I have felt for a while that I'd like to warn people about taking good health for granted and not having an 'in case' plan. Tom and I invested some money around 3 years ago and pretty well tied it up. We were asked would we need it before the time was up and we were both adamant that with our salaries we would be fine. Ilness wasn't something we worried about and death never entered our heads. We were just planning on working out the last few years now before retirement and I don't think a day went by when we didn't mention or talk about it getting closer and what we'd do then. Walk, drink tea in the night and not worry about the day, out in the motorhome, off on the boat, sail to America on a banana boat etc etc. Tom was as fit as a butchers dog running his own business and I was working for Zurich and would be until I retired or they retired me. That was it. It was all set in stone and everything was going to be honky dory. You all know the rest, but what a shock and were we prepared? Well sort of. We had insurance but it was held by the bank against the mortgage in case either of us died. Before Tom died he told me not to forget we had the insurance and that although it was set against the house, it was now illegal for the banks to do that. What he didn't realise was that we had signed the document when it was legal and so it still stood. By rights the bank could keep the little insurance there was against the mortgage. My broker checked with the insurance company and they said my policy was held by the bank and any monies would have to go to them unless I got a letter of release from them. I phoned the bank and explained that they had as much of my money locked into a 5 year investment plan, as I owed on the mortgage and if they kept the insurance money I would have no money to pay the funeral. They were very good and they then took up my case with the insurance company and agreed that the money would go to me and sent them a letter of release and a copy of the death certificate. Today I was still trying to find out when I would be paid out as I have a funeral bill sitting on my table and nothing has been forthcoming from the insurance company. Because the bank had my policy I didn't have the policy number and my broker was away, so I tried to trace it myself in order to gee them up a bit. Scottish Provident have a telephone number on the island, but life policies are now owned by a company across. Eventually I did find the correct company which is now called Pheonix in Glasgow. I explained I was needing my claim sorting out as it has been over 2 months and I have to pay for the funeral. I started to get somewhere at last. I was told that they wanted the death certificate as they had been sent a copy by the bank but wanted the original. They had sent a letter to the bank requesting it on the 39th April. I was mad, as I could have provided that straight away and all the beaurocracy with them writing to and from the bank, was stopping it getting sorted. I said I would send a certificate straight away and then asked how long it would be before I received a settlement. "Oh anything between 2 weeks and 6 months, depending on the cause of death and circumstances," the boy answered. If there is anything I don't need at this time, its stress and I'd have to say that I'm pretty stressed out with this lot. I phoned my brokers secretary and she told me that the original death certificate had been sent to them 5 weeks ago and they had sent it back! She said she was going to root out my file and phone them. I haven't heard back from her yet, so I'm sitting here pretty well bemused about the whole thing and for the moment I have done nothing. Maybe I'll try and sort something tomorrow, who knows! These are the times when I say Tom would have known his rights, who to contact, how to get things moving. This is a bit like one of Toms beefing blogs really, only there is no resolution at the moment.
Tomorrows another day. Lets see what it brings. I hope the gale moderates as Sean and Wendy from London are coming to see me tomorrow. They are friends from Toms blog and they would like me to take them round Langness and point out a few birds to them. I'm just hoping the ones I see are the ones I know the names of. You can bet you bottom dollar a 'little brown thing' (as Bill Oddy calls them) will bob about and I won't have a clue. Thank heavens for the Skylarks, they entertain people walking round there for the 1st time with their sweet song which can be heard when they are a just a speck in the sky. Anyway, I didn't intend telling the world about my insurance problems, but when everyone tells me they were paid out in a couple of weeks etc etc, I just wanted people to see its not all smooth going and to try and cover every angle.
Thats it for now.
Yesterday I was at the doctors for a check up. I'm not as good as I thought I was when I wrote the other day. What others see when they speak to me is someone who is a bit all over the place. Certainly not ready for work according to to the medical people and I have another note. I'm a bit embarrassed that I'm not getting it together long enough to be 'normal' or 'getting on with life' but they keep explaining that the sort of relationship we had means that it is going to take some time. Not only because of the magic relationship, but also because I was a 24/7 carer for over a year and a carer of sorts throughout our relationship. Time and talking about Tom is all that is going to help. I do talk about him in a way, but I have been doing it without allowing myself to actually feel it. Not allowing my mind to dwell. More matter of fact than the man that still lives in my heart. Anyway I must start to remember Tom and the life we had, the things we have done, instead of trying to block it. For me it is much easier to share my memories with you than it is to talk to one person. I can talk to you anytime I want, day or night and share the happy times we had. There were sad ones as well, but in the main, life was happy. Very, very happy.
This morning I was remembering the time we put the tent up at the Point of Ayre. We bought a 6 man frame tent as I heard they were easy to do and I always had to look for easy if it meant I was going to do it. What a nightmare! I wouldn't have managed it at all if Toms friend Geordie hadn't been the lighthouse keeper at the Ayres. For one I would never have reached anything with my 4'11 stature and working out the instructions was like doing the Krypton Factor. My brain just doesn't do it. Anyway, up it went and Tom, me and the dogs (Bessie and Escort the guide dog) settled down for a weeks camping. In actual fact, the idea was that I would go to work in the week and come back at lunchtimes. We lived in St.Johns at that point and I worked in Ramsey. It seemed a great idea and I'd be seeing so much more of Tom with him being so close. We placed the tent on the flatest bit of ground we could find and sheltered from one side by the wall around the lighthouse buildings. All was well until the gale arrived. One by one the flimsy wire pegs popped out of the sandy ground and Tom and I sat for a whole afternoon on the bottom of the tent at the back with the radio between us listening for the shipping forecast and praying for the wind to abate. We hung onto the tent for grim death and with each gust we were lifted off the ground and down again. Hours later it did calm down and we could relax. No-on could help us whilst that went on. We just had to ride out the storm and hang on. Our friend Geordie hadn't been idle all that time though. He turned up with massive iron pegs that he had made for us whilst we hung on. The pegs were still still red hot from Geordie bending and making a good spike on the end of them. The rest of the week was great. The sun was out the whole week. I tottered off to work in my high heals each day whilst Tom sat and listened to his radio and talked to whoever passed, and the dogs just ran and ran. In the evenings Geordie and his wife Margaret would join us for a few drinks and occassionally more than a few and it was a great week. We only went home when we thought Escort had something up with his eyes. He was a Golden Retriever but his eyes started to look like a blood hounds, blood red and droopy. When we got home Bess and Escort slept for 3 days. They were absolutely pole axed and that was when we first realised that Escorts droopy eyes were the equivalent to a human with bags under their eyes. It was probably that week that the idea of moving closer to Ramsey came into our minds. Either way, we never went camping in the tent again. The instructions blew away in the gale and the thought of erecting it on my own was enough to stop me. A vicar in Port St.Mary bought it as I remember and we eventually went on to buy a little Bambi motorhome. Tales of the Bambi to follow later.
It is now time for me to sort my animals and birds out. I hope you don't mind me unburdening myself on you and reminiscing. You are going to help me through by just listening and being there.
This is Barbara on the banks of the Silverburn, with lots of friends out there.
It seems ages since I did a blog. I had an Aunty over and I never really got time to sit and contemplate. I am on my own again and will be for 3 weeks when my niece and her boyfriend come over. After that I am looking to get a good run of no visitors so I can work at sorting out a new daily routine. Tom has been gone 2 months, but I have only spend 2 weeks on my own and it wasn't long enough work things out, not least because that was the time I did my hardest grieving. I have sorted things out in my mind now and am moving forward as Tom would have wanted me to and in pretty much the same way. When Tom was worried or upset, he would sit quiet with no distractions (radio/TV) and think everything through and sort things out in his mind. When he was told his cancer was back, this was such an occassion. He needed the time and space to do it and I had to leave him to that part as only he could work it out. After a time he said "Right, thats it. I've sorted that out nd I'm OK now." He wasn't OK obviously, but he had come to terms with the news and decided on how he was going to handle it. I am in that position now. I haven't got Tom with me, but I am going to try so hard to use his methods to cope. We cannot be together now, he isn't going to come back. I am on my own in this world and I now have to make the best of what I have. That means that I will stop running aroundlike a scalded cat trying to busy myself and spend endless hours wondering what I am going to do. Now is a time for quiet reflection and acceptance. As for what I am going to do, I am going to live each day and see what develops. I am sure the remaining part of my life will be used to help people, but in what form, I am just going to wait and see.
