Hi All,
Hope you are all keeping well. Glad that you are feeling a little better, Pauline.
I have just got back from a 5 day coach toor to Germany. I went with my friend who runs a B&B in the lake district, we had a good time, but with so much travelling it was hardly a relaxing holiday! I have not started my new job yet, it has been quite a stressful time, as we have had so much to sort out.
It does seem a long time since Ray was here, sometimes I can hardly remember what it was like to have him there all the time; most of the times I cope pretty well, but it is all still strange - I wonder when being on our own will seem the norm?
Anyway, still coping well, but I am really scared about my skiing trip now - I think I may have been a bit adventurous even for me!!
Darla, my second anniversary without Ray was difficult too, I stayed with Sam and we had a nice meal, as always it is best to keep busy.
Janet, you have had a rough few week, but I know it wont get you down, you have an amazing ability to keep upbeat!
Joyce, I wish i could sing! I am tone deaf!!!
Anyway love to you all.
Sue xx

Hi All, Just to wish everyone a better year than last year.  I am sure things will slowly get better for us. Just kep living one day at a time.
Love Sue x

Hello Everyone,

Sorry I have been neglecting this site a little, so I thought I would catch with you all.
It has been nice to read all your posts. I think it is important we plan Xmas and the New Year carefully, to keep busy. I will be lucky this year as Sam and her boyfriend are doing Christmas dinner in their new house, and on Christmas Eve Ihave invited my widowed friend and my Mum to my house for a meal and have a few surprises planned for them to keep us laughing!

Sam is doing well at the hospital, and my Salsa is really coming on! Still not taken any ski lessons though!

I have been very busy over the last few weeks, An old business associate is starting up a new chemical company, as he has EU funding his head office has to be in Brussels, so he needs someone to run his UK operation here and has asked me if I am interested. So I have agreed and for the last few weeks have been looking at manufacturing operations and offices etc, and familiarising myself with his existing customers and flying over to Brussels for meetings with his Belgian shareholders.
As well as running his business I will be continuing to run mine so will probably need to get someone in the office here too.
I think this has come at just the right time for me, I am starting to get my energy back and it will be good to get my teeth into a real project again.

Anyway, lots of love to you all,
Sue x

Hi friends,
Rays anniversary went well, the family party on the Sunday was lovely, we had all Rays favorite foods, and we had afternoon tea on the 13th and kept it upbeat for Julies birthday. Sam and I left white lilies and roses on the grave in the morning, and when I went back the next day the grave was covered with flowers from friends and family, it was such a comforting feeling to know so many people cared.
This last weekend I had arranged a reunion of the people who went on my Crete holiday at Easter. One lady was ill, but 11 of us managed to get together and had a wonderful time at my friends B&B; because we took over the hotel it was just like a house party and my friends worked so hard to make it lovely for everyone. The B&B is in the Yorkshire dales, and I took Sams old hiking boots and did the Ingleton waterfalls walk , a round trip  of about 6 miles from the B&B, then on the Sunday did another ramble. I ached on Monday but the fresh air did us all good. I also noticed that many of the poeple looked so much better than they did at Easter - me probably included! As they say time heals.
Like Joyce I am always up for trying new things, so the latest is that my Sking friend and I are going to try Salsa lessons to get us fit!! (and I have two left feet!).
Darla, well done for gtting onto facebook, but you need a photo up now - as does Janet! And Janet, I will sponser you if you do that tandem parachute jump with your son!
Pauline, I hope you are doing well, and thank you for all the kind messages for Joyce and I.
Well just getting ready for Keep fit, if sking doesnt kill me the getting fit for it probably will!
Love to all,
Sue x

