We have recently returned from our first holiday without Jo. It was a holiday that Jo had booked, we had planned it for once she finished her treatment. When we realised that Jo’s treatment was going to be extended, we had considered cancelling it, but Jo said we should wait and see. When Jo knew she wasn’t going to be there to see it, she encouraged me not to cancel it, but to take the kids and enjoy it.
So we had our week in Turkey and to be honest in the days and weeks leading up to it I was dreading it. I feared that it would be really hard to enjoy for all of us. I was worried how the new dynamic of me and my two youngest children would work. In previous holidays I would always have Jo to talk to if the kids went off to find the wifi and talk to their partners or friends. I didn’t fancy spending every evening looking into a glass and trying to enjoy the entertainment alone. Luckily my kids are more thoughtful than I gave them credit for and they seemed to generally take it in turns to head off and so I nearly always had one of them around if not both.
I was also worried how I would feel about seeing lots of ‘normal’ families together and ours missing a major part of that, but to be honest there were all sorts of families there, not every family was complete in the traditional sense and I even met another widower who was also enjoying his first holiday without his wife as well.
The hotel was great and Turkey was a much more impressive country than I had expected, it was green, mountainous and very beautiful. The staff and people we met were very friendly and hospitable and I would highly recommend you visit.
In previous years we would generally spend our time lounging around the pool, Jo went on holiday to relax, not to do much physical exertion and she was certainly not an adrenalin junkie. So when my daughter suggested we should do Paragliding I thought if we ignored it then she would forget about it, as throwing myself off a mountain was not in line with my plan to keep myself safe as the only remaining parent.
However my daughter is the determined type and once she gets something in her head she will do her best to get it, a bit like her mother in many ways. So I agreed she could do the Paragliding, however I was concerned with her doing it on her own. We then attended the holiday welcome presentation the day after we arrived and the small young rep said it was the must do thing and she had done it 5 times. She didn’t even like rollercoasters, which I do. When she then said her elderly mother had done it, I decided I better do it with my daughter. We then forced my son to do it also as he wouldn’t want to be the odd one out.
So on our penultimate day of our holiday we headed up the very very high mountain to do the paragliding. I will happily admit by the time we were up the top of this 2000m high mountain, I was pretty scared. It reminded me of being at the top of the alps, there was snow still on the side of the road, the drive up was death defying and probably the only saving grace was that surely the Paragliding couldn’t be as scary as the thought of driving down, huge drops, unmade road, no barriers and the speeding mini bus.
We followed our assigned pilots, got hooked up and before you knew it, you were concentrating on the instructions you were given which was basically run and keep running until he told you to stop and then you were up in the air. Once up in the air the experience was beautifully calm and serene and not scary at all, despite being thousands of feet above the rocky ground below. We floated down for about 30 minutes before landing gently on the beach. Please, if you do go to Oludeniz/Fethiye in Turkey please do the paragliding it really is a great experience.
We also did another trip to Dalyan, including mud bath’s, sulphur springs, its beautiful beach, ancient tombs, lost city and its huge turtles. The country is really very beautiful.
I came away from Turkey having really enjoyed it, despite my reservations, we laughed, danced, sang (I am a secret Karaoke fan), made friends and discovered a new and beautiful country to visit.
Jo I am sure would have been pleased that we had a good time and she was never too far from our thoughts. There were plenty of times that I wished I could have spoken to her, we loved to people watch and holidays are the best place (find the worst tattoo was a favourite game), she would have loved it. Rather than tears when I thought of these things though they actually brought a smile to my face as I imagined her response.
Holidays are hard for the widowed but they can still be fun, I think we proved that and now I look forward to the next one.