I have been trying to help a young lad out the past few weeks. He is 17 and desparate for a job. I can't give him a job as such, but I can let it be known that a keen young man who cleans my paths and camper, tidies my garden and any other little jobs that need doing, is so keen to work that he gets up at 7 each morning so he is in the habit should work come his way and has knocked on many doors to no avail at the moment. I'm sure that something will happen for him soon. I have let him use our computer to practice his car theory test. Tom and I liked to try and give young people a bit of help where we could and I suppose I am just continuing in a way.
I had a knock on the door last night just as I was going to bed at around 10 p.m. I wondered if I should ignore it or answer it, but Skipper was going ballistic and I thought I'd decide when I looked through the door window. Anyway, it was my young helper and he was apologising profusely for knocking at such a late hour. He had quite an entourage of friends with him, all eagerly wanting to be in on the conversation. "We found this duckling running around the middle of the road on it's own." he said. One of his friends said that they wanted to keep it but my young helper wouldn't let them and insisted they brought it to me. I explained that it would die if they just took it home and fed it bread and milk and it would need to be kept warm and fed right. I told them I would pass it on to a lady who does a grand job of looking after stray duckings at this time of year. They went and I was let with a shivering little fluffy duckling. "Great!" I thought to myself. Now I had to try and keep it alive until the next day and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Well I may not be much help in finding young people employment, but when it comes to knowing who to ask about different species, I come into my own. I phoned a friend up who has just started a pet consultancy business and she told me exactly what to do. Anyone on the Island that has a small animal or tortoise may like to log on to Joannes site and see what she can provide or help you with. http://jotherabbitadvisor.webs.com/ Anyway, I got a small box and put a heated pad in the bottom along with one of my jumpers. I settled my little duckling down, put the box in the office and then I went to bed. It wasn't long before the peep, peep, peep from the duckling caused me to check and there it was doing the wall of death around the office. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a duckling was able to move at the speed of light. It was caught when it got in the computer wires and back in the box it went. This time I put an iron on the lid to make sure it couldn't jump its way out. It lasted all of about 10 minutes before the peep, peep, peep started again. Taking no risks, I checked again. It was on its way down the stairs and had come out of the tiniest hole imaginable. That was it! I brought the box in my bedroom and set it down on the bed at the side of me. I also put a cover over the box lid and all was well. I woke at around 1 a.m and did a little check. There it was, snug as a bug in my jumper and fast asleep. At around 4 a.m I woke again, but decided not to check as I didn't want to disturb it. I lay there for a while and then all of a sudden, something furry moved from under my arm. I nearly shot out of bed thinking a mouse or something had found its way in. No, there as snug as anything was my little duckling with its head on my pillow and using me as a hot water bottle. It had escpaed its box again, but this time it found a heat source and snuggled up. Thats how it stayed until I got up at 7.30. Now you can see how I put a whole new meaning to being like a mother duck. Come to think of it, its like a mother hen isn't it? The little duckling ate this morning and spent its remaining time with me tucked under my jumper as I went about my jobs. It has been taken now and put under another mother duck (a real one) who has 5 duckings and in time will be let out into the wild.
I've certainly made up for my missed blog. Hopefully I will do a bit more this week, but I now have to feed my animals. My resident wild goose is doing OK and not showing any signs of wanting to leave yet. All is well with my lot on the banks of the Silverburn River. x
Yesterday was something of a milestone for me. It is over 12 months since I was at work. I couldn't manage my job as a senior analyst/programmer at Zurich and cope with Toms illness at the same time. I was so stressed and anxious, I was put on the sick. I missed the people I worked with, but there wasn't any real time for dwelling on it. I had a bigger task on my hands and to even think about work was enough to cause some tears. I knew that the next time I would be at work, Tom would be gone and it was too painful to contemplate.
Anyway, yesterday I met my new Team Manager and a work mate in Spill the Beans for a chat and to keep in touch with all that has changed. I was happy that I didn't get emotional when I met them and after half and hour, I felt I could possibly face going into the building and meeting people. I wasn't sure how I would be, but I felt I had to take that first step. I loved seeing everyone and rather than just sticking with my own team, I went through the whole building and reaquainted myself with people I have written software for. At times I had to pause to collect myself, but I left feeling quite pleased. I felt I could have sat down and looked at a few things there and then, but luckily I have quite a few people supporting me who hold me back with good reason. One good day doesn't mean I am ready. Slowly does it, but at least I have made that step and I have awakened my thirst for programming. I always loved doing that work and felt it was a bonus to be paid for doing something I enjoyed so much. Zurich have to be the best firm I have ever worked for. I have been there over 11 years and they have been superb in supporting me with Tom and my illness. They really are a firm that take care of their staff.
Anyway, my garden has aquired another lodger at the moment. A big old goose was getting quite a thumping by a few other geese on the riverbank at lunchtime. I have treated this goose before as he has a bad limp sometimes and the vet gave me some anti-inflamatory medicine that is given to cats and dogs. I fed him the medicine for a few weeks whilst he still lived on the river and he got better. Today because he is unsteady and unable to defend himself, is the first time I have actually brought them in the garden. He's big enough for the hens to ignore. If it had been a duck, they would have ganged up on it, but Mr. Goose is safe enough. I'll see how he goes and when he is stronger I'll put him back on the river.
Anyway, that a little bit of news from me today. Its a bit misty and damp and I've had a right lazy day.
I hope you are all well and enjoying the spring.
Today is certainly a change from the weather we've been having. It isn't raining, but I have woken for quite some days now to brilliant sunshine. Last week was a very mixed week. I used it to catch up with a few people that had been sidelined whilst I had my Mum and Sister staying with me. I'm afraid I'm still eating out a lot and can't remember when I last cooked a dinner. I suppose I will settle down in time, but I have to go with things for now. Last Thursday I went to the bank in Douglas and had Tom's name taken off the account. I still have one bank left to do it with, but at least I've made a start. I did a bit of shoping in Douglas afterwards with my friend Eileen. We had a good time and laughed quite a bit. Did I feel guilty? No. Tom would want that. I'm afraid the tide turned after that though. Later on that evening I went to bed early and gazed at our wedding photo on the way. The damn burst and the pain and loss was unbearable as the tears flowed. The next morning was no better and probably much worse. I had to call on another friend, Karron, to come and do my aviary as I was beyond doing anything but sobbing. The hospice nurse came as she had been as a follow up since Tom died and she just talked and explained that this is what they'd all been waiting for. It was all part of the grieving process and it had to happen sooner or later. With having people staying with me, it had delayed the process. My head pounded with all the crying and I then realised all the stages of grieving I had been going through that I wasn't aware of. Numbness, anger, intense sadness and then a letting go. The thoughts of letting go made me even worse. Accepting that Tom had actually gone. I know he died, as I had held him in my arms all through the night and the next morning in our bedroom, until he went. But now the actual reality of living my life out without him took on a new, depressing meaning. The nurse asked me what would Tom say to me if he was here. He would have just put his arm around me and let the tears come as he would know it had to be done. Then he would gently speak to me and explain that he would like to be with me also, but it cannot be and so we have to make the most of what we have. He will be waiting where time doesn't exist and he would hope that the time we are apart is not as long as the time we spent together. That is what he said when he was alive and the words still hold true. I bucked up throughout the day and I haven't sobbed since. It doen't mean it won't, but for now I am more settled with my situation.