Hi all,
I have just put a memorial in the paper for ray for Monday, the girls and I are going for afternoon tea at the hotel where Rays eldest girl got married two years ago, as it is her birthday the day Ray died it we will try to keep it happy.
I am finding that whn i remeber Ray now it is as he was when he was well, and when I think of him I smile more than cry now. We were so lucky to have him for the time we did.
In the last two days i have had news of two of my friends dying, one was a lovely man who looked after our dog when we were on holday who died suddenly in his sleep, and the other was my old neighbour form our last house - she was only 57 and her husband is devasated.
So I have the dogsitters funeral to go to on Tuesday, thank goodness it wasnt monday, i dont think I could have coped with that.
Anyway it really brought home that we should be grateful for every day, and on the strength of that Ihave booked a ski holiday with one of my new friends, the girls think I must be mad - I cant ski, have no balance, have dicky knees and have to loose 20lb to get into my friends spare ski suit!!
The girls think I am mad, Sam has visions of me not being able to get off the ski lift at the top and going round and round, and Rays grandaughter is worried to death that I will fall and break something, but we only live once!!
Anyway, just thought I would tell you all that to make you smile!
Love to you all,
Sue x

Hi everyone,
Back home after my holiday with my Mum. The rest did her good, although I am aware that she is much frailer than she was the last time we went away in December. Anyway, we were very lucky wih the weather, the sun shoe every day and it was unseasonably warm for this time of year for Northern Spain. In the south of Spain we heard about torrential rain and flooding which lasted several days, but we only had a thunderstorm one night. The weather does seem to be doing strange things around the world, it makes you wonder about the global warming?
Janet, congratulations on your sons school graduation - do your schools finish their school year at different times to us?
Darla, it really does make me realise we do all like in different worlds when you mention things like hitting deer! But you are right, we are getting better at coping with things, I think everyone feels the same - after what has happened to us, it is difficult to get really upset about things life throws at us, but it is still frustrating when practical things go wrong!
Glad you are finding your work interesting, Pauline, I always feel better when I am busy too.
Joyce, thinking about you in these next weeksx
Love to all

Hi All,

Sorry I have not posted for so long - I have been taking advantage of the Indian summer to get all the outside jobs done, so the hut, summerhouse fences and decking are all looking pristine and set for the winter.

Joyce, I have finally got a new central heating boiler this week, so we should both be warm this winter at least!
Like you I am not looking forward to next month. I think the best plan is for me to go and stay overnight with Sam and her boyfriend in their new house - they move in this weekend so everything is newly painted etc. I think it will be good for us to be together on that day.

Janet, Dont worry about your appointment tomorrow, remember everyone is on your side, I bet you will be surprised how sympathetic people can be, even in government! Hope your birthday went well, your sister sounds lovely, by the way, I am sure you are such a comfort to each other.

Darla, I think we are both lucky in that we can be flexible with work. I dont think I could cope with a full time job in the foreseeable future, but I may have to in a year or so if business doesnt pick up. But I will worry about that later.

Pauline, I hope you dont wear yourself out with all the extra work, but I know you love it so perhaps it is the right thing for you to do to keep you busy.

Cindi, as everyone says it is early days yet, you are doing all the right things!

So, I am flying to Spain tomorrow with my Mum - she is so looking forward to it and I think it will do me good to get away too. My mum is great fun she still thinks she is 18 and flirts outragesly with all the young men - she particularly likes the ones with nice bottoms!!!! I said to my friend who knows her that my Mum would be dangerous if she wasn't 86, she said she was dangerous anyway!!

Will let you all know how the hols went!

Take care everyone,

Lots of love,
Sue x

Hi All,

I hope you are all in a good place today.

Life has been pretty busy at the moment what with work, Sams new house and my Mum - by the way thanks for asking after her, she would be amazed that people all around the world care for her wellbeing! She is making a good recovery, a little slower than she was expecting, but nevertheless given her age she is doing brilliantlyand she is back at home under her own steam again now. I am planning to take her to Spain for a week at the end of this month to recouperate.

Work is still quite demoralising at the moment as my orders keep getting less and less and I don't know what I can do to improve things. But I keep telling myself that i am lucky to have some income at least from the business as so many people are unemployed atthe moment.

