Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas 2010

Its going to be hard this Christmas, it being the first one since Jane left us. The long dark cold nights don't make things any easier either. I've turned down a few invitations to 'go out' in the run up to the festive season, not wanting to go out and make merry. I have this strange feeling on occasions when I am enjoying myself, that I am in some way being unfaithful to Jane's memory and that inevitably ruins the evening for me.

Christmas presents have taken up a large proportion of my spare time lately. Jane was always in charge of this department and initially the thought of it now being down to me was daunting. However I have quite enjoyed it so far. I was always thought of by Jane and the kids a bit of a miser when it came to pressies (well they would say that). I wanted to get something special for Catherine so I have had made an inscribed silver pendant. In one side there are sealed a small amount of Jane's ashes that I had saved for this occasion and in the other a lovely photo of Jane at her best.

We have been invited to Christmas dinner by James' girlfriends family which is really nice. On boxing day, Caroline, Jane's best friend has invited us all down to her house for the day. I'm grateful for both invites as the thought of having to cook the turkey 2 years in a row was not appealing.

Happy Christmas to all our friends out there and I'll see you all in the new year.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

More pictures of 'Janes Bay'

Beautiful place (out of school hols..)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Scatter the ashes

When it came to scattering Jane's ashes, it didn't think that it would be a problem for me, so last Thursday I made my way to North Devon towards a little cove near Woolacombe. Jane wanted her ashes scattered in Barricombe Bay, or 'The Shell Beach as we called it due to the millions of tiny shells that made up the for the lack of sand. We loved this place and had some fantastic family holidays here.
I took her out of my rucksack and we spoke for a long while. Then I scattered her on the shells. It was one of the hardest and most emotional things I have ever done.

You can see the bay above. I visited her every day through to the Sunday. Now it will be even more special.

Friday, 1 October 2010

We made the news

50 million for cancer sufferers who can't get treatment on the NHS. Jane will be smiling right now. Her's and the many voices have been answered at last. I know its not a lot as regards cancer treatment BUT it is a start. Well done....

ITN did a piece at lunchtime and showed clips of Jane's film... I was so proud.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Slight hic cup

Started back to work at end of August.. 4 hours a day to start with, now upto six. The police are good with that sort of thing. Its a good way to get you back into the swing of things and it certainly helped me.

I was doing ok up until recent when the news showed David Cameron rushing to his fathers side just before he died. The following day on Radio 2 there was a phone in asking for people who had experienced similar situations and asking what it had meant to them to be at the side of their loved ones as they died. I listened to people phoning in talking about their despair at missing that moment. There was caller after caller literally crying down the phone trying to explain the circumstances of how they were not able to be at the bedside and how much it has affected them since. I was in bits and haven't really recovered and found myself hunting for momentos of jane that I can keep close.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Janes' wardrobe

I've been staring at it for weeks, even daring to open it on a few occasions. Is it time to sort it out ? Jane isn't coming back so why is this going to be so hard... because its the last physical thing I have left to remind me of her. All her clothes hang there quietly expecting her return, each one with a different memory of a place, a holiday, a special occasion when it was worn last.

I start on the smaller items. Underwear, tops, trousers and shorts are all pulled out, neatly folded and placed in pile on the bed. Even these have their history as it was hard to stop the tears. Then the shoes. Unlike a lot of women, Jane wasn't that big on shoes. As long as they were comfy and slightly stylish that was enough and she just stuck to a couple of pairs thank goodness so it wasn't long before these were bagged up. I kept her favourite slippers, they are stopping with me.

I look at the bags filled with Janes' clothes and instantly feel as if I am betraying her in some way. Throwing all her things away as if she never existed... God, why is this so hard. I'm joined by Catherine who choses a couple of her moms' tops for herself which cheers me up.

I look at the gaps on the shelves caused by my activities and that horrible sence of loss descends again. I fill the gaps with bed linen and feel a bit better. I look at the larger items hanging in a neat line and decide to call it a day. Enough was enough they can stay there until I'm ready.

I took the bags to the local St Marys Hospice Charity shop, nodded at the lady, dropped the bags and scuttled out not daring to look back.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Time moves on

