big oak tree, toasting Mick with a glass of champagne (scotch for Robert and OJ for Ellie) we all gave him some of our drink and Robert read a poem he had written about his friend. It was witty, funny and very moving.
So now I can truly say Mick's journey has come to an end
RIP wonderful man Michael John Orr
who passed on June 2nd 2014
XXX
Mo
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Posted 08 July 2014 21:14:25(UTC)

Firstly Carol what a lovely reply yes that was me that thanked you.

 

Mandy Mo my SS,

As you say bitter sweet, this is going to sound weird, but you have been in my thoughts constantly for the last 2 days, so much so that I was going to ring yesterday and then I had a drama and couldn't ring . (I will explain when I ring you)

Driving to the service, didn't you realise that he was there.

Seeing Karen in her wedding dress, he smiled from ear to ear he was there.

Watching you give her away, so very proud he was there.

You thought that you were the loudest cheerer, no you just didn't hear  him he was there.

He stood beside you when you said the speech, he was there.

As for cooking the BBQ well I am sure you know what he was saying because he was there.

watching the twins playing with Shyla, he was there.

He wouldn't have missed that day, he was there.

He is in your heart and in your memory , he is always there.

Lots of love my SS.

BFN

Julie X

 

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
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Posted 24 June 2014 20:05:36(UTC)
Hi Mo,
What a lovely posting, there isn't much I can say except to say it was an honour to meet you and Karen. My ribs are still in tact despite all the cuddles.
I know Mick won't mind me signing off as usual as it really is so apt for you and what your dear lovely man would want
Life is for living
Barry ( alias Barrington )
User
Posted 24 June 2014 21:38:09(UTC)
It was an honour to attend Micks last hoorah Mo and was very fitting, the monkey song (I wanna be like you) was brilliant, made you want to get up and dance down the isle, oobidoo! Playing it on You tube as I write this :)

Good to see you and Karen Saturday, hope you got sufficiently squiffy

Speak soon

Bri x

User
Posted 24 June 2014 21:44:25(UTC)
A lovely, inspirational post Mandy. Lovely to meet you in Leicester, and look forward to meeting you again, love Janet
User
Posted 24 June 2014 21:53:42(UTC)
Brilliant post Mandy.
Mick was a much loved husband, father and friend and had a wonderful life, if caught short by this drafted disease. His persona would not be, let's mourn and be sad, but remember and be glad. Luckily, that is your style.
We are here if you need us, you know the number. You are some hell of a person, and my dear friend made in awful circumstances. But hopefully a forever friend.

Karen was a delight and Mick would have been so proud, keep your head up as he would have wanted.

Big love
Allison xxx
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Posted 25 June 2014 16:16:25(UTC)
Hi Mo, What an honour it was to be able to celebrate Mick's passing with you, your family and friends. We look forward to seeing you at Euston and Leicester next year, together with all the others. Keep up the good work, for it will be a task, but a good one helping others with their battles. You are blessed with good stalwart friends, so here's hoping we too can meet up at Newark again sometime with the crew. God Bless everyone, with our love Chris and Shirley
PS. I am feeling so much better, it was an inspiration to see you all at Leicester. Thank you.......
User
Posted 26 June 2014 17:16:55(UTC)

So my first tips on starting over are as follows...

1) book a holiday, after the last twelve months of no holidays and many disappointments and not being able to get Mick onto cruises etc. It has become my number 1 task . So my delightful Brother (he of the exceptional Limerick talent) and his wife have asked me to go and stay with them in France at St Philbert  Sur Lieu at the very bottom of the Loire and at the start of the Vendee. Mick and I went to stay with them 2 years ago and had a wonderful time so it seems fitting that I should take the plunge and go again. I love my Brother deeply and his Wife and family too,  so it will mean that I have terrific emotional support for this first holiday without Mick. 

Then and only then think about number 2.

2) Do not rush into any massive clear out of personal effects. Mick has a garage full of tools, power tools, and other stuff I do not even know the names of let alone what they do. How many of these things will I ever need? how many of them could be sold to raise more money for our Hospice?  He was also a gadget man, so there are things plugged into our TV that I dust every week but have no idea what they actually do ...could do with borrowing a teenager or two ! I do not know where to start on clothes, Mick was not the shopper .. I was so it is all my fault there are enough clothes (many still with labels on) to open a Men's outfitters.