Pauline, your last few days in Italy sound wonderful - how lovely that you are a part of such a wonderful way of life with such warm people. It must be a place where you feel Anthony close to you as he loved it so much. I imagine how much you miss when you are there, but it sounds as if the people there care for you deeply and that must be a comfort.

Darla, I am thinking of you at this time of year. I am dreading October. Just lately I have been thinking of Rays last few days a lot - I know it is part of the greaving process but it is so hard sometimes.

Janet how did your trip to your sister go? I hope it went well and you can use it as a springboard for more trips away. Another first ticked off the list!

How are you Joyce? It is hard with the autumn coming on isnt it? I am trying to fill my diary for the winter months with little things to look forward to until the spring - arranging visits to friends and little trips away, and inviting people over for meals and family days. Sometimes I plan too much but at least if I am busy it gives me less time to brood.

Anyway, everyone keep well and try to keep positive and I will do the same.

Lots of love to you all.


Opps pressed submit before I had finished, just wanted to say I think of you all often, even if I dont write often. I think we have all come a long way in the time we met here I know we have a long way to go yet, but we can do it with a little help from our friends!

All my love,
Sue x

Hi All,

I have just been reading all the posts and it has been lovely catching up with everyone. I have been so busy these last few weeks I havent had time to breathe!

We found a wonderful house for Sam to buy just 5 minutes away from York hospital and we must have been to every bank in the area before she could get a mortgage - because she didnt start work until last week, the underwriters were rejecting her - in one bank they actually rejected her because she didnt have any loans so they said they didnt know if she would repay her mortgage! I mean how bad a risk is a doctor! Finally we found a lady who actually had the authority to use her common sense and she got a mortage through in two days for Sam so she is hoping to get her keys next week. However the whole house needs redecorating and new carpets - luckily she has a handy boyfriend and I suppose we will all roll our sleeves up and help out. But it has hit home now that she is really leaving home (but at least she is only 40 minutes drive away!).

My Mum has just come out of hospital after an op so I am planning to have here here for a few weeks to recouperate.
Also, the company I distribute for in Belgium has a new manager who is pushing for more sales in the UK - the last thing I can contemplate now is getting back on the road trailing round potential customers, I am trying to drum up some business on the phone but I am not doing so well.

I have managed to do some upkeep on my house, but I must admit it is all getting me a bit down at the moment - I feel a bit sorry for myself - I know I am lucky to have the support of family and friends but I am sure you will all understand when I say that it is not the same without that somene special to look after you?

Anyway, enough of that! I am glad to hear that you are contemplating a holiday Janet, I have found that it is helpful to have something to look forward to and plan, and I must say I have enjoyed all the holidays I have been on - the hard part is coming home again! So do take the plunge I am sure you will all enjoy it. I hope your sister is doing Ok too - that must be very hard for you to cope with. On our anniversary last year I made sure I had planned something with family - the same with fathers day - just plan a little outing somewhere or a visit to good friends ifyou can it really helps to keep busy.

Pauline I agree with you about the alcohol, it is so easy to have another glass once you open a bottle of wine on your own, now I try not to have a drink through the week, and look forward to one at the weekend, preferably with friends. I am glad also that you found some nice poeple to talk to, it is amazing who we connect with now isnt it? And who knows, B&B may be your next calling!!

Joyce, I had to laugh about your poor dogs escapade with the skunk, it sound so foreign to us, my images of skunks come mainly from cartoons, I had no idea it was so difficult to get the smell off in real life! I hope you are granted some nice weather before the autumn sets in - you haveit so hard there in the winter.

Darla, how is your shop doing? I am finding it very hard at the moment running my business  - I used to use Ray and a sounding board when I had to make decisions and I really miss his advice.

Hi Karen, you arent intruding at all it is nice to hear from you!

