25 Years – Silver is the colour

Mr. and Mrs.

The New Mr.and Mrs Seadog – 1989.

Twenty five years ago today

I became the proudest man alive

as she walked down the aisle.

I looked in to her eyes and saw her smile

and I knew I was doing the right thing,

Now here we are 25 years later, still in love.


Happy Silver Anniversary my sweet,

I loved you then,

I love you now,

and I will love you forever


What Goes Around….

For My Mum


Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my old familiar name

Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

At the little jokes we always enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was

Let it be spoken without effort

Without the ghost of a shadow in it

Life means all that it ever meant

It is the same as it ever was

There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind

Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval

Somewhere very near

Just around the corner

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Malaya Slides005


 2 years ago today you were taken from us.

Two years on the pain of your loss still hurts. especially today.

R.I.P. my lovely Mum, I miss you so much.

Always in my thoughts, forever in my heart

All my love always



Two years later, and I’m back where I was when Mum died.

The same restaurant, the same place, the same people….It’s a tradition here that for anniversaries of a loss of a loved one, you go to a church to offer prayers ( which I haven’t managed to do ) and then get balistically drunk, which I intend to do.

It’s been a strange day, being here, reliving those awful days, especially today, looking at the clock, thinking this time two years ago, she only had x amount of hours / minutes left to live…and knowing now, that I had already seen her for the last time…

Sadness, tears, and a general feeling of loss and grief have been my companions for the last few days.

Time to move on, Mum would have hated it to think that she was spoiling our holiday.. so for today I’m wearing black and I will raise my glass ( more than one! ) to my dear lovely Mum.

Tomorrow is another day…..

With special thanks to Christina who has been through so much more than I have, and come through all those dark times, and Kathy, in whose footsteps I now follow.

Thank you to everyone that has written words of support and kindness.

I can’t tell you how much you’ve all helped and how much  I appreciate your kindess


Memories Of A Life Passed – Two Years On

Mum in Hospital Feb 2011 

I’ll never forget our last words and sights of my Mum… We were leaving her house about 10pm on the 28th June 2011. We had taken some food round for her, and she had eaten a good hearty meal for a change, and had come to the door to see us off.

She stood there in her night dress, with a light dressing gown draped around her to keep her warm, her thin pale face and white hair, with brown eyes watching as we got ready to go.

I went over and gave her a light hug ( not too hard because of her chest) and told her we would see her soon, it was only three weeks and that I  loved her.

She wished us a happy holiday, and said she hoped we would have a good time. Her last words to me were ” I’m going to miss you two ” I said ” I’m going to miss you too Mum”….

How prophetic that was.

As we got to the top of the drive, I looked back and I could see her standing there, 4ft 11 inches tall, a sad , forlorn, frail old lady who was  probably worried how she was going to manage without us and probably more than a little afraid.


Two years ago today, 28th June 2011 ( it was a Tuesday), was the last time I saw or spoke to my Mum.

If you’ve read the entries from this time last year, you’ll know the reasons why, if you haven’t I’ll give you a quick resume.

My Mum who was 80, had to have open heart surgery ( risky at any age, but more so for anyone of the age ), to replace a heart valve.

Initially she made an incredible recovery -physically, though there was some evidence of memory loss, but overall she was making good progress….so much so that we arranged to go on holiday for a few weeks , before we knuckled
down to the serious business of primary carers.

I had set up all sorts of procedures so that she would have some contact with somebody every day that we were away, carers, family, etc. and it
was while we were away, that she had a fall and wasn’t discovered for possibly 36 hours.

It wasn’t that serious at first, so much so that my family didn’t even tell me that she fallen, and was in hospital as they knew I would be worried and besides, she wasn’t that ill…

Little did we know.

At some time post op, she had managed to get an infection in her chest bones, they hadn’t knitted together properly, and the infection finally
overcame her on the 14th July, just as we were about to get on a plane and get back home.

My entries from last year tell the story of that awful time, and the aftermath of her death.


I’ve had a lot of problems coping with her loss, blaming myself for going on holiday, not being there when she really really needed me, and also for not being able to say goodbye, and being able to tell her how much I really did love her, how much I was going to miss her, and all the other things I had wanted to say but just never got round to.

The first few months after her death were particularly difficult, and I spent most of them in a daze of shock, continuing with my life the routines that I had been involved in before her death, but with one massive exception

– Mum –

and crying a lot.

Tears would come at the most inopportune
times, whilst driving my car, out in the pub, sometimes just talking to friends, and for a period of time I honestly thought I was going to lose it completely and descend in to the dark black hole of depression.

Birthdays and Christmas’s were particularly difficult,  Mum used to phone up and sing Happy Birthday, something I quite liked secretly, and something I miss so so much now.

She would spend hours ( and fortunes ) picking cards for us, studying the words so that the card would convey exactly what she wanted to say,
and this became part of the Christmas or Birthday present-

Again something I miss so much.

We cleared her possessions, all her clothes, shoes, little things that were part of my Mum, then sold the house, it was like erasing her from our lives, and it hurt so much.


Now, two years later, my thoughts have come back to those dark July days and the last time I saw her, and these last few weeks have seen all the raw emotions and memories from that time resurfacing.


Kathy from Healing From The Loss Of A Parent recently posted an entry “ Living in The Present “ in which she describes her feelings and state of
life after her Mum died.

She talks of living in the past, and of how grief makes you do that, and also of how you can get stuck there. She has emotionally been through what I’m going through now, reading her posts are almost as though I had written them.

Her words and experiences, descriptions of emotions and states of mind and how she has dealt with them  have really helped me. For me, the most important part of her entry is

But true acceptance of what has happened helped me to move forward and move into the
present. I still think about my mom every day. I still miss her. But I am now living again, and living fully in the present. It’s a good place to be, and most of the time I feel at peace.


