Tag Archives: Leah

My Son, a tribute to a man

When our youngest daughter Hannah was born in 1985, I thought our family was complete.  Leah our eldest doted on her and as they grew and played together I was the proud Father of two very pretty little girls while Julie was the hard pressed mum who had her patience tested as they grew older.  Then on February 12th 1989  my niece, Clare was born, Julie and I went to see my brother, Nigel and sister in law Barbara and to meet Clare.

When we arrived home, Julie was quiet. In fact Julie was exceptionally quiet, she usually had a lot to say after spending a day with my family.  Once the girls were in bed I looked at her because I had an idea what was going on in her pretty little head.  “You want another one don’t you?” I questioned  “Yes I’d love another, but do you mind? After all you’re the one who has to go out and earn the money my darling” came the reply.  How could I resist the longing look in those beautiful brown eyes?

So on February 27th in the midst of a storm at Blackbrook Hospital in Fareham, in the middle of the night Julie gave birth to an 8lb bouncing baby boy and we named him Nathan Thomas.  If ever a child was conceived and born out of love it was that little boy, not that our daughters weren’t but Julie had this idea that three children were better than two!  Five days later Nathan and Julie came home and from that day on our son was smothered with love.

Leah and Hannah loved the idea that they had a real live doll to change and feed, in fact I think Julie was glad of the help.  In the coming years she’d often remark what an easy baby Nathan had been.  When Nathan started crawling, then walking, as soon as I came home from work and sat on the sofa he’d be on my lap giving me a hug.  In fact I too was smothered with love by all of my family and I enjoyed every minute.  We never had much money back then but walking down the beach, going for picnics seemed to suffice and our children remained close as they were growing up, always looking out for one another.  Of course as Leah and Hannah grew up and became teenagers they became more independent and started leading their own lives but they were always there for their brother.

Julie and I had always bought our family up to be kind to each other, polite to all and to not fight, each other or anyone else. Of course this was an almost impossible task but they listened it seemed. One day Nathan came home from school and said he’d been bullied for some time.  As a parent and any of you will know who are parents, my initial reaction was anger towards this bully.  We sat down and talked about this problem in the evening Julie and I.  Julie’s solution to the problem  was to go and talk to the head teacher at the school but as I pointed out to her, I felt this would make Nathan a target so we agreed I would talk to Nathan.

Nathan was never a tall boy, but he’s always been physically strong so after he relayed the various bullying incidents to me I gave him my opinion.  “You know the thing with bullies son, they pick on you because they think because you’re polite and have manners you’re weak.  You and I know that’s not the case and I’m afraid sometimes you have to fight fire with fire” I explained.  “You mean I’ve got to fight him Dad but I’ll get hurt!” Nathan replied.  “You’re not made of glass son and yes it might hurt but believe me it’s the only way to stop the bullying. Remember though there’s no such thing as play fighting so make it count and know when to stop!”

A few days later I was in the garden and Nathan came to me and said “You were right Dad I’m not made of glass”. That’s all he said, no elaboration or bragging.  I was a proud father that day.

As time went on my son would come to work with me from time to time, during school holidays and just to earn a bit of pocket money. Even at fourteen or fifteen I used to watch the way he talked to my clients, he always shook their hands when he was introduced and answered when he was talked to.  Many times the clients complimented me on how polite my son was and I relayed this to Julie. “Where do you think he gets that from Kev?” She asked ” You I suppose, you’re the educated one” I replied. ” Don’t be daft, he gets it from you.  He watches you my sweet, you’re his Dad and his role model!”  You know I’d never thought about any of this at all deliberately but it was then I realised what a great responsibility it was to be a parent and I was closing in on fifty years old by then.  How easy it would have been to have got it wrong, how different things could have been! I remember a feeling of relief, thank god I had Julie by my side!

Julie and were on holiday in Gran Canaria when we got the call.  We had watched the Gran Villa del Conde hotel being built over previous visits and I promised her when it opened we’d stay there, we weren’t disappointed.  Nathan had just finished college  and had met an Australian girl.  We’d met Natalie a couple of times and she seemed nice enough.  “Dad, how do I go about getting a visa to Australia? I’ve sorted out my passport” he asked. “I’ve no idea my son, ask your mum, she knows about these things”  I passed the phone to Julie and she walked away talking to Nathan.