The weather here in the north of Engand is a bit strange at the moment , the bast I can describe it as is grey! We had a good weekend a couple of weeks ago and me and my friend managed to paint all the decking and fences in the garden - it was absolutely exhausting but satisfactory when we had finished.

Dear All,

Thanks for all your good wishes for Sams graduation, It was really beautiful, and I was so proud of her. There was six of us in all, me and my Mum, Sams boyfriend, Sams godmother and her sister. we only had tickets for 3 for the graduation but because we got there early we managed to get tickets for everyone which was lovely. Sam only had tears only once, just after the ceremony itself, then we all went to a champagne reception put on by the medical school which was lovely, all sams friends from Uni who had known Ray came up to chat with us, and then we all went back to my house for more champagne! everyone stayed the night, and Janis, Sams godmother who is an amazing and very funny lady had us all in stiches. We felt Ray was there all the time. On the way back from the graduation, Sam went to Rays grave and told him she had done it and was now a real Doctor, she said she felt as if he knew already and had been there with her.

Pauline, I am proud of you for keeping cheerful through Anthonys memorial, I know how hard it must have been for you. As Cyndi says it is another milestone you have passed.

Joyce, glad you enjoyed the holidays, it is very emotional coming home though to an empty house, I dont know what we can do to avoid it though!

I had a business meeting yesterday with a friend I have known for thirty years. He has been working to start up a new business and it looks as if it will take off soon. Because he can get EU funding if he runs the business from Belgium, he is planning to move there and he has asked me if I will run his Uk operation. At the moment it will involve me a couple of days work a week, but if it takes off as he plans, it could be quite a responsible job and quite demanding. Part of me is scared but part of me was quite excited by the project. I think I will give it a try, he needs someone he can trust just now, and I think I need a project to get involved in. As he knew Ray and my situation if I find it too much I think he will undersatnd, anyway nothing venture, nothing gained.

Darla, Patty, Janet, and everyone else reading this, try to keep positive, my love to you all.

Thanks Darla, I too am sure that Ray will be with us - he wouldnt miss it for the world, we just have to remember that just because we can't see him it doesn't mean he isn't with us.
Lots of love, Sue x

Patty, forgot to tell you, you must go and eat in the cheesecake factory in Caesars - but make sure you share the plates!