On Sunday I met Toms Mum, brother Lenny and his wife Rosie in Port St.Mary golf club for dinner. I can highly recommend it. As I sat there eating, I heard snipets of conversation from the next table. I heard the words 'Read', 'Blog' and it was followed by 'always positive', 'never felt sorry for himself'. I knew instinctively it was Tom they were talking about. I thought about it afterwards and decided that Tom always tried to turn a negative into a positive. I'm going to try and do the same. Yesterday was a beautiful morning and I awoke with a spring in my step. Toms mum has had real problems walking with a very painful knee. I phoned the doctor at 8 a.m. and got her an appointment. I looked out of my bedroom window and watched a small floack of beautiful goldfinches flitting from branch to branch in the garden. There were lots of other birds, doves, blue tits, starlings, robins, chaffinches, blackbirds, thrushes, PIGEONS, and my own aviary birds adding to the mellay, but the colours of the goldfinch stand out and are so beautiful. I even brushed off my brass cornet (short trumpet) and played a few tunes. I hadn't touched it for 18 months. I phoned a couple of friends, Pauline and Ray Cregeen and asked if they fancied an afternoon sitting at Langness in theirs and mine camper. So yesterday afternoon I took Toms mum out with me to Langness and we all enjoyed dinner cooked by Pauline and cream scones baked by Toms mum Nel. Nel is nearly 82 and a wonderful example of how to cope with all life thows at you. She has lost 2 sons and her husband, and she is brilliant. Of course she feels it, but she manages so well. Nel had a little sleep in my little camper afterwards and loved her afternoon out. I made the mistake of putting on a pair of shorts and you could have played dot to dot on my goose pimples. It was a little sea mist that chilled the air a little, but my white legs haven't seen the light of day for quite some time, jeans being the preferred dress attire. There are a lot of nesting birds at Langness now and its all very lively. Tom would have loved the curlews and the lapwings calling yesterday. Never mind, I managed to let his mum sleep with the sounds around her that she won't hear in her home and it was so peaceful as well.
Today I have to see the chest specialist this afternoon and Nel has to have xrays on her knee and hip to find the cause of her pain. We'll have a cuppa in Spill the beans cafe at the hospital and we will enjoy each others company and support each other.
I hope you all have a good day and I promise in my next blog I will lighten up and do some story telling.
I found this and thought I'd share it, but had no idea where to put it on Manx Forums so thought I'd put it up on my blog.
Below is an attempt to visualize how the endevours of science are communicated between the most important scientific journals. I found it at Well-Formed-Eigen-Factor.org!
Lots of science is really only of interest to specialists, and you can see that in the tight loops of citations between journals concentrated in one particular field.
But this detailed work can then explode outward to a much wider audience - often by it being cited in the important journals like Nature or Science. It is these journals which create scientific cross links as ideas and results reinforce or challenge theories across the range of human thought.
Check out here for more info - have a play - for example find the Annual Review of Nutrition - its a tiny journal at almost exactly 9 o'clock on the diagram, and see how its work has been picked up and used by scientists working in other areas.
Ok, its nerdish, but I though it was interesting - nearly every technological object around you will have started off in a link, or a loop, like that. Every time you see a doctor or take a tablet, or download some music off the web originally there was some scientist wondering if their idea worked and telling others about it and its results.
This tries to capture the complexity of that process - amazing innit!
Trying to think up a title for a blog and the opening lines take more time than the actual blog itself. Tom always stuck to the date and advised me to do the same which I may do yet. He also gave me a tip to starting and ending a blog which I haven't managed yet either. He said to start with something topical and in the case it would be something like - "I remember an Easter where I got us both in a very dangerous situation!" Then Tom said that he would then talk about other things as he had gained the reader's attention and they would keep reading as they wanted to know what happened and at the end of the blog he tell the story. Maybe I'll try that today,
Anyway, I have had a nice Easter weekend. My sister was with me until Saturday teatime and then I have been on my own and OK. Whilst Janet has been over, I have taken her on a different walk each day. Last Friday I took her up the Silverburn as far as Ronaldsway. The 1st thing to note is that the cows are back. They stayed across the river and so we were able to avoid contact. The swallows had also arrived and despite the swifts being earlier, the swallows seem to herald the start of spring/summer properly. The blue bells are about to burst into colour, along with the wild garlic. I stopped at the gate near the waterfall and pointed out a herons nest. A parent sat preening and although the young weren't visible, their call could be heard quite clearly. It is like something from a building site in the distance.
On Janet's last day I took her to Scarlett. It was another beautiful day and we walked as far as the fields with the sheep. We saw an early butterfly there and a few bees as well as the birds of course. Again it was another lovely walk and a fitting end to Janet's stay with me. As I left her later at the airport, a lump came into my throat, but I managed to stay dry eyed. As I was leaving the airport I spotted a lone Manx Tails amongst the magazines. I picked it up as I thought it would come in handy to pass onto family, but I looked at "Toms Farwell" before I went through the doors. I read the passage I had written as I couldn't remember what I had done at the time. There I read the optimism I had felt when Tom died that he would be with me on many more walks and in my heart. With that, my spirits lifted and I said "Right Tom, we're on our own again." and I went home to my dogs and Orry.
I went to bed early Saturday night as I had arranged to meet a nurse I had become a friend, at Douglas Head for a sunrise service. I'd never been to one and it sounded great. It also meant a busy day and no time to mope. I set my alarm to 5 a.m and was mortified I'd oversleep. I didn't have Tom to wake me, but I needn't have worried as he has Skipper well trained in that. I arrived at Douglas Head at 6.10 and the cars were right down the road. Ann and I had a good spec for the sunrise and the service. The Salvation Army band accompanied the hymns and it was a beautiful sunrise over the mountains of Cumbria. The service only lasted 1/2 hour and then a great breakfast was served in the Salvation Army hall. It was well worth attending. From there I went to Langness with the dogs and had another beautiful walk with the skylarks rising and falling as they sung. A stonechat sat on a gorse bush and cracked out his call like two pebbles being hit together, hence the name. I arrived home at 9 a.m and fed the ducks, hens etc and uncovered Orry who had slept through it all. Later I picked Toms mum up and we met Toms Brother Lenny, his wife Rosie and nieces Alice and Becky at the Sound for lunch. Needless to say I rested in the afternoon and took the dogs through the fields at the side of the Silverburn in the evening. That was a big mistake! Suzie is a roller and now the cows have arrived, she found plenty to roll in and she made sure it was well and truly finished off by topping off the ooze with a roll in the dust afterwards. My bath looked a disgusting mess after I bathed her and I spent more time trying to make the bath look like something I to would like to get into to!
Yesterday I put my alarm on again as I decided I must get back into early mornings as that's the best time of the day. I'm afraid when it went off, I couldn't stop it soon enough and cuddle back under the covers. Any plans I made yesterday I cancelled and I spent the afternoon dozing. I obviously needed it and felt much better for it. I walked Langness in the morning and kept to my vow not to walk the fields whilst the cows are there and so last night I did the beach. I'd have to say I was perturbed when I saw Suzie rolling in the seaweed, but it was nice and fresh. My calls could be heard all over Derbeyhaven when the dogs came across a dead rabbit near the golf course. I escaped having to bath Suzie again thank goodness. I know it's not good for her coat, but I couldn't live with the smells she covers herself with!
Well. I've waffled long enough and daren't make this blog any longer. I'm going to have to tell the story of Tom and my experience in the next blog. Toms theory worked for him because he was a bloke. It could never work for me. I can hear him now saying "Will you get to the point."
My sister attempted to get a photo of the dogs and I with Orry. It was a nightmare, but I have added what appears the be the best.
Bye for now.
I think I have told you of the trouble we have had with electricity in Spain.
Well we have had more
We still only have a temporary supply. It is linked with a small building works permission. It was for two years originally.
last December I reminded the lawyer, who is sorting out the lack of a reference catastral or rates number, which is why we have no rateable value and no ability to have a full supply, which is a regional, if not autonomnal, matter and an administrative mistake, the builder and the architect that the build works licence expired in February and we would need an extension and then apply for an extension for the temporary supply
The local town hall planning is open two days per month. They missed the deadlines and ENDESA came along, moved the pole and consumer unit and disconnected the house on 15 February. Certificate for minor works extension was granted on 12th! but did not get to them in time.
So for last two months no electricity
The only thing we have left to do is the fitting of carpets in two upstairs rooms and then the property is lettable as long as the builder has repaired the storm damage from new year which whipped the jacuzzi cover off and flew if 600 metre and the pool cover which tore in half and went a mile. and the permanent barbecue which had its chimney topple and as long as the gardener has completed the irrigation system
So off we go today, with family to do that. No electricity Monday, so emergency book an apartment in Sitges, just in case. Yesterday electric company turn up, install pole and fuse box and wires and connect up, so we can stay in farm, but no swimming. Solar panel heating depends on a pump, electric of course to heat the pool, so pool, is cold!
Lawyer says she has the certificate and number now, but I haven't seen it, and bet its as a restaurant, previous use, not as a house, if so ENDESA will say our re wiring does not meet commercial standards and they will not give a bolletin and so no power. I am learning to be pessimistic about how bureaucracy works in Spain for me.
