As an immigrant to New Zealand, albeit thirty-seven years ago, I've obviously left a little bit of my heart in England. I've been back many times and spent time with beloved family and friends, explored places I never explored when I lived there, played in several croquet tournaments each year, but knew that I would always want to live here. That didn't mean, however, that there weren't times when I felt very, very far away.
When first my mother, in 1982, and then my father in 1986, died, both very unexpectedly, I felt even further away. I was glad that, despite the distance, we had spent so much time together and that both had come over to New Zealand to spend time with us. Strangely, after 1986, I experienced a period of time when England felt alien to me. It hadn't 'looked after' my parents and I didn't want to go back. So, for about ten years, I didn't. But that feeling lessened and, when all four children gravitated to England and Europe to do their OE at one time or another, I was drawn back to spend time with each of them and began to re-establish contact with family and friends.
Just two weeks ago, my cousin told me that my very favourite patriarch of the family on my father's side had suffered a heart attack, stopped breathing, was resuscitated and rushed to hospital where his blood was thinned. But a clot near his heart dislodged and travelled to his right leg. The vascular surgeon said that the only way to save his life would be to amputate that leg above the knee. The cardiologist said that at his age, he would only have a 10% chance of surviving the operation. He was coherent enough to make the decision to go ahead and, having such power of thought and such a close and loving family around him, he not only survived but is getting stronger every day.
A friend, who is a nurse, told me that, in cases like this, it is often not the body that can save a person's life, but the power of the brain. In this particular case, his brain is working wonders. It is definitely his thoughts that are counting and we are all so thankful for it.
But I still feel very far away ...