Tag Archives: tears

2016, the first full year without Julie


It’s been a quirky, funny and at times a horrific year.

2016 started less than three months after Julie died after losing her battle with cancer.  In January I made a trip out to Tenerife to stay with our long time friends, Linda and Pete.  The trip was a welcome break from the intensity of caring for Julie, then watching her slip away, her once beautiful body racked and ruined by disease.  Tenerife was my first time travelling abroad alone and it was a strange experience, sitting in Gatwick airport feeling alone amongst the throngs of other passengers, having a coffee without anyone to discuss the forthcoming trip with, just waiting for the boarding gate to be announced.  Once in Tenerife, I was made to feel at home by my lovely friends and it was a welcome and pleasant distraction from the previous three years.

February arrived so Nathan, my son and I set about carrying on with our business,  because without a doubt life has to carry on, doesn’t it? The sheer shock of losing someone so close is never far away though but you get up in the morning and get on with your life.  You laugh and feel guilty, then some days well, you wish there aren’t going to be anymore days.  That of course is selfish, because how would my children react if they were to lose their Dad so soon after their Mum?

March saw a visit to a medium with my friends Bev and Stuart, comforting? Yes, but possibly too soon! My mind was still in a turmoil and many things didn’t register at the time, since then? Well let’s just say the medium was spot on!  March also saw a wedding, Pete and Linda tied the knot in Gibraltar then the party moved on to Tenerife.  It was there I realised that I had taken a real emotional battering.  My confidence had disappeared and usually a planner, I had to “wing it”. That was a difficult time.

Arriving back from Tenerife in early April I felt bruised, not in the physical sense but emotionally, my mind had been constantly spinning and I felt I’d let my two dear friends down. I coped by throwing myself back into work, then towards the end of April I had some more bad news.  Angela, one of Julie’s closest cousins lost her husband to cancer! I’d only met Angela a couple of times but something compelled me to pen a letter to her, I did and felt much better for writing.

During May work as always was busy and weekends were busy too with family, one thing losing someone close teaches you is money is only secondary, it’s time that is the most valuable commodity.  Unlike money, you never know when time is going to run out.  So May was like most other months during my adult life, filled with as much time spending time with my family and grandchildren.

It was Julie’s first birthday without us on June 5th, she would’ve been 58 this year and the way she carried her age before she became ill she probably would only look about 45 had she still have been alive.  We, as a family decided to have a meal together and a small intimate party, the weather was good so we carried on the party into the evening sat in the garden.  Laughter and children filled the garden that day, just the way Julie liked it. Of course June also saw Brexit and the resignation of our Prime Minister.  The “Brexit” vote made me realise and see some of the hatred and selfishness locked away inside people, I watched and was subjected to veiled comments and abuse as a leaver.  I forgive all of those abusers because I know they are frightened and fear tends to bring out the worst in people.

July and August were a mixture of meals at my home for the family and visits to various museums, English Heritage and National Trust properties with my grandsons.  Trust me, boys love cars, castles, cannons and dinosaurs! We made a visit to the Isle of Wight, firstly to Alum Bay, the less said about that the better, it’s a total rip off with run down attractions.  Osborn House, however was a real treat, picnic in the grounds and a walk around Queen Victoria’s retreat, brilliant.  We also made a trip to the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth and were delighted to find The Mary Rose exhibition had been updated.  Really we made loads of memories this summer, little things which everyone will remember but boy did we do some stuff!!

September of course, saw the first anniversary of Julie’s passing, difficult because that first year is full of “firsts”.  We marked September 7th not by being morose but with a chilli, laughter and lighting candles in the evening.  As September 2016 drew to a close, it was difficult to comprehend that a full year had passed since I lost the love of my life. Oh, and I bought a new car.

October? Well it was busy that’s for sure! Hannah’s birthday, work, just busy and then awaiting the clocks to go back and the darkness to draw in.

November started with a visit to my brothers house for an big ole’ family firework party on the fifth.  Work, as it always does at this time of years ramps up, then tragedy, a phone call from Yvonne, the middle of my three sisters, my lovely brother-in-law, Steve had been killed, cycling home on his way back from work! Another family devastated! Nathan flew to the US for a holiday and thanks to a member of our staff, I ended up working for the following two weeks like a twenty year old!

December 2016. Steves funeral took place early this month then a week later Julie’s dad had a malignant tumour removed from his arm.  Then a milestone, I went out socialising without my family for the first time in probably three years, up until that point I’d just not really wanted to be anywhere apart from home.  Christmas decorations and tree were put up then a week before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited to attend another wedding, this time it was Stuart and Bev tying the knot, lovely service in the wonderful Rhinefeild House Hotel in the heart of the New Forest.

On Christmas Day I got up at 6am to prepare a meal for Julie’s mum and dad who due to ill health were unable to leave their home, Leah, Hannah and Nathan delivered it along with Simon and the three grandsons, Jack, Archie and Freddie?

Later that Christmas Day, another milestone, I cried for the first time since the birth of my son nearly 27 years ago.  Oh I’d felt like it, but even on the day Julie died the tears just wouldn’t materialise.  I guess all of my life had to be strong for someone?  When the tears came I felt relieved and realised I was still human and miss Julie as much, if not more at these family occasions?.

2016 didn’t finish pushing up surprises, a happier surprise happened on December 31st.  What was it? I’ll tell you about that one in due course. ?

So what did I learn during 2016? Well just when you think you’ve got life under control it throws a curve ball, then another, in fact so many there were times when I struggled to cope but cope I did.  It’s not just me who has to cope though, everywhere I look there are people struggling to cope. I’m lucky though, I write it down and hope someone reads my words and hope the words bring comfort to at least one person who feels the desperation caused by loneliness..

So to anyone who reads this I send you my heartfelt best wishes for 2017, may all of your dreams come true.

As always, 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 🙂