Sunday, 16 May 2010

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