Help is at hand for 2) My friends are going to help sort out all the gadgets and work out what I need and will actually use,  surplus can be taken to a car boot or something (enter Karen the avid car booter) Karen and I are going to write an inventory of all the workshop items and then get an expert opinion on what to do with those. Finally when I feel ready and up to it we will sort all the clothes ... some can be taken direct to the hospice shop and others can be given to friends and family. The majority will be given to third world countries or war zones via various charities.Once again any money raised from selling all the saleable stuff will go to our local Hospice.

Think that is enough of my ponderings on this subject for a week or three ... one of these days I will write up on some of the things that people can do in preparation for the inevitable, things that Mick had done to make all of the difficult stuff so much easier for me. Too raw just yet but soon maybe after that first vacation ??

Best wishes to all my super friends on this forum

XXX

Mandy Aka MO

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Posted 26 June 2014 19:27:31(UTC)
Hi Mandy,

I know that you will not wish to clear Mick's things out in undue haste, but I have a problem , and you may be able to help me?

I am desperately in need of a "virtual 13amp" fuse. Can not get one anywhere for love nor money and believe me I have tried!

If you have one I would pay you £50 and you could add that to the "pot"? You can email it to me so there would be no postage costs involved. I will download it and drool.

dave
User
Posted 26 June 2014 19:48:09(UTC)
Also a sky hook? Eh Dave! Great to hear you are having a holiday Mo its so important you relax and take stock and doing it with family will be fabulous.

Can't help with the tools its not my bag either but there will be lots of stuff which will remind you of. Mick and they will become good memories over time.

Look forward to the holiday snaps!
User
Posted 26 June 2014 20:45:41(UTC)
Dave i found one of those special 13 amp fuses and have messaged it to you, not quite the blanket Others would go for but very appropriate in the circumstances.
Payment will be greatly appreciated and the Hospice woud say so too.
Rock on
Xx
Mo
User
Posted 26 June 2014 22:15:09(UTC)

Mandy Mo , My SS,

What a brilliant idea to start this thread, hints tips and advice for us lady's going forward, this is such a good idea.

As for the man tools, well I can't offer any advice or indeed name any of them. I didn't realise until with Trevor's trips to hospital and I have had to do MANY DIY jobs that I name all of them as thingy's , I say to the boys go to the barn and get the thingy with the red handle. They then come back with a garden fork, of course I then say NO not that thingy, it has got a red handle with a sticky out thingy at the top shaped like a sixpence. They then came back with a screwdriver and a twenty pence piece.

Just to prove a point I don't have a clue what Dave and Paul are talking about.

I have got to build a basketball stand and hoop at the weekend, I hope the instructions include diagrams and thingy's.

I can always remember my Mum after my Dad passed and she was a strong lady she had run her own business for thirty years, about 4 months after he had passed she rang me in tears because the fuse had blown on the kettle, in hind site her tears where about the loss of my Dad not about the fuse and how he had been there for over forty years to take care of her and the fuses.

Mo I hope your trip to visit Jed is therapeutic , restful, and energising. Take time for you, surround your self with love and your family and of course lots of good French Food and copious amounts of French wine.

BFN

Julie X

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
User
Posted 27 June 2014 09:42:06(UTC)

Brilliant idea for a thread, Mo. I always thought Dave's 'Planning the End Game ' was a good one too, could do with equivalent for wives and partners.

What most frightens me is the level of grief I will experience when Neil has gone, I have always found change and loss terribly hard to cope with since childhood and I am fed up of people and animals I love dying. One positive is I am seriously considering another collie pup in the future, the dogs have always been my salvation and I plan to get back to travelling, competing and camping over at Competitive Obedience shows like I did years ago. My retirement present to myself a year ago was a VW T5 converted with bed, storage and inbuilt dog cages. Have I used it to camp in yet....no !

Neil has loads of gadgets too, keeps talking of getting rid of them but easier said than done, then there are the tools ! Luckily we re-homed a four foot long ex military generator recently but such a damn shame as Neil loves all these things and hoards him. I am thinking of you and hope the holiday goes well,

 

Love Fiona.

