Monday, 31 May 2010

Saturday, 31 May 2008

My Darling Eileen

Was a little concerned the previous night when you had said you were too tired and sore to walk.   Just hoped you had been able to sleep.

Your first text of the morning put my mind a bit more at ease.    

'Morning - hd a a gd night?   I've just hd a cup of tea and hopefully brekkies at sometime.  E xx'

'Hi glad you slept well.  I was woken at 5 by by a pussy cat falling off the bed.  Didn't get up and went back to sleep. T xxx'

'It could have been my side of the bed that she fell off. E'

'No it was definitely my side of the bed.   Would you like me to bring a paper in?  DT?  T xxx'

'If u hv finished with dt then i will hv it please - but don't worry if u still want it.  Please get banana, could u manage 2 get a small fork please.  E xx'

'Will do. Banana on the list to get.  Will bring fork.  T xx'

Wasn't sure if u r coming thru 2 c n and a this afro, or later? E'

'Will be there at 3. Have pillows etc to give to Adrian.  C u then T xx'  

Hadn't been there long when Nikki and Adrian arrived.  They had cards for you: one from Pat and Fred, a 'pussy cat' card from them and a 'Get Well' balloon from Darcy.

After N and A had gone we did a lap or two of the corridor in the ward together and then you went back to bed to rest.

Later you persuaded me to head home early and walked me to the door of the ward.  I watched you heading back down the corridor.  I was so impressed with your determination to get better. and hoped it would only be a few days before you were able to come home.

'Hv just done 3 laps of the corridor.  Would like 2 think that I would feel the 'earth move' - but no luck!.   Hv a gd night, sleep tight and love u so much.  How lovely it would b 2 b home on Monday.  E xx'

'Well done! be careful and don't over do it.  Really hope you are able to come home Monday.  Missing you.  Sleep tight tonight. Love you tons.  T xxx'

'Just hd the apple and really enjoyed it - will u b bringing an apple 2morrow?  E xx'

'OK Eve!"  Will bring an apple tomorrow.  Would you like another banana?  T xxx'

'Sleep well my lovely.  T xxxx'

'Thanx - will be gr8 - not eaten banana tho. Sleep well darling. E'  

I went to sleep that night hoping that you would soon be back home.

When we were apart, I was always at a loss without you.

That's how it was then - and how it still is today.

Miss you so,


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Friday 30 May 2008

My Lovely Girl

Was relieved yesterday that you were feeling a bit better, so slept better than I had the previous night.   An additional bonus - Cali had not come roaming upstairs to wake me up - which meant I was a little later getting up. 

It was even better to wake and find this upbeat text from you on my phone...

'Early morning wake up!  Find it hard to sleep, so listened to radio, but it's stopped - can u gt another battery please.  Could u also please bring charger.  E x'

'Morning.  Will do.  Love you. T xxx'

'Catheter and oxygen gone!  Hv managed 2 wash and change but feel knackered.  Can u gt another mag from front bedroom?  E x'

'Radio seems 2 b working now!'

'Seems radio 2 cut out again!!'

'Will look at radio when I come in.  Could just need re-tuning.  Good about all the tubes coming out. T x'

When I arrived at three, Mary and Maggi soon followed me in. They were pleased to see you looking so well.

I know you were pleased to see you looking so well considering what you had been through just two days earlier.  They did not stay too long as they did not wish to tire you out, but seeing them gave you a lift.

Kathy had sent you some lovely roses, as she could not get up to see you.  I took this photo of you to send to Kathy, to show her how well you were doing - and to say 'thank you' for the roses.  


After you had had a rest, I went with you while you walked the length of the corridor and back.  Even though you were uncomfortable you were really brave and stuck at it.

Later, as I was leaving, you hinted you might try and do some more walking later.  I knew just how determined you could be, so I was concerned that you might be trying to do too much too soon.

When I was at home later, I was mighty relieved when I received these texts from you...