Yesterday I went to Langness for our walk. I had my sister Janet with me and the two dogs. The drive through sleepy Derbyhaven was in itself interesting with cars and a couple of police cars parked along the grass verge that lines the road. I was obviously curious as I drove, but all I could see was a large vessel at anchor towards Douglas bay. It was loaded with the concrete things that are used to shore up coasts etc from the seas. I presumed people were just watching its progress as I decided it was probably going to discharge its load at the new airport runway. As I'm writing this I'm doing so on a wing and a prayer that I get the nautical terminology right. Normally I'd ask Tom what the concrete things are called, but now I will have to fall back on Barbara speak. It drove Tom mad with my wotsits and things. Anyway, after a rather breezy walk at Langness, we were passing through Derbeyhaven again only to see activity on the beach and the large vessel still in the same position. I realise now that the vessel was probably waiting for the tide. The activity on the beach was the rescue of the porpoise. I dutifully parked as my sister requested and she shot off like an on the spot reporter, armed with camera and binoculars. I was happy to let her go on her own as I was going to see the pictures and the rescue was at a vital stage of getting the porpoise into a large blue bag/sling so the people rescuing it could give it a hand back into deeper water. To be honest, it was also warmer in the car as well. I was able to watch it carried and see most of what happened from a distance and it was great to see it swimming on its own going further and further into deeper water and then to safety. Janet was absolutely cockahoop to be in on something like that whilst over here and it will have been one of the highlights of her stay. She's a nature lover like myself.
I personally have been pretty well up and down as is to be expected, but I have to say that I have been having the odd bit of fun with mine and other friends WII. I don't normally do games and such, but the WII isn't half a great thing to have a laugh with. I haven't used it on my own as the fun wouldn't be there with one person, not unless you're trying to practice so you have the upper hand with your other mates when they come to have a go on the wiifit. Whether you are young or old, I can highly recommend it. Even if you're not very agile or fit, it has something for everyone and of course it has everyone laughing. I can highly recommend it and you are welcome to call and have a play and a cuppa if you are passing.
Last Friday when I was a little down, I went up the river for a walk. It was an amazing walk and the river was alive with birds. The swifts had arrived and they were swooping through the air getting their quota of protein from the midges. There was goldfinches, blue tits, hooded crows, chaffinches, wrens, thrushes, blackbirds, herons, pheasants and many more. I have heard that the black swan that stayed for a few days was last seen at Scarlett. I didn't think he would be llowed to stay. The swans start nesting under the railway bridge soon and territory is declared and closely guarded. The river can also be a very cruel place at this time of the year. On my way home I disturbed 2 ducks in the park. A male duck was attacking another male and he was injured. If he ventured into the river, he would have been drowned. He couldn't walk very well and all the feathers had been plucked from his back. I managed to catch him and I put him in a secluded part of my hen shed. He was in shock, so I left him quietly for the night. The next day he was still alive and so I got in touch with a lovely lady and her husband from Gansey who are brilliant are looking after injured or orphaned wildlife. They came immediately for the duck and decided he would recover well in time and they would release him when he was ready. I asked about a small duckling they picked up from me a few yers ago that have been in the beak of a heron or seagull. It was questionable at the time whether it would recover, but I was pleased to hear that it did and had the flown the nest some time ago. It is lovely to know people like them who give of their time and turn up in an instant to help a distressed bird. I haven't that expertise and at the moment I haven't the mental strength to do it. I can look after the birds in their own environment, administering medicines in bread etc when they are in need and feeding them. I've rambled enough now. The very birds are I talking about are all waiting for their feed as well as my hens, aviary, dogs and of course, Orry my African Grey.
Love to you all.
Yesterday was a lovely day and today is similar except with a slight easterly wind. I walked on Langness yesterday and the sea was like a mill pond. The houses along Shore Road and the rocks where mirrored in the sea and it was so calm and peaceful. Only the sound from the occassional plane taking off broke my reverie. The skylarks soared above singing as they rose high into the sky and then dropped down to the ground as though the power was suddenly switched off from their wings. The tide was out and a young seal struggled onto a rock on the Castletown side of Langness. No other people or cars were there, so I was able to let Skipper run freely right to the tip. Its amazing what thoughts come into a persons head when they are walking alone like that. I thought of my 1st walk with Tom and how I felt shy holding his hand when I was just a friend. I thought about the planning we had done to teach him to cook and the joy on his face when he took his first casserole out of the oven. It was a recipe he got out of a braille magazine and it involved sausages, eggs, tomatoes, sliced potatoes and onions. I can't remember the details fully, but it was delicious and I was so proud of my domesticated husband who went out of his way to do as much as possible in the house whilst I was at work. I brailled the cooker, the washing machine and anything else he thought he could manage. In our first house in St.Johns he even tried to vacuum and clean but we had a coal fire initially and the fireguard kept following him around the room. He only messed up once with the polishing and he polished everything with air freshener and spray furniture polish in the air. Not good for an asthmatic like myself!
I took my mother to the hairdressers in Castletown after my walk and I just hung around until she came out looking good. After a bit of lunch in cafe in Bank Street, I decided to take the dogs to Fort Island. The day was still nice and Skipper loves Fort Island. I don't know why really as it doesn't have as much walking for a dog as Langness. Again it was beautiful and I couldn't help but look at things with future paintings in mind. John Corrin the butcher arrived with his dogs and Skipper had a good romp with them. Thats when I saw a side to Suzie I didn't know about. Everytime Johns dogs came and sniffed her, she screamed like she'd been murdered. Even Skipper was puzzled at that one.
Today I took my Mum to the airport and even though I felt I needed the space now, I did feel sad. I'm normally pleased when people go back, but today I missed Tom badly. We used to be so chuffed to have ourselves to ourselves again and today it was me on my own. That was a first for me and I did break my heart for a while, even burying my face in a cushion that was in the place where Tom always sat. I could smell him on the cushion & decided I wouldn't be able to wash that for some while. It even felt like the last 18 years have been a dream and now I have woken up to reality. As I started to write this blog my young niece came online with MSN. Her name is Fi(ona) and she is 17. She is my sister Jacquelines daughter and is at college. I told her I was doing this blog and how sad I was. She wrote aww, it will be okay, you know hes always there with you. It was the reminder I needed to buck me up again, but I didn't expect it from one so young. As I write this I have just remembered the song Tom requested to have sung at our wedding day. That will be 18 years tomorrow and I have a heart wreath to put on his resting place. Anyway, I have just looked on the internet for the lyrics of the song and they are so apt for me now. He was such a wise man my Tom.
I'll Walk Beside You
I'll walk beside you through the world today
While dreams and songs and flowers bless your way
I'll look into your eyes and hold your hand
I'll walk beside you through the golden land
I'll walk beside you through the world tonight
Beneath the starry skies ablaze with light
And in your heart loves's tender words I'll hide
I'll walk beside you through the eventide
I'll walk beside you through the passing years
Through days of cloud and sunshine, joy and tears
And when the great call comes, though sunset gleams
I'll walk beside you through the land of dreams.
I just have to keep remembering his promise. x
I keep meeting people who say they are reading my blog. I have to admit that I have not written as I don't want to depress people, but I was told by one that they want to know how I'm doing. I suppose I am doing OK, but its hard to tell really. My mum is still here but she is going back on Thursday morning. I do feel ready to be on my own now and I have my sister Janet coming on Saturday evening for a week. That will be a week of walking and watching the birds. She's an avid twitcher. I love watching the birds, but its as I walk and if they happen to be there, thats a bonus and adds to a pleasurable walk. When Janet goes back I am then hoping to have some time on my own to find a new routine and get on with everything that is on the back burner. I must be improving as I am now looking at things that need doing and I am determined to give my aviary a good clean this weekend. I have kept on top of the birds, but I'm pretty keen on perch scrubbing and giving the birds a healthy environment. I have to spend some time to get things back up to scratch and playing hunt the cockatiel nesting areas. Suzie the spaniel has settled in lovely and although Skipper has tried to maintain the upper paw, Suzie always manages to get her own way. Thats my girl. She's a treat to take out as she walks just behind my legs where as Skipper attempts to drag me. I've tried all the training methods but he is a bit of a sod and will choke himself before he will give in.
