Grief and happy memories

When it became abundantly clear that I couldn’t stand another minute at my work, my husband send ‘resign, do it now, write it now’. So I did and I left a few days later, after nearly 27 years, my manager not even bothering to talk me out of it, or say ‘stay a little while so you get this year’s bonus’.

We decided that I would have the summer off and then decide what I would do next.

But then it happened, my husband got ill and so the journey started of hospital stays, operations, recovery, chemo and recovery. A couple of months when the signs looked good and then it started again with more pain, another operation and then the realisation that all was not well.

We finally lost the fight on 9th February and our family lost the figure head, the beautiful, wise, funny, kind and amazing husband, dad and grandad.

We are all grieving and we are all trying to cope in the only ways we know how.

I had been with my husband my whole adult life, meeting him when I was 16 years old and we were married for 41 years. Our early life together has really come to the front of my memories as that was when he was just mine, so the memories remind me of times when life was so simple, no complications and we were in love and with all those plans for the future. We decided early on that we wanted children, so the deal was done. After nearly two years together, Dick decided he wanted to work on a kibbutz in Israel and so he set off late November 1978 for a six week trip to Elat. But on boxing day he turned up, two weeks early, back in New Milton at his sister’s house, where I was having tea, and proposed to me on the doorstep.

It wasn’t long before our family started growing with our three beautiful daughters, joined a few years later by our handsome son. Looking back at photographs Dick always looked so happy holding the new arrivals, if not a little tired from the long hours he worked to provide for us all, and amongst the photos there is even a ‘selfie’ taken with me on the hospital bed after Charlotte was born. Dick had taken selfies for decades before there was even a name for it.

Before I knew him, but I would have loved this boy

I am taking daily drives around the local area, the roads where he used to live, even before I knew him, the house where he lived on the Nursery where I would visit his family to have Sunday afternoon teas, or evenings watching tv, or just relaxing days listening to music. Music has become a record of our life together and now memories for our family, when we remember the times the tunes rang out while Dick cooked the famous Sunday dinners for the whole extended family.

There seems to be a time in the afternoon where I need to go out for ‘the drive’ to see the familiar sights where we both went, to fill some time before I have to go home, when I can fill a bit more time making and eating my dinner. The rest of the day I do jobs around the house and garden that I know need doing, and more importantly that Dick and I had started and I want to be finished.0

Having left work afforded me the time to spend with Dick. When he was able to work I would go on long road trips with him making deliveries, but once he was ill I was able to go with him to all his hospital visits, spend time with him in the hospital everyday and to be by his side at home.

I will be forever grateful that we have a close, loving family with our four children, their partners and our 10 beautiful grandchildren, who all brought so much joy to our lives and were so precious to Dick, who would show anyone who would look, their photographs that he carried around with him always.

10 thoughts on “Grief and happy memories

  1. Beautiful words and memories Jane and so good that you were able to spend so much time with him and not have to think or worry about work.
    (I loved reading about how he cut his trip to Israel short and came back and proposed on the doorstep), wonderful memories of the love you shared xx ❤️

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  2. Loved reading this as I can relate to your story Jane, family and good friends are a blessing to help the healing process. It will be 5 years in August that I lost the love of my life, it does get easier with time. Not a day goes by where Graham is not mentioned in one way or another and to me that’s a big comfort. I’ve learnt to adjust without my soulmate/ best friend and love of my life. Stay strong & look after yourself. X

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    1. My heart goes out to you it’s just so tough isn’t it. I regularly drive around Lymington, Beaulieu, brockenhurst and Pennington. All places we used to drive around it brings me comfort but also reminds me I’m grieving when the day has gone well and I feel quilt that I’ve laughed and been happy

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      1. It is tough, but you learn to cope in your own way, I was like you , I felt guilty if I smiled or laughed but it becomes easier. I use to think of what Graham would of said and always came back with the same thing ( his words come on girl you can do it, I’m by your side no matter what). I very often have a chat with him, which always helps me, I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad or upset, sometimes that’s easier said than done, but it will happen. I’m now looking forward to being able to go back to Cornwall where we have a static caravan that we brought as our retreat, so we could spend more time in retirement (sadly that didn’t happen as planned) but we did get to spend a little time there together. It holds many happy memories and it’s a place I feel close to him. The kids and grandchildren have named it Graham’s Retreat. It will take time but everything will be ok,

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