User
Posted 01 July 2014 21:49:46(UTC)
Just a quickie to let you know I had a lovely afternoon and evening with Si Ness and the twins. Si cooked a yummy tea and then we had a pint while we waited to meet up with Ness to go and watch the girls in their school production based on the lion king. For a primary school group it was amazing and made me laugh, cry and see how incredibly proud Si and Ness are of their girls and rightly so.
Incredibly therapeutic thankyou so much dear friends xxx. Mo
User
Posted 01 July 2014 23:25:25(UTC)

There's nothing like children to ground you and bring you smiles in even the hardest of times. So glad you had a lovely time and also that Si is still looking after you. I am really looking forward to getting you all over in the school holidays and the girls can have some puppy cuddles.

Lots of love SS

BFN

Julie X

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
User
Posted 02 July 2014 21:26:27(UTC)
Mo, I can't remember whether you go to France before I get back but have a wonderful time. There will be lots of memories there for you which will no doubt make you laugh and cry in equal measure. Take care xx
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard


User
Posted 03 July 2014 01:49:26(UTC)

Lyn I get there just as you are coming home I think, have a great time too.

Julie SS we are all looking forward to coming over sometime soon. I will reply to your e mail probably later today, as you might notice I am having one of those nights when sleep evades me, much less frequent now but they do still happen. 

xx

User
Posted 08 July 2014 18:29:24(UTC)
Wish i was clever like Siness, then i could post a picture on here of Karen in her wedding dress yesterday she looked stunning. A wonderful day with just a few close friends including Si ,Ness and the girls in the evening. The girls played with Shyla until she was exhausted!
Lots of tears annd emotion on a bitter sweet day that had been planned so that Mick could give his only daughter away. Sadly that was not possible so i stepped in and covered all his roles, reassurer of how beautiful she looked, driver to the service, giver away ,loudest cheerer at the end, driver home, toast master and BBQ chef for 20 or so.
Mick would have been very proud of his two ladies.
Many congratulations Karen and Mark may your happiness last forever.
Xxx
Mandy Mo
User
Posted 08 July 2014 19:46:36(UTC)
What a lovely post I am sure you stepped into Micks shoes and filled them them from top to toe. Its hard to fill all the things that Dads want to do giveaway daughters first grandchild .I know Eric is sad that he wont be hear for Carolann she told him I dont have a man and for grandchildren I think when you told me about the birds and bee's I will need one .
It is nice to see you still updating your thread and hope you are copeing even although things are still very raw for you .
I hope I can be half as strong as you have been.
Sending our best wishes to you and family.
Carol Eric
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Posted 08 July 2014 21:14:25(UTC)

Firstly Carol what a lovely reply yes that was me that thanked you.

 

Mandy Mo my SS,

As you say bitter sweet, this is going to sound weird, but you have been in my thoughts constantly for the last 2 days, so much so that I was going to ring yesterday and then I had a drama and couldn't ring . (I will explain when I ring you)

Driving to the service, didn't you realise that he was there.

Seeing Karen in her wedding dress, he smiled from ear to ear he was there.

Watching you give her away, so very proud he was there.

You thought that you were the loudest cheerer, no you just didn't hear  him he was there.

He stood beside you when you said the speech, he was there.

As for cooking the BBQ well I am sure you know what he was saying because he was there.

watching the twins playing with Shyla, he was there.

He wouldn't have missed that day, he was there.

He is in your heart and in your memory , he is always there.

Lots of love my SS.

BFN

Julie X

 

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
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Posted 08 July 2014 22:09:01(UTC)
Mo sorry for popping in on your thread just to tell Julie you are a wee bizzem reading your reply to Mandy made the tears roll down my face what a heartfelt post to Mo that Mick was with her and his daughter on their special day what a lovely thought and I think they would have felt him there.
Carol
User
Posted 08 July 2014 23:34:16(UTC)
Well done, Mo. You have done Mick proud. Your posts are always so full of emotion.
Stay Calm And Carry On.
User
Posted 08 July 2014 23:41:16(UTC)

Carol,

.

What is a Wee bizzem? I have got wee pokie now, not sure but I think I have heard Billy Connolly say it .