'A has just texted 2 say that they will b here about 3.00ish.  Hp u hd s'thing nice 4 dinner.  I hd a nice sleep.  Luv u. e xx'

'Glad you chilled out.  Hope you are more comfortable tonight. You looked a lot better without the tubes.  A and N looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.  Have also spoken to Amanda.  She and Bob send their love.  T xxx'.

'In bed, didn't walk - a bit tired and aches.  Lovely text from Amanda. Might b a devil and try sleeping on my side!  Sleep tight my darling.  Hp that u r ok.  E xx.  Ps does cali miss me?

'Cali does not come on the bed as much when you are not here. Has gone out again - must be a bit warmer.  Sleep tight.  Hope you sleep well tonight.  Love you  T xx'

'Sleep tight - e xx'

I was so proud of you. You were so brave through all of this and so determined.  But that's how you always were.

Miss you, your lovely smile and your laughter so much.  

For ever,


Saturday, 29 May 2010

Thursday 29 May 2008

My Darling E

Next morning I was woken in the nicest possible way when this text from you landed in my inbox...

'Long night but through it!  Lovely c u later.  Luv e xx'
'Lovely to hear from you.  How are you feeling - still nauseous and tired?  Everyone sends their love. T xxx'
'Nausea finally gone about 9.30 but not allowed any water until about 3.30!  Now a cup of tea. E x'
'Good.  Bet you are really thirsty.  What have they said about eating?  Love you T xxx.'
'Nothing until the specialist comes.'
'Ok wasn't sure if I should talk to Kim since the nurses y'day were not aware of the died Liz had talked about last Friday! T xx'
'Still don't know about diet - thought was on surgical ward?  Could you bring in red sqeezy cushion please.'
'Will do. xxx'

'Managed 2 wash - looking 4ward 2 seeing u later.  E x'
'Anything you need apart from cushions?  L u xxx' 
'Just u!'
'Will see what I can do!  T xx'  

'Nose tube gone but not oxygen!  Gd nite sleep tight. Love u. e xx'
'That should be more comfortable for you when you are trying to get to sleep xxx'

'Sleep tight tonight.  Great to see you looking much better. T xxx'

'Spooky that we texted at the same time. T xx'
'That's what happens after 48 years!'

Knew exactly what you meant!

Love you so much,


Friday, 28 May 2010

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

My Darling Eileen

These texts from this important day - two years ago -  tell their own story...

'Woke up at 5.00, waiting to gt jallop and then shower. Will be so pleased when it is over and i c u this afro. Hp u slept ok and i love u. E xx' 
'Trust you are now sq clean and full of jollop. Have just fed Cali who was very restless this morning. Missing Mummy Bear as I am. Spoke to C & A last night who send their love. Will be thinking of you this morning. Cannot wait to hold you (gently) this afternoon. Love you so much. T xxx'
'Disaster!! Shower gel split. Nothing left! Please bring another. White stockings on - just hanging around again. Hp u r ok, and c u soon. Luv e xx'
'Bet you look lovely. Is it just ordinary gel from shower? Love you. xxx'
'Yes bog standard please.'
'No problem. Did you have enough to shower properly?'
'All clean thanx. Hv been told that consultant will b in in about an hour plus anaesthetist - but who knows! What r u planning 2 do 2day? Gt text from c last nite and text from a this morning. x'
'Will mark time until I leave to come and see you. Nice e-mail from Cheryl and Neil with their best wishes for you today. T xxx'
'They have just taken freda down. Hv no idea when I go down. E x'
'Hope you are ok having to wait. Are you in a lovely surgical gown? T xxx'
'Time seems 2 b a long time now. Miss u. E x'
'Hang in there - at least we can text each other which I didn't think we would be able to do. Txxx'

Can't tell you how agonising the next few hours were. If the morning up to then had been bad the silence was worse.

Just before one o'clock, Jill came racing across saying she had Laura on the phone.

Laura told me she had been with you when you were wheeled into the theatre - and that you were now in the recovery room and had come through the operation well.

When I arrived at 3, you were very drowsy and uncomfortable, and feeling very nauseous.

