07 November 2010
A very sad day
A couple of days ago, I was looking forward to catching up on some of backlog of blogs. I've been quiet for almost a week because it's taken me that long to get my internet connection sorted and fully functional.
My barge cruise on the delightful Anjodi was everything I hoped it would be - peaceful (mostly), great food, beautiful countryside, and we made some wonderful new friends from the US who were the only other passengers on board. An artistic couple and his mother - intelligent, curious, generous and unfailingly kind people.
My birthday coincided with the last day of the cruise. I can't think of a more splendid way to spend a birthday than wandering through the streets of Arles and then back on board for yet another five star meal, followed by a bonfire and fireworks - complete with traditional Guy Fawkes on the fire! I understand the captain's girlfriend would have been delighted to see that suit burnt at last!
It was a foggy evening, followed by a foggy morning. The older woman was called Marjorie. Although Marjorie was unable to move around much, and did most of her sightseeing from a wheelchair, she was always gracious, dignified and determined to make the most of her holiday in France.
On Saturday morning when she woke, she was not well and struggling to breathe - but nevertheless we all made it into the minivan to head back to Montpellier. My mum was flying out from the airport for Australia at around lunchtime, so that was our first stop.
Just before we arrived at the airport, Marjorie went to sleep - we thought. As we pulled up at the airport, it became clear that she had stopped breathing and had no pulse - and despite prompt CPR and attention from the paramedics at the airport, did not make it. Sadly, she died there in the chaos and traffic, just outside Montpellier airport.
Her son, Gregory, and his wife Brenda are naturally distraught and caught up in all of the tough decision-making that goes along with any death, but is exacerbated by being in a foreign country. I will be their "family" here in Montpellier. If I know anything, it's that you need people around you when this sort of tragedy strikes.
I won't go into any more detail, but I wanted to say, that even though I only knew Marjorie for a week, she was truly a great lady, with as much style and class as could be imagined under the circumstances.
Rest in peace, Marjorie. You will be sadly missed by your "nouvelles amies". Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Posted by Susan Whitbread