Tag Archives: Julie

2016 a New Year, a New Start

IMG_0102I picked this photo up this year off the web, the words describe perfectly the life I lived with Julie.  We laughed even through the hard times we had when we were younger.  We cared for not only our own children, but also worried for our extended family when they were facing their own battles.

We felt a sense of loyalty to our friends with some of the activities we were involved in, many times putting our own lives and work second to ensure they got the enjoyment they expected.  Sometimes this was appreciated but as we came to learn, many of those “friends” actually just take without thinking of those around, preferring to whisper and jibe, not realising or understanding the emotional wounds they inflict.

However, as you get older you realise you have a number of extremely close friends, those who will just come and sit for a couple of hours just talking about life because they know every little helps, some who you see on a daily basis, quite a few who you’ve sat with and listened to their problems and a few who, no matter how great the distance, will always be there for you.  Thank you to all of you, both family and friends for understanding and for being there over the last couple of years, you all helped Julie and I to cope and face what life threw at us, even though the outcome was tragic.

Enough of the past!  What about the future?  I’ve resolved to make some changes in my life!  I’m fortunate to have a couple of very close friends in Tenerife, so finally on the 7th of January I’m going to pay them a long overdue visit because Julie’s illness prevented her from traveling any distance.  IMG_3945Linda and Peter became longtime friends when both Julie and I, (then later our daughters, Leah and Hannah) worked for them at  local (now a housing development) pub they were running about twenty years ago.  We had a lot of laughs along with the other staff during our time there.  With their “anything is possible” attitude, they built an esablishment which became the “go to destination” throughout the year.  Was it hard work? Yes, but it was one of the most enjoyable times of our lives.

In Julie’s final letter to me, which I opened about three weeks after she died, she wrote “Do all the things we’d planned my darling, travel and go fishing, I’ll be with you don’t worry!” “When you sit in our beautiful garden (I’m not doing that as sit in my office writing, it’s raining and windy!), I’ll be there holding your hand.  Wherever you are, don’t forget, I’m just in another room”

So 2016, I’m going to travel.  I’m going to take more photographs.  I’m going to write more, including my blog and the story of my life before and with Julie and of the struggles we faced and overcame together and with our family.  The story of two people who were real soulmates.

Watch this space and thank you for reading XXX



Adapting To Life…..As A Widower

Now heading into my fourth month without Julie, how am I coping?  Well ok I suppose, life has to go on.  I’ve children and grandchildren to think about so giving up has never been an option.  I’ve always been methodical so keeping house is straightforward, of course I did that when Julie was alive.

Cooking too, not an issue, I cook for myself and for Nathan and his fiancé, Georgia, so no problems there, plenty of veg and so on.  Even when they aren’t around I cook. Washing, cleaning, yep the whole nine yards.

Little things make a difference now, like when Nathan and Georgia sit downstairs and talk. When Hannah texts and tells me she loves me, when Leah tells me the boys are missing their Grandad.  I spent an evening with some friends in the New Forest recently, a meal, wine and conversation?.  Then last Sunday, another long term friend, Doctor Sam came for a coffee and chat.  When she dropped me a text a couple of days earlier I found a spring in my step because she was coming.  We had coffee and talked, not about anything in particular, but just a general catchup.  It’s all of those little instances and episodes that lighten my heavy heart.

Conversation with Julie, now I really miss talking to Julie!  Julie and I could sit and talk for hours about all sorts of things.  We could talk about anything and everything, only couples who really “click” can do that.  In fact as I write this I’m drinking tea out of one of her favourite mugs which had the words “everyone is entitled to my opinion” imprinted on it.  To be fair she wasn’t opinionated, she was intelligent and funny!

My children all are very supportive, of course they would be, we’re all code and they miss their mum, but as I tell them, “You’ve your own lives to lead so don’t waste your time, live it!”

So really where am I?  I feel empty, like my reason for being has gone.  I feel numb, like I’m looking from the outside in. I feel guilty because I’ve not shed a tear, so maybe I’m in some delayed state of shock?