My Mum would not want me to spend the rest of my life in mourning, remember her yes, never forget certainly, but mourn her forever…. no.

She would want me to get on with my life, and enjoy it, rather than existing in a world of shadows and grief.


This has got to be my aim, my goal.

If I don’t come out of the shadows

What choice is there for me?…….

I’m going to miss you Mum.

Christmas 2003

Christmas 2003

“The Shy Butterfly” is Published

In August 2009 I reblogged an entry from Reconstructing Christina called “ You said “, possibly one of the best things I have ever read.

Click here to read You Said……

Christina’s story, her loss, and her struggle to rebuild her and her families life reached out and touched me.
Now Christina’s Mum, Penny, has published this book in Duane’s memory.

As Penny says, all the monies she receives will go to Christina’s family for now and in the future.
I’ve already bought it from Amazon, will you do the same ?

For Christina and Duane and their lovely brilliant family xxx

The Why About This


The Shy Butterfly

The Shy Butterfly is published. Now available at Amazon.com. As I write this announcement there are tears running down my face. When I first wrote this story six years ago, the inspiration for the story (which I shared with him at the time) was Duane Brownlee. My daughter’s husband.

the brownlee familyA man endowed with an amazingly happy outlook on life and people. His, a gentle positive attitude about living each day to the fullest. This then was Duane. Three years ago on the weekend of his son’s tenth birthday, Duane was struck and killed by a drug using motorist, just several blocks from his home. I was there, a tragic traumatic event, his family’s lifeDad with children changed forever.

They’ve carried on. Filled with the memories of his loving and happy nature living within each of them.

This book is dedicated to Duane and all my monies received from the sale…

View original post 181 more words

Getting to know you – Canon John Redford

Canon John Redford

Canon John Redford

Father John passed away on November 6th 2013.

Our loss is heavens gain.

R.I.P. Father John,

I wish I had met you in better circumstances, and earlier in my life.

You will be missed.

‘O God, who raised up Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman to be a model of those who seek for the truth and find it in full communion with the Catholic Church, graciously grant as a sign of his full sanctity the miraculous healing of Canon John Redford, who followed the same spiritual path, in order that he may continue his work of teaching and writing for your glory, who live and reign for ever and ever, Amen.’

In my entry
Still here – Another breath of life,

I touched upon my short stay in hospital due to being unable to breathe, and a bit about my treatment in there.
What I didn’t go into detail about, was my time on the ward, and some of the folks on it.

When I finally got moved from A&E to the Acute Medical Unit (about 11.00am in the morning , after a night on a trolley), there were a few characters already in residence, including one poor old man who didn’t seem to know or care where he was, having a conversation with the whole of the ward about his house and how who ever Henry was wasn’t coming anywhere near it, and amongst the other patients, an elderly gentleman in the bed next door to me, who introduced himself as Cecil, who was in for a suspected heart attack, which happily for him turned out to be a case of severe indigestion.

As most of my first day was spent either asleep or on a nebuliser to clear my lungs, I didn’t really take much notice, or have much of a chat with Cecil, apart from wishing him all the best when he checked out later that evening, and to wonder who was going to be next through the door and in to the bed to replace him.
This turned out to be a rather tall, loud, jocular,elderly, but very well spoken man, who looked and sounded like he was one of those people you either liked instantly or couldn’t stand.
He came over and loudly installed himself in to the bed, proclaiming that he “wouldn’t be long, he was only in for a “ procedure “ and that he should be out of the way by tomorrow “

There was something about this man, the way he spoke and what he was saying that made me pay attention, and instinctively I knew here was a fellow I could get on with.
He ( unprompted) told me that he was in for an “ exploratory procedure “ and had been recommended by a friend who thought he looked unwell, to go and see his doctor, who had  immediately sent him to hospital for tests for suspected pancreatic cancer, possibly terminal, and this operation was to see if it was operable.
He was quite accepting of his possible fate, saying that he was 76, he had a good life and that if it was his time then so be it.

As we were swapping our hospital stories, I realised that we hadn’t been introduced so I asked him his name, to which he replied “ John… John Redford, but you can call me Father John”
Ahh , a man of the cloth and a Roman Catholic to boot, God was indeed on my side, and had sent me my very own direct contact if things went wrong!

As we chatted, Fr. John told me all about where he had worked, what he had done earlier in life and that he was now working at a place called the Maryvale Institute, which is an International Catholic Distance-Learning College for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education, and that he was a Course Director there.
His whole demeanour throughout the conversation was cheery, with no sense of forboding from him as he told me about events leading up to his admission in to hospital, and about of his life’s work as a servant of God.
As we were chatting away, I saw the familiar dog collar of another priest, and assumed this was a visitor for Fr. John.

Well I was half right and half wrong, as it turned out that it was the hospital R.C. chaplain, and that he had come to see Fr. John and give him a blessing before his operation.
He was also our parish priest, a gentleman called Fr. Michael Ho, originally from Vietnam, a very inspiring man and also the priest that had conducted my Mum’s funeral.
He recognised me instantly, and though very surprised, greeted me with the words “ What are you doing here ? “

Resisting all impulses to give a silly answer, I gave him a quick resumee about the nights drama, and in return he gave me a blessing for which although I’m not really a “ practising “ catholic, I was very grateful to receive, before turning back to his original purpose of visiting Fr. John.
As they pulled the curtains round Fr. Johns’ bed for a modicum of privacy, I thought I would google Maryvale and find out a little bit more about “ Father “ John.

It turns out that “ Father “ John is actually The Very Reverend CANON John Redford ( which is considerably better than just a priest ) and that this Very Reverend gent was also a highly educated man, and an expert in his field, having published many books on his chosen subject.