Hello Friends,
Thank you all for your good wishes for my holiday, we got home yesterday morning from Vegas so am a bit jet lagged, had a great time with Sam but not looking forward to the credit card bill coming in!
Las Vegas was not at all what we expected, the big hotels were really fantastic, I suppose there were some seedy places downtown but we kept away from them and had a great time. The two cirque de soleil shows we saw were amazing but at $90 a seat were pretty expensive. We also went to the Grand Canyon which was so impressive, but we kept well away from the edge of the Canyon - I couldn't believe how close some people got to the edge for their pictures taking, one girl sat right on the edge and dangled her feet over!
It was also lovely to spend so much time with Sam  - we did all the girly things, but the holiday was tinged with sadness as we both realised the only reason we were taking the holiday there was because Ray was no longer with us.
It was hard yesterday night after Sam and her boyfriend dropped me off home - it was very quiet and the house seemed very empty, I must admit being tired didnt help and I had a few tears before I took myself off to bed.
I know everyone is feeling sad too just now. You get more used to being on your own as time goes by, and it gets a little easier, but I have found that the tears are only just under the surface, and tend to pop out at the least thing, and quite frequently just lately - perhaps it is all part of the healing process? Darla, perhaps the bad memories are coming to you now for the same reason?
Pauline, I hope you are eating better and looking after yourself - try to build yourself up a little - Have you finalised your plans for the memorial for Anthony? Try to remember the things he did which made you smile on the 30th.
Patty, the best advise I can give you for Vegas is to take a good comfy pair of shoes! We walked for miles! The hotels are so big that the first time we tried to get out from our room onto the strip it took us 45 minutes and we had to ask for directions in the end! As for what to do there - we just wandered around the hotels, we stayed in Planet Hollywood which is quite central and has a shopping mall underneath it with some quite reasonable restaurants. (Also if you go to the information desk there they will give you some vouchers for shows and restaurants etc). The hotels not to be missed are the Bellagio for the fountains (you must do their Champagne brunch on Saturday or Sunday), the Paris , Caesars Palace, MGM for the lions, the Venetian and we went to see the dolphins and white tigers at the Mirage which were great. You must see at least one Cirque show, we did Mystere and Ka and both were amazing. There are quite a few half price ticket booths where you can get show tickets for that day. I couldnt really advise what to do at night as we were in bed by 10 most nights! But if you like a cocktail do get one from Fat Tuesdays - but dont be deceived - they are quite strong!
I am sure you will have a great time - I wish I was 40 again!
Joyce - we saw your wedding chapel! I was looking out for it as my hairdresser also got married there. We saw quite a few weddings while we were there and they were really beautiful. The temperature while we were there was about 108 - coming from wet England we had never experienced heat like that before.
The time with Sam was special, Janet, it gave us time to talk about Ray, Sam is missing her dad badly at the moment, as are Rays two other girls, and it does help to talk.
Sams graduation is at York University on Weds this week so I am trying to lose the extra pounds I put on during the holiday so I can get back into my "posh frock". It will be a hard day for Sam but I am sure that Ray will be there for her in spirit.
Anyway, I must get back to reality now and get down to some work, although I have planned a holiday in September with my Mum - I dont know about you but it really helps me to have things to work towards and to look forward to - it helps you get through the days one at a time if you can plan for something.
My thoughts are with you all just now - we can do it together!
Love Sue x

Hi All,
How are you doing? I haven't posted for a while, as I have been working very hard to get all my paperwork up to date before I go on holiday with Sam to Las Vegas on Saturday.
We are both looking forward to the break, and to spend some time together.
Sam and I found it pretty hard last Sunday, which was our Father's Day - I managed to get his headstone put up in time and it looks quite beautiful. In a way that is the last thing I had to do for him so I know I have now done my best for him. Unfortunately I think when we get to the US it is Fathers day again on the Sunday! But at least we are in a different place.
We chose Las Vegas as it was one place Ray always wanted to go to and there should be plenty of things for us to do there. We hope to go to the Grand Canyon while we are there. Sam is really excited and I am looking forward to some quality time with her. It is her graduation on the Wednesday when we get back, I am hoping her sisters can be there too for her if they can get the time off work, as it was the thing Ray was trying to live long enough to see, so I am expecting a few tears.
Joyce I hope your hair looks good - we call it "highlights" - I think I prefer that to "frosting" - I thought that was what you put on cakes! We have to still make an effort dont we? Well done on taking on your huge lawn!
Pauline, not sure whether you will be able to pick this up until you get home, but I hope you and Marion can find some time to do some sightseeing while you are in Barcelona. It was lovely meeting you for lunch and it is so nice you and Marion got to meet in this positive way. Good look for your memorial - remember to laugh as well as cry with all your friends and family.
Darla, hope you are keeping cheerful and things are going well for you just now.
Janet, the massage sounds so good, I think I will have to book one for my stiff neck! I hope your mum is feeling better - one thing about our Mums - they are tough old sticks! My mum is now 86 and will be going into hospital for a prolapse operation this summer, so she will be staying with me for 2-3 weeks after. She will probably drive me nuts and me her, but I love her to bits and feel so blessed to have both my daughter and mother here for me - I feel like the middle of a sandwich if you know what I mean, protected frrom both sides. My Mum thinks she is still 16 and is bright as a button, God willing she will stay that way for many years yet.
To anyone else reading this who I may have left out, my prayers are with everyone here.
So I will now put on a brave face and finish my packing!
Lots of love to you all,
Sue x

