Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God bless you Lei

Its time to write the final blogg for Wrinklies on Tour USA. I have had this on my mind for a couple of days now and I know Lei would want me to complete it ... she was very particular about writing the blogg. It is difficult to put into words the emotions I feel about doing this. On the one hand it needs to be written in the way she would want it but on the other, it is so very final that it is overwhelming. I know I shall also use this as a form of catharsis that will help to put her to rest. God bless her.

The last time I wrote in the blogg I asked for everyone's prayers. Lei and I had managed to cross the Atlantic and how we did this I will never know. She was brave and strong and typically determined that she wanted to be home, despite all the medical complications she was still facing. The fact that the insurance company had denied cover for any of the hospital treatment and had refused to sanction our trip back did not deter her determination to get home. She worked hard for the week at Bob and Janet's home; to improve her mobility in order that we could at least consider the journey. The final frustration came with the hospital doctor who refused to see her once he knew she had no cover and this became a challenge for us to find a way to bring her back as it is Scotland that she considered as her beloved home.

Lei's friend, Ann Romaker from Girl Scout days came to her rescue. She is a doctor and had been to visit Lei only a short while before and thus knew of Lei's condition. She ordered blood tests and when they were at an optimum level to fly, she gave the word. The medical team from the insurance company were still not giving permission to travel. So, Lei and I took the decision and with the help and support of Bob and Janet, we set off on our journey. Lei remembers very little of the journey and I am so glad she didn't. On arriving at Edinburgh, Nigel and Bobby were there to pick us up and Lei wept....  she was so relieved and pleased to be home. Lei could not be more appreciative of all the support from everyone in order to achieve this mammoth goal.

That said, we spent a few days in Tillygrain and she was happy. The weather was warm and sunny and we sat  outside looking at the sea and just chilling. The hospital doctors saw her regularly and she accepted that she would have to go into hospital as her breathing became laboured. Sarah, our friend came up to give us the loving support that we needed at that time as I must confess, I was exhausted.

The weekend before Lei passed she was still full of fun even though she was uncomfortable. She still gave the nurses hell despite getting weaker.Nigel came and they enjoyed lots of laughs and I am sure some would be at my expense! By Sunday Chris and Helen, my son and daughter came up to the hospital as Lei was not doing so well. Mary Modeen, her friend from Girl Scout camp all those years ago  was also constanly at her side and we all chatted with her .None of us were sure how ill she was but there was a pending sense that something was not as well as it could have been.

On Sunday night we left her for a while as she was very tired we went to find some food. In the event we came back after an hour and by then Lei was not able to talk to us. I spent the night with her, talking and reminiscing  and Helen and Chris joined me from time to time. It was now obvious how ill she was. Mary returned early on Monday morning and said that Winky ( Ann Romaker) had explained the seriousness of Lei's condition. The Consultant Haematologist Mr Culligan spoke to us all  and prepared us for what was to come. We all chatted to her and I am sure she could hear. We held her and hugged her and whispered to her. We sang to her and  kissed her. Finally, I remember saying to her that it was ok to go and that we would be alright and not to worry. I said I knew she had promised to fight until her last breath and I said how much I admired and loved her for fulfilling that promise. We sang her favourite song.. myself, Helen, Mary, Chris, Nigel, Rob and then I sang Brahms Lullaby to her. She closed her eyes and went to sleep.

We thank you for your prayers and all your thoughts and everything that you have done to help Lei in her journey. She said several times to me that she had , had a blast and had absolutely no regrets doing our tour of the US - whatever happened. I believe that all your prayers at the end served to help her pass over to that place of rest and that she is now looking over us, with her mum and Kenny her brother.

Lei also told me how blessed she felt with having all you loving friends and family and being able to visit many of you in those last few months. SHe told me she was not frightened and that there was no point in worrying because what would be, would be. She lived her life believing that she should..

Accept the things she cannot change
Change the things she cannot accept
And be wise enough to know the difference between them.

I have had the honour of knowing such a very special person who has touched so many lives in a positive way. She impacted all who met her, however fleeting a time in her company. She lived a loving and positive life with no negatives, no judgments and would have said to me...

Is this Saint Felicia?

And we would have laughed together.


  1. Thank you Karen. It helps to know. We are one. Love, Log

  2. Thank you Karen for being such aloving and faithful friend and companion to my cousin. We will miss her and always love her and you.

  3. Karen- so beautifully written. My short time getting to know her was just as you write, and I can only find peace in knowing that she can now live without pain and suffering as she knew it here. We think of you often and pray for you to know peace and love and we have known it throughout our own journey. Lots of Love