Over the past years at Blenheim Lodge, we have come to look forward to certain people revisiting us again and again. These are guests who love the Lakes and enjoy staying at our Lodge. Thus, it is sad when we know that we will never see them again.
One couple who has visited us over the past 6 years is Steve and Sharon. I remember Sharon vividly: bright; cheerful; good for a joke; tidy and clean in her ways; and generally SO nice. Some years ago, Sharon had told me that Blenheim Lodge was the first place that she and Steve first went away on holiday together. They had enjoyed themselves so much at our place, and for this sweetly sentimental reason, they have always returned to stay with us on the same dates each year.
One day, Sharon and I were joking together and she told me that she and Steve would continue to come to the Lakes and we would grow old together. ‘We’ll be 80, and we’ll be walking up the steps with a walking stick, all bent over,’ she said. ‘Yes, and I’ll be decrepit and hunched over a zimmer doing the rooms!’ I replied.
A week ago, Sharon died. Around the end of Spring, Steve rang to ask whether they could come for a night’s stay instead of their usual 2 nights because Sharon had developed cancer but was really looking forward to coming through to us irregardless. Hubby and I said, ‘Yes,’ as Sharon would have something to look forward to in the midst of all her pain and treatment.
Came July and Sharon and Steve arrived. It was so lovely to see them. However, I noticed something different about Sharon. She had lost much weight, and her eyes seemed glazed over. As we sat down to tea together, Sharon explained that she was now partially sighted because of the cancerous cells pressing on her retinas. We joked about her not being to put on her make up and how her older son had to do it for her one evening when she had attended a wedding.
The last time Steve and Sharon were here was the last time I saw and spoke to Sharon. Two weeks after they left us, I phoned them to see how she was getting on. I could not get an answer. I persisted and three weeks later, I managed to get through when Steve answered the phone. Sharon had been hospitalised and the doctors had now withdrawn treatment because the chemotherapy was not helping. Sharing this news with Hubby, we both did not hold out much hope. Nevertheless, I continued to pray for Sharon. Often, I would wake up in the middle of the night and pray for her salvation and her healing.
I was intending to phone her home again this week when we received a phone call from Steve three days ago. I feared the worst, and my fears were confirmed: Sharon had passed away. In fact, she had died a few days back. Steve spoke movingly for an hour. He recalled their times together and their love for each other. Poor Steve was feeling very fragile indeed.
I told Steve that he should not be a stranger and should come and visit us to get away once he had a little time to do so. No charge. Just a chance to rest with people who will respect his loss and grief. Hubby and I had extended a similar invitation to a lady from our former church in Scotland last year, and we are sure it helped her.
This post is really a tribute to Sharon – and Steve, who loved her so. I still think of Sharon several times a day. As Steve said, he and Sharon considered us friends even though they only ever came to know us through staying at our Bed and Breakfast. Running a B&B can be hard work, but sometimes the human results are worth more than the sum of things!
Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
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