Yesterday we set off for a 24-hour mini-break. One thing I’ve always wanted to do with Paul is to go to the Clare Wine Valley – a lovely part of South Australia – and rent a little place with a fireplace to snuggle up in front of to scheme and dream.
On Friday, after encouragement from people who donated to us to take a little of the donated money and have a lovely weekend before treatment, I booked a room in Clare and a dinner at a restaurant recommended by a friend and that looked great on their Facebook page.
So Saturday mid-day we got in the car, did one of my fav shots – excited trip face – and off we drove.
What a lovely day it was for the drive. There are few places I feel more at peace than in the car with Paul driving, heading off for parts known and unknown. Paul had a surprise to keep us giggling – he’d replaced the voice on his navigation app from a proper English lady to Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Turn heah human!
We kept ourselves hungry in order to fully enjoy dinner, but stopped in for a quick little nosh and a cup of tea at a homely cafe. Then we stopped at Paul’s dad’s favourite winery – where we bumped into a lovely young American couple and traded jokes. We then stopped in at a few other wineries, took some photos then got to our little apartment, shifted furniture so the love seat was in front of the fireplace and took a quick nap before dinner.
Paul is an avid amateur chef and before the c-bomb dropped, was going to take an online course from the Canadian Culinary Institute. So we savoured every course, asking the restaurant to choose the courses and let us split a glass of wine with each one. It was lovely and romantic. Paul felt guilty we were spending the money. I told him that my lovely sister and other donors had told us to do this so he exhaled and enjoyed.
Knowing that he is very soon going to be unable to eat even basic food he likes and will be unable to enjoy wine — and that it could continue through his birthday – made this a really special meal. I loved being able to discuss each dish and glass of wine, picking it apart for seasoning, methods and presentation.
Afterwards we ambled back to the motel/apartment, changed into the fuzzy robes I insisted we bring and we lit the fire. The Taylor’s port, purchased for this very moment, was buttery and lovely. We cuddled and sipped and for a long time we were silent.
I played some music, but picked a song “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds – that had some words that hit hard.
Suddenly the tears came. And we both voiced why we’d been so silent earlier: we have no future tense for scheming and dreaming.
Paul pointed out that bC (before Cancer), we would have said that in the house we’d design we’d have a fireplace. We’d be planning for the future, reflecting on our past and talking about what we wanted to achieve.
Now, all that is on our minds for the short and medium term is CANCER. The paperwork. The discomfort to come. That our life is now a waiting game. Discomfort and illness followed by crossing fingers that it worked – FOR NOW. Waiting until it is no longer working. Tests, doctors, hospitals. Planning around whether or not he’ll be well enough.
So our fireside chat became us clinging to each other for a while. Crying, touching, then quieting as we said to each other that we were going to fight. But both understanding that we have to also prepare for the worst. We exhaled, touched heads, then it was time to let the fire die and for us to go to bed and sleep.
This morning we decided to take a road less travelled and discovered a lovely little winery, some roos in the wild and an amazing vista. We finished with a lovely lunch and a drive home in the sunshine where we rode in companionable silence – with an occasional air kiss and a “How ya’ doin?”
We ended up taking a nap, and here I am while Paul watches Master Chef.
Thanks to everyone who made this weekend possible. We couldn’t have had this precious time to exhale, face our pain in front of the fire and then express our love and create memories as we travelled.
Tomorrow the first radiation treatment. Tuesday I go in for an endoscopy for my own acid reflux and then Wednesday, the first round of chemotherapy in conjunction with radiotherapy. Soon, the paperwork. And so the first cycle of our new life – the treatment – begins. Followed by the side effects, the recovery and the wait and see. We had this weekend and for that I’m grateful.
And in the next wait and see, we’ll have to plan something else.
Thank you to all our lovely friends and family for the new category for this post – Carpe Diem.
I’m off to catch the end of Master Chef Australia with my honey. Happy Sunday night everyone!