Every second Thursday, for the last twenty three years, we went to Sydney, Merrylands in particular, to go shopping with our late daughter Gaby. Yesterday was that Thursday and we felt something was not right as we stayed home. We were not needed any more.
Someone had to help her with her grocery shopping. For this purpose we had to take a three hour train trip. That was the easy part as we could sit there in the train and enjoy the scenery or read the paper or an eBook or an old fashion printed book.
At the same time Gaby, with the help of many carers, got ready to meet us at the local shopping centre. To get her ready for the day took four hours every morning from about 7 o’clock to 11 o’clock. Her day started with a cup of tea and ended with a cup of tea before she was locked into her “Iron Lung”. This iron lung was really a wooden box in which a low air pressure was produced to assist her with her breathing during the night as her diaphragm did not work.
When ready a taxi or the local bus took her to the shopping centre. Every bit of her daily routine was organised. She always looked immaculate. Sometimes she had her companion dog, Honey, tied to the wheelchair. She had permission to take Honey on public transport and into the shopping centre. The dog was very well behaved and much loved by the public.
We did all the normal things with her. Withdrawing money from the ATM, paying bills, going into the supermarket and having lunch. But lunch had to be squeezed in sometimes as she took a long time at the supermarket. She looked at everything and compared prices and products. She was the consummate consumer.
As she was a well known character, who collected also for a charity, people stopped and talked to her. Her mobile phone was ringing constantly. She always had to arrange her staff or medical appointments. Her social calendar was full and going out was a serious business for her.
My wife Uta and I we were soon exhausted. Three hours with Gaby shopping was the absolute limit for us and often we had to rush to catch the train home. Usually we fell asleep after a few minutes. This train trip took another three hours but was not so relaxed as in the morning.
Still we were always looking forward meeting and seeing her. She, as well as we, were not happy that we had not more time for each other. There were other occasions when we saw her. Living away from Sydney made it difficult for us to arrange more meetings. Now that she is gone, we are missing those meetings already.