It will be Tom and my wedding anniversary next Friday. It would have been 18 years. When I 1s married Tom I was so happy, I kept thinking I would die. I didn't think it was possible to have so much happiness and for it to last. It was about 5 years before I settled down and realised that such happiness was mine and to the day he died, I kept that happiness. For the past year it has been accompanied by an awful sadness because I was going to lose him, but I had the happiness whilst I had Tom. Its strange how things feel for me at the moment. I'm sad that he isn't here with me and yet there is a secret happiness in me as I know he is waiting for me. It is very hard to explain and I must say that hearing his voice is still very hard for me as that is the part of him I have lost and can never regain. When I am on my own again, I will have time to reflect properly. I have still to do thew book and this is another task I can only do when I am on my own again. It is going to be very difficult as Tom was very optimistic when he was writing the book. I've tried to reflect on whether it is better to lose someone suddenly without warning or slowly with an illness. I would probably say that with a slow illness, there is time to say all the things you want to say and yoiu can't help but to plan ahead in your mind even though it is agony. Tom even gave me advice for when I was on my own. I was also able to ask him what he thought I should do about this and that. I cried whilst we did it and he held me, but at least I had the best advice any wife could have.
Can you feel the pain as I write this? That is how I'm doing to be honest. I'm strong most of the time and have this great love in my heart, but I try to block things so I don't feel this pain. The doctor said not to block things and others say cry if it makes you feel better. The problem is, if I have a good cry I feel like rubbish. My head aches, my nose is blocked and I still feel bad, so I try not to think if I can. I suppose there are lots of people who can identify with how I feel. I've also come out with a flippin itch that the doctor keeps giving me different things for. Antihistamine creamand tablets don't work and I'm on some that make me sleepy now, so I can only take them on a night or my mother thinks she's staying with a zombie. I can scratch for Britain and nothing helps. It is a result of my bereavement and I am hoping I will find something to stop it eventually or people will thing I'm lousy.
I have still to apologise to Dorothy, Long, Cheryl, Pauline, Elizabeth, James, Linda, Wendy, Eileen, May, Joyce, Sarah, Janine and anyone else I haven't mentioned who has emailed me and still not had a reply. I stress because I haven't replied and although it would be quicker to do so than stressing, I still cannot put my mind to it yet. Be aware that I am thinking of you all and in time I will be in touch.
Now I'm going to see what I can do to stop my itching. aarrggghhhhhhh!
Well I've had a couple of days of absorbing nature and watching the birds busying themselves with spring. Yesterday I walked in the park with Skipper and Suzie and saw my first Treecreeper this year. I have normally seen them nearer to the entance to Poulson Park in the big trees with a seat round, but yesterday my sighting was at the top end all together. The chaffinches were singing their spring song and the place was alive with bird life. The rooks are feeding babies and any bread dropped in their area is rewarded by hearing the babies as they are being fed. Even the little wren is busy flitting here there and everywhere and it are definately not shy. I walked through the field a bit and watched 2 herons flying together and keeping a bit of a close eye on me. As I wended my way home, one heron sat in a tree in the park and the other heron flew on with its mates raucous call being heard for quite a way. The pheasants also called from beyond the field across the river and my every step was monitored by the hooded crows that I drop a little bread too on my walks. I love to watch them eat some and then go and bury some in the feilds. The daffodils are out on the river bank now and spring is definately bursting forth.
Today I had to dash out to the doctors this morning to keep an appointment and then I called at Toms mums along with my own mother and had a cup of tea. When I arrived home it was a little busy with a few callers and I was really late doing my aviary and taking Skipper and Suzie out. I was dashing back from my walk as I had someone coming at 2 p.m. and as I came under the bridge near where I live on the Silverburn, I was met with a glorious sight. I couldn't get the dogs in quick enough and I picked up my camera. The shot is rushed, but what a beautiful bird a black swan is. I don't know where it has come from. All I know is that it was looking for food in the area that I put grain. I didn't disappoint it and put enough to keep her coming back I hope.
Through all the sadness I am feeling at the moment, this was something that excited me. I have never seen a black swan in the island before and this is beautiful. Its a young one I think.
As the time goes by, things aren't getting any easier, they are harder if anything. It is just over 2 weeks since Tom died and after the 1st week planning the funeral etc it is really starting to hit home hard. I have no problem sleeping and I am grateful that my dreams have reflected my present position rather than waking up going through the shock all over again. Maybe that is because we have had 18 months of fighting the illness with a roller coaster of a ride throughout. I was of course aware of the situation throughout and when we reached 2009 I knew that it would happen this year. The chest specialist told me that he knew of nobody that had survived more than 2 years with what Tom had and all the statistics backed it up along with other local doctors. My mother is still with me making sure I keep appointments, eat properly, take my daily medication for asthma etc and generally reminds me of what I was about to do before I got distracted. It seems like a mad world my mind occupies at the moment and I have avoided doing a blog because I have to motivate myself and I suppose I didn't want to show people the down side that I'm having now. I never did sort the banks out last week but that isn't so important yet due to the way we had our finances arranged. I have done very little to be honest, except a few phone calls here and there to make sure pensions and benefits were stopped. I took the cards down today as well. I waited until they appeared to have stopped arriving and now I have put them away for now. I will read them later along with the letters, when I feel more able. All Toms things are untouched and today I found myself burying my face in his cap and coat so I could capture his smell. In the 1st week he died I was playing his voice on a recorder that he used to save telephone no.s when he was on the phone. I played it the following week and instead of a warm feeling, I felt really bad. I will never hear his voice speaking to me or guiding me when I suggest something daft.
Last week I decided that Skipper was missing Tom too much and we needed another dog to keep him company, besides myself. I phoned for puppies that I had seen advertised but they had all gone. The lady was very nice and asked if I would like an older dog instead. That seemed an ideal solution as it would mean that the dog wouldn't be led by Skipper and we also agreed that if it didn't work out I could take the dog back. Thursday I went and collected a new addition to our family and she is a 7 year old little blue merl cocker spaniel bitch who has finished being bred. She's a little love and Skipper took to her straight away. We've had some problems as she decided she was going to be boss and Skipper allowed it until she went too far yesterday and he put her firmly in her place. He can now walk around the house without being growled at and he has gained his position back in the pecking order. Suzie is her name and Tom would have loved her. He always would have liked a spaniel after the faithful dog he had when he was a child which left his grandfathers to come and live with him. She did lead me a dance on Saturday when I took her and Skipper to the beach for the 1st time. All was going well when all of a sudden she took off. She had been so good walking at the side of me and I'm afraid she led me into a false security. I ran after her through every puddle going, up the pebble bank near Derbyhaven, over the golf course and I was just about at the end of my ability to keep going whn I sank to my knees in a rough area of the golf course and pleaded with her to come back. Thank goodness she had a heart and returned to her new exhausted owner. On went the lead and I walked her and Skipper back to the car along the main road. I had left my mother sitting in the car whilst I wlked the dogs as it was a bit windy and it would have agravated her angina. As I approached the car after my cross country run, she just looked at me, rolled her eyes and tutted. Aparently she had been highly entertained watching it all and didn't expect to see me to soon as she saw me disappear as a dot on the horizon scrambling with Skipper after my runaway pooch.
Yesterday I was walking along the Silverburn River thinking about the two dogs, about Tom and what he would have said if I'd have broached the subject of a pal for Skipper. In my head I was telling him that it was a great way of trying another dog with Skipper as I could always take her back. He then answered me "But you won't though will you?" That stunned me a bit as I never thought that way when I went for her, but he is totally right. He knew /knows me better than I know myself. No I won't! No matter what problems may transcend, I will find a solution and make it work. Suzie won't be going back and Tom is still talking with me as I walk the banks of the Silverburn if I listen and don't let earthly sorrows cloud my mind.
Well I woke up this morning to the news of Jade Goody's death. She was brave for the last few weeks of her short life. Who would have thought that the idiot loudmouth ignoramus from BB would have come so far
I also awoke to the news a that a baby had had its life support removed by Court order and died
Both Jade and the baby have touched peoples lives, parents, family and the wider world
I wanted to share some memories of people who had touched me
Mark who died of Aids. He was a mess toward the end, in hospice, here and on his own. His brain was affected, the virus having crossed the blood brain barrier. He was lucid and then not. I occasionally took him out in the car and brought him home. I had known him 20 years, or thereabouts. I knew his mum step dad and sister and brother.
