Another visit home draws to a close
The worst part about coming home is the goodbyes, it never gets any easier and this time it was even harder. Dad is now settled into his Dementia Care Facility and seems happy enough there. Dementia is such a nasty disease affecting many people much younger than Dad, who at 84 has had a full and healthy life until now, however it is still very hard to witness its cruel effects on one you love. The carers at Edmund Hillarys Special Care Unit are extremely patient people who show compassion in some very trying situations, we are confident that they will treat Dad with the respect and care he deserves..
For Mum it has been an extremely difficult transition, she still has her husband of 56 years, but not as she knows him and not by her side. She is coping as well as can be expected and slowly coming to terms with her new life, mainly without Dad. We are very lucky that their apartment is in the same retirement village and she can even journey through a maze of hallways to visit Dad daily without even having to step outside.
My sister Denise and her husband Robert have been great hosts, they welcome us into their home for weeks on end and their hospitality and generosity are always so very much appreciated. Poppy, their very cute dog, keeps us all entertained with her antics – hiding in our wardrobe, burrowing under our pillows, often up to no good!
We have caught up with everyone we could and had some great evenings out and in with many friends we see infrequently but who always make us so welcome when we are home. Thanks to you all, its been great catching up and to those of you we missed this time we apologise, we’ll get you next time around.
After a couple of days packing, repacking and then moving a few things around the weight is finally distributed reasonably evenly and we just slip in under the airline limits. Check in with Air New Zealand is effortless, there are only 3 people in the queue before us and no one behind us yet the flight is full – where is everyone? Slight confusion ensues when I reach passport control, the benefits of having two passports are making life a touch tricky! I had arrived in NZ on my Irish passport as my NZ one had expired. Upon leaving I checked into the flight on my new NZ passport as it has my new US Visa in it, however – I used my Irish one leaving at passport control so I would not get flagged as an overstayer but that passport number wasn’t loaded on the flight manifest. Yes I know it all sounds very dodgy and it did take quite some explaining but we got there in the end and permission was granted to leave New Zealand!!!
Leaving on a Jetplane ……
Once through to airside we discovered where everyone was, perched wherever they could watching the All Blacks playing the Pumas, truly a Rugby nation – the final score was even announced on the plane before takeoff (but Denise had texted it quicker!!!) The 12 hour flight to Los Angeles was ok, a couple of movies, a couple of meals, a couple of hours sleep and we were there. We returned to the Airport Marriott and had a lovely room with balcony and courtyard view over the pool area, a definate improvement on our previous stay. It was the hottest day in LA for 3 years and my body soaked up the warmth. For Mark it was the start of a heat endurance test which will now last for some months and warmer climes to come!! We had a rest, stretched our legs with a long walk, ate dinner in the Sports Bar which had 31 televisions and most of them had different channels on, it was an absolute feast for Marks eyes, for me – well I just went crossed eyed very quickly!
We just had the one night in Los Angeles and early next morning left on our Copa Airlines flight heading back to Central America - 7 hours later we touched down in the rain in Panama City.