After his blessing, and Fr. Michael had gone, we chatted some more before settling in for a night of what loosely could be termed sleep. The A.M.U. is like a short term general sorting ward where patients are put to get them out of A&E before they go on the ward proper, and as such is a VERY busy place , with patients coming in and going out to other wards ( or dying ) at all times of the day and night. The lights are on 24 hours, doors bang all the time, and in general it’s not a very relaxing place to be.

However, the next morning, we both awoke, one of us obviously more trepidacious than the other, and after wishing Fr. John good luck he was put under and  taken down to the operating theatre. When I awoke a few hours later, all his stuff was gone, and a new patient was occupying his bed…. ” How is  Fr. John? ” I asked nervously, just in case, you know…. ” Oh he’s ok said the nurse, we just moved him to another space because this one has got equipment that the other bed hasn’t got “

Phew.. that’s a relief, so I went over to see how he was getting on. When I got to his bed, there was a plethora of relegious folk there, Priests and Nuns, so I quickly asked him how he was,wished him all the best and told him I hoped his results were favourable. We said our goodbyes and that was it, off he went back home, off I went to my hospital bed for a few more days.

Because of the rush of Christmas, New Year and just living in general, whilst not completely forgetting about Fr. John, I had neglected to remember him, and for some reason today I thought I would have a look on the Maryvale website to check up and see if I could find out how he was.

To my utter shock and horror I was greeted by these words :

Novena Prayer to Blessed John Henry Newman for the Healing of Canon John Redford
Towards the end of last year, the seriousness of the physical condition of Canon John Redford was made known. He is suffering from an inoperable cancer of the pancreas, which the best medical opinion has informed us, if untreated, leads to death in six months, and if treated by chemotherapy would extend his life possibly for another six months.

The words in bold jumped out of the page at me, and I’ve been knocked bowlegged by this news.

Although I only had the pleasure of his company for a relatively short time, I liked this gentle old man immensely and I feel full of sorrow and regrets.
Sorrow for him, that he only has a short time left on this world, regrets that I didn’t meet him earlier, or keep in contact with him when I could have.
Fr. John himself would no doubt laugh at me, and tell me not to worry, he’s had a good life, we all have to go sooner or later,and if the Lord wants me to be with him sooner, then so be it.
The rest of the text follows on:

We would like to invite all who those wish to participate to pray for the healing of Fr John through a novena – nine days of prayer – for the canonisation of the Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.
The novena will begin on Friday 11th January, to end nine days later on January 20th. Prayers of course can be said anywhere, but would be most suitable during Mass. Perhaps a suggestion might be to begin with a Mass for the intention of a cure and for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman on January 11th, and with a Mass to end the novena on January 20th.

We will be saying the following prayer each day of the novena:
‘O God, who raised up Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman to be a model of those who seek for the truth and find it in full communion with the Catholic Church, graciously grant as a sign of his full sanctity the miraculous healing of Canon John Redford, who followed the same spiritual path, in order that he may continue his work of teaching and writing for your glory, who live and reign for ever and ever, Amen.’

With profound thanks to all who will be joining us for this novena.
Dr Petroc Willey
Acting Director, Maryvale Institute

Father John writes:
‘There is no question that the cancer as it now exists in my body is lethal, and treatment for it is only palliative, not with any hope of a medical cure.

Therefore, it seems clear, if by prayers offered to God asking for Cardinal Newman’s intercession, this cancer was cured, that there is no doubt that this would be a miracle.

The fact that there was no known cure, plus the coincidence of prayers for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman, would make this a miracle worthy of submission to Rome as one at least of the miracles required for John Henry Cardinal Newman Servant of God to be elevated to full sanctity.
‘I must insist (everyone who knows me will know that I would insist!) that we follow the doctrine of Holy Church here.

The Church is quite clear that such a miracle for which we pray is a gratia gratis data, ‘a grace gratuitously given’. It is distinct from a gratia by which we are saved, such as baptism and the eucharist.

Those are the blessings of the New Covenant in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will never be denied to any member of the human race who asks for such a grace, provided that a response of faith is given by the recipient.
‘On the contrary, a gratia gratis data is a purely gratuitous gift, like a vision or a private revelation (cf. CCC 66-67). That special gift will be given only if the Lord wishes so for his own purposes, perhaps a purpose which we shall never know on this earth.
‘If therefore our prayers for a miracle through the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman are not successful, we may not conclude that there is something wrong (for example, and as is likely, with me!) It will be simply that the Almighty, for his own reasons, does not wish a miracle to happen through this means.

Perhaps he wants me to go fairly quickly to be with him, as Paul said so long ago, to the Philippian Christians:-
‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.’ (Phil 1:21-24)’

Which sums the man up so much better than I can.

I’m not a really a religious person, but if anyone deserves a miracle or help from up above, then Father John certainly does, so if you can spare a minute, and you don’t mind,  please just read the prayer at the top of this post.

I don’t know if it will make any difference, but it’s worth a try,

Thank you.

Canon John Redford

Canon John Redford

The passage of time.. Does it get any easier?