All you wanted me to do was sit beside you, hold your hand and help when you were being unwell.
Once home I just had to say goodnight to my brave lovely girl, even though I knew you were probably fast asleep. Or, at least I hoped so.

'Don't know when you will pick this up but hope you are feeling a bit better. Will see you tomorrow. Sleep tight my lovely one. All my love. T xxx'

Then - as now - you were the only person I ever loved.   I so wanted to be with you to help you get better.

Trevor xxx

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

My Darling Eileen

Remember that Tuesday? 

It was the day you were go into hospital for your operation.

Didn't know much more than that then, as we had been told to to ring the admissions desk at 3 o'clock for more details.

So, until then, we filled the day with ordinary things.

You put together a bag of the things you would needed to take in with you.  Later we went shopping, picking up magazines to prevent you getting bored when you were recuperating.

When 3 o'clock came you rang and were told to come in at 7 o'clock, when a bed would be available.

Rather than sit around until then we went for a walk at Lake Meadows.

While we were in the park you sent a text to the children.  This is what it said...

'Hv 2 b in now at 7.00 at elsdon, not kingswood as planned.  Will find where i'll be from there!  Walking thu lakemeadows park at mo.  Luv e x'
When we arrived at Elsdon ward, we found you were in a side room with four beds.  Your bed was beside the window.  The view wasn't terrific but sunshine was streaming in. 

A lady was settling in on the bed opposite.  Her name was Freda and we learned she was having the same operation as you.   

Too soon it was 8 o'clock, the end of visiting, and time for me to go.

So we held each other and said our goodbyes in that restrained, self-conscious way we use when we are aware others are around and can overhear.

Really didn't want to leave you that night and would have done anything to protect you from what you were about to go through.  But it was out of my hands.

You had your mobile phone with you, but it had been made clear mobile phone calls were not allowed. 
By the time I reached home I was pretty down.

Then I remembered the notice had only said 'no mobile phone calls'.  It hadn't said anything about texts.

So I fired this off...     

'Don't know when you'll pick this up but just wished you to know that I love you so much.  Will be thinking of you in the morning and cannot wait to be with you at three.  Sleep tight.  Love you.  T xxx'

Cannot tell how pleased I was when this came pinging into my inbox minutes later...


'Thank u darling  - lov u so much, and will b so happy 2 c u 2morrow afro. Sleep tight u and the pussy cat.  E xx'

We may not have been together physically - but we were in touch.

And that would come to mean so much to both of us over the next few days.

Will love you for ever, my lovely girl.


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Looking Back

My Darling Eileen

The more this month of May has gone on, the more I have been reflecting on how things were for us this time to years ago.

There were all the various scans you had to undergo.  A CT scan, then an ultrasound scan.  Must not forget either, the extra ultrasound scan you were called back for, which left us both in a real state of anxiety over a whole weekend.

Then there were meetings with the consultant; Kim, the colorectal nurse; and Liz who took you through the pre-op checkup.

In spite of all this we did, in the circumstances, try to live a normal life. 

I recall we spent an enjoyable weekend with Nikki and Adrian - and Darcy of course.  And how Oma made the most of her time with Darcy on both days.

A few days later, we went across to stay with Charlotte and Ivan, for Oma to have as much fun with Caitlin and Reuben. 



Looking back it is pleasing to see you so happy and relaxed, but then you were so proud to be an Oma and to have such lovely grandchildren.

I know having grandchildren was one big thrill for you.  I'm so sad you didn't get to enjoy it for too long.

The Saturday before you were due to go into hospital we decided to do something at last with our newly-acquired free bus passes.

This is the text you sent to Adrian and Nikki before we left home...  

‘Thank u 4 the lovely card and thoughts. Hv a w’full day with evbody at bbq - weather sound quite gd. We’re having a trip on our free bus passes and going 2 Maldon. Hp our lovely g’daughter has a w’ful smiley fun day with all her guys! Luv Eileen, mumso and oma xxx’

The bus station at Chelmsford was quite windy and chilly.  So while waiting for our connection you decided to stand round the corner in the sun...

