Tuesday, March 04, 2008


It was fantastic, absolutely brilliant. It was so nice seeing everyone again, all together in one place, in celebratory mood. I seemed to become a different person. Pampered for two days, with a posh dress, my hair expertly done, proper makeup, sleek eyebrows and the nails from hell (I hated them and took them off as soon as I could, but they did look nice), and surrounded by people I knew I felt myself oozing confidence and chattiness. One of the dive instructors who had come over from Spain said that I seemed like a completely different person in my own environment. And the strange thing? I was still on that high when I got back to work yesterday, and was more efficient and got more done than I have for months. Maybe the wedding has rebooted my mojo?

Is it really vain of me to be glad I was thin? Those photos are the ones which will be dug out again and again for years to come, so I'm glad they caught me at close to my best. Seeing one of Annette's schoolfriends made it hit home. She was always probably a bit bigger than me, but when I started shrinking, she probably went the other way. She did a reading instead of being a bridesmaid, one of the unspoken reasons being the fact the dresses didn't come in her size. She lives in Budapest so it would have been hard for her to make the hen do, but at the time the others said she wouldn't have come anyway because of swimsuit anxiety at the spa. She's lovely, lively, pretty, but you could see how much harder the little things are than they are for me today, and it reinforced the fact that I don't want to go back to being that person.

Remarkably despite five days of pretty much continuous eating out, drinking and merriment, I didn't gain any weight while I was away. The main difference seemed to be that I ate big meals but didn't snack, whereas normally I'm more of a grazer. It's good for keeping my energy levels stable, but does perhaps lead to me eating a bit too much because the second I get a bit peckish I start thinking about where my next nibble is coming from. Whereas over the weekend I'd go for hours between meals, and then have a nice restaurant meal with a glass of wine once I'd worked up a bigger appetite. Something to ponder. Unless it was the dancing that made the difference!

There were downsides too though. I will admit to having a bit of a blub at the ceremony. Part of it was seeing my little sister all grown up and married (and looking absolutely gorgeous) but it was more than that. Singing one of the same hymns as we had at the funeral didn't help, and the theme of the day really hit a nerve. Forget about colour schemes, the theme that got me was the charity angle. We had donations to cancer research instead of favours, all the men wore "make today count" pinbadges, and we had a collecting tin, together with taking some photos for a cancer research press release. And it turned out that it was more relevant than we imagined. The day before the wedding one of mum's cousins (I use the term loosely, as I don't know the exact relationships) died of cancer. I wasn't particularly close, but he was one of the people on that side of the family my grandad and mum were closer too, and he'd gone through a lot of the journey with grandma. There was also the godmother who was diagnosed with breast and lung cancer, looking thin and frail but remarkably well considering.

And there was grandpa. We've known that he's had various health problems for years. He caught polio years before I was born, and I've only ever known him in a wheelchair. He's had various ailments on and off since then, and recently has had a problem with his blood. He keeps on getting blood transfusions, but nothing seems to sort it out. He's getting frailer and frailer, and didn't make it to the ceremony because of the effort involved in getting in and out of the car in gale force winds. He made it to the reception because it was closer to their hotel, but the church was a car ride away and he wasn't up to it.

What we didn't know, and what only came out after a half-remembered conversation at the reception, and some follow up questions, is that he also has cancer. It's slow growing, and the doctors are working on the assumption that the other stuff will get him first (they can't operate anyway because of the blood problem - it wouldn't clot properly), but it's still there. Back again for another bite at the family. Great.


Blogger Brenda said...

So glad everything went well. You look absolutely stunning! Look at those collar bones, girl!

10:58 PM  
Blogger Boomba said...

You look fantastic!!!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Oh Helen! You look fabulous! Little sis looks beautiful too. Looks like a beautiful time was had by all. So sorry to hear about more cancer, it seems to slowly be eating away my husband's family as well. Hope that your mojo is back to stay, and that you have a wonderful week.

1:03 PM  
Blogger K said...

Never mind thin, you look beautiful, and so does Annette.

Sorry to hear about all the unwell relatives - particularly your grandpa. It is true though that these things tend to move much more slowly in older people - the doctors are probably right in this case. (Sorry to say I know all this from my own grandpa's experience.)

I don't think I'd have been able to cope with the nails either!

8:54 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

You look fabulous. What a terrific dress! And your sister looks so happy.

You thoroughly deserve to feel good about how beautiful and thin you look in the photos. Congratulations!

3:35 AM  

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