Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Bucket List

After a relaxed start to Mothering Sunday, Dom and I had both taken turns preparing the veg for a big Sunday lunch and even the table was set for 7. I was pleased to have got through all the songs on Steve Wright Sunday Love songs without a cry!

Next we had fun playing crazy golf here at Whitbarrow Seasons timeshare, near Penrith.

It was good to be in the fresh, open air and initially we had the 18 hole course to ourselves. I tried to be ‘in the moment’ but still was sharing it with Clive plus Dom! I have really ‘lived’ this short break with him with us, as he would have been. I could imagine him doing crazy golf as a golfer! The grip would have been ‘just so’, lining up shots precisely and the competitive spirit alive and kicking! I told that to Dom just as I was making a hash of a hole at which he said he’d be watching me now and laughing his head off! True!

I asked Dom to run back to the apartment to turn on the oven. Whilst he did I soaked up Clive. I closed my eyes and could feel him in the breeze blowing around the valley. I could feel the warmth of him from the sun on my face. I could hear him in the birdsong. I could imagine him wrapping his strong arms around me and giving me a cuddle and a tender kiss as we stole a moment. Then I realised that had he been here, it would have been me doing the oven run as he and Dom played! Either way, I smiled.

Dom returned and we continued with our shots. Two children joined us and I was impressed how Dom was with them. He was friendly and chatted to them. For an almost 15 year old he isn’t an awkward teenager. I am so proud of him.

We agreed he had won and returned to complete the lunch. Mum, Dad, Claire, Martin and baby Sophie arrived. They were impressed with our four bedrooms and large apartment – plenty of crawling space for Sophie. Lunch was a big success. Sophie made it very clear she loved the lamb!

Dom requested we had a family game of crazy golf so we duly wrapped up and had a tournament for 6 of us. I was really pleased when he asked to be taken for a later train so he could spend more time with us. After the crazy golf, won by Martin, we had a go at table tennis too. For a non-sporty family we did well this afternoon!

I suggested we headed for Penrith railway station earlier than we need after the trouble I had last Sunday getting him home to Cheshire. I also began to feel tearful but kept myself under control. Martin is more familiar around here than the rest of us so I asked if he’d do the station run with us. I was so glad I did! On arrival at the station we were told the train had been cancelled and there had been problems all day! Oh no! In my mind I was back on the M6 taking him myself!

As we were early there happened to be a train in – the staff informed us that one would go to Preston, he could change there, then Warrington and onto Helsby. In essence the same journey with 2 changes instead of 1. Dom said he’d be fine; we bundled him on the train and it almost immediately pulled out. I got back in the car with Martin and burst into tears. My explanation - I don’t like goodbyes anymore.

I have spent the last three hours feeling very anxious about him! I know that this travel will make him a confident traveller for the rest of his days. He has seen how my siblings and his grandparents are well-travelled and I believe they are good skills to acquire. Only today we have been listening to my parents back from Austria yesterday – they had been up on ski lifts and now Mum wants to learn to ski! At 73! The plan is to try to get a timeshare in a ski resort for us all next!

Sophie has kept us all amused crawling, playing, eating and generally being adorable. The rest of us have read magazines and newspapers, and just chilled. I shall need to nip over to reception for wifi to send this and then we are going to watch ‘The Bucket List’. Uh oh. That will be a challenge!!! It is basically about two men with terminal illnesses who decide to do as many things as they can before they die.

I found a book of Clive’s entitled ‘101 things to do before you die’. He had filled in many of them. We had been to the cinema to watch ‘The Bucket List’. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are two of our favourite actors and we had thoroughly enjoyed it – both of us in floods of tears! I’d better warn my family!

Tomorrow I shall head back home.

I have enjoyed my Mothering Sunday. I have spent most of it with my darling son and my family. And in my mind, heart and soul, with Clive.

I still find it unbelievable he has gone. I wish and wish we were now driving back to Tadcaster, having taken Dom home, reflecting on a happy time.

It has been happy – just in a different way. I know today that there will be many sad people who haven’t spent it with their mother or child. I am lucky – I did both.

I sincerely hope whatever you did today, that it was happy for you. I have also just spoken to Dom who is home safely! Phew!

By the way, Clive still had many things on his Bucket List to do. What's on yours? What can you arrange to do now?

Elaine x

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