When Julie returned I asked her what was going on and she explained our son, who had always seemed to be a home boy had been invited to go to Australia by Natalie and he seemed determined to go.  “Well he is eighteen and it’ll be good for him to see somewhere else I suppose” I thought out loud, not believing for a minute he’d go. Nathan had a job in a factory packing surgical needles and he’d always been a saver so I assumed if he did go he’d have the financial side covered.

About a week later we returned home and Nathan told us he’d sorted his visa, a two year working visa.  So he was going then?  “I’m flying out in ten days time!” He explained.  I saw the look on Julie’s face, the look of worry only a mother can carry.  “I’m going to stay with Natalie’s mother in their house in Perth” he continued “And find a job when I’m there”.  Julie of course had many questions. “But who are these people?  We don’t know them! How do we know you’re going to be alright?” “Mum, I’ll be fine, Natalie knows places where I can get a job. Anyway I think my chances of getting a job out there are better than here, don’t worry!”.

Once alone, I tried to allay Julie’s mind, telling her he was a man now and could make his own decisions, then explaining he needed to spread his wings and we should be supportive.  Julie understood all of this of course but it didn’t make things any easier.  So there it was, after a family get together,  ten days later we took Nathan to Heathrow Airport and sat with him for three hours before he boarded a  Boeing 747 bound for Perth.  Did I detect a flicker of regret in his eyes as he went through into the departure lounge?  Julie cried all the way back from the airport, she was inconsolable but we had another family crisis to deal with once we returned, you’ll read about that in my book though.

Every night Julie cried herself to sleep for a month, it was hard.  We kept in contact with Nathan through email and he told us he was working driving a truck delivering something or another so we were relieved.  Then a phone call. “Dad, can you send me some money? I need to find somewhere to live! Natalie’s fallen out with her mother and her boyfriend and we’ve nowhere to go!” “So what are you going to  do son? I asked him. “Buy a tent until we can find somewhere to rent, just need somewhere for a couple of weeks”. “Ok, ok, tell me what to do and I’ll get you some money over”. Nathan told me what to do and what office to transfer the money to and I did straight away.

I have to say there is much more to the story but that’s for another time.  Needless to say I was proud of Nathan for sorting the problem out and then happier when he told me Natalie and him had found a place to live.  We were able to Skype by then, which was better I suppose, then one day Leah dropped another bombshell.  Nathan was planning to get married.  ” You can’t tell him I’ve told you dad” she said “He’ll never forgive me!”  Julie of course was upset and angry.  “What do you think about this then Kev?” She exploded. “I think Julie I’m not going to lose my son and the way I see it he knows his own mind and they may be young and if it works then so be it and if it doesn’t well  it’s a tough learning curve for both of them!” “Well, I’m waiting for Nathan to tell me himself, I’m not accepting that news second-hand!” Julie stated with both anger and disappointment in her voice.

Nathan did tell Julie and she accepted the fact then a couple of months later we found ourselves on a plane bound for Perth along with Julie’s mum and dad.  Julie and I had arranged to meet Nathan and his future wife in the reception of our hotel prior to going for a meal to meet Natalie’s mother.  Nathan entered the reception and although I was so happy to see my son for the first time in well over a year, I was shocked by the change.  The slightly shy teenager who Julie and I had seen off at Heathrow had become a determined confident man but they both seemed happy together so who was I to judge?  After all our love for our children had always been unconditional.  So we went for the meal, Nathan’s future mother-in-law seemed very flighty but when I asked her how she felt about the wedding told me she though Nathan was a lovely hard working man and she gave her blessing.  Of course in that May of 2009 when asked by Nathan if we’d help with the wedding preparations Julie and I readily agreed, then on the Saturday in Kings Park the wedding promises were made in a beautiful setting and all seemed good.  Nathan by this time had made many friends and was working for a finance company.  His boss had nothing but praise for him and his skills.  Life seemed good.  During our stay, Nathan and Natalie made us welcome and showed us around Perth and introduced us to their friends, Julie and I both agreed this was certainly the life for a young couple.  The time passed all too quickly and soon after many more tears, we returned to the UK to carry on life as we knew it!

Christmas Day 2009 where was I at 5.30 in the morning?  Waiting for Nathan to come through the arrivals gate at Heathrow!  My son-in-law Simon had insisted on driving up with me.  Nathan landed back in the UK with 6cents, his marriage had collapsed, his wife had taken everything, the dream was over.

It was a sad time, the confident man Julie and I had left in Australia was now a darker soul, full of cynicism, mistrust and anger.  Off course he was welcomed back with open arms by Leah, Hannah, Simon and us, but how do you help your son when you can see he’s crushed?  We just loved him and over the next few months coaxed him back to life, encouraged him to live his life.  Of course there were times I could see he was hurting and that hurt not only me but his sisters and mother.