Got back at midnight last night from Devon with Ed, following a week's road trip. Make mental note... *never go on road trip again to Devon and Cornwall in school holidays.
My goodness, I had forgotten how busy it gets. Every town we drove into was full and you couldn't stop. Penzance to start.. no B&B's available, had to get a farm B&B well outside. Next day via Sennen Cove, Perrenporth to Padstow (where I have always wanted to visit). Drove into Padstow and then straight out as every car park, coffee shop, restaurant was full of holiday makers and screaming kids. Probably due to the weather that kept them off the beaches. Forget Newquay, the traffic queue just to get into town was about 2 miles long.
Stopped at little place called Rock. Very posh, apparently the princes stayed there when they were young. It was full of 'City' people in the summer homes and very 'sloany' teenagers trying to look like surfer dudes however their Amex gold cards gave them away. Stopped at another farm B&B which was great, nice a friendly and with 8, 5 week old black labrador pups to play with.
Then to Woolacombe where we pitched the 6 berth tent in record time (53 mins). As it turned out, the best weather was when we were putting up the tent, otherwise it was cold and windy. Once again packed as you can imagine. Had a few games of golf the best being at Ilfracombe, lovely day and views and with a discount green fee as well. The weather forcast said rain and some sun so we packed up the tent and headed into Barnstable to watch a mate performing in a local bar (Musician that is.. not a drunk... lol)
We left Barnstable at 2200hrs and were back home at 0012hrs in a warm comfy bed.

I think it would have been cheaper to have a week in the Canaries !!!!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Normality returns

Things have been strangely 'normal' recently. Life has been continuing without too much upset, the kids have been getting on with things and I have popped into work to say hello and thank you for your kind thoughts and flowers.
I went into the Dr's the other day for my bloods to be checked against a multitude of possible fatal illnesses I think I'm gonna get, results back next week, I'll keep you posted. Dr stopped me having full body scan saying I can tell you there's nothing wrong with you.. Oh ok. Paranoid ??

Decided to take Ed on a 'walk about' in next few days to Devon. Surf boards, tent and travel kettle.. lets just see where we end up. He's well up for it. Off to see Grace and Sarah this weekend.. up t'north.. expecting lots of gravy on things.. lol.

Sleeping well at last and golf improving.. at last.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Nearly..but not quite.

You might remember Jane mentioning that her film, Jane Journey had been short listed for the medical short film 'Oscars' . Well the awards were last night and although the film received special praise it didn't win the outright prize. A shame but what an achievement to be shortlisted amongst 100's of entries. Well done Red and thank you. It will always be treasured by her family and friends.
Been taking advantage of the warm weather and doing those outside jobs I've been meaning to do for months. Rendering, painting, jet washing the patio... sunbathing. I'm looking after next door's chickens at the moment. Grace came up to collect the eggs this morning and promptly declared that she required scrambled eggs for her lunch.
Looks like being a scorching weekend for those of us in B'ham and south of... James is coming home because his girlfriend's grand father, who was in the RAF and talked for hours with James about..'In my day'.. died suddenly two weeks ago. The funeral is on Thursday next week. Its been a bad few weeks to say the least.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Its been a month

Do you know, even right up to the very end, I didn't ever think that Jane would die from her decease. I had every confidence that she would get over anything that it threw at her such was her fighting ability. I always used to say to her that all her vital organs were clear so I think you've got nothing to worry about. She used to smile at me.
It wasn't until I read her blog from beginning to end that I saw the gradual decline in her health. Going through it with her, it didn't seem to register how poorly she was getting, I just went into automatic pilot, fetching & carrying, trips to Dr's, hospitals, hospices without ever realizing that she was getting worse. Even when she lost the use of her legs I thought that it was a temporary set back and that with a bit of work we could get her mobile again.
I have had plenty of time now to think about it and realize that I was just hiding from what was happening in front of me. I just didn't want to think about it, Jane would be here for years yet and we can grow old together. This is probably why her death was a big shock to me and why I'm still having a hard time coping.
I know a lot of people are encouraging me to do lots of things, go play more golf, go out on your bike, go out with some friends. I do all those things but then have terrible feelings of guilt that I have been enjoying myself. Is this normal ?
Anyway, I sprinkled some of Jane's ashes around the garden and allotment just so she can be close to us. Her brother Mathew and his family are coming back over in August so we can all go down to Devon and leave her at rest on her shell beach.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Sun, sea and sentiment

I took the boys away for the weekend to Woolacombe and naturally along came Jason and Mathew. Jason had organized a beautiful chalet at Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park (pre summer rush prices). The weather was gorgeous, the surf was pumping and the boys were on form playing practical jokes on each other. Ed fell for the old trick of dig a big hole in the sand and cover it with a towel !!
As I have said before, many a happy family holiday was had in this place and it did bring back lots of memories, happy ones for a change. It was nice to sit watching the surfers from the grassy headland as the sun was going down. I could sit there for hours much to Jane's annoyance, she would be tutting at sighing at me to go back to the flat. She never was a 'great outdoors' person. Come to think of it we both had completely different tastes in what we liked to do so there was a lot of give and take in the relationship. Perhaps that's the secret of a happy marriage, go and do what you want to do on your own but knowing your partner will always be there for you when you get back. I liked the great outdoors, cycling, surfing etc, Jane liked trying out new recipes, red wine and a good party. I remember a quote she told one of her online friends once... ' I don't do walking boots, I do tottering about on high heels..'