Finally I feel anger because no one will ever convince me that had the consultant at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, a certain Mr Gollund, been more efficient and not misdiagnosed Julie’s cancer, then treated her for a fibroid, then Julie would still be here!? Thank god he “mysteriously?”retired on the day the surgeons removed a tumour the size of a six month old foetus from Julie while giving her the hysterectomy he should have recommended two years before.  Mr Gollund, thank you for depriving my grandsons of their Nana, thank you for depriving my children of their mother, thank you for depriving Julie’s parents of their only daughter! Thank you for destroying the dreams Julie and I had!  You’re inefficiency has hurt so many ?.

If you’re reading this, thanks for being my therapist and thanks for reading ????

If contact is sought…..

This picture of the foimageur favourite women in my life was taken around June 15 2015. Julie along with Leah,Hannah and Nathan’s then girlfriend, now fiancé, Georgia were having a pre-party cocktail. It was less than two weeks after Julie had been given the news she had around three months to live, they all look happy???.  So here I am sat in my office, contemplating wether or not to write this next piece.   Well I’ve decided to share something personal with all of you but first let me tell you about a couple of instances which have occured during the last four weeks.

There had been a couple of times when I thought I caught a glimpse of Julie out of the corner of my eye, once when I’d cooked for the whole family on a Sunday.  There have also been a number of times I have heard Julie call me.  More recently early one morning, (I tend to get up around 5-45) I realised my left arm was out from under the duvet, not only that but I could feel the warmth of someone holding my hand I looked up and there was Julie, she smiled then faded away.  I knew it was her because when holding her hand her’s was so small, mine folded around it like a glove.   This morning, I awoke, as usual before my alarm, I was aware of the weight of someone in the bed next to me!   I turned and could feel the person leaving the bed, “thank you Julie” I said out loud.

One more example, I have always had the habit of falling asleep with my spectacles on, Julie would always get out of bed and take them off then fold them up and place them on the bedside table.  The other morning, I found my specs at the bottom of the bed, on what was Julie’s side, the corner of the duvet had been turned neatly back and there were my glasses, folded!??

Now I’m pretty sure many of you are out there thinking, “he’s off his rocker!” but no this is not the case.  When I was a child I used to see people that the rest of my couldn’t see.  I was credited with an over active imagination by my parents.  Even when I was extreemly ill with pnumonia when I was around six years old and I had what I now know was a near death experience, watching my mum sitting on the end of my bed, stroking my forehead, floating way up high while connected to my body with a sort of iridescent cord.  I told my mother the story, she smiled and said “did you darling?”.  I don’t think she really believed me.?

So what’s so personal about all of the above? Well over the last 11 weeks, I seem to have undegone a change, my mind seems once again to be more receptive to all what is happening in the non-physical world.  I think, no I’m pretty sure, the stress of looking after Julie over a period of time and running a business and home somehow has been lifted. Our home is clean and tidy, I’ve swapped the flowery duvet covers and bed linen for some which are more masculine and more to my taste. All of those houshold “chores” which were a drag along with everything else I had going on are now more of a diversion.  Cooking is once again not something which has to be done, but more of the joy it used to be to me.?

Although I’m a widower, I feel Julie is still here and I like to think she’s the one who has promted me to get all the Christmas cards written early, order the Turkey (three weeks ago) do all the Christmas shopping and get the presents wrapped before the end of November.  This year I’m cooking Christmas dinner for twelve including the grandsons, I’m sure Julie will be in the kitchen trying to direct the operation!??

Thanks for reading ?




Julie’s influence, Lessons to be learned?

I was sat in the garden one evening recently and remembered something Julie had said to me in her final letter. “When you sit in our garden, think of me and I’ll be sitting with you” These words prompted  me to think, especially with recent events across the world.

imageThis is Chief Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux, most famous for leading and winning the battle against General George Armstrong Custer in 1876.

Custer, it has been well documented, was by all accounts, an arrogant man who had political as well as military ambitions.

Following the defeat of Custer, Sitting Bull said, and I quote ” Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights because no one has the right to take another life.  The warrior is someone who sacrifices himself for the good of others”. “His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenceless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity”

The wise chief also commented ” Man belongs to the earth, earth does not belong to man”

Those quotes come from a great man who died 125 years ago but the philosophy should apply today. Our leaders throughout the world could learn from those few simple words.  As in Sitting Bull’s day, when Custer was in full warring and greed charge, these simple phrases seem to be just as important.  Maybe our leaders ( I have great respect for our Prime Minister), and the leaders of all the civilised world should read, digest and think how those words are relevant to the lives of all humanity as we war with each other and rape world of all its resources!