For his part, Nathan built and sold two cars over the next couple of years while learning his trade from me.  I had forgotten just how quickly he learned and how intelligent he was, at times I found it difficult to keep up with his thirst for knowledge.  Nathan met his now fiancée Georgia in 2012, the change in him was apparent within weeks, he became a much happier and settled person, I’m pleased to say.

Everything in your life happens for a reason though and Nathan’s return happened for a reason.   When Julie was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 Nathan came into his own.  The girls did their part too of course. Leah ferried us to and from the railway station every time we had to go to London to The Royal Marsden Hospital and that was frequently.  Hannah left work early once a week to spend time with her mum, then called in as often as she could.  Nathan though lived at home and saw Julie’s suffering on a daily basis, tending to his mum at the times when we had to wait for an ambulance, watching his mum in intense pain but never panicking.   Nathan took the reigns of the business during that most difficult time of my life, working hard and troubling me only when he needed a second opinion.

Now as we approach Nathan’s 27th birthday on the 27th of February I want to tell you what’s prompted me to pay tribute to this man who has made my life so much easier over the last months.  Last Thursday he did a little thing which meant so much to me, he called me upstairs and said “Dad, shall we go out for dinner tonight? I’ll pay!” That was the first time we’d been out for a meal together since Julie died and I really enjoyed it.

So my son, I’ve watched you grow and learn, I may even have changed your nappies once or twice, been there when you’ve been hurt, seen you at your worst but I couldn’t wish for a more hard working, supportive friend and I wish you all the luck you deserve as you and Georgia look forward to starting a life together in your own home some time this year.

You’ve been through a lot Nathan in your first twenty seven years but that is what shapes you as a man and you couldn’t have made me more proud!

 

 

 

Weekends and reflection

It’s a funny old thing living without your wife, you tend to eat alone, think your thoughts alone without anyone to discuss them with, in fact everything you do on a daily basis you’re alone unless you’ve a supportive family.  Fortunately I’m lucky enough to have that support.

Julie and I always nurtured our family, not because we wanted anything else but for them to grow into well rounded, loving human beings.  Luckily we succeeded, not by design but by accident really.  Sure, Julie read all of the “parenting” books but none of them really prepare you for the task ahead.

So what has this to do with being a widower?  Last weekend I spent a couple of days ripping my eldest daughter, Leah and her husbands’ garden apart to remodel it to make it grandson friendly.  This weekend I spent Saturday with Leah and my two youngest grandsons first at an aviation museum in Tangmere ( let’s face it, all boys like aeroplanes, right?) then on to Porchester Castle because all boys like castles too!

Sunday morning, the younger of my two girls, Hannah and her partner Matt pay a visit with his two daughters (eldest grandson Jack is with his father for the weekend).  Then off to Julie’s mum and dads for lunch, back around 3.30pm to sit and write my first blog for several weeks.

So what has all this to do with being a Widower?  It makes you feel wanted when you feel empty! I’ve met people from all walks of life throughout my 60 plus years and one thing I’ve learnt about folk is they really care only about there own lives because basically it’s human nature to do so! Do I blame them?  Of course not, so I try to live my life quietly and within my family circle which includes a few friends too.  One thing I know though, my life although filled with sadness has purpose in the future.

When you lose someone you’ve been with for two thirds of your life you change.  Your outlook on life changes and somehow I’d like to be able to imprint my life knowledge into others.  I’d like to tell politicians to stop pulling the wool over our eyes.  I’d like to remind doctors that in years past, a medical career was a vocation albeit well paid.  I’d like to remind big organisations, their staff are what makes their companies, not the greedy shareholders.

Finally I’d like to share a little spiritual knowledge, in the light of the upcoming EU referendum:

Change is not something to be frightened of, but, something to be embraced and used to your own advantage and to the advantage of others.

 

 

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

 

 

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

Birthday party, garden parties and The Circle of Life

imageOne week following Black Wednesday and life has become clearer to a certain extent, plans have been made for the near future and we were back in London for a “handover meeting ” with Julie’s consultant at the Royal Marsden, Charlotte Benson.  “You’ve given it all you have got!” She tells Julie in her comforting bedside manner voice, this is a voice of genuine concern and humility because she feels that she has let down this patient.  Charlotte also knows this won’t be the last time she feels this way because as a general in the army fighting cancer, she knows cancer is a formidable enemy and won’t give in lightly.