Time – He’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of sensless things
His script is you and me….
Time…. now there’s a thing… friend or foe….
When you are young, time is an unquantifiable thing..
minutes seem like days, christmas never comes….
You get a bit older & all of a sudden days seem like minutes,
and you are left thinking ” where did that go?”
7 years ago today my gran died age 99.
after a short ilness caused by a stroke. She had had a long and eventful life, but time finally caught up with her,
and it was just 6 weeks from admission to final release>
This time 7 years ago, time seemed to stand still,
as we rushed around all the legal departments
getting certificates, and making arrangements
for her funeral.
There was the  sudden realisation
that there was no more time for chats, and laughs, sharing stories, and enjoying each others company.
We had spent most of Christmas in the hospital,visiting my Gran, and supporting my Mum in her visits to the hospital.
That last night we saw her was  Monday 9th January
 and I remember my Mum saying that she
was worried about my gran as she was getting weaker
and more confused and strugglingto breath,
and that she wanted to stay at the hospital longer
as she had a bad feeling about her.
To be honest I agreed, my Gran was going downhill
but because she was such a fighter
I thought she would last the week out
and that she might pass on the Friday.
Mum reluctantly agreed and we went home about 10.30pm….
How wrong can you be?
At 2.30am the hospital phoned my Mum to say that my Gran had inded taken a turn for the worse, and that she needed to get there quickly as she was dying.
How do hospitals and nurses know this?
How many people have received that call
and got to the hospital to find their
loved one gone or just about to go?
Mum called us straight away to let us know,and we got to the hospital about 30 minutes after she had died.
For my Gran it was a release, she was 99, blind in one eye,
very short sighted in the other, doubly incontinent, and pretty much deaf in both ears and had stated that when her time came, she wasn’t afraid of what was coming after,
just the dying part of it, and that
really she was quite ready to go.

Grans Funeral

My Mum spent the rest of her life thinking about my gran,
full of regrets and should have’s and could have’s…..
which is ironic really because that
is just how I feel about my Mum…
If only’s and what if’s??? 
I look back at that Christmas and this time then and think…..
Was that really 7 years go???
Where did those 99 years  of her life go?
Forever in my heart
Till we meet again……
Catherine – My Gran
24.12.1906 – 10.1.2006
99 Years 17 days
I originally published a version of this a few years ago 
and have repeated updated versions every
10th January, in her memory 
She was a formidable woman, but I still miss her.
Does it get any easier as the years go by?
I don’t think it does get easier,the loss of any one close to you is always a huge shock whether they are old or not.
What has happened is that as time has passed,  I have become used to that person not being around any more,
My Dad, My Mum, My Gran, people that I have loved and that have died, as the memories fade, so does the pain,
until it is triggered by a date, a sound, a smell,
or one particular thought that floats in to my mind,
then all those represssed memories come rushing to the surface again, bringing with them that familiar ache of grief,
 and the clock starts ticking until the next event.
Time – friend or foe?
One day I will work it out

Still Here…..

Well here we are, the afternoon of 21st December 2012, and well, here we are!

According to the ancient Mayan calendar, the world should have ended this morning at 11.11am UK time, and we should all be dead.

For some of us that is very close to home.

For all the poor souls that got killed in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, and for their families the world has ended.

They sent their children and loved ones off to school, that Friday morning, to a place of safety and for 26 families their loved ones never returned.

How will they cope with this?

How can they cope with this?

As I looked at the pictures of the children that they showed on the TV, their eyes and faces bright with the light of life and living, full of promise, I couldn’t even start to contemplate the hurt and pain they must be feeling.

For them Christmas will never be the same, and whatever your belief, just think about them on Christmas Day as we all sit around the table laughing and opening our presents, because for those 26 families it will be the hardest day in their lives.

Who’s to blame??

Obviously the crazed manic that marched in to the school and started to shoot anything that moved.

The N.R.A. ?

The right to bear arms is written into the American constitution, a constitution written when America was a lawless place, and a gun was a necessity.

Fair enough, I appreciate that for some areas, it is still a lawless place, and carrying a gun for your own self protection is essential, but the killer had access to weapons that only professional soldiers should have access to.

Bushmaster rifle

Semi automatic assault rifles have no place in the public forum, they are killing machines usually used by professionals, not your every day Joe, and the time has now come to restrict access to them before something like this happens again

Another Breath of Life….

Breathing… it’s the first and last thing you do, from that first deep gulp of air to the last gasp as your body shuts down…it’s also something that we all take for granted, until something happens and you can’t do it.

For quite some time now I’ve had a flu like symptoms, which has caused me quite a few problems, shortness of breath, coughing all night, sleeping downstairs on the settee so that I could be upright, and  not  disturb my wife, so after a couple of weeks of this I went to the doctors for a bit of help, thinking he was going to say “ Sorry Seadog, you’ve got the flu, it’s a virus, there’s nothing we can do about it, sling your hook! “ .

Instead he said I had a “bad “chest infection, put me on antibiotics and told me to come back if it hadn’t cleared up…

Which it didn’t.

So 2 weeks later there I was, back at the doctors again, who this time prescribed more antibiotics, steroids and an inhaler…. and a chest x-ray “just in case”

I was still coughing violently though to be fair the steroids and anti biotics had made a bit of a difference, but it just wouldn’t clear up, so 2 weeks later, back I went.

The doc was very nice, discussed the x-ray with me (clear thank God) listened to my chest and gave me some more anti biotics and steroids… which almost did the trick!

The course finished on the 5th December, at which stage I was ok, but as the days went on, I got worse and worse, until Sunday evening when the coughing was almost too much to bear.

The more I coughed, the more I took the inhaler, the worse I got, until I just couldn’t breathe.

The only was I can describe it was it was like being so out of puff that I was heaving breathing, and being right at the top of my breath, not able to breathe in anymore or get enough air, so by now in a state of considerably mounting panic, we called the emergency services, as I honestly thought that this was it.. The Mayan end of the world was correct, just a week (is) out, and all my questions about heaven and hell were soon to be answered.

The paramedics were brilliant, they gave me oxygen and nebulisers a machine that creates a mist of chemicals that opened the airways ) and stabilised me for an hour before popping me onto a trolley and taking to the local hospital, where they gave me more oxygen and drugs to open my airways.

After a few hours, my breathing had settled and I started to cough again, which made me breathless again so to cut a long story short they kept me in for 3 days when they let me out again, not cured, but certainly better off than when I went in, with the diagnosis of acute Bronchitis as a complication of the chest infection that I had.