Finally, I was drawn to another quote from the Chief ” Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength”. I’m sure Julie drew me to this as sometimes I feel such emptiness until my family and grandchildren descend to our home and fill it with laughter???

Thanks for reading?


Signs from Julie

130Julie wrote letters to not only me but all those close to her before she died.  In her final letter to me she told me to”look out for the signs I’m still around, you can’t get rid of me that easily”. Perhaps I should explain.

When we rebuilt our garden, we did so to encourage bird life in as well as making it a pleasant place to sit.  Since we have finished it we’ve had all types of birds visit.  A little Robin comes and hops around picking up the mealworms the greedy Starlings drop from the feeders.  Percy our friendly pigeon chomps on the peanuts, Sparrows, Coal and Blue Tits along with Blackbirds, Magpies, Crows and the occasional Seagull all come and eat their fill but for over a year Julie and I tried, without success,  to tempt in Goldfinches!

This morning, I was working in my office, which overlooks our garden and conservatory, I look up there on the conservatory roof were a pair of Goldfinches.  “Julie would love these” I thought to myself and as I was thinking this a third Goldfinch flew in and perched on out lilac tree!  I couldn’t believe my luck! “Look out for the signs I’m still around” I smiled to myself then the icing on the cake…A yellow wagtail!! I knew then Julie somehow had a hand in this because when she saw my delight when I saw the Goldfinches she decided to throw in something extra, the Yellow Wagtail.  Thank you Julie xx?? imageimage

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Julie and I were never overtly religious, although she felt the need to get herself confirmed a number of years ago while she was searching for her faith.  I’ve always been more spiritual, preferring not to believe in the traditional ‘go to church and prove your faith’ method but to try to treat others the way I wanted to be treated, even when they’ve done wrong by me.  Julie, despite having the tongue of a viper when riled and the disposition of a hungry T. Rex when suffering from pmt, also became to believe this.  I realised around 40 years ago that life was about compassion for others and “The End Game”.

Someone told me many years ago, my insight and ability to read life was because I was an old spirit, one who had lived many lives before this one.  This small but significant piece of information helped me understand all the flashbacks, all the people only I saw when I was young and the generally different way I perceive life.

A local vicar once asked me “Are you a Christian Kevin?” ” If being a Christian is about helping others and trying to provide for your family, then I suppose I am” I replied ” If you don’t attend God’s house then you can’t call yourself a Christian” was the so called Man of Gods’ next statement. ” Then let’s just say me and God have an understanding, I don’t mess in his affairs so I don’t expect him to mess in mine!” The vicar stopped talking?

Thanks for reading ??

Space, space and more space

imageYou know when you love someone for over 40 years, you tend to forgive all their little foibles.  When you lose someone after that amount of time, you also realise just how much they’ve taken over your life, and your office, and your attic, your cupboards and your wardrobes and drawers.  The lovely Mrs Atkins, pictured left, was an expert at covert occupation.

It’s been nearly six weeks since Julie moved on into the next life and her next adventure and things have become so much clearer both emotionally and space wise?.

Business has had to carry on more or less as usual, fortunately my two lovely daughters, photo(29)Leah and Hannah along with Nathan my strong son have got to “de-cluttering” the family home.  I’m glad they did because I cleared out the first set of drawers and produced enough underwear to fill a small department store, enough pyjamas and nightwear to kit out a Royal garden party and 50, yes 50 pairs of socks, I don’t think I’ve owned 50 pairs of socks my entire life??

I’ve a theory about all of this, I reckon you ladies get taught the art of slowly turning your homes into clothes shops and boutiques at school! I’m pretty sure, when you all got carted off for the “private lesson” without the boys (we boys thought it was about periods and sex) you were actually being shown the gentle art of “domestic occupation”.  Otherwise known as how to fill up your home with clothes, handbags and shoes.   As I’ve already laid out in a previous paragraph, my beloved Julie was an expert. Ha ha she could squeeze a hand bag inside a purse if it meant she could buy another.  Laugh about it we did but that was her persona.?