BFN

Julie X

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
User
Posted 09 July 2014 12:30:56(UTC)

There is no more to add, Carol & Julie what lovely posts, it was a privilege to be there.

Si x

 

Don't deny the diagnosis; try to defy the verdict
User
Posted 17 July 2014 09:05:33(UTC)
So here i am 45 days or just over 6 weeks since I lost my woderful husband Mick.
Lots of people ask me every day 'how are you holding up?'It is a good question which taken literally could be asking if i had become a bank robber ...well let me tell you about how different Banks can be when dealing with the death of a loved one especially when that person is the first named on a joint account or the primary on a credit card.

No names here just general information.

Credit cards...as Mick was primary on the two we had they had to be stopped immediately the balance owing became frozen so no interest added both allowed about 10 weeks for settlement from the 'estate'
We always paid in full every month so i just cleared them but nice to know they give you breathing space.
Fortnately i had an incident several years ago when i was refused a $ pre paid card, this baffled me a)I was not aware of any credit issues in my name and b) this was for a pre paid debit card
So i followed up on it. It transpired i did not have a bad credit rating i just diid not have one at all!
I had no history with no loans, no mortgage etc. The remedy was to go to my bank and they set me up. With a credit card. I used it every now and then to keep it active. This card became my lifeline when all others had to be frozen. I could not have managed without it.

Joint current accounts ... should be easy take in or send death certificate and everything changes to sole name. Some banks actually insist on you makinng an appointment for this but most will deal with it sensitiively and on the spot.

Sole accounts ..current or savings and joint savings can get a bit more tricky, bigger the bank the higher the figure they allow before asking for probate ( i innocently thought that a mirror will where I was sole executor and beneficiary would mean that probate would not be neccessary) generally speaking anything below 10k or where 'your half' is less than 10k is dealt with sans probate.

Online or telephone banking for joint accounts be sure you both have registered and are able to acccess joint accounts.I uused to use Micks which got blocked as soon as the bank was advised.big mistake!
All in all we had been well prepared however if we had big savings we would not have known about probate so if you have it may be wise to split them across different institutions.

Anyway just one of the many subjects where pre planning can help even if it seems a morbid task.

As for me I am holding up pretty well, i do have bad days and nearly every day something happens that gives me a weepy moment but i get through evrything with the support of my wonderful friends and family.

Mandy Mo
Xxx
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Posted 17 July 2014 10:13:03(UTC)
Hi Mo
Thank you so much for this, it is very helpful to know this stuff and I can relay it to John, who wants to ensure that things go smoothly (in that respect) when the time comes.

I haven't been on the forum much, I must admit I am slightly knocked for six at the moment after three and a half years of people becoming friends and then they are gone, it has been too much for me. But, a break from the forum is no bad thing and I have had a relatively Pca free time, which has been nice.

You are a lovely person, who is a very capable woman, though all those flipping tools do my head in too. I keep looking at our double garage and wondering what e heck it loll is in there. Wonderful news on Karen and on her marriage, what a fantastic thing to happen, it was a little sunshine and as Julie says, Mick will have been present.

Big hugs
Allison xxxx
User
Posted 17 July 2014 12:10:17(UTC)

Great post, Mo and such a help to someone like me who will inevitably have to face what you have gone through. Neil's children are executors of his will, we do not have joint accounts, so hoping this will spare me some of the practicalities, I had enough with Mums death a few years back, getting probate, clearing her house and so on. I have already started planning something of a life for myself, as to whether it works out, who knows, but it helps me now !

Sending love to you as always, you are one strong lady !

 

Fiona.

User
Posted 17 July 2014 19:26:25(UTC)
Hi Mo,
Thank you for taking the time to pass on these tips. I, when told that I was terminal hopefully went ahead and put everything in place at least financially to help Karen when the time comes. I have even ordered my "bespoke " coffin to my own design which of course will remain a secret until the day dawns (or in my case doesn't).
Sounds morbid but Karen and I had quite a laugh over the various ideas, enough to say we ended up on a military theme.
As I say thank you for putting down the rights and wrongs of what loved ones have to go through and I do echo your remarks about most agencies , banks etc. are generally most helpful.
Also if you want a weepy moment then damn well have one, didn't comment before ( too spaced out) but so glad Karen's day went so well.
Love and remember,
Life is for living
Barry (alias Barrington )
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Posted 18 July 2014 14:48:40(UTC)
TG how do you do it? Commenting annd helping others whilst fighting on your own front line.
I guess it just helps me to pen down experiences that may be useful. Next time i intend to post about teavelling solo first time in 26 years.xx
I applaud you for taking time to get your wishes planned it helped me loads when Mick did so much too.

