Thursday, May 20, 2010
A Journey Never to be Forgotten.
In memory of Eva Linda Sandra Gallett nee Suchenek- Suchecka..24/04/1952....23/04/2009
The Story of Eve and Carole
In 1997 after the closing down of the Aberdeen Meatworks I found myself looking for work and a friend suggested that I go out to Rosemount Winery for work.I did this and was placed in the area of removing labels and packing etc. That is when I met Eve.I have called her Eve and not Eva since the day we met, we worked alongside of one another many times and that is when I learned of her car accident and her long and exhausting road to recovery.
We had wonderful funny times all telling tales of our partners,our children and their lives and we shared a mutual friend Tracey Morgan, who worked with us.We shared Tracey's hard times as her marriage broke down,kids in trouble,my son and daughters day to day trials and when my first grandchild was born and the excitement,all this was made easier knowing that when I got to work I could pour my heart out to all these girls, and,they could do the same,Eve worried about Sara who was going through a tough time with a relationship,Ricky and his rough times, Ryan and his health ,and of course Frank! Well thats a story in itself. Just knowing we were going to be able to talk about all these things as we worked was wonderful knowing the nasty old world outside would go away for 8 hours,true friendships were formed as we all got to know one another better each day.
After the winery closed down and we were all layed off,Eve and I stayed in touch and I would go out to Denman and we would have craft days. We decided we would make enough dolls folk art and all to have a stall at the market .We worked our fingers off,didn”t sell that much but had a great time doing it. Eve is a lovely painter, it was something she loved to do.She also made fabulous fabric dolls with hand painted faces, I have 2 in my bedroom they are a constant reminder of my wonderful friend and her amazing talents,how frustrated she must feel in her mind at what she would love to be still doing and can't,she never says anything much about it but I know.
At the time of painting and sewing and even in afterthought at Rosemount, Eve's movements were getting slower and slower and we all thought that this was a result of her car accident, little did we know that this was really possibly the Palsy starting to rear its ugly head.
Through the winery days and then our craft days we became better friends ,Eve even went to another friend Tracey who lives around the corner and this girl had a serious back injury and Eve “PAINTED THE INIDE OF HER BLOODY HOUSE!” Sadly to say this girl never even pops around to see if my sweet friend is ok,there are givers and takers in this world and Eve is a giver.She is a giver of time, love, friendship,she would give you the shirt off her back,but, mind you not her bikini.
In 2006 Eve went to England to visit with her family, she had a wonderful time,she came home telling me about these sisters and brothers and their children,and I loved them from afar just because of their wonderful love for their sister.When she went “home” on that visit things were not so obvious for her such as a proper diagnosis ,so that it was not like she would not be seeing them again.
Not too long after that visit she did receive her news that it was not something that was going to go away, or just make life harder but a final ,horrible blow. I went to visit Eve one Tuesday afternoon and she literally threw some paperwork at me and said “read Carole”, I did and was in shock as I read about the Palsy that she had .The words were like knives in my heart so I can't even imagine how they were to Eve and Frank . I asked had she shown these papers to the family, she said no, I asked how long she had known she said last month.I told her she needed to talk to the children asap and Sara was coming the same day.Sara read the papers and from then on it was “real”.
In 2007 Eve asked me if I would travel “home” with her to say
goodbye to her family in Britain. I know I was not the first choice I believe that another friend was asked but could not go,fate or God stepped in.I said if I had the money I would but it was not possible, we had just started a mail contract,and I did not know how I could get away let alone pay for it. Sara also asked me if it was possible could I go and I desperately wanted to do this for Sara as well as Eve. Frank said if he could find the fare could I go,and thinking it would never happen said of course.
Frank rang me and said he sold Eve's little car as she could no longer drive and he had enough for both our fares.SHIT!! it was going to happen! I said as long as I could get someone to do my job I would go,prayed about it and the girl I was taking over from offered to stay 7 weeks longer so I would be free to go. God is good. I had been to Britain 3 years earlier and loved it but never dreamed I would go back, let alone like this. My guilt over not being able to pay my way was horrible, I felt I was taking away from Eve,but Sara was so supportive telling me not to think that way as there was no one else to go.I thought it was Franks job to take Eve home, thank God he did not take Eve as it was not easy physically but mentally it was wonderful for her,no stress,lots laughs, she needed this badly.
Our adventures started the moment we left our families at Mc Donalds at Maitland,we had an airport van pick us up there and we said our goodbyes and off we went,our adventure ,sad though it was ,was about to start.
We had a flat tyre on the wheelchair when we left Australia and we still had the flat tyre when we got back 7 weeks later,what a difference a little air would have made to our lives,we cursed that flat tyre daily,I think it is still flat.nearly a year later.The airport experiences were horrendous at times and so good at others,we had 2 large suitcases, 2 hand luggage bags, full to the allowable weight I might add, our hand bags , a walking stick which poked everyone as it passed by the crowds,a life unto itself it finally got lost at Heathrow on the way home as we had to take off our shoes ,and put everything through the xray and it was not till we were on the plane that we missed it, never to be seen again,I think it was sick of us! Not everyone stops to help ladies struggling with all this and trying to get through ,some people glared at us if we got to go in front of the line as if we were privileged to have a wheelchair,I often felt like saying “want to swap places with Eve's life?” this was the exception rather than the rule.
Our plane flights were long and not so comfortable for Eve as she is so tall but she never complained,she was so excited. The look on her face at Heathrow when she saw her brothers Ray and Chris was worth all the angst I had,my big concern was if I was up to the job ahead,if I was strong enough mentally and physically,to cope with what was ahead,but I made it and proud to say I delivered Eve home with no bruises, bad falls or anything ,it was the hardest job I have ever done but I loved it and I know she would have done the same for me.