I digress. After a day of attacking our (now my) wardrobe, I returned from work to find Leah and Hannah a little upset, now I assumed their mood was because they’d been turning out their mum’s clothes, but no. ” Daddy” they announced ( they still call me “Daddy” even though they are in their thirties) “Daddy, do you realise how many clothes Mum had?” Asked Leah ” Have you any idea how few clothes you have Daddy!?” Hannah said with a genuine sadness.  “Come and have a look” they both were excited, then I spotted the sea of black sacks in the lounge.  “Jesus! What’s this?” I ask with shock.  “38 bags of clothes for the Charity shops!” I’m told “Mum had lovely clothes, sometimes the same top in 10 different colours!” One of the girls tells me.

I enter my bedroom and there it is….an eight foot long fitted wardrobe which the last time was that empty was when I built it!!  Leah and Hannah were right, my sum total of clothing was contained in 2 drawers, and about 10% of the wardrobe, that shocked even me!!

A couple of days later, I went out shopping for clothes for myself, as I wandered around various shops with firstly Hannah then Leah, I wasn’t extravagant, I never have been but gradually I began to feel less guilty about spending money on myself.  Julie never ever begrudged me anything and nor I her but I couldn’t see the point of buying for myself to put the clothes in a wardrobe where they would get swallowed up in an ocean of dresses, tops, blouses and trousers!

Nice to be able to see what I have to wear now and nice to have a choice but do you know what? I’d sacrifice the lot just to feel her hand in mine again or to smell her hair or to stroke her soft skin xx

????, to be continued.

Thanks for reading

September 7th: The End Game

julieIt’s October 6th, I’ve only just got to write this post because I needed to think hard about it before putting pen to paper.

June and July were busy months for Julie and I, we built her garden, she had her party and we spent lots of time together and with our family.  June, July and August were to be among some of the happiest times of my life.

During those last three months or so, our three grown up children spent as much time as they could spare with Julie, not crowding or showing pity, she didn’t want that, but being normal and supporting to their Mum.image

For Julie and I it was a time to grow even closer than we already were, a time to be strong for each other.  I had come to terms with the fact she was going to move on during the weeks after being told she had incurable cancer.  Julie, despite living with the death sentence never gave up.  Both of us knew the next phase of her existence would be starting soon.

August arrived and Julie started to lose her mobility because her legs had become swollen with fluid.  Her good friend Trudie Hall, also her district nurse, persuaded Julie it was time for a wheelchair. I picked one up from the local Red Cross station, bought it home, then the hard part, getting Julie to sit in it.  “If you think I’m going to get into that, think again”she told me.  You see Julie saw every  pill, every dose of morphine, every moment of sleep as submitting to the disease.  “Well we won’t be going very far then will we?” I countered back.  A couple of days later we visited Hinton Ampner, a National Trust property and after about a hundred yards of walking Julie sat in the chair and allowed me to push her.  I enjoyed pushing her and secretly I think she was glad she had the chair. She reminded me of a regal matriarch?

DSC_0112August wore on, Julie and I spent many evenings sat in our garden talking, surrounded by candlelight and plants.  During this time I noticed  she was becoming more and more tired, she could fall asleep at the drop of a hat, we would be talking then all of a sudden her head would drop and I knew she was asleep.  I’d let her nap for a bit before gently waking her and helping her up the stairs to bed, ensuring she had plenty of drinks to hand.   Those last weeks were, I suppose, thinking back, quite stressful.  Julie became more lethargic and it became more difficult to get her to take her medication, understandably so because at one period she was taking around thirty six pills every day! During the nights she was uncomfortable and restless,  when she was in pain I held her and comforted her while the morphine did its job and waited until she went back to sleep.

