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Life as a Scot in California

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Christmas 2007

Posted by berkeleyscot on September 17, 2007

Christmas 2007 started for me at the end of March. My SIL, M, emailed to tell that her husband, P, (Richard’s brother) was going into hospital the following week for surgery to remove a massive growth in his colon.
Apparently this had been diagnosed the previous December, but they had chosen to keep the news to themselves, and for all those months, during our frequent phone calls, Richard and I had been chattering about the trivialities of our lives.
But, even although it had been their choice to keep their worry private, we felt guilty for not being there to help.
My instinct was to get on a plane and just go, but what on earth could I have done once I got there? I couldn’t even have dealt with airport security on my own and I’d need assistance at every stage.
I don’t drive and someone would have to meet me at Heathrow Airport and take me to Wales, where P and M live.
M would have to help me get upstairs and shower every day because their house is not arranged, as mine is, to meet my needs, with handrails, shower stool and is not within walking distance to anything useful.
I couldn’t drive her to the hospital to visit P and I’d just be THERE, more of a liability than help.
But what kind of help would I want if I were in a similar situation?
I know I wouldn’t enjoy having anyone around me, cooking for me and trying to learn the ways of my household. Richard travels frequently on business and I enjoy being left to my own eccentricities.
So I offered the kind of help that I’d appreciate myself and that I could give easily.
Regardless of the eight-hour time difference I was available for phone calls and listened through the anxious times.
When we knew the surgery had been successful and no further treatment would be required, we had to celebrate!
“Come for Christmas!”
The invitation was accepted and now I’m planning Christmas in California for P and M who have only celebrated the holiday in the traditional English way.

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