Apparently because my bronchial tubes were inflamed, my lungs were producing loads of stuff to help to calm the inflammation down, which because my airways were narrowed, I couldn’t cough up as the stuff was too thick to pass through the tubes, so every time I coughed, I was blocking my airways and reducing my lung capacity so much so I couldn’t breath.

I’ve never had anything like this before, and the ability to breathe (out of water) is something that I‘ve just taken for granted.

I’m now on inhalers that I have to take morning and evening though a spacer device, watching my peak flow rate (a measure of how much puff I’ve got) and waiting for hospital appointments various specialists to see whether or not it is / was bronchitis or maybe Asthma, with the instructions “if you have problems breathing, get to hospital straight away”

When I was at school (along long time ago) there were kids there with bronchitis and Asthma… we all used to make fun of them, it  wasn’t a serious thing ho ho ho , but how must they have felt then, knowing that maybe the next breath might be nearly the last?

For me, my stay in hospital was ok. The doctors sorted me out, kept me in for a few days enforced rest and fed and watered me regularly.

Some of the food wasn’t up to much, and we won’t talk about the tea, but for 40 years I’ve been paying my National Insurance, and when the time came, I got looked after., so a big THANK YOU to the staff in the wards, and to Britain’s N.H.S. which sometimes (correctly) gets criticised heavily for lack of care and other issues not for right now.

Diagnosis wise my moneys on the bronchitis as I’ve been lucky and never had Asthma, or hay fever or really anything like that ( which is what made it so terrifying that Sunday night ) and I’m hoping that when I get to the chest specialist, he is going to give me the all clear, but it has made me think.

It’s made me think of a lot of things, sitting there on the ward surrounded by seriously ill people, some of whom were given the news that their next stop was either a hospice or somewhere to die, but the main one is that after all the trauma of last year and the upset of my Mum dying, despite the feeling of utter desolation and the depths of despair that nearly took me to the gates of hell, when push came to shove, and the choice to breathe or not to breathe had to be made, I chose life.

Perhaps this brush with the grim reaper is a watershed for me, an acceptance of life and death, and an appreciation that really, whatever you do, when your time is up, your time is up, and sadly for my dear mum, 14th July 2011 was HER time, and there was nothing I could have done about it.


I will always miss her and life won’t ever be the same without her, but life is just that … life.

Which is a whole lot more than 20 children and 6 teachers in Newtown  have today.

God rest their souls, may they rest in peace, heaven has got 20 more angels now.



80 Years- Birthday Wishes

This gallery contains 3 photos.

My Dad Happy birthday Dad! You would have been 80 today if you had made it. 31 years is a long time for you not to be here, but I think of you nearly every day. You were my Hero, my … Continue reading


Catching up….

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Well folks, it’s  a month since I got back from Kos, and apart from a few words here and there I haven’t really said much about it….on here anyway! Sadly that’s the way it’s going to stay for a bit … Continue reading


Have I missed much???

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Well folks here we are again, or more correctly here I am again after a short sojourn – three weeks –  in the sunny land of the gods and ancient antiquities, Greece…Well actually a smallish island in the Dodecanese sea … Continue reading

You Said…

For some reason this post has really connected with me.

Sadly, the handsome young man in the photo is no longer with us.
He was married for 20 years before he was killed in a motorbike accident, in May 2010, leaving behind a wife and 3 children.

His name was Duane, her name is Christina.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have.

Reblogged with kind permission of Christina Browlee ©

∼ Reconstructing Christina ∼

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”



You said I was beautiful…

You made me feel like a goddess…

You said you loved me…

And proved it at every opportunity…

You said we were a perfect fit…

Like puzzle pieces…

You said if any one made me cry you’d make them cry…

And you did…

You said I was perfect…

When I didn’t feel remotely pretty…

We sang… We danced… We loved…

So passionately…completely…breathtakingly fantastic…

We were two pieces who became one whole…

You said you wanted to grow old with me…

You didn’t…

You left me…

You said you couldn’t guarantee to love me for the rest of my life

but you would love me for the rest of yours….

And you did…

Like a magnificent opus…



Copyright © 2012 Christina Brownlee

View original post

5th August 2011- Flowers

On the 5th August 2011 we had my Mum’s funeral,

These words were for my Mum on her flowers that day


We miss your sounds and your sights

Your laughs and cries

Your sense of humour, your sweetness and kindness,

But most of all we miss you my dear.

No chance now for one last chat

No chance now for one last kiss

No chance now for us to ask you

No chance now for us tell you

Just how much we really love you

And how much we are going to so so miss you

Death is so final, the end for every thing here

No more chats no more chuckles

No more laughs no more struggles

No more pain

Just peace

All your memories 80 years of them,

Gone like snowflakes in the sunlight

Never forgotten, you will always be in our thoughts

Goodbye my love, sleep tight, rest in peace

Until we meet again, all our love , always


Rest In Peace My Lovely

I just have to Reblog this entry, I love the words, the symbolism, the sentiment that these words express, the declaration of love that is stated here.
I wish I had written this myself, but alas I can’t take credit for this brilliant piece of prose.

Madhura Jha

                     Give me your love…….














Give me your hand, I will hold it for ever

Give me your smile, I will never let it disappear

Give me your worries, to toss them in the air

Give me your heart, I want to stay in it forever.


Give me your eyes, to see the passion in it

Give me your arms, I want to bury myself within

Give me your faith, I promise to keep it safe

Give me your touch, to let me believe you are not a dream.