Dear Cyndi,
I would like to add my condolences to those of my dear friends.
As they have said, we have been through what you are going through now, and although the sadness is still there for me, time does take a little of the edge away, so even though you cant believe it now, the pain will lessen.
We have all got really close over the last few months, it has been a great comfort to me to be able to talk to others who understand, so feel free to "rant" all you like.
I was lucky enough to be able to meet Pauline on Sunday for lunch - it was only as I was going to meet her that although I know her so well, I had no idea what she looked like!
So we can all be friends to you here when you need it.
I am sending you a hug for when you need it.
Love Sue x

Dear Friends,
We heard on Friday that Sam has passed her practicals so she is now officially Dr Samantha Plummer! We went out for a meal just sam, her boyfriend and my Mum, and it was a lovely evening but tinged with sadness as all Ray wanted to do was to live long enough to see her graduate, he was only 8 months off donig that he did so well.
We wanted to do something for him so I took Sam to the stone masons to choose a headstone for Ray, and out of all of them she chose the exact same one as me, very plain , elegant and made of a fossilised wood which gave it a beautiful appaearance. We have agreed that she will have a photo of her in her graduation gown laminated and we will put that under the headstone.
Apart from that it has been a busy weekend, gardening, shopping for Sams ballgown for her graduation ball, and helping my Mum with her jobs in her house.
We do seem to be kept busy dont we - I suppose it is good in one way but it is quite exhausting!
I like all of you find it so sad that we will have to live the rest of our lives not being able to share the ups and downs with our husbands, I read something the other day which said that you are never without kisses or hugs as you still have all those ever given to you in your life, so I will have to try to think that way and not be greedy for more.
Janet, life seems to be treating you very harshly at the moment, but I am sure you will have the inner strength to cope. We are all thinking of you.
Joyce, Darla, I hope you have a good week, we will have to look at the flowers in the graden and try to get joy out of them ourselves this year - I seem to have lots of birds in the garden this year, or perhaps it is because I am noticingthem more as Ray lovedthem and knew all their names and calls.
Pauline, where in London do you live? I am driving back from Portmouth Sunday 7th June, if you are free wouldyoulike tomeet up for a coffee somewhere, it would be lovely to meet you?  Drop me an e-mail if you can.
Lots of love to all,
Sue x

Hello friends,
I hope you are all coping as best you can.
I am finding that the house and garden seems to take up so much of my time at the moment it is exhausting. I was looking forward to the spring and summer, but the garden seems to have a life of its own, and it is unbearably sad that Ray cant be here to look forward to the better weather and to see Sam graduate in July.
Also the house feels strange. It doesn't feel as if it is our home any more,  it is just a place for me to live.
Anyway, Sam has her last exams this week, so hopefully (fingers crossed) we will have somethng to celebrate at the weekend.
I am also in the process of arranging Rays headstone. I have found it quite daunting, but hopefully we all agree on the time of stone and wording (a lesson in compromise!) and I can get it ordered so he has a permanent memorial.
I am glad I can talk to you here, especially now a few months on, everyone seems to think I should be OK now, but I know you all understand when I have a bad day and it is such a relief to be able to "have a moan" here without thinking that I am moring or murdening you with my feelings!
Anyway, i willtry to think positive today!
My love to all of you
Sue x

Hi Everyone,

Glad to catch up with you all.

I am settling back down to my life at home after my holiday, thanks for asking Pauline! I think I have come back a little calmer, it was lovely meeting such a nice bunch of like-minded people, and we are keeping in touch by e-mail and are planning a get-together in the future. It has been really good for all of us to meet different people, and feel we have a new group of friends.

Janet, I too think you are doing so well, the parcticalities get us all down at first, but as time goes on, I think it is getting a bit easier to take the hiccups in our stride - if something can go wrong I automatically expect it too now - then it is a nice surprise when it works out ok! I am sorry the weather is changing for you just as it is getting better for us - I think we all found that first winter hard - I hope your good attitude carries you through!

