We host people from all over the world, and of all ages. Before their arrival, often a flurry of emails has gone back and forth - a relationship is already started before we actually meet. The nice thing, and sometimes the difficult thing, is that we develop bonds with our guests - guests we may never see again, even though we may stay in touch and keep tabs on how their lives are progressing.
Last winter we had a senior couple stay with us for 4 nights. The initial email started like this: "I've been reading your blog for a while now and so I almost feel that I know you. I am finally going to be able to travel to your part of the world and would like to stay in the Minina Suite."
Doris certainly had been reading my blog - she knew about all our pets here, as her next email shows: "We are pet lovers ourselves and are looking forward to meeting all the residents of Dentro del Jardin."
"Pet lovers" was an understatement - Doris and Gordon simply loved our animals, especially our cats. Almost every day they would make a point of going out on the back terrace to visit the cats, and they always greeted Cappuchina who was parked outside at the front door. I think Luna found her way up to their terrace for a visit, and Loco is always around the front door with a wagging tale for our guests.
When chatting with Doris she would mention a blog I'd written - often blogs I'd forgotten about. And since they left, Doris has kept up with my blog, and occasionally posts comments.
Shortly after their stay here, I wrote a blog post about us coming upon a mauling and very quickly I had an email from Doris - she and Gordon would like to send some money to help defray the costs of care for these stray animals. How kind! I was able to give a donation to Delfino to cover the costs of the mauled kitten (which died three days later), I used a little when Delfino came to check out Cappuchina, and I am holding onto the remainder for the next time we deposit hurt or abandoned animals with Delfino (because it is just a matter of time, there are always needy cats out there - but unless they are kittens, we usually cannot catch them to help them).
Doris and Gordon were ideal guests - quiet, friendly, respectful, tidy, loved our food, loved our home, loved our pets. As Doris posted in our guest book - Gordon was already planning to come back and he was not the B&B type, that was how much he loved staying here. As hosts, we love it when our guests are happy and enjoying our home. We loved having Doris and Gordon here, we hoped they would be back, and I know our pets would enjoy having them here again too.
But while they were here, Doris was in pain - her back and hips made it difficult to walk, difficult to do the stairs, and difficult to do all the things they'd hoped to do. Since she's been back in Canada, Doris' pain has gotten worse, much worse. She is unable to do much of anything. She needs surgery, and is on the waiting list.
A couple of weeks ago Doris sent an email letting me know the extent of her pain, and I was very sad. Sad that she is suffering, sad that she has to wait so long for the surgery, sad that her daily life is so affected, and sad that their plans to travel are on hold. Then she sent an email that her doctor has escalated her through the healthcare system - she was seeing a specialist this week. There is hope that she will get the surgery she needs much sooner than originally thought. If so, they may be able to take their annual winter vacation.
Doris - I know you will read this. Please know that our thoughts are with you, and we are hoping for good news. Please keep us posted.