Strangely though after we’ve gone through and exhausted all questions I found myself thanking Charlotte for all she has done over the last year or so, after all it wasn’t her fault the cancer had been missed for two years by an incompetent consultant at our local hospital!  No, the team at the Marsden worked hard to try and stem the advance of the cancerous devil.  Enough said!

We had an early dinner at the hotel that evening because we had been treated to a visit to the theatre to watch The Lion King.  While we were getting dressed to go out, Julie came out with another of her now common attacks on her disease.  “This was the only f*****g dress this shitty piece of offal will let me get in to!” She said half to me but mainly to herself.  “Don’t you worry sweetie, you look good whatever you wear” was my reply with a smile and off we went.

Once sat in the Theatre, I found myself sat with a little girl to my left.  It turned out this was her first trip to see a show and she was absolutely captivated.  The irony of this encounter wasn’t lost on me, to my left a little girl who was so excited and lucky to see the vibrancy on stage for the first time and to my right, Julie who had been on stage many times as well as in the audience, knowing she might not get to attend many more performances.  The number being performed while these thoughts drifted through my mind? “The Circle of Life”…..

On the train journey back Julie announced, “I want a party!, it’s going to be my last birthday and I want a party!”  “Ok” I reply, somehow knowing there was more to come. “When would you like it?”  ” As soon as possible of course, and I’ve decided on a few other things as well!” She carried on looking out of the train window.

Once back at home our tribe start descending.  Party was the word of that evening.  The evening became night and the night became an impromptu family party, it was heart warming to be sat at the table in our garden watching Leah, Hannah and Nathan laughing and bantering the night away, a definite memory making moment of love and pride, knowing our three cubs had grown up into independent, hard working Lions and Lionesses.  🙂

One of our really good friends dropped by on the following Saturday to see Julie.  “I’m going to have a party Mel and soon as possible” Julie explained.  “Leave it to me and Michelle” We settled on a date, the 13th of June which was a week following Julie’s birthday then off tromped Mel to break ther news to our other friend, Michelle that she would be helping!  We of course (that’ll be the Royal “We” i.e. me!) would be financing the bash. 🙂

DSC_0003During this period of time, between the beginning of June and the 13th, Nathan and I started to rearrange and generally re-model our garden, not because the party was to be held at home but because Julie wanted us to create a memorial garden for her, “somewhere for family and friends can come and sit and have a drink when I’m gone” she announced prior to the operation.  Julie has a flair for design and Nathan has inherited it.  Nathan and Julie, designed, Nathan and I did the heavy work and everyone had a good time spending on this creation.  One end of the garden had become overgrown, we cleared it and laid down bark and gravel, we trimmed shrubs, and pulled weeds.  Nathan decided a well was required, we built it, Nathan added blue l.e.d. lights, we installed a further water feature and solar powered lighting.

 DSC_0105Julie came up with other little gems, such as the “Beach/sea” theme, “we do live by the sea” she told usphoto(31).  Over the last four weeks we’ve moved and added to our little garden, we’ve spent many of those nights sitting in the garden chatting, sometimes alone and sometimes with our DSC_0113family or friends who’ve dropped in.  Either way the project has given Julie much pleasure.  As for Julie’s Birthday party, that went without a hitch, Julie never got in until 3 in the morning, enjoying every minute in the company of family and a few friends, she couldn’t have everyone we know as friends because my budget couldn’t take anymore of a battering in June.

We’re now into July, how are things now?  Well since that “Black Wednesday”, Nathan and I have tried to go for lunch with Julie every Friday.  Leah and Hannah come in to see their Mum as often as their lives allow and I’ve been spending as much time as possible with Julie, only leaving her when absolutely neccessary.  Her Meds have been modified during the last 24 hours to try to stem the pain but this, at the moment is fighting a losing battle.  However, we remain hopeful, after all how much pain and for how long is a woman, even one as stong as Julie able to withstand the onslaught?  To see the woman who you’ve known and loved for forty years crying in the middle of the night, not because she has life shortening cancer but due to the sheer physical pain she is having to endure hurts.  Knowing there is nothing I can do except try and comfort her as she fights just isn’t enough!  I want to take this vicious disease out of her body, punch it in the face and give it a bloody good kicking!!

Hopefully, the new Meds will kick in sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading and keep your fingers crossed 🙂

To be continued…..

 

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 🙂