Joyce, How is your job going? Are you back in the swing of things now? You seem to work such long hours, I think I would be exhausted if I had to do your job!

I am currently trying to get my year end filing on line done - I only have the end of this week to do it , but it is so easy to put it off till the last minute - I am sure you do the same thing Darla with your paperwork! It isnt even if the government pays me for collecting their taxes!

I think I am getting into more of a different routine now - it helps mostly, but still doesnt fill the cold side of the bed! I find though that much of my time is filled up with new things, and I am thankful for the distraction.

I had lunch with my old schoolfriend yesterday - she lost her huband to cancer 5 weeks ago now. She is coping quite well, she is a quiet, but I think quite a strong lady, she also has a cousin who is our age and also has a husband with terminal cancer - I can't believe have many of us are out there - it seems most of my friends are in our situation - 6 at least all within a year or two of my age - it doesnt really seem fair - but by helping each other it makes us stronger.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good week and will be thinking of you all.

Lots of love


(18 replies, posted in Grief Management)

Dear Cyndi,
My heart goes out to you. There are many of us who are going through the grieving process for our husbands on this site, for some it is a relatively new loss, for some of us, we are a few months down the line. What we all learned is that you have to take one step at a time. Dont worry about the practical problems that must be swamping you at the moment, you will find the strength to deal with these in time. At the moment you need to surround ourself with family and friends who you can trust, and accept their help.
Please know that it does get a little better with time. You will find little kind things people do lift your heart enough to keep carrying on.
Give yourself time and be kind to yourself.
Lots of love,
Sue x

Hello Everyone,
Well I am back home after my holiday and what an adventure that was! It turned out there were 20 in our group, 5 men and 15 ladies, out of them 9 of us had lost our husbands/wives over the last year so I guess everyone who booked had the same idea as me. We were a mixed bunch, from 33 to 73, but everyone bonded. As there were so many of us who had lost loved ones, it was a very theraputic week, as it gave us all time to talk without thinking we were burdening anyone, as most were suffering in some way - there were also quite a few newly divorced in our group. But the main therapy came from the tour guides, an English lady and her husband, a Greek Taverna owner. These people gave us such a lot of theirselves, not only did we do the cooking, but also they took us on sightseeing trips, walking, a trip up the mountains, but most of all they welcomed us into their Greek family. The culmination of the holiday was on the Greek Easter Sunday when Stellios took us up to his family house in the mountains, where he showed us round his mother and father's house, and we joined the family outside their house for a special meal. At this he said how much he has enjoyed sharing his life with us and that he felt we were friends not customers - we were the first group they had done this holiday with - all the family were so welcoming - the little girls made us gifts of stones painted to look like ladybirds, which were a symbol of good luck, at the end of his speach everyone had tears running down their faces it was so touching.
I managed most of the activities, but had to miss out on the church services on their Good Friday, I was having a bit of a bad day and didnt want to depress anyone by crying at the services, but I managed the midnight mass on the Saturday which was a much happier service culminating in such spectactular fireworks one landed in the hood of my coat and set it on fire and a kind Greek man in the chuch came an grabbed my coat and put it out. What the holiday did do was revive my faith in human nature - they still have such a family orientated life, and are so generous - we have lost all this in our modern world.
It was a bit of a let down when I got home on Tuesday evening, my problems were still there and the house was still empty, but then my friends came around and we were soon laughing over the photos. What would we do without freinds?
On the flight home I spoke with a lovely Canadian lady who was apologising in case her son disturbed me as he was autistic - she was so nice - we got chatting and it turned out that she had a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer which they werent able to control, in addition to this she had a father back in Canada who was paralysed, who had lost his sight and was losing his hearing, and a brother who had suffered brain damage after an accident. She couldn't visit them very often as she was married to an English guy and her son needed 24 hour care. But in spite of this she was so upbeat and cheerful about things it made me think that I should not be sad and try to live for the day - as Ray always did.
So all in all a very memorable holiday! It taught me so much more than how to cook Greek dishes!
I hope you have all been Ok while I have been away, and coping as well as you could.
Well, must do some work, it ws nice to catch up with you all again.
All my love, Sue x

