I don't go looking for the sympathy vote.
However now that things have settled I feel I can talk/write about them.
When Jon left his job it was without a doubt the right thing to do. He needed to and our family needed it too.
The time off gave us time to reflect as a family and work out what was important. However, the job market at that time was very slow and while we had to some savings to keep us going for a while, after 3 months, we really needed him to earn an income probably by finding a job.
We found that not only was the job market slow, but that the level of salaries had fallen and they were not matching the position.
During this time, we had a pool built (we had already financially committed to this) and if anyone has done it, you will know that it comes with many stresses. I am so thankful that Jon was home to deal with all of this. For 4 months we had people in our back yard on an almost daily basis.
To add to my worries, I got a facebook message from my sister saying hey, how are you, we should talk soon. Ok, fine. Then when I didn't immediately, a text saying, are you up, can I call you? Now starting to think something is up, surely she couldn't be pregnant again.
I called her, a bit of chit chat and then I heard her take a deep breath and I knew something bad was coming, she said she had something to tell me, Dad was sick and was in hospital, he'd had a stroke. At that point, it felt like my world had fallen apart. My dad, although he has diabetes is fit and strong and young, he is only 57.
All kinds of thoughts were going through my head, firstly I recalled that his dad, my grandad, had died at 58. Then the thoughts of do I need to go back to the UK to see him, should I go back. How can I explain to my children why I'm crying without scaring them.
I never expected my dad to get sick or to really need me (not that he did) I was always concerned for my mum. She is on her own, dad has remarried. I started to question whether living overseas away from my family was the right thing to do. Was I being selfish by choosing to live such a fantastic life here? (As an aside, I realise that that thought was pretty offensive to my family, who says my life is better than theirs.)
I hung up from my sister and told Jon what had happened. He went straight away to call my Dad's wife. More bad news. Not in terms of Dad's health thankfully, but it was Dads news and private to him so I won't share it here.
So, what next?
I kept in touch with my sister and within a few days Dad was fine. He went from bad to fine so quickly. It was almost like it never happened. He made a full recovery. I am so thankful for that.
When he came home from the hospital, I called him (obviously) to see how he was. We talked about what could have caused it and what he needs to do now to stay healthy. I suggested that maybe it was stress that brought it on. I got the usual, I don't suffer from stress but maybe the news about Gran and Jeff has been playing on my mind.
More bombshells, I had no idea what he was talking about.
I knew my Gran had Alzheimer's but that it was being managed. We had even laughed in the past (rightly or wrongly, I don't know) about some of her forgetfulness. He told me that she was getting worse quickly and that he didn't know how long she would be able to stay in her own home. He'd been discussing it with his brother and sister and the careworkers.
Gran's not so young anymore but she has always been very fit and very healthy and most importantly since being on her own for 30 years, very independent . Being forgetful was upsetting her greatly and the thought of going into a home was just awful for her.
So that was Gran, what about Jeff (dad's brother, my uncle). Dad said, "Oh, don't you know? I'm sorry Love, he's dying. He has less than 12 months to live."
Jeff has Asbestosis.
While I am obviously very upset at that news I immediately thought of my dad and whether he could have it. I asked where Jeff had got it from and yes, it from a time when he and my dad had worked together. Grandad had also worked there (small town) and he died from lung cancer.
I asked dad was he ok? ie could he have it, is he going to get tested? They had already tested him and he was fine.
Sadly, that wasn't the end. Dad had to have 4 weeks off work. Two weeks into that, Gran had a stroke, well lots actually, within a 48 hour period.
All the while, I am asking, whoever, what have I done to deserve all this bad news. I'm a good person. Why is this happening?
Much more questioning about where I should live. Lectures from my dad saying don't you dare come back, I didn't raise you to look after me. Is Jon going to get a job? Are we going to lose the house? Can I pay for my kids music and dance tuition?
I came to the realisation, that in terms of the UK, I can't change anything. It's happened. All I can do is honour my family by living the most healthy and fulfilling life that I can.
The position today. Gran is not well in terms of her mental state. She could not go home and has now moved to a residential care home.
Dad is back a work and seemingly all good.
Jeff is having treatment and the doctors think they may be able to give him 24 months.
Jon has a job.
We still have a home filled with love and gorgeous children. x