Category Archives: Fun

2013 in review

It’s good to know that Mike is still reaching out to so many people and to know his blog is worth the hours he invested in it! See below for the interesting stats, I think he would be a happy, if not a somewhat big headed man!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Master Charlie Parke….The next generation!!

Charles Shaun Michael ParkeCharles Shaun Michael Parke was born at 03:05 on Sunday 10th June 2012, three weeks and two days early, unlike his father, who was always late everywhere!  He weighed a healthy 5lb 15oz and was happy and healthy, more than can be said for his mother after the trauma giving birth, I can now thoroughly recommend gas and air and pethidine from a personal rather then professional perspective (for those of you not aware I am a nurse).  I had my sister Lorna and Mike’s sister, Dawn, with me, i think they were also traumatised. My sister was almost attacked by the gas and air pipe, not that I was trying to hit her, just something/anything and Dawn’s polite version, was that a was a “right potty mouth!”

Instantly Dawn said how much Charlie looked like Mike, all I could see was a hairy monkey looking, curled up little thing, who, if you put a hat on, looked more like a garden gnome!  From time to time I can see the resemblance and he definitely has the features of the Parke side, the only two things he has from me is my frown and my appetite!  Charlie is now ten weeks old and has gained almost 10lb in weight weighing a hefty 15lb 1oz earlier this week, he loves his food.  You will see when I upload a picture he has several chins and no neck! Fortunately he has his fathers beautiful crystal blue eyes and a gorgeous smile to match, maybe that comes from me too, oh and the fact he never stops chatting, although Mike was always bossy and in command, so maybe Charlie is heading the same way!

Anyway, all in all we are doing well and he is already growing into such a little character, I often feel very sad that Mike is not here to see him and fear that Charlie will never really know just how great his dad was, however we have plenty to tell him and show him and I hope he won’t feel the loss of not having a father too badly in the years to come, I am sure his two godfathers, who were also our two best men, Murray and Phil, will keep him on the straight and narrow (or maybe lead him somewhat astray, who knows). I am looking forward to taking him up Solsbury Hill to see his Dad’s bench, before he gets too heavy to carry.

We have now moved out of army quarters and back nearer my family, I often see a lone seagull sat on the roof of my house when I let the dogs out in the garden early in the morning, so although Mike has never been here he still sits watching over us I am sure, although he could work a bit harder and getting Charlie to bed in the early evening!  Still wherever he is I am sure he would be very proud of his gorgeous little boy.  We miss you babe!

Kady and little Charlie

Ps thanks to everyone for all your continued support.

One year on without you!

I was stood drying my hair in the mirror one day last week, thinking about you as always, when I suddenly decided I needed to post an update to your blog to let everyone know how the last year has been in my world without you. It felt the the right thing to do and hit me out of the blue.

The year has gone by so fast and lots has happened, yet I think of you every day, several times a day. When I used to hear people say it about loved ones that had passed on I never believed that they really did think of them everyday, now I know first hand you really do! You are with me at the start, middle and end of everyday, never far from my thoughts and sharing my ups and downs. I don’t feel you, or see you, but think about what you would be thinking, saying or doing and that is how you stay close with me.

Though is sounds ungrateful, I get fed up of hearing how amazing or inspirational I am, I don’t feel those things, I just feel I owe it to you to make the most of the things that you have been forced to miss out on. I get annoyed with negative people who sit and wallow, shit happens, but you taught me so much in the short time we had, about focusing on the positive and not the negative. Yes I have had a really tough couple of years if you look at all the bad stuff, but there are just as many good times mixed in with the bad, you just have to see them as more important. Clearly you were an excellent teacher of positivity! Don’t get me wrong I have my moments, don’t we all. It’s not wrong to be upset or miss you, but too much of it is a drain and stops you valuing the present and the future.

The morning you died, I didn’t know what to do, how to react or feel. I was surrounded, mostly by your family. A lot of people in our house, what were we all meant to be doing, i had no idea. I was tired, I had been up all night with you, but I did and didn’t feel like sleeping. My best friend Marianne was my rock. She automatically came to stay, despite having a new baby. She did nothing special, she was just there, for me, knowing me so well for so many years, she was simply a comfort.