Give me your breathe & all the warmness of it

Give me your thoughts, to know what you feel

Give me your dreams, I promise to fulfill

Give me your love & I will love you, as…

View original post 11 more words

Reprise, Regrets and Rememberance

Those who have been through the last 12 months here, will know just how hard this last year has been for me, and for my wife too, looking after me, coping with some pretty wild mood swings, from smiles to tears, to anger in 10 minutes, and making sure that I didn’t do anything “ stupid “ to myself.


If you’ve managed to get this far and ploughed through the last week of entries, well done and thank you for your patience.


What I have tried to do, is to give you an idea of what it was like for me at that time.


The lack of information was awful, sitting on the end of a mobile phone, waiting for it to ring with bad news.. or good even.


Because that’s how it was then…Mum went from being a frail old lady who had had a fall and needed a bit of hospital treatment,  to an incurable  terminally ill lady in 10 days.

The information that we were all getting was so up and down, we really didn’t know which way to turn.


Poor old Mum went from dying in 24hours – get everybody here as soon as you can –  on Monday morning, to needing a 6-8 weeks course of anti biotics – Tuesday –  to  a regular chest drain every 3-4 days.


Even on the 14th July, her last day, 2 hours before she died, the hospital was planning to carry out the chest drain, and were making plans for her future care and rehabilitation.


When the end finally came, it was quick and catastrophic.


All Mum’s organs failed as the blood poisoning took hold.


And nobody knew.. not us . not the health professionals, no none, except perhaps Mum, who on Thursday in the only lucid moment she had that day,  came round and gasped “ I’m dying, I’m dying”


Those last six days of Mum’s life were like the worst roller coaster ride of our lives, with crests of hope so high we were delirious with happiness, to troughs of despair deeper than black holes.


We honestly didn’t know if we were coming or going.

We didn’t know if Mum was coming or going, though we knew that whatever happened then, even if she did survive, she would have really struggled, and it would just have been a matter of time before she finally succumbed.


We had to make some tough calls, and I know for one that I got my big call wrong.


We should have come back straight away, left the gear or sent it DHL. I should have been there, but I wasn’t and now I’ve got to live with that…. That and a million other could have’s and should have’s that prey on my mind when a loose thought triggers my memory.


I still think of her a lot, the pain of grief is still there, and I still miss her so much. I would give almost anything just to go back in time for a day, but I know that’s not going to happen, so I must wait for that day, when the call comes from above, and hope that everything I’ve been told about heaven and the hereafter is in fact true.


My youngest brother ( who has Downs Syndrome ) wrote a eulogy for her funeral.

The simplicity of the words, his view of Mum, are beautiful.


I feel blessed and honoured to have had such a loving and caring Mum

She was sensitive and kind hearted, compassionate but could also be temperamental.

 She had a heart of gold, and I want to thank God who gives joy to the world,  as we remember the life of a remarkable woman who will never be forgotten.

 Our love will never be extinguished because we will be her family forever.

 I will never forget the Mum who gave me so much love.

 Goodbye Mum



 If you have a spare moment any time, say a prayer for her please.

She would have liked that.


Coping With The Aftermath


We arrived at the airport back home at approx 3.15am on the morning of Friday 15th July, tired and upset.

I had been crying all the way back on the flight, remembering Mum, her life, the sweet little things that she used to do sometimes, that I hadn’t appreciated at the time she had done them, realizing just how much I was going to miss them and trying to imagine what life was going to be like now that she was gone… and missing her so so much already.

An hour later we were at my Mum’s house where all my heroic siblings were gathered.


The house was just as mum left it that 4th July afternoon, her belongings everywhere, (she was always a bit disorganised, but she always knew where everything was) the book that she had been reading just before her fall still open on her bed, clothes in the washing basket, slippers by the side of her bed, just waiting for her to slip her little feet back into.

Downstairs, there were cups in the sink, dishes in the dishwasher, the Dyson out ready to vacuum something up, papers had been left open,  her clogs in the hallway neatly lined up…. the house even smelt of her perfume.

Everything was just as normal, just as it had been, and always was, waiting for her to come back and resume where she had left off.

Only that was never going to happen again.

Mum was gone.

80 years of memories, experiences, of happy times and sad times, gone like snow in the sunshine.


We all sat around talking, remembering, laughing and crying at the same time, until it got light.

We all needed some sleep, though that was easier said that done and we dozed off in the chairs in my Mum’s front room.

No one wanted to sleep in Mum’s bed.

We all secretly wanted to believe it was just a bad dream, and that if any of us slept in Mum’s bed and she caught us, she would go mental,

Mum’s bed, was MUM’S bed.



After a few hours of what could loosely be described as sleep, We all went to the hospital to try and get the death certificate sorted out ,make arrangements for Mum’s funeral and to engage a solicitor to instruct Mum’s will.


When we arrived at the hospital, a very nice doctor (who my siblings had been having dealings with from the last few days) took us in to a side room, had a long chat with us about Mum, why her condition had deteriorated so rapidly, and gave us a run down of her treatment over her last two days.

I was so tired I could hardly concentrate… everything was a blur.


I kept thinking of Mum and her last few months, shuffling around the house, trying to do her best, wondering why she wasn’t feeling or getting any better, whilst within her there was an infection that was growing and growing.


I though of the last 18 months that we had together, her first serious “ fall “ – slip – in December 2009, and her diagnosis in early 2010 that she needed a heart valve replacement.

Of the appointments that we went to, the pre op  tests, the intervening months when it was obvious to us, but not the medical profession that Mum’s condition was rapidly worsening.

Of Christmas 2010 when she was so ill she hardly attended the proceedings (we had Christmas dinner at Mum’s that year) because she was too tired and unwell, and of her increasing fatigue and memory problems as her valve problems grew worse.

Of the chats that we had together, her concerns and fears and her hopes and wishes for a healthier and fitter life.

