A very special Kiwi Christmas
Christmas is never the same when you are not around family and if I’m honest I wasn’t really looking forward to my second 101 Christmas away from mine, but this Christmas day turned out to be one of the most memorable of my life.
The day started with Ruth cooking an amazing breakfast before giving me two gifts with one being amazing and the other being… erm… toilet golf… literally a game of golf to play on the toilet complete with putter and a green! Crazy!
Ruth then asked me to sit down and watch a video on the iPad before pulling her phone out and filming me watch it. I had no idea what was going on. I then watched what turned out to be the most wonderful thing anyone has ever done for me. My friend Richard contacted some of my friends and supporters from around the world and asked them to take a photo of themselves holding a 101 sign. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe he did it. He is such an amazing friend and I was literally lost for words. If you fancy a peek I’ve attached it here;- http://youtu.be/1sf49Y9BpE0
After a speechless start to the day I was then picked up by friend Lisa and her amazing boyfriend, Sean and we went to Lisa’s mum and dad’s house for lunch.
When it came to opening the presents I was maybe expecting a gift from Lisa but instead was overwhelmed with lots wonderful gifts. I couldn’t believe what Lisa and her family had done for me. In one Christmas I received two of the best gifts anyone has ever given me. The first being the video Richard made for me and the second being a picture which Lisa’s niece Alicia painted for me. She is 8 years old and painted a picture of me standing on top on Mount Victoria overlooking Wellington. It is the best painting I have ever seen and will take pride and place in my future home.
The last Christmas I spent with kids was when I was a child. Seeing the kids open their presents and then spend the rest of the day playing with bubbles and firing arrows across the room reminded me of how magical Christmas used to be. This yet again got me thinking about achieving thing 101 on my list which seems to be something I have thought more and more about as my trip has gone on. Sean’s children, Holly and Annabel then arrived and sang for everyone which was just beautiful.
After a huge Christmas dinner we then headed off to visit Sean’s family. We drove to what I can only describe as possibly the most beautiful cemetery I have ever seen which over looks the beautiful countryside.
Sean’s brother Piers died of cancer in 1977 when he was 8 years old. He was the same age as me when I was ill as a child and Sean’s family always visit his grave on Christmas Day.
Sean’s sister Anna Marie joked with me when I met her by saying “I’m sure this not uncomfortable for you at all”.
It was a very lovely moment and I felt so honoured to be there but I found myself getting upset after I read a poem that seans mum Christine had written on the grave. I thought about my mum as I know she would have felt the same way if she had lost me when I was ill as child. I then thought of Lynette and Cheryl who lost their children to this awful disease last year. I can imagine Christine’s words represent most mothers and fathers who lose a child.
Christine kissed her hand and touched Piers’ headstone and said goodbye. I asked if I could take a photo and Lisa said that they would be honoured if I did so.
We then all went to Sean’s mum and dad’s house and had yet more food and a wonderful time. Sean’s dad, Jean Pierre had a stroke a number of years ago and can’t move around as much as he once did but he’s still out there living life. They are a very inspiring family and it was joy to spend time with them.
This turned out to be one the best Christmas days I’ve ever had. I missed my family but instead became part of the lives of two new families.
A huge thank you to Ruth, Lisa, Sean, Richard, the Marshall and Hammond family and to all my pals around the world for making this Christmas so special. I have never experienced a day where I have felt so overwhelmed, humbled and grateful before. A day I will never forget.