Always sending you hugs
Xx
Mandy Mo
User
Posted 30 July 2014 19:06:43(UTC)
Some good tips Mo. Having been there a few times, I have found that the easiest thing is to draw some money out of the joint account before notifying them of the death. It helps to know your partner/father/friend's PIN number or make the transfers whilst the person is still alive (with their knowledge of course) - there is quite a lot of expense in those first few days & weeks and when my brother died, we weren't able to access his account for many months.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard


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Posted 31 July 2014 13:18:31(UTC)
Mo you never cease to amaze me with your heart, caring and practical approach to the things thrown at you.

Very good tips and advice and so helpful to others. Hope in your doing these amazing things it's also helping you through too.

Take care of yourself
Veronica
User
Posted 01 August 2014 18:41:25(UTC)
Stage 1 of my first solo holiday in 26+ years.
Packing for just me in one carry on bag was easy peasy no gadgets,tools or other "essential" man things. I actually set off ten mins ahead of schedule amazing!
The journey to the airport hotel started off well first 150 miles in two and a half hours no shouting from Dora the satnav either. Only 40 miles to go so I breeze past the services no need for a wee stop. Then I hit the M25 and spent the next 2 and a half hours crawling,stopping,crawling and stopped. Now I really wish I had gone for a wee when I had the chance. I arrived at the hotel abandoned the car and hobbled cross legged to the loo .Mick was up there saying ha ha told you a million times a wee in time saves serious embarrassment!
Next hurdle dinner for one. I was shown to a table the size of a small drinks tray somewhere at the back of the restaurant, oh well at least it was near the kitchen. A rapidly served and eaten meal, so keen to watch the commonwealth games I stood at the bar to get a drink. A succession of men were served and I was beginning to think I might actually be invisible. I tried coughing holding my money up nada ,nothing so I resorted to leaning over the bar and collaring the barman literally, oh sorry he said I thought you were waiting for someone. GRRR.
Finally got my wine and closed stage one of my adventure.
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Posted 01 August 2014 19:10:19(UTC)

Hi Mandy,

You have a great trip and hope the french weather is good to you.

The girls and Ness all send there love.

See you soon

Si xx

 

Don't deny the diagnosis; try to defy the verdict
User
Posted 01 August 2014 21:30:11(UTC)

Hi Mandy Mo my SS,

Have a relaxing holiday and take time for you, this is a new adventure a little daunting and no doubt emotional . Just a few tips.

No 1, Never travel on the M25 with a full bladder.

No 2, Tips for getting served at the bar, always wear red stilletoes and have a fake £50 note in your hand.

No 3, Never ask for a table for one, always a table for 2 and pretend you have been stood up.

It's time to start healing.

Lots of love

BFN

Julie X

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
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Posted 02 August 2014 06:21:15(UTC)

Loved your post Mandy. What a spirit you have.

Re: motorways and stops. Always always take advantage. Did what you did on the way to my mother's once.

Got held up and by the time I arrived I was crying at the front door yelling "Get out of the way" as soon as the door opened

Learnt my lesson that day.  

Enjoy your well earned break. If Mick's had a chuckle at your expense then he'll also be watching to make sure you get the break you deserve.

Have fun.

Sandra

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 02 August 2014 10:46:51(UTC)
Have a great time Mo, it must be a daunting experience but don't forget the joys of holidaying by yourself too. I have been doing it for years. In no particular order:
1. You choose what you do and when
2. You choose the restaurant and the food and the wine
3. If you are tired and feel unsociable you can go to bed
4. You are in charge of loo stops
5. You choose the music on the radio etc

Seriously, I find travelling alone a reflective time and this will no doubt be the case for you as you try and make sense of the nonsense of the last few months. When you are alone you can be reflective which I think helps us to move forward, to make some sense of the world around us.