When returning from our great adventures me and the kids would recite tails of woe or elation to Jane who would always encourage us to do more as long as it didn't involve her..
This time there was no one to tell, out loud anyway but I did manage a smile at her sat on the windowsill overlooking her kitchen.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I Know....

I know that Jane's quality of life in her last few weeks was poor with almost nil mobility and a daily procession of well meaning carers coming into the house to wash, toilet and even just move her.
I know that she was terrible amounts of pain, a lot more pain than she even lot on to me.
I know that one of the last things she said to me after the third lot of carers that day, was ," God Martin, I hope this doesn't go on for much longer for both our sakes."
I know all these things and that her death was a release for her BUT.... at this precise moment if I could have her back, I would.

My brain has managed to block out those terrible last few weeks and concentrates on happy, healthy Jane, laughing and joking and ever present in the kitchen, baking and cooking our favourite cakes and sunday roasts. This in some ways makes things worse as the loss seems far greater as it is not marred by thoughts of ' Well she is out of pain now, no more suffering.'

I know things will ease over time, but just at moments things are very hard.

I picked up Jane's ashes yesterday... In July they will be sprinkled on a small beach in Woolacombe where we spent many happy family holidays. Where shall I put them until then ?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Goodbye Jane

It was a lovely sunny day. Jane arrived right on time in her wicker coffin surrounded by beautiful flowers. It was only a short drive to the church, about 400m actually, but as we turned through the gates it was lovely to see the car park packed with relatives and friends. What a turn out. I held Catherine's hand as we walked behind Jane into the church where we were married 28 years ago and where each of our children had been baptised.

Father George made reference to her blog and film and to the hope and encouragement she had given to other cancer sufferers. Caroline gave a moving account of their friendship over 34 years touching on many trips away with six children in tow and car packed to the roof with push chairs and nappies. She talked about Jane's life before and after diagnosis and about the many friends she had made through her blog. It was a thoughtful and fitting tribute to a wonderful wife, mother and person. Thank you Caroline, Jane would have been proud of you. I certainly was. Jane's brother John read out a selection of comments from her blog followers and friends.
Catherine read out Jane's poem "Miss me but let me go'. Absolutely flawless, I still don't know how she did it, I couldn't have done.
Jason, one of James's best friends played and sang live, Geoff Buckley's 'Hallaluya'. There was not a dry eye in the church. I am so proud of him. It was a big ask as he had known Jane since he and James were little boys. Jane had treated him and his brother Mathew as if her own sons and vise versa.

We then followed in line to Janes's final resting place, where after a short service we all said goodbye and left her to the tunes of George Michael's 'Faith'.. one of her favourites.

The 'do' after was just right. Cakes and sandwiches, lots of flowers and plenty of photographs shown on DVD of Jane over the last three years. She looked so happy despite the cancer, but that was Jane through and through, never once self pitying but always wanting for her and others around her to enjoy themselves.

Now we must get on. Her brothers have now gone back home and the kids seem to be carrying on where they left off. That just leaves me. I think it will take a bit longer before I can sleep soundly and not suffer those horrible moments of complete loneliness and despair at thoughts that I will never see my Janie again.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Yesterday was a bad day

There have been ok days and there have been bad days. Yesterday was a bad day for everyone. The house was strangely quiet which didn't help. All arrangements for Jane's funeral have been made and we were just trying to find things to do to take our minds away from Friday.... heavy rain kept us pinned in the house.
Mathew, Jane's brother flew in from Rio. He said he was Ok until he pulled up outside and then the loss hit him. Jane is written all over the house, in every corner, in every room. There is nothing in the house that she didn't have a part in so I think we have got a hard road ahead.

On the ok days we talk about her adventures in the three years since diagnosis, strangely thoughts are fuzzy prior to that. The wonderful holidays, the making of the film and the 'premier' in London, the demo's for Kidney Cancer Drugs, the Blog. She packed a lot in, but then again she said she would. Her early death was inevitable and we all knew it but when it comes it is still a shock.

Friday is approaching and the knot in my stomach is getting tighter.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

It's been a week.

It has been a week since Jane passed away at St Mary Hospice.
The amount of 'admin' you have to do is amazing. I didn't mind because it took my thoughts away from what had happened. Arranging her funeral was hard, being alone in the house is even harder. I have taken to getting up early so I am so tired at night, I hopefully go straight to sleep without having to think about things.

My children, James (24) Catherine (19) and Edward (17) have been marvelous. They have coped with their mother's death remarkably well. I think they are just relieved that her pain and suffering is over. They have each looked after me and made sure I was not left alone to dwell, fetching and carrying and even cooking. Sarah, the mother to James's daughter Grace has been like a busy bee, shopping and arranging things and continually attentive.

Jane's funeral is next Friday. She has left a full itinerary as to how it should proceed, which was typical Jane. It has made it very easy for me for which I am grateful. I hope she will be pleased with it.