So February came and went. We started preparing for our imminent ski trip to Kaprun, Austria. We usually go ski-ing once a year with my sister-in-law and her family. It was our first time ski-ing with Lotta. My brother-in-law had managed to find an apartment with a garden that accepted dogs. It was fabulous, huge garden, whirlpool, infra-red cabin, spacious living room come dining room and kitchen, four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, there was also a shared ski-boot room with the apartment above. We made ourselves at home. It’s so popular you have to book two years in advance.
My husband and I had decided to take it in turns ski-ing. The first day was Sunday and I told my husband he could go first as my youngest wasn’t keen on ski-ing again, he’d already been on a weeks ski trip with school. My sister-in-law and her family left at around 8am as usual and were followed a bit later by my husband and my eldest son. Oli and I decided we would take it easy and I would have a short walk with Lotta in the morning and later we would go on a longer one. I like to keep the walks fairly short in the winter because it’s soooo cold here and Lotta doesn’t have an undercoat. She gets walked three times a day in the winter and summer.
The day was drawing to an end, after having taken Lotta out together with Oli. We had trouble getting Lotta past the scary people who were carrying strange things on their shoulders (skis). My husband and Flo arrived home at around 3:30pm, which is unusual as the slopes are open until 4pm and then there’s the drive home. The mood was somber and too quiet so I quickly asked if everything was ok. I was answered with a groan from my husband who was having difficulty taking off his shoes. I immediately thought the worst and was right.
They had decided to try a new slope/trail called the Westside Story, where it is a bit quieter than the main slopes. Unfortunately my husband told my son to speed up, otherwise they wouldn’t get up the slope the other side but hadn’t realised there was quite a drop before hand. Needless to say Florian lost his balance and fell, with my husband in tow, who also lost his balance but luckily managed not to land on Flo. He did however land on his bottom (ouch).
Never the less he tried ski-ing once after that event and decided it would be best to stay in the flat with Lotta the rest of the week. After a week of ski-ing it was time to go home, my husband was in agony and took painkillers to drive home (he insisted on driving!). Once home I sent him to hospital expecting him to be home in time for tea. They kept him in. I got a phone call to say that he’d broken a vertebrae in his lower back and he was to be operated on the next week and had been told he was not to leave his bed. He was in hospital for two weeks and then in a rehabilitation clinic for three weeks.
My grandmother had fallen ill in January and was being cared for by my auntie. I phoned my grandmother like I often did and told her about our ski-ing trip and my husband’s accident, to which she replied, “What a silly thing to do!” Still makes me laugh now! Unfortunately my grandmother’s health continued to deteriorate. She was in and out of hospital for a while and had a course of antibiotics which didn’t seem to help that much. It was decided in the end she would return home with carers visiting twice a day. Home is where she had longed to be for months. She was also only to receive treatment for pain. Doctor’s orders were to make her as comfortable as possible. Once finally home my mother and my auntie took it in turns to fill in when the carers were off duty. My auntie used to stay overnight as my grandmother was prone to falls. As you can imagine this was a very stressful time for everyone particularly for my mum and auntie who both still work.
Summer arrived and in June came the Brexit. This came as a huge shock to those of us living in Europe and probably many others too. There was some anger, confusion and tears. I’ll just leave it there I think, I don’t want this to be about politics. August followed soon after. We drove to England via the Channel Tunnel which is great for people with dogs, although it does mean a two day trip for us. My main priority was to visit my grandmother, as it would possibly be my last time. When we finally arrived she was sat in her high backed chair looking better than I had envisaged. I have to admit though, it was a bit of a shock how frail she’d become, due to eating and drinking very little. “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day”, she would randomly start singing at the top of her voice. She loved life, birds and particularly dogs. “What a beautiful dog you are “, she would say to Lotta. “Such a pretty face, I could fall for you!” We tried to visit as often as possible during our time in England but the inevitable time came when we had to say our goodbyes, this was hard. I told her we would try to come over for Christmas, to which she replied, ” I might be dead by then!”
October I got the dreaded message that my grandmother had indeed passed away peacefully at home at the age of 93yr with both her daughters at her bedside. This was the day the music died for me, even if it was to be temporary. Lotta has been my therapist, I’m pretty sure I would have slipped into a deep depression if I didn’t have her. Life goes on as they say! Chris Evans on BBC 2 plays ” Oh what a beautiful morning ” as a jingle, I had to turn it off every time I heard it, as I’d well up with tears. Grief is a funny thing, you think you’re over the worst and then it hits you again. I’d like to finish with a poem my step-dad wrote about my wonderful grandmother Dilys for the funeral.
Many a pathway we’ve walked side by side
through countryside, woodland and town.
A wise word to guide us, a laugh and a joke,
she could banish dark moods or a frown.
Hand in hand through life’s many byways,
Mum was always more than a friend,
Yes, all of those pathways were pleasant for us.
So sad that our journeys must end.
We’ll walk, not without our dear Dilys,
for we’ll walk on, with her strong in our mind;
and remember her laughing and happy.
She was good; she was loving and kind.
We miss you Gran, so much!😞