Most of all just enjoy!
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Posted 02 August 2014 21:57:13(UTC)
Mo,
I know the need to find the loo so we have both the Sainsbury and Tesco store guide books, they are some years old as they don't print them now, and a portable urinal in the car, after years of coaches, when the loos were not built in, you get used to seeing where they all are, and now we are older, and more decrepit, we have a RADAR key and booklet of points of use. It is even harder abroad but every café and restaurant can't refuse your usage of facilities but may make a charge if you don't buy.

Enjoy your break, come home refreshed!

Chris
User
Posted 14 August 2014 12:28:26(UTC)
Flight stage went fine a little late departing but I arrived straight into the huge embraces of my lovely brother jed and his wife Jo. Whisked off through the country lanes from Nantes airport to St Philbert sur grand lieu about 35 mins away. French countryside glorious with sunflowers and maize as high as the sky very rural in this part of Loire Atlantique and just a short car ride to get into the vendee and all that amazing seafood.
My little Mobile home was fabulous clean, bright and very pretty. I knew I was going to like this much beter than staying in the little hotel that Mick and I stayed in 2 years ago.
First 3 days and I was taken on some lovely bike rides across the canals and marsh tracks in the tip of the Vendee. 5 miles trial day one, 15 miles day 2 and 25 miles day 3, I am a lot fitter than I thought !
We stopped for coffee at little country bars most of which were in tiny port villages my Brother seems to know everyone in this part of France!
Food everywhere was awesome and so reasonable, Oysters collected that morning 8 for 3 euro (not my cup of tea due to my iodine allergy but my brother loves them) Interesting enough he does not agrree that they are th food of love so no rushing out to get hundreds as a substitute for Cialis or Viagra.
I ate a lot of Langostines and moe goats cheese than I should and naturally we drank wine everywhere after all we were on the bikes!
My niece and her lovely children arrived on the Wednesday shattering peace and tranquility so the last 3 days were spent at the seaside and in museums. The museum of the Vendee was fascinating, I had no idea how badly the poor French farm workers were treated by the aristocrats during the revolution, a very moving visit.
I missed Mick every single day and cried many of the late evenings just a little and on my own but I passed the first solo expedition arriving back at Gatwick an hour late, finding the car and driving through to Swindon to stay with friends. Met Allison on the Monday for lunch which was lovely. Now home and starting to plan the next trip with a little more confidence.
xxx
Mo
User
Posted 14 August 2014 12:37:53(UTC)
Well done Mo and welcome home. We know that area well and I can just picture you cycling across the marsh paths; I should think that Mick was watching over you and willing you to have a good rest in the company of people who love you.

My mother-in-law (Stan's wife) has taken rather longer than you to start picking up the pieces, so much so that we were all starting to despair, but has just amazed us by taking herself off camping to France for a month! At last text message she had made it across the Alps into Italy .... as you say, the first time is the most scary and sad but once done, it's done.

Now on to your next new adventure at the hospice I think?
Love Lyn x
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard


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Posted 09 September 2014 20:56:13(UTC)
The last few weeks I have been thinking about others on the forum, their sadness, fears and just occasionally smiling when somebody has a great review with their Onco or Urologist. It has also been the first 2 weeks of my venture into adult education. The future learn course on the genetics of cancer has started, I have just completed week 2 along with a few others here on the forum. It is not basic or simple it is very technical and quite challenging for me, but I am finding it fascinating. My second foray into this new me starts next week with the course being run by Sheffield University in conjunction with PCa UK. Both of these will keep me mentally active during my first transatlantic trip in almost 18 months.
Si Superman is taking me to the airport he really is my hero, in a way he is taking Mick too, for I am setting off on the journey to lay Mick's ashes in his chosen place, by the lake at our friends beautiful 10 acre home in Georgia USA. The horses and his best buddy Riley (heinz 57 rescue dog) will be there and so will the amazing O'Fee Buchanan family who have been friends since forever ago. Mick loved the old house and had watched the new one going up in its place wishing like crazy he could have been there to help.
I just hope all the paperwork I have is in order and that there are no issues at Security, customs or immigration. I also have to sort out title deeds for the share we have in a condo in Florida, ironically we had been looking at options on that just before Mick was diagnosed. US Inheritance laws are very different to ours and you cannot will USA property in a UK will. I just hope I am strong enough mentally to cope with the process that involves.
My last few days on this trip will be going to our friends wedding in Las Vegas, Mick and I introduced them to each other innocently 4 years ago and despite the fact one lives in California and the other in London they have figured everything out for a new life together in California. Mick was supposed to be playing a key role at the wedding so provisions have been made to honour that fact, again I hope I can be a tough cookie although I suspect I will not be alone if I cry.
I am also hiring a car for some of the trip sounds so basic who would think that is a big deal, In the 25 years MIck and I have been going out there I have never driven ..well golf buggies, tractors and farm vehicles excepted. I have never driven an automatic car and never driven on the wrong side of the road. Only because Mick loved driving and I was more than happy to be chauffered around. So for me it is quite an epic milestone.
So I guess in terms of small steps when starting over this is actually like 110m high hurdle just hope I can get through the journey without knocking any jumps over.
In the meantime may all your journeys be smooth ones and I pray that there are more occasions when I can smile or laugh at your postings than those that provoke sadness.
xxx
Mo
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Posted 10 September 2014 00:27:14(UTC)

