Check in at Brisbane airport was at 4:30am, so it was a very early start this morning!!
My journey back to Việt Nam this year was delayed by one week by the passing of my gorgeous mother. A few hours before I was due to leave Coffs Harbour last week, I got the call from Coffs Haven to say Mum was fading fast and could last only three hours. That was at 5:30am, and Katie and I rushed to her bedside. Gabrielle and Danni weren't far behind us, and Greg came straight away. Gemma brought Caelyn and Will to say goodbye and Lockie brought Jordan and Bailey. Mum held on and my sister Sue had time to fly up from Melbourne and her son Tom flew from Sydney. My brother Bill and his wife, Corrie, flew from Cairns to Brisbane and drove down from there, so by 6pm we were all there, amazed at the timing. At 95, Mum had been bed-ridden for a couple of years and required constant care, so it was not unexpected news...but Sue had only just returned from kayaking in Iceland, Bill was about to fly to Papua New Guinea, Lockie returned from a fishing trip to Kirabati just that morning, and I was leaving for Việt Nam in a couple of days!
Mum's room was crowded with family - at least 8 of us all the time and another 8 coming and going.... children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Even though she couldn't respond, I know Mum knew we were there and could hear us. It was like a party with laughter and singing and reminiscing... so many favourite memories... gathered together as the loving family she and Dad raised us to be. She gave us another day together, healing and restoring the family. At one stage, we were being fairly rowdy when one of the nurses ducked in and said laughing: "I just have to tell you, one of the residents just said to me 'They're making a lot of noise in there. I think something's going on. I think someone's having sex!' " OMG We laughed even louder! The mind boggles! One can only imagine what that dear old lady had done in her past!!!
Mum was such a sweet cheerful soul, she had become a favourite at the nursing home. The head nurse described her as "our treasure". Even when she was bed-ridden and unable to move, when asked "How are you today, Nancy?" she would respond enthusiastically: "Fit as a fiddle!". one by one, the staff came and said their goodbyes. One young nurse who was off work on sick leave, Tahlia, even came in wearing a neck brace so say goodbye and kiss Mum one last time.
Mum passed away quietly on Saturday night and we had the funeral on Tuesday. One last meal together with friends and the family went their separate ways - sad to have lost our precious matriarch, but marvelling at how God poured out His blessings in so many ways.
Agnes Nancy Page (Goode) 16/02/1919 - 16/08/2014
So I had an extra week at home, which was wonderful. With the change of plans, my dear friends and business partners Ronelle Woods and Susanne Parmenter volunteered to do a roadie and drive me to Brisbane on Saturday. Needless to say, we had a very enjoyable 6 hour trip. Susanne and I stayed with Andrew Clarke and David Moore...more business partners!
On Sunday afternoon we joined in on an excellent Isagenix business training session at Suncorp Stadium - home of the Broncos Rugby League football team. We three girls were very chuffed when our friend Graeme gave us a tour of the facility..
Graeme promised me tickets for the State of Origin next year! Woo-oo!!
That will be exciting...bring on next season!!!
So anyway, I was pretty excited by the time I re-packed my bags and tried (unsuccessfully) to get a few hour's sleep on Sunday night. My big suitcase weighed 29.7kgs (I had a 30kg limit!) and my carry-on 15kgs. David lent me a wheelie case to replace the over-loaded shoulder bag that would have exhausted me - SOOO much easier to manage, too, bless him!
Dear Andrew got up at 4am to drive me to Brisbane Airport, and after I checked in we sat and enjoyed one last cuppa before I went through to the departure lounge and from there on in it was smooth sailing. My first flight was to Sydney, where I had 2 hours to fill. It's Caelyn's 3rd birthday today, so I just missed being home for it. I called all the family and spoke to them ...I'll be home again in just 10 weeks - such a short trip this year.
The Vietnam Airlines flight to Hồ Chí Minh City was 81/2 hours, during which time I watched 5 movies, so the time went very quickly. sorting out my visa as Immigration was no trouble and I was settled into my hotel by 6pm, local time. Mai booked a room for me at the Sài Gòn Dem Hotel in District 8, near where she works. I will see her tomorrow.
That was 9pm Coffs Harbour time, so after a shower and a quick catch up on facebook I went to bed early. So tired by then... and the adventure begins again!