I haven’t written in a few weeks for a very good reason: my older sister flew into town to visit and I have been playing tour guide and interpreter from British to American English. The past two weeks have been, as the Brits would say, BRILLIANT.
My previous post addressed the highs and lows that I have been dealing with in recent months and this trip gave me so many highs to counteract the lows that I have been going through. That’s not to say that there were no wobbles while my sister was here, but it was nice to have her with me when the sadness hit and I found them less profound while having so much fun. In short, grief had to take the back seat while joy took a test drive for a few weeks. It was nice to have so many shared laughs over dinner and drinks, even though there were also tears. It was nice to have someone around for the lows, a literal shoulder to cry on. It was nice to have an excuse to go and do fun things – all in the name of being a good host 🙂
We spent a few days in my new hometown of Northampton, walking around, exploring and trying out different restaurants and cafes. The weather was pretty rubbish while here, but that gave us a good opportunity to watch some quality British television and, as a result, my sister is now hooked on Come Dine With Me and First Dates.
We met up with a group of fellow widows and their children to take a tour of Cadbury World which was so much fun! The tour did a great job of discussing the history of the brand and chocolate as well as giving you the opportunity to see how the chocolates are made, packaged and distributed. Also, I got to meet a giant Creme Egg, hug him and tell him that I love him best. He then gave me two Creme Eggs and sent me on my way. It was magical. Outside of Cadbury World we had fun exploring Birmingham city centre.
We spent two days in my beloved Oxford, admiring it’s beauty and going to Terry and my favourite pubs. We stayed in the MalMaison Hotel, which is a reformed HM Prison and it was beautiful. Terry and I had always talked about staying there when we were debt free and it was bittersweet to be there without him, although I am happy to have had the opportunity at all.
The last two days of her trip we spent down in London. My sister spent four months living in London (where she met Terry’s family through her husband and then would go on to introduce me to Terry while I was traveling through Europe the following year) and it was really fun for her to show me around her old neighborhood. I introduced her to Liberty of London and she introduced me to her favorite gelato restaurant. We had the most gorgeous (and posh) afternoon tea at the Kensington Hotel. The sun was out both days and we spent hours walking around, from Trafalgar Square to the West End and in the evenings we went to see Memphis and Billy Elliot. We couldn’t decide on one musical, so went to both and boy were they good!
This morning we went to Heathrow where we had a final cup of coffee before I hugged her goodbye. Last night I was really sad at the thought of her leaving, at having to come back to Northampton all alone and no Terry to come back to. I did have a little cry, but when the train pulled in to Northampton I felt an overwhelming sense or calm. I was simply coming home; no more, no less.
And so I am home, curled up with a good book, a cup of tea (how British, I know), my Ninja and some really great memories that will help me stay afloat when the sadness comes next. And in three and a half months I’m headed home to Nashville to see the rest of my family and to make even more amazing memories. I cannot wait.