When we got to Maldon we walked down to the Hythe and had beers and a pleasant lunch in the Queen's Head.  (Another benefit of having the bus pass and not having to drive, you pointed out.)

We then strolled along the Quay, passed the boat workshops, and way out along the path beside the river, watching an assortment of boats make their way up and down the river.   

We found an empty bench in the sun, some way out and sat there together, sharing quiet thoughts and quiet words.

How little we knew what lay ahead of us then, as we walked back to the town and the bus home.

Would give anything to re-live so many, many happy days like that one again.    

Do miss you so.

Ever yours, my love,


Sunday, 16 May 2010

A Day by the Sea

My Lovely Girl

It's Sunday evening and the rains have come. 

It was pleasant and sunny all morning.   So good that, earlier this afternoon, I went out and watered the roses, fuchsia, geraniums and window boxes I planted so diligently yesterday.   

Looking out now, the raindrops denting the surface of the water, I need not have bothered.

It was all so different this same Sunday two years ago.

Amanda and Bob had invited us to join them and spend the day at Burnham-on-Crouch.  In view of the circumstances at that time, Bob had offered to drive so that we - and Amanda, of course - could enjoy a glass of wine.

So it was with pleasure that we drove over to them on a very warm Sunday and sat in their garden, relaxing in the shade before heading to Burnham. 

When we had parked on the main street, I remember we walked round to view a house, which Amanda and Bob had thought about buying some years earlier.

We then strolled along the front before dropping into one of the pubs that backs onto the walkway along the front. 

The pub's lunch menu did not look anything special so we agreed to head back to a restaurant we had seen earlier, near where the car was parked.

On the way we passed the cabin on the square that sells freshly-caught fish. 

Bob could not resist going in to see what was on sale.  Nor resist placing an order.

'They close at three' he said.  'I told them we will be back before then to pick them up.'

By the time we had walked to the restaurant, 'The Contented Sole' it was fast approaching two o'clock.

When the four of us walked in it was clear the lunch service was over. 

Only one couple remained, sitting at a table in the corner, and they had just asked for the bill.

Naturally, the manager was hesitant about serving us as it was so late.

'It's lunch for four' Bob pointed out.

The manager still looked uncertain.

'And we'll be looking at the a la carte menu,' Bob added.

That changed everything and we were swiftly shown to a table by the window in the now empty restaurant.

The setting was relaxed, the conversation good and the service excellent. 

The courses we had ordered - and the little extra taster items we hadn't - all disappeared with nods and words of appreciation.      

The only break in the mood came when Amanda suddenly remembered the fish.

A quick check of watches confirmed there wasn't a lot of time to spare.  

Amanda raced off to collect their fish while we explained her sudden departure to the puzzled waiting staff.

While she was away we asked if they would store the fish in their fridge until we had finished our meal.  

They had no problem with that and so we were able to complete our meal at leisure.

Finally it was time to head home - complete with fish from the fridge - glowing happily with the pleasure that comes from good food and the company of wonderful friends.

If Bob and Amanda's intention was to lift our minds and our spirits in the face of the concerns that lay ahead of us, they succeeded. 

I know that when you were in hospital, and after you had been discharged and were making such good progress, Amanda would have loved to have repeated our visit to the 'Contented Sole'.

But you knew that too much had changed for you in those few months, for you to be comfortable going back. 

So we never did - and now we never will.

When we left the restaurant that day I picked up one of their business cards.      

I still have it; I use it as a bookmark.

It's a bit weathered and worn, but is now much more than a bookmark.  

Whenever I open my book, it reminds of that lovely day, just two brief years ago, when you were so lively and lovely, and such fun to be with.

But then that's how you were - and why we miss you so much.

Love you my lovely girl,




A Walk in the Woods

My Lovely E

As I have said recently, May has become a month of bitter-sweet memories.

This May Day Bank Holiday, I could not help myself from thinking about what happened that same Monday back in 2008.

We had already learned the results of the endoscopy the previous Thursday and knew you would have more scans before seeing the consultant.  

