And so after an amazing trip, exploring the Gold Coast we were heading back to Perth. I have to admit that it was really nice to enjoy that little extra bit of luxury staying in the hotel, whilst in Sydney. It gave us time to enjoy the city to its fullest as well as freshen up and relax before returning back to Corrinne’s brother.
The flights and transfer were routine and non eventful. Although, I do look back now and realise just how little Corrinne did, she just went along with everything. I guess my old fashioned, chivalrous nature, where I would organise everything, pack everything, carry all the bags and lead the way, masked a lot of the developing condition. At the time I was just “stepping up” to relieve the stress and anxieties of it all, now I question if this was just another of the early phases that this remarkably strong, determined lady was trying to keep from us all, me included.
After being collected from the airport, the next few days were really quite lazy. This was the middle of the summer, the temperature was in the 40’s so laying by the pool during the daytime was always number one choice. This was Corrinne’s type of holiday! Evening time we would find a different style of cuisine and enjoy different areas of the city, to continue our exploring.
We did reassure Corrinne’s brother that we were ok in the day times, and that he should continue to work. Mind you, i use the term work, very loosely! He was always home around lunchtime! The more I saw of the Australian way, the more I knew it was for me. I honestly could of “sold up” and gone, but Corrinne would of struggled to do it. So I guess it was just never meant to be.
We did manage a few more local excursions around the Perth area in our last few days. One of the most memorable was our trip to Rottness Island, which means Rat’s nest! which is an extremely harsh description, as it really doesn’t do justice to the beautiful island.
We took a ferry across and decided that the best way to see the island would be to hire bicycles and explore. This in itself presented us with a challenge. Although Corrinne’s favourite gym class was spinning (controlled routines to music on specially designed exercise bikes), riding on two wheels was not something she was used to. She always told everyone that she and her sister had never owned a bicycle, even as a child. Within a short distance after setting off, on the first occasion that we had to stop, Corrinne ended up on the floor. Thankfully this was the only time this happened and with her determined spirit she got up and set off.
The island was amazing. We found some beautiful sandy coves that we could stop at and enjoy a swim to cool down. The day was amazing and seemed to pass so quickly. We even managed to see the real inhabitants of the island, the Quokkas. These little creatures appear so cute, yet the residents see them as pests. They can only be described as a cross between a miniature kangaroo and a rat. They are about the size of domestic cat. A member of the marsupial family that is mainly on the ground, but are able to climb trees as well.
Whilst sitting have a snack and drink in a cafe they were all around us. They certainly have adapted to the tourists, even to the point of looking in bags and trying to take food. All the shops have little barriers to stop them entering, which was quite amusing.
There was so much more that I could write about our trip to Australia, but that I guess will just stay with us as our memories of our amazing time.
It was really hard to say goodbye, especially for Corrinne. She missed her brother, and although pleased that he had found the lifestyle that he craved, really wished it was closer to her. This trip showed us that we could do anything we wanted, together. More importantly, that we shouldn’t put things off, we should do them whilst we could. Even whilst writing this the tears are uncontrollably, rolling down my cheeks knowing that this opportunity was never going to happen again for Corrinne. This breaks my heart.
The flights were long and really tiring. I guess its just the thought of getting back to normal. No real dramas on our way home. For me I knew that there were questions to be answered, appointments to be made and the rest of the family to face. I really don’t know what Corrinne was thinking, or even how much she was trying to block out. Although it was something we both knew was there it wasn’t something we wanted to talk about. That could wait for another day.
My reason for sharing such a detailed memory of our trip to Australia is to show how even though the condition was there and developing, we were able to enjoy such a full and exciting time together. Yes, we did have to adapt how we did things, and we did that so naturally and without thought.
We thought at the time that we were dealing with Anxiety and Depression and that the medication was causing the side effects of drowsiness. When she improved, the medication would be reduced and we would return to normal. But, certainly as we spent the time so closely together there were signs that were becoming extremely worrying.
This was the start of my learning. Never just accept the first thing you are told. Pay particular attention to small details and no matter how insignificant you think something might be, it needs to be told for a proper diagnosis to be made.
More importantly. Treasure every moment and build memories together. Don’t put off the things that you want to do because you might not get another chance. When others look at you and think the things that you are doing are strange…just smile! There is no limit to what you can do, we are the only ones who put the restrictions on ourselves.
Later in the year, at the end of the summer I did manage to take Corrinne away to Lanzarote for some late summer sunshine and to try and cheer her up. I was so grateful that my sister, Carol came with us to help us, as this would be extremely challenging. It was a lovely, relaxing break with a change of scenery.
Sadly, I still look back to our trip to Australia as it was our last holiday together. We were not to know that at the time. I am so glad that the memories that we made together on that trip, will stay with me forever.