I would have a cry in the shower each morning, not wanting your mum to hear me. 10 minutes to myself, then get up and carry on with the busy arrangements of your funeral, that were mostly sorted perfectly and without any fuss to me through the army. I was so lucky, I would not have had a clue where to start, but had it all sorted and paid for for me. These are the kind of positives in the negative situation that I was talking about. I remind myself how much worse things could have been. So many of your fellow melanomamates, struggle financially, lose jobs or have to move house, we were lucky not to have those additional worries. I would go to bed each night, talk to the photo on the bedside table and drift off to sleep until morning.

I was dreading your funeral, worried about blubbing away in front of all those people, but felt an overwhelming urge to behave in a “professional” manor and represent you and aside from a small wobble, I think that was what I did. I had the most overwhelming sense of calm as your coffin approached the level of my shoulder. At that point it was like your spirit entered me and given how I have been in the last 12 months, would say it must still be there!

You had the best drunken send off, just as you had wanted, a great funeral. Then we enter the next void. Life has to start to continue as normal, but what was normal now? When should I go back to work, continue the mundane daily routine? I didn’t want to go back to work, I was tired, I didn’t really miss going, so I decided to meet friends out in Slovenia and have a short break. I think people thought I was a bit odd, going on holiday already? The trouble was I had spent all that time caring for you, I had a lot of selfish urges. I started to buy new clothes, get a new hairstyle and do nice things for me. I think I had started preparing before you left and as all my friends will tell you, I got to the stage of saying I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was so physically and mentally demanding to look after you. I know that you had had enough too, I cannot imagine waking (when you actually managed to have any sleep), everyday fighting to perform the simplest of tasks, because you felt so unwell and everything was such an effort to do, yet you did and still supported me! There are so many people out there still fighting this disease, still battling everyday that have done it for so much longer than I did, yet they call me amazing and inspirational? Not at all, we do what we have to do, when we have to do it and it’s as simple as that! It wasn’t easy getting on a plane and leaving the country. You weren’t there, it was upsetting and wrong, but it was another hurdle to overcome in going back to my independent life and I am glad i did it, as I am sure you would have been too.

I needed a new focus to keep me busy, that was the running and the half marathon. You, I am sure would have thought it hilarious given how much I used to whine out running with you, but I enjoyed those warm summer evenings out pounding the road, looking at the countryside, wildlife and beautiful scenery. I felt healthy and was enjoying the things you couldn’t.

Then there was the question of the IVF process that we had started. I was due to start treatment in the July. Was it too soon? Should I still be going ahead with it now, was I in the right frame of mind and strong enough to go through the gruelling process that others who have had the treatment describe? One friend made the decision simple. Do you want and are you certain you want Mike’s baby? That was easy, yes I did! I wasn’t doing it to keep a bit of him, or bring him back to life. I wasn’t doing it for anyone except me. Mike and I had had the children discussion, as part of our married life we were going to try for children, I was just continuing with my life the way I hoped it would be, not living his dream, but continuing a course of my life that I would have been on anyway if he were still here. I was coping well with things, I had not fallen apart as I had expected, so went for it. I was back to work, life had started to return to that normality, so I did it and now at almost 31 weeks pregnant, I find myself again thinking, in spite of the sadness, how lucky I am to be having a baby, where so many other people are not so fortunate.

In the first few months after you left I had a few vivid dreams, dreams where it felt like you were there that night with me. These were the best feeling, but always left me waking a little sad. They weren’t especially exciting dreams and you didn’t impart much useful knowledge or support (which sucks by the way), especially as one of them consisted of you being snuggled up next to me in bed and complaining my toenails were too long as they scratched your leg! (Not a common occurrence for those of you out there that think this is a very strange, but funny dream). I have not had one of these dreams for a long time now, I miss that feeling of you being there, but my friend at work believes you pop back and say hello at times we need you, so I guess you will be back at some point!

Just so you know your best men really are just that. Both Phil and Murray have taken great care of me over the last 12 months and hopefully will continue to do so. They struggle too I think, but you men aren’t the best at communicating, although nor am I about my emotional state. I had to have words with your mum quite early on. I was probably quite selfish, but I couldn’t bare her sounding so miserable down the phone, so told her she needed to get a grip, find a way of distracting herself and enjoy her life as you would have wanted and previously had discussed with her. Surprisingly she took it well and appeared to perk up. You are still the golden child, which I find hard, as no doubt do your brothers and sisters and sometimes I could bash all their heads together, but I think that’s just in-laws in general!

All around people have been amazing and supportive and think of you often. So many have raised money in your honour and continued to stay in touch with me. I have been so fortunate, you knew a lot of lovely people.