It is, in the words of our American friends, an awesome undertaking and you have such amazing resilience and guts you will get through the difficult bits and shine and enjoy the experience. I wish you well and look forward to th stories on your return. Will see you on the course online (by the way there is still time for people to join. its Sheffield Hallam University and is entirely online)

Good luck Mo, way to go!

User
Posted 10 September 2014 05:08:08(UTC)

Agree with Paul mo...A very emotional journey but hopefully one that will ultimately give you some satisfaction and pleasure having fulfilled one of Micks final wishes

Take care
Bri xx

User
Posted 10 September 2014 19:33:58(UTC)

My SS Mandy Mo,

What a trip, this is going to be very emotional for you but as you have said before this is a place that you and Mick love . It is very fitting that this is the place that Mick chose.

Have a wonderful trip. Come back with some new stories of your adventure and of course lots of pics.

Lots of love

BFN

Julie X

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
User
Posted 10 September 2014 21:18:04(UTC)
Mo
That trip will be emotional and wonderful and a real challenge all at the same time. Knowing you, you will ace it.

Looking forward to hearing all about it on your return.

Safe journey dear friend

Love Allison xxx
User
Posted 23 September 2014 18:12:34(UTC)
So here I am sitting in our Condo in Lake Buena Vista Florida, into my second week of a 5 week epic.
For anyone every contemplating taking your loved one's ashes abroad to be laid to rest be aware of the Jobsworth piece of inhuanity I had to deal with at Manchester airport. I had been meticulous in gaining all the correct paperwork, carrying Mick's ashes in a purpose built bio degradble cardboard tube, packing them along with the paperwork into a carry on bag that meets all airlines specifications. So what could possibly go wrong? At check in the lovely lady from Vorgin gave me a spcial security pass to fast track through a massive queue for security. She also told me to gain the attention of one of the security staff ahead of the scanners to explain what I was carrying so that they could deal with me appropriately.
I did just that and spent the next 10 minutes trying to explain to a young head phone toting gum chewing chap who had limited command of the English language to start with. I tried to explain what was in my bag but he just told me to stop stressing and whacked the whole thing into the scanner and proceeded to shoo me to go through the dreaded x ray tube myself, now no laughing at this point please....the underwiring in my bra set the scanners off (at least that was what the lady said as she frisked me and waved her weirdy wand thing over me) so I move along to hopefully be reunited with my handbag and carry on bag AKA Mick. Neither item was at the collection point so a mild panic started to set in as you might imagine. Finally another less young and thankfully not gum chewing chap looks my way and summonses me to the end of the collection point where my handbag sits untouched but my carry on bag has been virtually dismantled. "What is this" he says pointing at the tube .. my Husband's ashes and I have the necessary paperwork right here I reply .. why didn't you report these before screening he challenges, well actually I did to your colleague over on the other side but he did not seem to understand me at all.
OK now I am going to have to swab them and check it is what you have said ... at this pont I asked if he could have just a little more respect and perhaps we could continue somewhere out of the public area like that little cubby hole over there although by now I was visibly crying so probably not forming coherent words. After a further 2 or 3 minutes of prodding and poking, swabbing etc the whole opened carry on bag and its contents was shoved back at me together with my handbag to repack. I started to put things together and was told in a very officious tone you can't do that here move over to that table over there. Oh you mean the one in the cubby hole that I wanted to go to in the first place. By now I was past crying and almost into a rage I felt Mick urging me to pick him up and whack the guy over the head but I resisted. Laughably my Humira injections for my Rheumatoid arthritis attracted no attention at all maybe I should have crackeed one of them open and stabbed him with it!