My day would begin at around six in the morning,  ensuring her meds were ready, I’d take her a coffee if she felt like one and a rich tea biscuit plus water for the first round of tablets.  I then got to work doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher. After checking on her, I’d  get the work organised for the day, Nathan would then leave to deal with whatever business needed taking care of with our guys but knowing I’d be making my rounds a little later. 7.45 and I would go into the office which is on the same floor as our bedroom and deal with any emails and order materials as required for work. Between 8.30 and 9.00 I helped Julie get dressed then downstairs where she stayed most of the day, generally working on whatever picture she was drawing.  I did my rounds before coming back at every opportunity to make sure she was alright.  It was during this period Julie wrote individual letters to each of our family, her parents and brother and to her very close friend Debs.

imageOur son Nathan and his girlfriend Georgia became engaged to be married in August, Julie was happy as I’d ever seen her when they told us ??. On the 29th of August off they went to Rome to celebrate.  During the week they were away Julie looked forward to the photos Georgia or Nathan posted on Facebook, Rome was on our list of places to visit had she not been ill.

The week between the 29th and up to 4th of September was a defining time, Julie started to go off her food entirely and could only really drink through a straw.  Trudie continued to come in as often as she was needed and told Julie she was going to order a hospital bed to go in our living room, this time no objection from her, she knew she was struggling to use the stairs.  The bed was to be delivered Monday 7th.  Julie meanwhile was sleeping on her reclining chair, I would stay downstairs until she was asleep.

Saturday 5th Julie had a number of visitors, Trudie, Hannah and Matt, then Debs.  Debs was off to The USA on holiday and wanted to see Julie before she went.  I walked Deb to her car and told her this might be the last time she would see Julie, Debs was understandably upset.

Julie was becoming visibly weaker, struggling to talk.  That night she wanted to have a shower and sleep upstairs, I helped her shower and dress.  Julie said to me that evening. “You know the end might be weeks or even days, I can’t cope with this much more”.  ” I know my lovely” I replied “Don’t you cling on and keep putting yourself through this on my account”.  “You are going to have to tell me to go darling” she told me. “If I’d have known it was that easy I’d have done it 35 years ago” says  I. That was the sort of black humour which kept us together for 40 years ❤️?

Nathan arrived back and sat with his mum for a while, relaying all the goodies about Rome.   It was good he was there at that time.  Julie laid in bed and listened to the stories of Nathan and Georgia’s adventures.

Sunday started as usual but today Julie seemed different.  ” I’m very tired today sweet, I think I’ll stay in bed today for a rest”. “You’ve been lovely to me, thank you for looking after me, you’ve been the best husband an father I could wish for!”. ” Thank you my darling” I replied, ” but I took those vows seriously you know”.

She held my hand for a while then I set about the Sunday chores, popping up often to make sure she was ok.

“How are you today ” I asked Julie as I was getting dressed on the Monday “I don’t feel at all right today sweet” was her reply. ” I’ll get your meds then get you downstairs my lovely, OK? Trudie’s coming this morning to change your dressings and Leah is going to stay with you while I organise things” I coaxed, then gently helped her get her dressing gown and got her downstairs to her chair.

I knew I had to go out that morning, so I discreetly phoned Leah who told me she’d be around as soon as she had fed her boys.

“You get off to work!” Julie instructed in a whisper.  ” I won’t belong, I love you” I replied.  I never told her Leah was on her way, Julie hated causing any fuss.

A couple of hours later Leah phoned me and said Trudie was there and had asked if I could pick up a commode and could I get back to help her move Julie.  A commode I thought to myself, this’ll be interesting, I’ll probably end up wearing that, remembering the trouble I’d had with her with the wheelchair and her walking stick (which she mainly used for poking me when I’d made the mistake of dozing on the sofa!).

When I got back, commode and all, I helped Trudie move Julie, I noticed she had deteriorated in the couple of hours I’d been out.  I walked Trudie out ” I don’t think it’s going to be long” I said to her.  ” Trudie agreed with a tear in her eye. ” Are you ok? ” she asked I reassured  her I was and that I knew what to do when it happened.

Nathan arrived back from work, Hannah drove from her job and we sat in the garden while Julie slept.  I told them and Leah I didn’t think their mum was going to last much longer and we should stay with her. Julie’s dad asked if mum and he could come and see her, I told them sooner rather than later.  They arrived about 7 in the evening, Julie was drifting in and out of consciousness but raised a finger to acknowledge they were there.  They left about 7.30, upset naturally, I told them I’d keep them informed.