One thing she was adamant on though, was that there was no way she was going to live as long as her mum whatever happened… words of prophesy.

My Family


I thought of her pottering around when she got eventually got home, finding it increasingly more difficult to manage in the house, even  with our  and outside help, and I thought of the last time I saw her, her wide brown eyes looking up at me as she said goodbye.

It was so sad, and such a shame.


Talking to the doctor did help a bit. It helped me understand or start to, the reason why she had gone from a frail but feisty old lady who had a fall, to one that was dying from an incurable infection, in such a short time.

He also stated that because it was believed that the infection was caught as a result of her heart operation, the coroner wanted a FULL INQUEST, which could be months away.

This was a blow, and meant postponing the funeral for a few weeks until we got an interim death certificate from the coroner (a week later).


Then came my last view of Mum.


The doctor asked if we wanted to see her.. All my siblings had been there all week, and didn’t need to, where as I did.. I HAD to see her just one last time, so they brought her up from the mortuary and placed her in the chapel of rest and ushered me in.

Poor old Mum…She lay there on the bed, cold as ice, but still Mum.

She smelt the same, she felt the same –her skin felt so soft, like silk, she always had a good complexion – she looked the same, though weirdly she looked as though she had put some weight on, her eyes were ¾ closed and she looked like she was just asleep… not dead.

For a moment I just stood there looking at her, willing her to wake up, but I knew in my heart that wasn’t going to happen

I took her hand in mine, and held it gently, and told her all the things that I had wanted to before she died.

I told her I loved her and I was going to miss her so much that it hurt.

That I didn’t know how I was going to cope without her and of how sorry I was that we hadn’t got back in time.

I told her that she once said that we didn’t love her for who she was, but only for what she was, and that I hoped that the events over the last two weeks had shown her just how much we DID love her…

I spoke for quite a few minutes, and then had to stop. I knew she couldn’t hear me, it was far too late.  I just couldn’t speak any more, the flood of grief and sorrow was overwhelming.

I said my goodbyes, kissed her on each cheek, on her forehead, and finally on her lips and left her lying there, at peace, my last sight of my poor old Mum.

“I’m going to miss you two” her last words to us

“I’m going to miss you too mum”…..


Before we left the hospital, I asked for a lock of Mum’s hair. They actually gave me two, and one is kept in a china ornament by the side of my bed. The other is in a multi windowed locket on a chain around my neck,  just long enough for the locket to rest above my heart.This gives me great comfort, and I feel like she is with me when I wear it.  

We then proceeded  to the undertakers to get things started, a traumatic process in itself.

This is where it starts to get a bit complicated….


My Dad died in 1981- July 12th to be precise.

We had a funeral, and a cremation, but Dad was never buried.

Mum kept his ashes in her bedroom, and at hard times would hold the container that they were in, for comfort.


When my Gran ( Mum’s mum ) died in 2006,  again we had a funeral and cremation ( this time though , the ashes were put in  to a casket ) and kept in her room at my mums house.

It was always her wish that the when she died, all 3 would be put in to the same grave, so that they could be together for eternity – This actually is a separate discussion which I might well cover at a later date – so in effect we were burying three people which brought three times the hurt too, long buried emotions bubbling to the surface again


Later that evening, we all went our separate ways back to our lives again.

Lives that were inconceivably different now.


Everyone had gone, there was just me and my wife left in the house. It was quiet, the only sound was the hum of the refrigerator in the dining room ,a room that held a lifetime of memories.

Everywhere we looked Mum was still there.

Her shoes lying forlornly in the hallway,  her dressing gowns hanging from the door in her room, a nightdress neatly folded on her bed, , her pillow, still with the shape of her head visible from 2 weeks before, everything waiting for her return.

Mum was there, but she wasn’t… and never was going to be again…..

All of a sudden the emotions became too much and we had to go.


There would be plenty more times I would be in the place.

It had to be cleared, all her possessions disposed of, either to the family, or to charity shops, and in all those times that I was there, until it was empty completely and sold,  the house never lost the essecence of Mum and kept the feeling that Mum was only temporarily gone and would return one day.




The next two weeks were a haze. I shut down completely.

All I could think about was poor old Mum, that she was gone, and how much I was going to miss her.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t go out..I couldn’t stop crying.

Everything I did or thought of reminded me of Mum, I couldn’t think of anything else, but there was one thing that helped blot out the pain of life right then…

My old friend Jack Daniels. I drank 4 litres in 5 days… It  just seemed the right thing to do, it dulled everything, made the heart ache more bearable.


Slowly I started to come round ( the jack ran out for a start, and I was banned from buying any more) and I began to take more of an interest what was happening around me, the funeral arrangements, designing and printing mums order of service, and life in general.


It has taken a long time for me to be able to think about Mum without getting distraught.

I still get upset now, and I miss her so so much, but at least when I’m asked how I’m doing, I can honestly say “I’m getting there “



My Mum


Goodbye my lovely Mum, until we meet again.

Forever is a long long time.


Mum – Happy Days





Hours to minutes – how soon is now?

And so began  the worst 24 hours of my life.


We woke up early as we had to pack, and also because I had received a message from home.


14/07/2011 06:59

mum had stable night, heart rate up to 70-80, responding a bit when you talk to her, still in pain so had more pain relief. Doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods tho

14/07/2011 07:02

Thanks Al, that sounds quite good. I’ll take no news as good news. Have you managed to get any sleep yet ? X

14/07/2011 07:04

We bogged off to a hotel last night and got a good 6 hours. We were not functioning at all yesterday.

14/07/2011 07:08

Thats good news too, also that mum was well enough to be left 🙂 are the doctors giving her a better chance now or is it still the same outlook but just with a longer time span? X

14/07/2011 07:10

We left because we could no longer function and they told us to go sleep. Not seen doctor yet so don’t know the answer to your question.