anyway the flight was great have to say Virgin Atlantic did a really good job of looking after me cusomer services had informed them the reason for my trip and they could not have been more helpful.

Arrival at Orlando and I did the usual mad dash to immigration, Mick always made us sit near the plane exit so we could be first off and virtually run there so I did the same this time. I was first in line and through in minutes when I collected my bags I looked back to see a queue of Disneyesque proportions so it had been worth the dash.

Collected my car a Nissan Rogue (hope that was not how I was meant to drive it) anyway I remembered Si telling me that he had done his bit by giving Mick a very smooth ride to the airport so now I just needed to ensure that I did not frog leap all the way to the Condo. Actually t was a piece of cake, I enjoyed driving so much I spent the next 2 days driving to all my favourite stores to shop till I dropped.

Friends and family of friends arrived on Wednesday, lots of hugs and tears initially but then 4 days of fun and laughter.
Now I am solo again still with Mick's ashes which stay with me until stage 2 of the trip next week when I go to see my lovely friends in Georgia.

Feeling quite lonely but managing to keep busy with my Understanding the genetics of cancer course and getting ready for the new one with Paul Yorkhull which starts soon.

My lovely caring daughter Karen is in touch daily (as are many of my friends on this forum) she had coffee with Karen Newman a couple of times last week whilst on holiday in Weymouth. so life really does go on it is just tough sarting over
xxx
Mo
Thanked 1 time
User
Posted 23 September 2014 18:47:39(UTC)

Good to hear you are surviving Mo and not surprised at the ups and downs, it's bound for happen but you will find the strength to carry you through. I am not amazed but absolutely appalled at your treatment at the airport. Total lack of respect and it must have been heart breaking. Still you got Mick there and you will lay him to rest, an epic journey for both of you.

Look forward to seeing you online soon on the course.

User
Posted 23 September 2014 19:04:14(UTC)

Hi Mo,

I was shocked to read about your ordeal at Manchester airport.
That was absolutely shameful.

But I was relieved you kept your indomitable spirit, and that everything improved for you once you took off.

If ever there was a 'real trouper'..... : )


Looking forward to seeing you again soon,

Warmest wishes always,

George

User
Posted 23 September 2014 21:32:44(UTC)

Mo you are such a brave inspirational woman. I so admire your spirit. It is shocking what you had to go through at the airport. I hoe the rest of your trip goes well

best wishes

Lorraine x

User
Posted 23 September 2014 23:53:26(UTC)

I think Mick will have had a good chuckle from wherever he is watching over you. If it is any reassurance to others, we had none of this horrendous treatment when we took ashes to Australia; we tucked the tube into the small suitcase and carried the paperwork on us but it wasn't even noticed.

Take care of yourself xxx

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard


User
Posted 24 September 2014 14:09:44(UTC)

Good luck Mo, give someone a hat and "jobsworth" doesn't bear thinking about, well done for making it so far !

Chris.

User
Posted 24 September 2014 21:15:33(UTC)

SS,

I know how difficult you are finding this trip it must be full of so many memories for you and the realisation of why you are there. I know it was Mick's last wishes but you can always change your mind and bring him back to England. Si won't mind an extra passenger.

A good friend of mine (Debbie ) she won't mind me using her name has her Mum's ashes in the lounge, she always says she is deciding where to sprinkle the ashes and she hasn't made up her mind yet. In reality she hasn't found the right place in 5 years and finds it impossible to say the last goodbye.

You are strong and you will get through this, next week surrounded by old friends will be easier.

One last thing to say, Jolly hockey sticks.

BFN

Julie XXXXXX

NEVER LAUGH AT A LIVE DRAGON
 
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