Dear Friends,
Thanks for your good wishes for my holiday, I am looking forward to it now I have got most of my office paperwork out of the way!
Pauline, I have been reading in the newspapers about the sad loss of life in Italy, I expect that Easter time will be patricularly poignant this year over there. I hope you can still enjoy the rest of your holiday and re-charge your batteries.
Janet, dont rush back to work before you are ready, especially in such a demanding job as you have. With regards to buying a new car, from experience I would recommend you to beg, borrow or steal a man for the day when you go looking for a new car, from experience (and to quote the hillarious title of Patty's book) I think if there are any lemons going, the first place car salesmen will try to palm them off is to a woman alone - your male companion may know nothing about cars and you know everything but it happens all the same!
Darla, Joyce, and everyone else, keep well and try to enjoy Easter, and Iwill catch up with you when I get back home!
Lots of love,
Sue x

Hi Everyone,

Joyce, just read your post what an awful experience for your grandaughter and her mum, they must have been so frightened. Its true, you dont know what the world is coming to when something like that happens in a quiet community. It just shows us how careful and vigilant we should all be.

Pauline, hope you have a good timein Italy, I know you have some good friends out there, I hope the break does you good.

Janet, you will have read about all the things that kept going wrong, especially just after our husbands died. Some pretty wierd things happened with electrical items and lights, and vehicles were, and to some extent continue to be a nightmare. However, you will find that if you deal with one item at a time, and take advantage of friends offers to help, it gets a little easier over time.

Darla, Glad to hear you are coping a little better with time, its still hard, isn't it but not quite as hard as in the beginning, I can see a little light at the end of the tunnel now.

I have had quite a good week, I have managed to sell both the trailer and the caravan, the latter to a nice retired couple who will enjoy it and look afetr it. Ray would have been pleased. So I am really glad that all the big items have now been sold. I can look forward to my holiday next week. I am a little scared, but I am sure it will be a good experience.

Lots of love to you all.

Thank you everyone, I will pass your kind messages onto Sam.
I have had another of those coincidences today which are difficult to expain. I have a bd habit of losing bracelets. Ray bought me a gold necklace one Christmas, then the next year bought me a bracelt to match it. Then nine years ago we were away for the weekend and I noticed that my bracelet was not on my wrist. I assumed I had lost it whilst on holiday. So Ray bought me a similar one, but slightly differenhnt, true to form, I lost that one a couple of years ago and he bought me a third on, a chunky one with a safety chain so I couldnt loose it!
Anyway today I was taking out some dead flowers and one dropped by the back door and fell between two planters which are there. When I bent to pick up the flower, I noticed something in the gravel behind one of the plant pots and when I picked it up I couldnt believe it it was the first bracelet I had lost all those years ago. I cant understand it because I must have moved those pots every year for the last nine years to replant them and I never saw it!
It has cleaned up beautifully and is now back on my wrist - I will call it an early birthday present from Ray!
I dont know about you all but I feel very tired at the moment - I think we all deserve a good restful weekend!
Sending you all my love,

Hello my friends,
My daughter Sam had her written final exam today this was the first big exam she had taken since her Dad died. Before he died we were always together waiting for her phone call to let us know how she had gone on - beleive it or not when she phoned today I was at Rays grave changing his flowers. so I was able to tell him that she thought she had done OK. It was incredable moving to us both, and, we think, too much of a coincidence for it not to have been meant to be that way - Rays main objective once he had been diagnosed was that he saw Sam qualify as a Doctor, in my way of thinking this was his way of showing us he is still there with us.
Just wanted to share with you all that there are somethings we cant explain which lifts your heart.
Goodnight to all and god bless.
Sue x