So here we are one year on, still missing you, still trying to find our feet and my hardest times still to come. Moving house and knowing you will have no influence on it, no mans room, no geeky technology, no whining about me needing to sort soft furnishings, which I was always pants at anyway! Then labour, I have to get this baby out in one piece and manage to bring it up, knowing you without ever meeting you and fending off your mother at the same time :-), plenty more positive times ahead! Hopefully this will help other people in similar situations and you see I am making the most of my life, wishing you were here, but knowing it was obviously just not to be. Whatever you are doing up there to look after me, you are doing a great job, please don’t stop! x

2011 in review-Thanks for the continued support!

Mike’s blog still gets viewed by someone around the world each day, there is no better legacy that he could have left of himself. Thanks to all of you for still reading, he just wanted to help others.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 52,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Last Post.

I just wanted to say a very big thank you to all of the followers of Mike’s blog.  Neither of us had any idea when he started this, that he would end up with so many supporters that reached so far across the world and touch so many lives.

The aim of his blog was to be able to help others, which in turn gave Mike strength to carry on, but also for him to have left a legacy behind.  In the early days i thought he was a bit mad and found it difficult to understand his need to communicate so openly with others, but now i could not be more proud of my genuine, kind, hopeful and gracious husband, from whom i have learned so much.  Suddenly all his hopes and aims make complete sense.

He would have been so pleased with all the recent messages and emails of support and thanks that we received, as he had managed to achieve his aims and he has indeed left the best legacy to his life that i could possibly think of.

Mike tried to keep the blog as factual, but as positive and honest as he could, which unfortunately i could not quite replicate given, firstly the change in the writer, but secondly the emotion behind finishing his story.  Having said that i too have been as honest and factual as i could possibly have been from a different perspective, feeling it was right to finish the journey that he started and we went on together.

Finally a big thanks to everyone for their generous donations, it helps not only to know that there are so many people thinking of you, but there are so many willing to help others in the future.  Please stay positive and enjoy life to the full, it is the best tribute you could pay to Mike who always tried to see the best and be the best.

With a big warm and grateful thank you

Kady and Mike’s family.

Top Tips From My Experience So Far

Top Tips From My Experience So Far.

A Weekend on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset

So a couple of weekends ago Kady and I spent a lovely weekend in a cottage with our friends Phil and Caroline and Murray and Jo. It’s beautiful down on the Jurassic Coast and Kady and I have had some great times down there. I was feeling amazingly sh*t from the Chemo which didn’t help, thankfully still managed to enjoy it although don’t think I was great company as when we weren’t out and about, I was mostly sleeping!

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Cerne Abbas Giant, Corfe Castle, the stunning Durdle Door and the Jurassic Cliffs, all stunning and on our doorstep! Have to say, a little more enjoyable in the Summer than in Winter!!!

Kady’s Birthday Trip to the Hawk Conservancy Trust

It was Kady’s birthday last week – she’s proper old now(!) – and for a treat I though I’d take her to the Hawk Conservancy Trust which is not too far from us http://www.hawk-conservancy.org/index.asp

She always comments when we’re out and about and she sees a Bird of Prey and I have to say it was a fantastic few hours and well worth a visit. As an added bonus Kady’s sister and nephew were able to join us!

Check out the photos, we’ll definitely be going back!

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Christmas 2010

Christmas was fantastic and I’m really gutted it’s over. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that we were forced to cancel various attempts at making plans due to the uncertainty over biopsies and chemo.

In the end we settled on a lovely quiet day spent with Kady’s family and it was great. We spent the morning opening presents, before going for a lovely crisp snowy walk at Longleat which was gorgeous and I can thoroughly recommend!

Lunch was amazing, how Kady’s Mum Trudy produces such a fantastic meal for so many people is beyond me but she does it. Then it was present time again, I feel really privileged to have been welcomed into such a generous, warm family.

In all it was a really relaxed nice day, exactly what we’d been hoping for. Perfect!

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A Week of Bouncing Babies!

Well who’d have thought it, what a great time I’ve had over the last week being introduced to the world of babies. I never thought I’d say it but I’ve loved it, they’re all so cute. Yeah yeah I know it’s easy to say that when you can hand them back and don’t have to do  the messy bits or sleepless nights, I can empathise a lot with the lack of sleep though at the moment.

It’s been fantastic and I’ve loved getting to know my nephew Callum more as well as meeting Ben, Emily and Zach properly, they’ve all been incredibly cute and very cool. What a privilege. Oh and of course it’s been great to catch up with their Mum’s too!

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