On that Saturday, you received the letter saying you had an appointment for a CT scan on the following Monday afternoon, the Bank Holiday.

Since that Thursday, we had both been very concerned and anxious.  With the letter, we at least could take some consolation in the fact that things were moving.  

On that Monday morning we were marking time until we were due to leave for for the hospital, when we received a phone call from them.

Here's how you put it in a text message to the children later that day... 

Hosp rang and gt me an earlier app at 11.30am which was a bonus. 2 gt surge of red dye 4 me! Just hd some lunch and r going 2 walk by reservoir - may buy dad an icecream for his birthday! xx'

Well we did go to Hanningfield Nature Reserve and walked along the paths through the trees. 

It was sunny, very warm and at times we had to dodge through clouds of hovering midges.   There were lots of people there that day so it was difficult 
to talk or hold hands for reassurance as we walked along. 

Eventually we found an empty 'hide' on the shore of the reservoir and we sat there side by side, in the cool interior, trying hard not to think too much about what lay ahead.

After a while, our solitude was broken by the arrival of a couple with young children.  We resumed our walk along the paths, glad to be back in the warmth of sun and the company of the laughter and chatter of other visitors.

As we turned out of the car park on our way home we spotted an ice cream van by the side of the road.

As it was busy, you hopped out and I went and parked, quite a bit further on because of the number of people who were doing the same thing.

You were gone a long time and I was just beginning to get worried when I saw you coming towards me, with that familiar smile of yours and a - by now very runny - large ice cream cone in each hand.

So thick were the midges around us that, in spite of the heat, we had to take  refuge in the car to enjoy our ice creams.

Sadly, that was the last time we were to walk the paths of the nature reserves together.

But we did go back quite frequently to Hanningfield, once you had been discharged from hospital later that summer. 

We would drive there and park looking out over the reservoir.  You loved sitting there in the sun, watching the wind ripple across the surface of the water and birds flock to surround each new car arriving in the hope they were going to be fed.

In fact on the last day you were strong enough to go out for a drive with me, we were on our way home from somewhere else and you specifically asked to take a detour by the reservoir.

We didn't stay long as you were so tired.  

I didn't realise then that it would be our last time there - or anywhere else together for that matter. 

Perhaps you did.

I haven't been back to Hanningfield.  One day I will - but it will take time.

Miss you so much.

Ever yours,

Trevor xxx

Saturday, 8 May 2010

May the 8th

My Wonderful Eileen

May, as you know, used to be good month for us - a clutch of birthdays among family and friend, and the promise of warmer days and more sunshine.

Everything you enjoyed so much. 

That, however, all took a knock two years ago.  

May 2008 was not a good month for either of us.  We both knew what we had learned on the first of May that year - and what you were having to face before the end of the month.

As a result there were the usual everyday things that we continued to do during the month, all the time trying to be positive and optimistic under the cloud of uncertainty that hung over us.  Life as normal, we tried to tell  ourselves.

Memories of those days have now become so much more poignant and precious, because of what has happened in our lives since then.

Today is the 8th of May.  

I never kept a diary, but the photographs I took exactly two years ago, reveal that we were staying over at Charlotte and Ivan's.  Making the most of our time with them, and Caitlin and Reuben.  Helping them out with some DIY too, I guess, judging by the state of my chinos.

These are the photographs I mean...


It's wonderful to be able to look back and see how lovely you looked and remember just how much you were enjoying life with our grandchildren, even if the outlook was far from clear right then.

(Don't worry, photos of you with Darcy will follow soon.)

I know you would have given anything to have had more time with them, to play with them, read to them and watch them grow up.

I am so sorry you will miss out on that.  And they will so miss out on being with their wonderful Oma.  

Life has been so unfair to you - and to them.

But we are doing everything to keep your memory alive for them - by talking with them about you - and through photographs like these.

I promise we will never ever forget you.

Or ever stop loving you.

Miss you every minute there is, my love.

Ever yours,



Car Push

My Dearest Eileen

It was just as well Adrian and I had an early night on my birthday.