Toward the end he came home to my house for a few hours, wheelchair bound but bright, it was a good day. He was catheterised but needed a poo. I manged to get him on the loo and to get him off, cleansed and had his pants pulled up but the turn through 180 back in the wheel chair caught us both unawares. Over he went, over I went, both in a heap on the floor. What did we do, we laughed and laughed, about half an hour, maybe more, before he quietly said"its unfair, sex with just one man, one time and look at me. Come on lets get up." WE managed to get ourselves back up together. It was the only time he talked about how he became HIV and the last time he visited. But I shall never forget laughter the best medicine.
Then there was Tom, a set designer with a drama group in Northern Ireland, a visitor to the Gaiety Easter play festival. Tom taught differently abled child en arts and crafts. The play was Butterflies are Free about how a blind boy achieves freedom moving into a flat on his own. Tom had had one class produce tin butterflies and enamel paint them as badges for the cast and helpers. I was lucky to be given one. Tom died of a brain tumour aged 35. I still have the butterfly, 30 years on
Sometimes I hear a laugh and think of Mark, or I pick up the butterfly and think of Tom
It is the same with my father and mother there are sounds. smells, reminders, all of them pleasant. I hope I leave fond memories if anything should happen to me. I hope that you will too.r
I really do have to apologise to everyone who has emailed and written to me. I am so unaware of time and it is passing so quickly. It is lucky that I have my mother staying with me at the moment as she is making note of where I am supposed to be or who is coming at any particular time. Cheryl I will be in touch when I have the things done that must be done now.
Cheryl had been editing Toms book as he wrote it and she will continue with that when I take up the task of completing it. Ian Cottier who was the headmaster of St.Ninians school has asked if he can proof read it when it is complete. I have taken him up on that and will know that there will be very few errors, if any when he has finished.
Yesterday I had to kick start myself into doing the tasks I have ignored over the past week, but which have to be done. I started by looking for the insurance which I couldn't find, only a document apertaining to the bank. That stressed me somewhat and I phoned up our insurance man who came to see me last night and he is sorting everything for me. It was a day for contacting various people to stop pensions/allowances etc that i wouldn't be entitled too. I just felt a little fragile yesterday after staying strong. Ann the hospice nurse came to see at lunchtime. Although Tom is not here now, i still feel I need to talk to her and find comfort in doing so.
I made some decisions acout Toms boat the Silverburn last week as well. It has been up for sale as Toms health failed, but I have decided to keep her. Young Chris, Toms captain will continue to look after her and take Toms brother Lenny out fishing. On really, really calm days when Chris isn't working, I would like to go to the Sugarloaf rock. It is a place I adore and I always feel like a female David Attenborough with all the birds diving around the boat and thousands standing on the ledges like little soldiers all chattering away. The cacophony of bird sound is something I can conjure up in my mind in an instant and it is magic. How could I sell the Silverburn anyway? Chris said he would love to sail the boat and look after her as he would feel close to Tom. He's an unbelievable young man who has been Toms captain since he was a young 14 year old. He spent the first week with Tom at Clatterbridge last year and inbetween treatments, he and Tom sailed on every boat possible on the Mersey, even the yellow duck. He was 20 last year and he made Tom very happy in that 1st week, doing the boys thing which i wouldn't have been able to do. We never had children, but Chris has been close to us as any son could be and so attentive.
Anyway, today I will have to go into Douglas and see one of the banks over Toms pension. I am also going to have to buy some clothes as I have lost so much weight that I was nearly at the end of my tether on Saturday trying to find something to fit. Eventually I found a suit I had put away in the spare room wardrobe. It was from my skinny days ro from when I did the weight watchers thing which worked for a short while. It was a suit I couldn't part with as I loved it and when everything else made me look like a female version from the film Big, the suit fitted perfect. Gordon Cringle the funeral director comes again tonight to find out what acknowledgements I want and to fill in more forms. I could do with a whole page to thank all the people I would like to thank.
I still feel Tom in my heart whilst all this is happening and as long as I don't allow myself to think of the physical loss, I can cope.
This is a poem Tom wrote to me when we were courting and I still have it on the original paper he typed it on. I don't think he actually composed it, but that matters not.
It nestles deep within us all,
And patiently awaits the call,
Intangible, unheard, unseen,
The very reason for our being.
Unknown to me before you came,
Then passion took it’s careful aim,
And set my sleeping spirits free,
You found the soul inside of me.
And if by chance my aim is true,
To find the soul inside of you,
Then you will know this love I feel,
Is not imagined or unreal.
So that our stars collide,
Together cross that great divide,
Into the world that we can’t see,
You touched the world inside of me.
The happiness with you I gain,
Is equalled only by the pain,
Of loneliness when we’re apart,
Which cruelly torments my heart.
And contemplate I cannot do,
The awful thought of losing you,
But hope and pray you’ll always be,
Joined inside the soul of me.
This is now an additional verse that I will have on his headstone and it is truly how I feel.
Contemplate I could not do,
The awful thought of losing you,
But now I know you’ll always be,
Joined inside the soul of me.
Well it has been 6 months since I last blogged. I only ever intended it to be occasional, and so it is.
I have been a regular reader of Tom and Barbara’s blogs. I want to just say to Barbara that I hope Tom is in that better place and that you do meet him again. Thank you to both of you for enriching o my life.
Well off I went in September to my uncles funeral. Lovely do, beautiful flint church with thatched roof, a vicar who knew the man he was eulogising and a congregation where I, and my sister, 53 and 50 were the youngest. The church had a large charities board above the door showing endowments for the benefit of the village. My heart was uplifted by a 1630 donation the Laughter Charity. Obviously a surname, but how nice.
Funeral tea was in the church hall and provided by the WI. Again the youngest by 15 or twenty years.
So what have I been up to since then. I upset the mother in Law over Xmas, we had an invite, which was cancelled, re invited and in the end I said I wouldn’t go because it was about to be re cancelled. Families.
We were off to Spain Boxing day, all packed and ready for boat when Levi oldest dog has stroke. Cancel sailing and call vet. Vet says she will have to be put down so can we go to surgery following morning So we leave IOM 24 hours late. No space on Portsmouth St Malo for three days so go Dover Calais instead, lose our fare out on Brittany Ferries which with cabin was £400 each way. Get a single to Calais for £55.
Head off through France, stop off at an aire, a sort of off road park, where over nighting is allowed. Wake 05.00, someone trying to break in. Shout loudly, dogs bark, they sneak off. cannot sleep so set off south. The lock is now unlock-able from outside so we cannot leave the van anywhere. WE arrive at the farm to find the caretaker had put the CH on and it was warm and welcoming.
Next day unload motor home. We have taken down underlay and rolls of carpets for the upstairs living and bedroom areas. Help arrives and we get the living areas done.
Then Paul, and next me go down with flu, to shivery to do furniture removals and carpet laying so we sweat it out. I venture to Sitges and Barcelona go to Ikea and buy a new washing machine, all the while feeling like shit, then it’s time to go home.
Half way up France I get the text from IOMSPCo that due to adverse weather they are cancelling boats, we ring and are told its for three days. The van is huge and heavy and officially does not go on the Seacat any way. So we slow down, call into vets for dog jabs for passport. It’s exactly a year to the day since we last stopped by for same thing. Where is the other dog they ask, so we tell then, “ desole” the response as they delete her records from the computer.
Back in England we decide to do a family visit thing, My aunt and uncle in the East End, Lorraine in Norfolk etc some sites are open all year around with electric hook up, which we need as the leisure battery has failed.
Monday am I call IOMSPCo oh sailings resumed last night. Too far to go in too little time for Heysham at 14.15 but we get the Ben from Birkenhead at 12.00 mid night
We spent the first half of February in Bulgaria, me working, Paul and friends skiing, at Bansko, a new resort in Southern Bulgaria. The Bulgarians are nice, Bansko is super, less than an hour from Greece, but its only half developed and the credit crunch has hit hard. Still we had a great time until I got stopped with the duty free ciggies for Paul on my way back. Bulgaria is in EU, ciggies are cheap. I bought 1,000 duty paid for about £60, whistled my way through the blue channel. Stopped. Anything to declare? No, Sure? Yes Aren’t you off the Bulgarian plane? Yes Aren’t those Bulgarian Cigarettes? Yes, but I bought duty paid. There is no limit. Ah there is its 200 only transitional arrangements. OH. You can pay duty and VAT or I can confiscate. How much? £240 No thanks you keep them, enjoy smoking them!