As I was still dressed for work I went upstairs for a shower, I’d just finished and Nathan called me, Julie wanted to move, I went down and helped them, then back up the stairs to finish dressing.  Julie was on the edge of her chair with Leah, Hannah and Nathan supporting her.  “You need to tell mum it’s ok to leave ” They all told Julie they were going to be ok, as did I, she started to vomit and struggle for breath, ” I love you all” she said and she was gone. ❤️

I made her comfortable for on last time, closed her eyes and cleaned her up.  There were tears but I am so proud of how our three children, who of course are adults coped and treated Julie’s passing as part of life.  She too was proud, I know this because she’s only in a different room, not gone forever.

Thanks for reading


Tears and No Sleep…..

imageBlack Wednesday continued to throw surprises into the evening and through the night.  Following a subdued meal Julie decided she would like to go for a walk into Earls Court Road.

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 🙂


Two weeks is a long time…….eight weeks are shorter

I haven’t written and posted since May 3rd, not because I’ve been stuck for words but we’ve been busy work wise and with all the issues that entails.

Julie is not faring well on the latest chemo.  After her latest treatment, she had to spend almost a full week in bed recovering, not so good,  not feeling well enough even to walk downstairs.  The one thing you get to find out when you are close to someone with cancer is they are not the only one.  Also, there is always someone whose battle seems harder and fortunately, there are some who make a full recovery.

A long standing client of mine, “John” has spent a good part of his later years caring for his wife who started off with breast cancer, it then spread to her jaw which she had re built but she made a full recovery.  Now John has the disease, prostrate cancer and just for good measure also in his lymph glands.  I know his wife will be there for him but life is cruel sometimes.

Then there is “Ann” Ann is an ex nurse, her husband had a major heart attack and died around the time she was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. Ann’s disease is in her lungs, liver and her bones.  When I first met her she explained she had been very ill and we would have to conduct our business while she sat down.  Once I had told her about Julie, we got on very well.

Ann too is a brave lady,  we always have a laugh and joke about life and the way it keeps tripping you up!  This week while I was hanging some new doors for her she told me she had a couple of  appointments at the hospital, one for some radiotherapy and another for a scan.  She got up on Wednesday  I asked her how she had got on.  “Not good, it’s got worse, no wonder I feel so rubbish!  Anyway back over today to get the results” she added.

Thursday her daughter in law told me Ann had been given no longer than eight weeks to live. Everyone went off to work, I carried on working.  A little while later Ann was up.  ” I suppose you’ve heard? She asked. “Yep, it’s a nasty little feller, that cancer, but I have to say Ann you just don’t have the look of a dying lady!” I reply. A little while later that day she went off with her son for lunch and to the garden centre.

I typed up her invoice the following day and emailed it to her around seven in the morning asking her to let me know when it would be convenient for her for me to pick up a cheque.  Within five minutes Ann had sent me a text saying ten would be good for her.

I arrived just after ten to find Ann up, about and in fine spirits.  “You my lovely are something else, I can’t believe you replied to my email so early!” I told her.  ” I know” she said “Isn’t it wonderful, they put me on steroids and I’m absolutely wired. Do you know, yesterday I actually walked around the Garden Centre.  Up until now I’ve had to have a wheelchair.  I’ve even written your cheque already!” She enthused.  We had a long chat about life, her funeral and loads of other totally meaningless rubbish before I left.

I know that Friday might be the last time I see Ann, it won’t be the last time I’m in the house because she has contracted Nathan and I to do more work, on her behalf, posthumously for her son.

On that Friday, Ann had all of a sudden been given some sort of closure to the battle she had been fighting for four years.  It was as if she’s been given permission to leave the wreck of her body and move on.   I really hope she survives longer than those short eight weeks, but only if she wants to.

As I put the final touches to this, I’m on a train, heading to London and the Royal Marsden with Julie, once more. Since last Saturday she’s been suffering a bit.  Her happy juice (morphine) has taken a bit of a battering over the last few days, we even had a conversation where Julie told me if the pain was this bad now, I was to ensure she drank plenty of happy juice so she didn’t suffer any more when she was ready.

Am I capable of following that instruction? Yes I’m capable and brave enough and will do whatever’s required to ensure she doesn’t suffer any more than she wants. Then face the consequences because at that stage, I won’t care that much about me, only Julie, Leah, Hannah and Nathan

Thanks for reading 🙂