It’s the little things

It’s the little things I miss:

Hearing you potter down the corridor to the loo in the night

Listening to you say you didn’t sleep a wink when enthusiastic snoring was there to be heard loud and clear that night

Breakfast with the sun’s rays pouring in – the red table cloth I bought you for Christmas one year that you so loved, grapefruit always, bacon sometimes, an egg boiled just the right amount of time mostly, sliced brown warburton bread a must

Watching you consult your diary for what was coming up and to check you had the right day and time for my next visit

Coming in to say goodnight at the end of the day and a last sleepy conversation

Watching you put your favourite checked cap on as we left the house and making sure you had your keys in your back pocket

Chatting in the Rover as we headed out for yet another medical thing or much better a drive up to park on the Hooe for a coffee with a view, a meal out at some of your favourite haunts, a visit to see Nick or Geoff, a trip out over Dartmoor.

Watching you tuck into a Moules dish – complete silence and ultimate concentration

Listening to some of the same familiar stories and being surprised now and then by a new one

Watching you open the morning’s post with your silver letter opener

Looking up from the sofa to see you there

Trying to see how many Mastermind questions we could answer between us

Our mutual teasing over the differing versions of the news of the day as shown in your Telegraph and my Guardian

Hearing you say ” it’s been a good day”

I miss all those little things and more

Lots of tears but that’s ok because I’m missing you

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A new year without you

It’s been so long now that i’ve worked my life around visits to you, planned and suddenly needed that I wonder how 2018 will be without that. Dates booked for trains, painstakingly written down by you in your yellow diary – Susi arrives 12.56, Susi here, Susi leaves 14.55. Each time after writing them down you’d say “oh good”. They meant so much to us both. Your joy at my arrival as I called out at the door and your grumpiness the day I was to leave “I hate it when you go”. So scattered across the diary were these entries punctuated with medical appointments for all the different parts of your body that weren’t working so well and monthly Masons meetings. Your diary was consulted so regularly. Big black sometimes somewhat illegible script across its pages that had got bigger and bigger as your sight failed. I remember the search for the perfect pen. There was success at last.

Daily phone calls, sometimes many in a day when you were anxious, had lost something, couldn’t remember how to do something or just wanted another chat. Dad would come up on my phone. Will miss not seeing that on my phone in 2018.

i took at least one photo of you each visit, just in case it would be our last. So I look back now over the years since mum died and see hundreds of images of happy times shared with you out and about in Plymouth, the trips away to Chichester, Southwold, Norfolk, Surrey, Padstow, the moors and in your home. Each one captures a feeling, a conversation, a memory and they bring me comfort now.

Its only 4 days since you died but time has such a strange quality right now. Sometimes it feels like minutes since I got the call from Si and we shed tears for you, our Dad. Many tears since then, at unexpected moments, prompted by a thought, an image, a conversation, the gentle sympathy of friends. Tears on waking and remembering that never again will I watch you write those dates of my visits in your diary and break into a huge smile on my arrival. We have raised a glass to you often since Friday and shared happy memories of times with you. How you enjoyed a glass of red wine and company.

The love of a husband, friends and some family will see me through the days, weeks and months to come.

I am glad you left gently while sleeping with no pain and not alone. It’s all I wanted for you. I wouldn’t have wanted you to live on becoming less and less of who you were. So i’m grateful for that. It was time for you. You were so tired and had battled on so long despite your weakened heart. It’s just hard to start to get used to the idea of you not being there to visit, to have boiled eggs for breakfast with, to get your calls to help you find a lost pair of glasses, to laugh with, to read Edward Lear with, to hear you say you love me, to watch you snooze in the sunshine in your chair overlooking the harbour, to kiss goodnight, to say “ do you remember “ with.

It will continue to be a good life for me full of love and happiness with the many people that mean so much to me . I know this. But it will be a life without you there in the middle of it. Right now it’s hard to know how that will be as the weeks and months and years follow. A life without you. I just don’t know how that will be. What I do know is that right now I feel a huge sense of loss. My Dad.

Farewell

Cancer and sepsis finally defeated you this morning Anne and we will miss you. Downstairs neighbour, friend of my John’s for some 35 years supporting him through key points in his life, a friend of mine since we first met some 6 years ago. 

You searched so many of your adult years for your mother – young catholic unmarried mum forced by the Catholic Church and her parents to give up you her first child. Year after year like all those other stories being heard now you searched for that mother. Records lost, records burnt, try next month/next year, sorry we can’t help you. The nuns and their church have so much pain to answer for. 

You had your own family but that gap gnawed away. At 65 you finally found your mum, but a year too late. She had died. Your joy at then tracking down a half sister, meeting with her and catching up on a lifetime you were excluded from. Heartbreakingly sad and happy. Your happiness at having family though was precious. I remember you showing me the photos on your phone from your trip over to Ireland to meet then the first time. 

10 years since initial diagnosis and you have had such a tough time. Throughout your smile, your infectious humour, your loving supportive relationships with others, your joy at the simple things in life, your enjoyment at securing a bargain. Such a warm person. You’ve been loved by many in your 68 years. 

I saw you just six days ago and it felt then your end was not far away. A shadow of your lovely self. 

Your husband John will struggle and I will do what I can to support him through these next days just as you would always do for others.

I shall miss you Anne. A beautiful sunny image of you from our wedding – so beautiful in your hat. Thank you for being our friend. 

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