At last we were Brocks barn,Badgers Lane, Over Almondsbury Bristol,and our adventures were about to begin,7 weeks I will never forget.
Our first adventure was a visit to Portshead to see Eve's fathers grave as it was his birthday and she wanted to place a card on the grave. We arrived safe and found the tiny cemetery behind a little church, I was amazed at the little gardens planted on the graves unlike Australia and turned to say to Eve how lovely and she was nowhere to be found,I looked over the top of another headstone and there she was flat on the ground, she had insisted on wearing heeled shoes and the ground was so uneven she had silently fallen over missing hitting her head by inches and we laughed and laughed as she said “blody hell”, bloody hopeless” which I then learned was one of her favourite sayings repeated many times,I told her stop trying to get in with everyone we had too much to do and see, it was funny,from then on the heels were banned unless she was to be in the chair all the time.That was to be an omen for the rest of that days outing. We found her family home and how blessed she was to have grown up with such a magnificent view and a rambling house that was full of nooks crannies little hidden rooms and scary spots,we would loved to have gone inside ,but her stories of the things they got up to was our entertainment for the rest of the drive back to the motorway..DISATER STRUCK! It was 12 noon and we got on the wrong round about outlet ending up in the middle of Bristol city..Panic struck me the driver, we finally got back to another round about and BANG again back in Bristol City,another try at last onto the motorway of speeding cars and not sure of where to go as it had all changed since Eve had gone there last,I felt we were going the wrong way but Eve said “keep going keep going” KEEP GOING ALRIGHT I LOOKED AND WE ARE ON THE HUGE BRIDGE AND INTO WALES!!!
The panic I felt earlier was nothing compared to how I felt now by this we had been lost 21/2 hours! I drove into the toll lane with an attendant,we told him we were lost and he said “are you Australian” we laughed at that one,he got us a guide truck that took us around and faced us the other way, told us to follow the motorway till we got to Thornbury turn and follow that...simple.. we headed off and got to a roundabout BRISTOL CITY AGAIN!! we could not believe it, we found a garage to park in, called Chris and Deb they could not help us as they had no idea what part of the city we were in, found a kind man to go to the roadside with me and point to where to go, we did this and at last the right turn ,onto the motorway again and there were 2 roadside guard trucks on the road, we parked in between them with the officer shouting that you can't stop on the motorway, he could see our faces as we explained we had been lost for over 3 hours and so they told us we were ok ,in the right direction, and our turn was only 5 miles away, they placed witches hats out on the road and cleared a lane for us to get back in the traffic,and off we went
after that day out we became a little more adventurous and 2 days before we came home I got brave enough to go out on the motorway again to find the Mall that Debbie had been taking us to from time to time and we actually made it there and back home with no dramas,so if we had stayed longer I would have been confident to go back to Portshead again as we would both have loved that.However different family members took us there,Ray would pick us up when he was working in nice places drop us off to explore and come and take us to lunch,they were wonderful days, cream teas in a little tea house rambling on the side of a hill looking into the ocean,lunch on the canal in Bristol City (yes but its good if someone is with you) Eve's face covered in chocolate.Debbie taking us to castles for cream teas,to beautiful villages with streams running through and Eve loving her ice creams 99ers wonderful Chris and Deb taking us to the wonderful gardens all having a turn on the mortised chair that when Eve was the driver terrorized us as she almost hit everything and everyone in sight we had to run for cover ,family picnics on the canal for Alas birthday.Deb taking us to Bath for a boat ride and then we had a horse drawn carriage waiting for us for a surprise for Eve for a tour of the city a day of spoiling at a spa at a hotel in bath what wonderful days.
We had some time in Weymouth with Louise and Lou and saw the sites there,lovely walks on the promenade and lou having a turn in the chair with Eve pushing, they decided to get married while we were there and it was lovley Eve was so proud of her sister and being there.Louise and Carole's family gathered at Chris and Debs and that was a great day with the kids entertaining us.
Twice a week Eve's school friends Jane and Val came and had a visit on their way home from work, I would go and leave them in peace to catch up but they would call me to come out and join in and hear their tales, have a wine,I got to love them, they are amazing girls ,one one visit they bought another old friend Sue, these girls must have been the Girls of St Trinians I think ,what they did not do has not been done!
After spending 7 weeks with Eve every waking moment, going up 13 steps everyday to shower and getting back down them without a fall was our greatest achievement,there are no secrets as I have seen every part of her body,poor darling I was like Hitler we had not come all this way for her to fall and spoil her family time,she was very patient with me,we know each other very well! Back home all these things and so many more are but wonderful memories,I was honored to be the one to take Eve on her journey back,now at home I have tried to see her as often as I can,I have a little group of ladies that meet twice a month it is our Cackle Club and Eve has started to come,we love having her there, we talk sew, knit whatever or just listen,have a cry if you need it, Eve knits and we all talk to her and she loves it.Those that have never met Eve before are getting to know the friend that I love dearly,and are so loving and caring to her.
When Eve's younger set family gathered the weekend before we came home,two little great nieces about 9 Lilli(a cheerleader,Carole's granddaughter) and Summer(Lee and Tracey's daughter) made up a little show and did a dance and song for us and it sums our Eve up perfectly, and we hope that we all made her journey a memorable one.
CHEERLEADERS SONG FOR EVA.
Lilly and Summer are here,
We've made up a cheer,
We came to see Eva
The cool and funky diva,
come on crowd
because were making Eva proud
Eve's passing was long and cruel,she lost her speach and body control but her mind was sharp as a tack, we miss her dreadfully and in June her daughter will take her ashes home to be spread with her beloved Mum and Dad on Portshead cemetary.,and after leaving her homeland at a very young age with her husband and coming so far away she will at last be at peace and "home".