Earls Court Road you may or may not know is very cosmopolitan, very busy and always bustling. We walked to the junction where it joins the busy A4 and just lent on the barriers talking, mainly about our family. A sharply dressed woman with a black pull along briefcase approached me and asked for directions. “I’m sorry but I don’t know” I replied ” but those three guys will”. I directed her to three police officers. She left us alone to continue our conversation. A thought crossed my mind at that moment ” everyone you meet you meet for a purpose”.
“Let’s go to the Co-Op I fancy something nice to eat!” Julie broke my chain of thought. Something nice to eat from Julie is code for chocolate, Pringles or anything of that nature. “Come on then my sweet” I held her hand and off we went. “You can get a bottle of wine to take back to our room, you look like you could do with a drink!” She insisted.
As we approached the Co-Op Julie spied a homeless (possibly) man and his dog sat in a corner “I’m going to buy him something to eat and get his dog some food” Julie announced. There she was just hours after being given some devastating news and she was thinking of someone else’s plight. “Everyone you meet you meet for a purpose” That thought crossed my mind yet again! “You go and get a bottle of wine” she ordered.
So, there I am stood aimlessly in front of the wine display trying to decide which to buy and an unshaven guy with a top knot is beside me filling up a green bag with bottles of wine! He turned and headed towards the entrance. “Obviously not going to pay for that!” I think and start to follow him. He got to the door and I shout ” Hey you, yes you you thieving twat!” As he turns, “Yeah?” He looks me in the eye, as if daring me to make a move then gives me the finger! Red rag to a bull time, blatant thieving and taking the piss!!! For the second time that day I start running, chasing someone. I lost him as he ran up Earls Court Road and disappeared in the crowd. “Jesus, here I am nearly 60 and I’m chasing a thief and for the second time within a few hours running through the streets of London. I’m too old for this s–t!” I think as I’m making my way back to Julie.
“Have you got your wine sweet?” She asks, I relayed the events of the last few minutes to her. “That’s what I love about you, never a dull moment!” I picked up a bottle and collared the manager who was totally unconcerned with the loss of his stock, paid and Julie took her offering to the homeless man and his dog.
We left the hotel the following day after missing breakfast, Julie had had a good nights sleep, I, on the other hand dozed off and on, turning things over in my mind.
Following an uneventful trip back, we were picked up from the station by Leah, our eldest, who as soon as she saw her mum dissolved into tears. Daddies always give their children a big hug when they are upset and this seemed to work this time, even though the news was the worst.
After getting back to ours and being bombarded with questions and theories from Nathan (this is his way of coping), Trudie, Julie’s long time nurse friend arrived on a social visit. “I want to talk to Trudie alone” Julie instructed. Leah, Nathan and I adjourned to sit in the garden to wait for Hannah and the rest of our lovely family to arrive. After Trudie had left and once I could speak to Julie alone, I asked her why she wanted to talk to Trudie on her own. “I needed to ask her what is going to happen at the end” Julie replied. At that moment I realised just how strong Julie is, facing the inevitability of life by looking at it straight in the eye.
There were many tears that day as my family struggled to come to terms with what is to happen at some stage, there were more tears the following day when visiting Julie’s mum and dad and there will be more in the future. I have seen it as my duty as a husband and father to support all of my family in turn, they of course are concerned about me because I rarely show emotion. My strength comes from knowing I have to care for Julie and I need to be there for everyone else in the family.
When people and family ask how do I cope I sum it up like this. I would much rather it was I who had the disease, but it’s not. I am glad it’s not Leah, Hannah, Nathan or one of their partners or one of our Grandchildren because that is not the natural order of things, parents aren’t meant to out live their children. What is happening to us is life, losing people you love is part of life. By continuing to live while we still have time we are still building more memories…….
To be continued..
Thanks for reading 🙂