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.