Since then I have been having work done, a bigger drive to accommodate cars when clients call, a new home office, shed in the back garden and plans for the re shaping of upstairs to give access to the attic and four En suite bedrooms
In the meantime the Spanish electricity company has switched off my electricity again, about which I will write with more humour later
The house started to fill quite early on Saturday morning with family coming from across. My aunty and cousins arrived first and I found it hard to keep my composure. Toms brother Lennie and his wife Rosie also arrived to pick my mother, sister and niece up from the airport and also to think and do the last minute things I was incapable of. My sister Janet had been with me all week and she has been a star looking after me and the people wanting to show their support and voice their sorrow. Janet has made sure that if one cup of tea has gone cold without my drinking it, there was another and along with something to eat, she would almost stand over me to make sure I ate it. I was so busy and focussed planning for Tom, without her I would have neglected myself badly. She also made sure I did the things I was supposed to as time became nothing to me and I would have missed every appointment I had made.
Less of me now and back to Toms 'send off.' When the funeral cars arrived with Toms beautiful coffin and flowers, I felt strangely detached. I was still trying to focus on my image of the crysalist as Toms earthly body and his spirit was free like a beautiful butterfly. Last year at his fathers funeral, a butterfly fluttered around the mourners for most of the ceremony and I felt comforted by it. It was beautiful. Anyway, I was so detached. I was able to help direct people to the cars I'd decided they were going in. I sat in the front seat on the car that followed the coffin but by this time I was having to do controlled breathing to calm myself. Nearly every car we met stopped as we left our home by the Silverburn and gently made our way to what will be our last resting place. The church was totally full of people and that included the gallery. The coffin was carried into church to the sound of the Spinning Wheel song, the Irish love song which symbolised Tom waiting for me. Ian Cottier did a beautiful eulogy to Tom and did it by using extracts from Toms own book along with his own thoughts which made people both laugh and cry. Don Gelling read Desiderata which was the poem that so touched Toms life, the words of which he tried to live by. The vicar Norma Cole did a very good sermon and along with the 2 songs 'Great is thy faithfulness' and 'How great thou Art' the service went beautifully. At the commendation the vicar stood by Toms coffin and sang a small unaccompanied chorus 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.' It was brave of her and the chorus was so apt of Toms last days. The coffin was then carried out to the song Beautiful Isle of Somewhere prerocorded by Robin Crompton who has a voice in the style of Jim Reeves. Toms mum did very well and I was so pleased she was able to cope. The grave is in a very easy to find place and as it is in a grassed area, which in years to come will always look tidy when there is no-one around to tend it. The flowers I ordered which I thought would be an impossablitly to do were beautifully done, a Steampacket boat from the 60's.
Refreshments and buffet were laid on at the Sidings and our home. I thought that would please both groups of people. I was amazed at the distance people travelled to attend Toms funeral. Phil Walker who built Toms boats and his wife arrived from their new home in the Isle of Skye, Wendy and Sean who Tom met through his Blog and Manx Forums came from London. Aunts and uncles arrived from all parts of Ireland and England. It was a truly wonderful send off for an amazing man.
A friend came to me at the house after the funeral and chatted to me for a little while. She was telling me how she enjoyed the service and offered her support for the time ahead. As she said goodbye, she made a statement that left me totally open mouthed. "There was a butterfly fluttering about where we sat in the church, a red Admiral I think. Its early for butterflies isn't it?"
Well yesterday ended up being as frantic as I anticipated with all the jobs that I had to do. There has been a task that I completed which I hadn't mentioned in my blog in case I couldn't complete it. Tom told me the songs he wanted on entering and leaving the church. I could have been really easy on myself and pulled the songs off the internet, but i decided not too. The first song is an Irish ballad called The Spinning Wheel and the second is Beautiful Isle of Somewhere as that is where he will be. He said that people wouldn't understand why he chose the first song and when I read the words I realised they were meant for me and were symbolic. So I have put myself through it this week and I have been busy getting together a verion sung by me with the help of Robin Crompton and Dave Stewart. It is completed and although not perfect, I am satisfied with the result. Robin recorded the 2nd song and so now it is all locally done. Robins wife Geraldine was the little sister of one of Toms childhood friends, Tony Sloane. Tom often told me how Tony and himself would be clambering over the rocks collecting limpits I think he said whilst Geraldine would be shouting Tom to come back because of the danger and trying to tempt him back with her baked cakes. When I mentioned it to her this week she smiled as she remembered and told me and my sister how she was totally in love with Tom as a child. Being a young boy, it would have been lost on him.
My mother arrives today, along with my other sister and her daughter. I'm worried about my Mother in law Nel as she has had so much sadness in her life and carried it with such fortitude, but losing Tom has now taken her beyond what she can bear. She lost one son, Kevin, 30 years ago, her husband Dennis last year and now Tom. I wish I could ease her pain but I can't. I just hope she gets through today and from then on we will look after and support each other.
Anyway, its still the middle of the night and I should really try and go back to sleep for a few hours. Today I will need to be rested and trady to meet the day.
I have been lying here listening to the birds and trying to relax and enjoy the sounds and also the peace that can be found behind the door of the bedroom. I was so busy the past few weeks caring for Tom and trying so, so hard to keep him with me even though I knew it wasn't going to happen. My mind would flick from desparately trying to get him to eat to acceptance of him leaving me. Tom and I always enjoyed quiet times together. Early morning was one of them and the afternoons were the others. This week I have had no quiet times except for maybe two early mornings, the rest of the time has been preparation for the funeral or lots and lots of visitors. Today is my last day for getting t all right and hoping i have not forgotten anything. The problem is at the moment, I'm not sure what I may have forgotten. I have organised the food, though I think I am confirming numbers today. I have organised the flowers but I have to write my cards and deliver them to the flower shop. I have sorted the music but the song going into the church has still to be completed and some means of playing the songs in the church. I decided against doing the eulogy myself as Tom always added a touch of humour and I am unable to do that. I would be too maudling. I wasn't going to read it, only write it for someone else to read, but I am unable to do even that. I have instead asked Toms other self, Ian Cottier, to do the Eulody and he will be coming tonight to see if I am happy with what he has done. I don't need to see it as I trust him implicitly, but he will feel better running it by me. Ian was Toms other self because he narrated Toms book "Who's Afraid of the Dark" which was serialised on Manx Radio. The vicar came last night and so we have now agreed the order of service, songs and reading which my sister-in-law Rosie is having printed today.
Tomorrow everyone from away starts to arrive and so the house is going to be quite busy. The funeral will leave from the banks of the Silverburn River at around 1.45 and it will do a small detour over Thirtle Bridge as a last goodbye to Castletown Harbour where Tom spent many happy hours.
I am still hoping to stay focussed but I know now that it is a forlourn hope. I do know that he will be wondering what on earth I am playing at though. I've arranged the funeral unbeknown to me at the time, on the biggest football premiership game of the season, the Liverpool/ManU game. Oh well, I'm sure he'll understand on this occassion.
Bye for now.
I slept a little better last night although still fitfull. I am grateful that so far I have not dreamt that Tom is alive and had to go through the devastating realisation when I wake up. I'm always aware that life has changed and there is an empty space beside me but at the same time he is with me.
Yesterday the phone woke me at 7.50 which was late for me, but I was still to dazed to answer it and I lay there and just listened to the morning song birds and gathered my thoughts. I decided I would have to do something about Toms Manx Tails article for April. It had already gone in, but I felt maybe I should write something in addition by way of events after the article was completed. I got to work on it when I was half dressed. My sister Janet who has come over to support me was fluttering about trying to get me to drink tea, but I was focussed. Then came a bacon sandwich and another cup of tea as I busied myself with the task in hand. Eventually I had finished and emailed it off along with a little explanation. It was then that I glanced at my watch and saw it was 9.50 a.m. I had to be at the Castletown registry office to have the death certificate filed etc. It only opens between 9 and 10 a.m so I ran down the stairs, threw on my coat, got the car keys and shouted my intentions to my sister as I ran out of the door.
