Today marks my Mum’s 78th birthday. I don’t like my own birthday at all, I don’t like the attention it brings. However, I enjoy making a huge fuss of other people’s special day. Today will be no exception, apart from the fact that I don’t have the energy to make a cake, as I would normally. I’m cooking roast beef tonight for all the carnivores of the family. My sister is visiting my parents today, so this has given me a chance to breathe for a while. I’m hoping today will be the day that I actually have chance to ring the Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve been so busy this week, looking after my Golden Oldies, that I’ve not had chance…. I could just be using this an excuse to avoid ringing? It feels very odd today, I feel like I’ve handed over the reins to someone else for the day. Really strange feeling, as I feel out the loop. Ten weeks to the day, and I very much feel I’ve been on a hamster wheel ever since my Dad’s stroke.  Anyway, I’m hoping my Mum enjoys her birthday dinner when they come around tonight (And the shop bought birthday cake cheat!).

My Parents have always been smart people. In both senses of the word. However, I’m talking about appearance right now. Regardless of what life may be throwing at them, they’ve always maintained a smart appearance. This is certainly true of my Dad at the moment. He has developed his own unique style of late. Hats calls it the “Dandan skater boy look.” He has started wearing a t-shirt over one of his many check shirts. I know I’m biased, but I’m loving this look, he looks so sweet! Furthermore, like me, most of his wardrobe consists of every shade of blue. My Dad has always been referred to as the “Spanish Gypsy” by my Mum due to his skin colour. He has no Spanish or Gypsy in him. I always wondered why Nicole, Sacha and I were all born with fair hair, when both our parents are dark. (I can assure we were not adopted!).

My Mum has always put ‘a face on,’ even if she isn’t feeling great inside. I’m very aware I do this too. If I let the world see how I actually feel, it’s literally game over for me. If I can put my face on, I know I can do my best to hide my emotions. I’m hoping others can identify with this. Thank goodness for war paint.

As I was leaving my house to go to Tesco earlier, one of my neighbours walked over. He is the loveliest man. I’ve known him and his wife for years. My friend and I used to go to dance classes, and this crazy couple went along too. When we bought this house two years ago, I was so excited to see that Cathy and Stephen were our neighbours, next door but one. They are my sort of crazy. They’re pensioners, but do not act their age. They’re constantly off travelling some remote part of the world. They’ve got lots of family dotted around the country. We’ll be in the garden and we’ll hear Cathy shout from inside the house, “Stephen, do you want a coffee?.” They are so me, as my hubby is always pointing out! If Bugsy is outside, I’ll think nothing of shouting from inside the house. I see no point in wasting vital energy by going outside to speak to him quietly.

Stephen asked me if everything was alright as they’d noticed I’d been around a lot. As I started explaining, I could feel the tears coming. I’m hating this. I seem to have no control over my emotions right now. He was so kind. I really do love where we live. Everyone keeps themselves to themselves, whilst discreetly looking out for one another. It’s a such a quiet area…. Apart from Cathy, Stephen, Evie and I! My hubby threatens me with house selling, as the children grow up…….No chance! The animals and I have no intention of selling this house. We’re staying put.

My friend, Lainie, will not mind me saying this, but as I got to Tesco this morning, I really hoped she’d be busy in her office sorting wages. No such luck, I saw her on the shop floor. I love this lady so much, but I know I can’t hide anything from her. I quickly told her that I didn’t want to talk about my parents. Lainie is amazing, she knows me so well. She then started a conversation completely unrelated to the situation. She lost her lovely Mum in June, last year. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see Lainie and her family go through that. I’m so proud of the person that stood before me. We don’t have to say too much, but I always think our cuddles speak volumes xxxxxx

Our cousin, Bonnie, has started her next round of chemotherapy. This woman is absolutely awe-inspiring. Whilst her Oncologists tell her that the cancer is aggressive, Bonnie tells them to fight back even more aggressively. I have no doubt that those Oncologists over in Calgary, have never met someone as determined as Bonnie. Whilst her body is still recovering from the first operation to remove the tumours, she’s now having more treatment which will zap her energy. Her absolute drive and focus being that she will be there to watch her children grow up. This will happen. I will talk about Bonnie a lot, as she’s a constant reminder of the power of determination. I can’t wait for the day to meet her team of consultants and say thank you for giving Bonnie back her life. Whilst these medical professionals are absolutely phenomenal, it’s Bonnie, herself, who is driving this defence. On days, where I let my emotions get the better of me, I’m reminded of Bonnie and know that the only way to move is forward. Bonnie, I know you read my blogs. You are incredible. You are the epitome of strength. You are just amazing. Xxxxxx

I’m really trying to live my Dad’s life mantra, ” Make someone smile each day, make sure that someone is yourself.” It has always worked for me. I’m trying my hardest to find the smiles in all this. The other day, my Dad was doing his best to try and write. I found his attempt in the new day a page diary I’d bought him. “Soph wears long dresses.” It really made me smile. At 5 ft 2 I can’t get away with long dresses, but I loved the fact that he was practising his writing with my wardrobe suggestions. I love this man so much.



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