It's been a year since I made the decision to return back to the UK from my life in Sydney Australia. Anyone reading this blog will know why but I still get questioned regularly why I made that decision. It's an easy one to answer but it's still hard to say. I won't lie, it was a tough decision. Not because I didn't want to be with my family and certainly not because I didn't want to spend as much time as possible with Neil, but because due to Covid (not Cancer) I knew that I wouldn't be able to return to my life in Australia. I applied for exemptions to be allowed to leave and return to Sydney but all were rejected, a story many residents are still facing.
One year on and a skilled migrant of Australia still cannot return to Australia if they choose to leave. A Singaporean tourist on the other hand...very soon the borders will be open to them to enter Australia without the need to even quarantine. I've heard of far too many stories of loved ones missing the opportunity to visit their dying relative or being with family to grieve a loss of someone dear to them and it's still happening. The pandemic has made us all very aware of what's important in life so I don't even think it should be for such severe reasons that they should be able to be with their loved ones again.
When Neil had his last prognosis, he was given months to live not years and I'm so pleased to say that he's been able to prove this wrong. I flew home to Cornwall (well to London after all flights to Cornwall were cancelled) on the 11th December to surprise both Mum and Neil on Mum's birthday. It won't be long until Mum's birthday on the 12th December will come around once again. Sorry Mum, one year older! For almost a year I can say that I've spent as much time as possible with Neil and so I will never have any regrets about my decision.
You've probably noticed that Neil's blogs have slowed down as he himself slows down. So I wanted to share some words of my own. If any of you would like to share some ramblings of your own, send something to Neil and he can share with the wider audience if you'd both wish.
Despite it being the quickest year we've ever experienced, Neil's remained the rock of the family; having been father of the bride not once but twice, helping me move house not once but twice and change jobs...you guessed it - not once but twice!
I'm now pretty settled back in Cornwall but still miss life in Sydney immensely. In the year since I returned to Cornwall, I've been lucky enough to live in Padstow and now closer to family in my lovely new home in St Austell. I got myself a job, found that wasn't for me and got myself another job doing a similar global product management role to what I loved in Sydney! I work from home in my beautiful office (decorated by myself so I would think so) and now have more time to spend mornings swimming with Mum at sunrise, and lunches with Neil. Lunchtime seems to be Neil's best time at the moment so I head over with a packed lunch as many days as possible. Mostly for the hug.
Me being me and having zero capability of sitting still, I've brought Pretty as a Picnic to Cornwall https://www.prettyasapicnic.uk/ and had a successful summer season providing fancy picnic experiences and grazing boards as a side hustle again. Keeping myself busy with the picnics has really helped me to feel at home in Cornwall doing something that I absolutely adored in Sydney! I've met some amazing people and seen parts of Cornwall that even this adventurer has never experienced before. Next up, I'm going to start selling Pretty as a Picnic products via e-commerce. Watch this space for awesome picnic baskets, glassware and cutlery before the many other things I cannot wait to source and share! Starting up the e-commerce side has been a challenge, mostly because like Neil, I've slowed down too. I'm sure it's not just Long Covid but also the pain I feel at the situation with Neil. Anything extra to my day job and spending time with family has taken a serious back seat for a minute.
I watched a clip of America's Got Talent yesterday and had a good ol' cry to the beautiful singer Nightbirde's performance but something she said really resonated.
"You can't wait until life isn't hard any more before you decide to be happy."
So I guess even though life feels very hard at the moment, I'll continue to find joy in the little things. The sunrises, the hugs, the love. Maybe you can do the same.
To each and every one of you for being an amazing support to Neil and the whole family this year and before, THANK YOU.