I arrived at the registry office which is in the Castle and was ushered into a room to wait until another client had finished their business. That is when I had my resolve not to cry, suddenly shattered. As I glanced into the room, I recognised it from some years previously as the room we had sat in when Tom had been best man for his friend David. I couldn't go in and the tears welled up in an instant. I opted to sit on a seat outside the office I would be entering soon to file the certificate. I remenisced about the wedding. There had been some humour when Tom had been asked to sign the register. I had taught Tom to sign his name when he had to sign books and was happy he could do the task in hand. Then the registrar asked Tom to print his name. Panic welled up in me as I knew Tom didn't know how to print it. I asked could he not sign it and the answer was that it had to be printed. With that I had to go to Toms side and guide his hand to actually print his nme.It brought me back to the only other time he had to write his name and that was when we got married. He always signed with a cross and I asked him before the wedding could he please write his name otherwise I could be married to anybody. I don't know how he did it on that occassion but he did.All I know is that as he was writing it he said he was panicking as he couldn't remember how a Y went. All the time he slowly printed his name he was trying to recall the 'Y'. He said just as he finished the 'E', there must have been devine intervention as it just came to him. He said the only letters he really new off by heart where LOPVIRE and that was because he had a cup which he drank tea from at his mothers which had the letters on and he would feel them with his fingers whenever he had a drink. It said LIVERPOOL.
I'm digressing and yet again I feel I want to digress for now as I want to talk about Tom. Toms school taught him well as everyone will appreciate but he was taught to cumminicate in Braille. In that world he was taught the alphabet initially with some thick manilla paper and a spike which was used to formulate the Braille equivalent of a letter and it was a combination of 6 dots. Then he was taught on a Braille machine which made it so much easier which again is like a very old typewriter only with 6 keys that where used in different combinations. When the keys were pressed, they all had to have equal pressure or the letter required would turn out entirely different if a dot was too faint to be read. I know you are all wondering how he managed to write his book, emails and blog etc. I'll save that for tomorrow and just say for now hat he was a truley remarkable man with a determination to that would leave even me open mouthed.
Back to my day sitting outside the registry office in the castle. My turn came and I had pulled myself together after my little weep. The lady registrar was sensative and understanding. Sh asked me the normal fullname, DOB type questions and I watched her write it down with her fountain pen. She got to the point where it asked for relationship to the deceased and as I was reading upside down from my side of the desk, it took a little longer. It didn't look like 'Wife of the deceased'. Then I had my next shock; 'Widow of the deceased.' Until then I was Tom Glasseys wife and now I was a widow, but inside me screamed 'No, I'm Tom Glassey's wife.' When I told her she said everyone got a shock when they saw that. I'm over it now and no matter that I will have to write widow on forms, I'm still Tom Glassey's wife.
I left the registry and realised I should have been in the hairdresser 10 minutes ago as it was now 10.55 a.m. I hadn't been able to leave Tom for quite sometime and now was the time to get my poor old grey roots done to make myself look my best for Tom on Saturday. I dashed to the hairdressers without any money as I had spentwhat I had in the registry getting copies of the certificate. Denise the hairdresser understood and I was able to sit and ponder for a while as I sat there. There was much more yesterday which doesn't seem so important now. The only embarrassing thing about the registry office and a few hours in the hairdressers was that I had run out the house so quickly, I still had my bed socks on!
I hope this doesn't look like overkill from someone that has been blogging to keep you all informed of Toms progress when he decided to wind down his blog. I'm getting a strange kind of comfort from putting down my thoughts and speaking to his friends. I am receiving so many emails and messages of comfort that I want you all to know that after the funeral I will answer everyone of you individually. I haven't been able to email people previously as my mind was totally focussed on Tom and his needs. I couldn't manage anything else. He was my life and we were and still are soul mates. Now I don't have to look after his physical needs, I'm getting comfort from talking about him, planning for him and I will more than make up for my like of communication to our joint friends which includes all those who have never met him, but have communicated with him and have still meant as much to Tom and I
Today I still feel comfort that Tom has left his rather battered body which I like to think of as a crysalist. I'm hoping I can maintain that way of thinking when the funeral takes place on Saturday. Tom planned the songs for his coffin going in and going out of the church and wanted traditional hymns. I asked what they were and he said he wanted me to pick those so we had planned the funeral together. That is how we did most things, together. I am going to write the eulogy which I can only do with love and without the wisdom and wit that Tom would have managed.
At the moment this all appears quite controlled and matter of fact, but I think there is something I should possibly share with you that may help to explain my composure to a degree. Tom has an article going in Manx Tails in April where he writes about a peace that he recieved when he was in hospital 3 weeks ago. I'm not going to go into that now, but on Wednesday night when he knew the end had arrived, as he was going to sleep he said its the 1st time he was going to sleep without a goal. I told him his goal was to now find that peace he had recieved 3 weeks previously. In the course of the days that followed I asked him had he received that peace and he said yes. He said he wished he could share just 5 minutes of it with everyone who was grieving for him as it was indiscribable. I'm not going to temper my writing for the athiests and I am going to write this as it happened. I asked had he prayed and he said he had been talking to different people. He didn't recognise their voices but they talked to him. Knowing that I have a deep faith even though I don't go to any place of worship, Tom then said "I never said that God didn't exist you know. I just said that I believe that God is for all people he does not just belong to one particular religion or group of people. He is a God for all." I said that sometimes it sounded like he was anti, but Tom didn't want people trying to 'save him' or talk him into things. He was the most spiritual man I have ever met and even with my faith, he made me feel humble. I feel that I have a little of that peace he wanted to share. Maybe I'm in shock, maybe I will go to pieces at sometime in the future, I don't know. Maybe its the antidepressants. All I know is that for 18 years I have been married to the most wonderful man imaginable and we have been closer than most by virtue of his blindness. We didn't have children as we felt complete, married late and just wanted each other. Only a power greater than I can be giving me comfort now when I was totally distraught when Toms body died. For now I will enjoy that peace and now continue doing things that must be done.
Time for a cuppa I think. Thank you for continuing to read my ramblings. x
It has been a hard day but now I am sitting at my laptop in bed with an empty space beside me, I think it will be cathartic to write a little. I have known since Toms diagnosis last January that Tom wasn't going to live very long. 6 months to 2 years max was the figure I was given by more than one doctor and in every piece of information I could find on small cell lung cancer. Tom responded to chemo as happens in the majority of cases but it comes back. Tom was so optimistic when his chemo allowed him to walk miles again and I wanted so much to keep that optimism going. I didn't want any medical staff to burst his bubble and I genuinely felt that his optimism could carry him on for longer than expected. I'm sure we had more time together because of it and Tom certainly enjoyed last year. I used to trawl the internet as he slept looking for anything I could on the disease and cures. Everything pointed to the same dire prognosis. I made myself ill in my frantic effort to find a way of saving my husbands life. Luckily the doctor acted and I was given antidepressants for stress, anxiety and depression. Everytime someone remarked on how well I was doing, I felt like a fraud. I didn't even tell Tom for a while as it would have put out the wrong signals to him when he was in remission. Anyway, it all came out in the end when the cancer did return and even then I managed to keep the optimism going until this week when Tom struggled to get to chemo. He had been unwell for a few days and felt that the chemo would boost him and he would be fine again. Unfortunately the blood tests revealed that Toms liver was hardly functioning. It was explained that 3 weeks previously when the tests where done, his liver was functioning perfectly and within 3 weeks it had deteriorated dramatically. If it continued with such rapidity........ We went home and Tom new he could be helped no longer and he was dying. We didn't realise it would be so quick. Each day from Wednesday has seen a dramatic deterioration and Tom told me yesterday that he was going very soon and much quicker tahn we both thought. He said goodbye to all friends and family and by the time yesterday evening came, Tom was already fading quickly. I held him all night and all this morning until he died. To say I have been dustraught would be an understatement, but I didn't want Tom to suffer. He died peacefully in my arms and I am gratefull his struggle is over. The cancer was too aggressive to fight.
I'm numb at the moment and have also had little time to myself. i don't think the reality has hit home, This week I have to plan his funeral which will take place on Saturday 14th March at 2 p.m at Malew Church. I am now going to try to sleep as weeks of nursing Tom through the night has taken its toll. For now i will sleep and face another day tomorrow without my soul mate.