Next morning Adrian called me around six o'clock to go and help him with his training for his attempt on a Guinness World Record.

He is attempting to beat the record for pushing a car the furthest distance  within 24 hours.   The record stands at just over 17 miles and he is hoping to beat that by a distance.

He is determined to do it, as he is doing it on your behalf.  He wants to raise as much money as he can for the charities that are linked to the illnesses - cancer and stroke - that took you away from us too soon.
He is normally helped with his weekend training by a friend.  However I wished to help, so he was able to give his friend a day off.

So, at just after six am we headed off to the Woking Sports Centre just down the road.  Adrian had spotted a five-a-side pitch with a hard surface on the other side of the park that he wished to try.

Once there we got started - Adrian pushing with me sitting in our '207' doing the steering with the engine switched off.  Adrian soon clocked up half a mile going anti-clockwise round the pitch. 

After a short rest we continued circling, this time in a clockwise direction.

Have to say it wasn't just Adrian who was putting in some effort.  It's not easy trying to turn the steering wheel smoothly when there's no power steering once the engine is turned off.

After the second half-mile he decided there was too much of a gradient in certain parts of the circuit, so headed back to his usual training place - the car-park by the swimming pool.


 Adrian reckons the going there was easier and so he was able to clock up another three miles.  

He says that in the past, when he has been training with Mark, that he regularly gets offers of help from well-meaning folk who think the car has broken down and that they are trying to re-start it.   

Nothing like that last Sunday, so when finished we headed home for some very-welcome bacon butties for breakfast and an even more-welcome bath for Adrian.

He is aiming to make his attempt on the record on Saturday July 31, and has got the agreement of Blackbushe airfield, near Camberley, to use one of their unused runways.

With the help of Paul, Nikki's brother, he has made contact with someone who specialises in those little Smart cars, who has agreed to let Adrian borrow a car to use for some of his training and for the record attempt at the end of July. 

Behind the scenes, Nikki has been busy calling companies to try and raise sponsorship.   She has been in touch with quite a few in the last few days and has already picked up one sponsor.

Will keep you posted on how Adrian's efforts on your behalf are going.

All my love



A Year Older

My Darling Eileen

Just wished to let you know that I had an enjoyable birthday last Saturday.

Missed you a lot as I'm sure you will understand, but everybody did their best to make it a fun day.

On Good Friday, Adrian and I had spent a couple of hours assembling the new gas barbecue that Nikki had bought him for Christmas.  Well, Adrian did all the work and I just passed him the bits as he needed them.

Saturday was the ideal opportunity then to fire it up for the first time. 


The weather was not ideal for barbecuing.  The sunshade was there to keep the rain off the 'chef' as there was no danger of sunburn.  

Needless to say the children wanted to help and didn't enjoy being told to stay indoors.  When a watery sun came out later they did get a chance to run off some energy.  


Really enjoyed the lunch as it was a while since we had a chance to barbecue here at home.   

Afterwards it was time for cake - coffee cake for me (and Nikki!) and sponge cake for everyone else. 

Harriet was fascinated by the candles and Darcy, Caitlin and Reuben blew out out the candles for me, then tucked into pieces of cake and ice cream. 





Afterwards it was present time.  Received some really nice presents - a lovely leather photo album to take with me when I'm away from home; a storage card for the camera; garden centre vouchers to buy plants for the garden; and (one of your favourites) L'Eau Bleue d'Issey Eau Fraiche.

Charlotte, Ivan, Caitlin and Reuben left just before six o'clock as they were heading up to Yorkshire to see the folks up there.

After Darcy and Harriet had been put to bed, Nikki went out to meet Christine, who is back over from New Zealand.    

Adrian and I were able to spend the evening watching some good rugby.

It was a very pleasant and enjoyable birthday and everyone was very supportive. 

Have to admit that at times during the day I could not stop my mind going back to previous birthdays, like just a year ago - our last one together.


Life is tough - sometimes very tough - without you.

Do miss you and never stop thinking about you.

Love you so much,