14/07/2011 07:13

Ok Al, just grabbing at straws

14/07/2011 07:15

So are we. Dont read too much into my brusqueness, it’s just text language 😉

14/07/2011 07:17

;-)Okey dokey thanks for telling me. I was a bit concerned 😦


50 years ago


Again the untold story of the texts is that talking to my sister on the phone elicited the information that the doctors had said they were thinking about a chest drain ( more below) and if this was successful, then Mum  would have to have it done every 3-4 days depending on how well they cleared up the infection…


EVERY 3-4 DAYS.. that’s what they said, every 3 – 4 days….

I told you mum was a fighter, but this was close on a miracle.


I thought about the email I had sent to my boss the night before.. “ I’m going to look a proper twat – I’ve just told my boss that my mum is dying,she’s got 48 hours to live, and here we are looking at a minimum of 3- 4 days but not only that , an ongoing EVERY 3 or 4 days.

This implied more than one op, and I was ecstatic..

Hope at last!

We finished packing and went to the beach barbecue relatively happy. Happy enough to enjoy it , and not be as miserable as sin.

I had forgotten those words No positive outcome


Stiil on the beach later that afternoon, more messages,

 14/07/2011 11:38

Doctors have decided that that mum is sufficiently stable for her to have a small op later this afternoon to put a drain in her chest to get the rest of the pus out. They think benefits outweigh risks as anti-bs will never clear infection on own and should also make her more comfy.

14/07/2011 11:43

That’s got to be good news .when will they do op? Good Luck to her , fingers crossed . I’ll wait for news love to all x

14/07/2011 11:44

They dont know the time yet, but hopefully this afternoon

14/07/2011 11:47

Okey dokey Ali hugs to everyone especially mum xxx


We said our goodbyes to our friends on the beach,and went back to our room.

Showered and dressed , we were just about to go for something to eat before we went home, when a message arrived.

14/07/2011 16:01

No news re op time, may be last thing tonight or if surgeon too tired may be tomorrow. We will probably go back to mums tonight if there is no change. I would suggest you go home from flight rather than straight here and then come over in the morning.

14/07/2011 16:09

Okey Ali, we were just discussing what to do. Do you want me to come to mums first or shall I go to the q.e in the morning.? Also what ward / floor is she on? I gather she is stable now ( good) have the docs said any more about her long term prospects ( or am I grabbing at straws again ) see you tomorrow x

14/07/2011 16:12

Suggest you come here, area d of critical care, opening visiting, ring the bell and say you’re mrs lords family. Stable is neutral, neither good nor bad, a plateau from which things will either get better or worse and there’s no guide as to which as this point.

14/07/2011 16:14

Ok thanks Ali, keeping it real 😉 see you tomorrow morning x


We went to our usual restaurant, had our meal, and were just finishing when the phone rang. It was my sister.

 “ The doctors have told us that Mum is dying. All her organs have failed and she is in a coma.  She’s definitely not going to make it through the night, and you are not going to make it here before she dies.”


My whole world collapsed in front of me. I could hardly speak for crying. It hurts now to write about that night


“ Poor old Mum “ I kept saying.” Please tell her I love her, and I’m going to miss her “

“ I’ll try , but she’s not conscious and she’s in a coma. Do you want to stay where you are? “


I considered this for a few seconds.. part of going home was to see Mum before she died. That wasn’t going to happen now, so what was the point.

 My family that was the point, my brothers and sisters who had stood guard over my mums bed for 4 days, waiting for me, their older brother to come back.

I suddenly felt the need to be with them, for their comfort and mine so I told my sister we were definitely coming back on the same flight and we would see them later.

Ok she said, and started to say something else, when she interrupted herself “ We’ve got to go now, I’ll phone you back straight away.


10 minutes later I was just sending


14/07/2011 20:16

Ali please tell her I love her, I’m going to miss so much & I’m sorry I wasn’t there when she needed me 😥 love to everyone I love you,alla

When I received


14/07/2011 20:16

Shes gone x


14/07/2011 20:18

Oh my god !!!!!! 😥


That was it. The rest of the evening was a blur.

I went and sat on the beach, the sea crashing on to the sand, tears streaming from my eyes, rolling down my cheeks and dropping into the dark blue mass of the sea.

For a minute I thought about throwing myself in there too, but I pulled myself together enough to walk back up to the restaurant and announced

 “ She’s dead… Mum’s dead! “

We said our goodbyes in a river of tears, I don’t know how we got to the airport, I drove apparently but I don’t remember any of it.


72 years ago

When we got to the airport,  my wife told the rep what had happened and asked him to help us check in, which to his credit he did

We then had a nightmare of a check in, with the check in girls demanding that we open the cases up to show them what was in there

“ It’s all fucking dive stuff “ I exploded, tears rolling down my cheeks.

“ ‘I’m sorry “ she said “ I’m really sorry, I have to do this, I have to check, I’m sorry I’m sorry “

She could see what a state I was in, and to be fair it wasn’t her fault, but right then, out of all the times and all the flights I’ve taken in my life, I really didn’t need all this hassle.

We finally checked in and boarded the flight.

I had missed her by just a few hours.


If only’s were running my head then and are running through my head even now.

If only we had got an earlier plane, if only we hadn’t gone on holiday if only if only if only.


Mum was gone and my life was about to change.

Time to go home now and face the future.


24 Hours.. just 24 hours

1 Day left- 24-HOURS – Wednesday 13th July 2011

With Mum being transferred to another hospital in the early hours of Wednesday 13th   , sleep that night was out of the question.We should have gone out with our Greek friends for something to eat (an occasion that we had been planning for a year) but because of the uncertainty of Mum’s condition and her imminent move, we pulled out.

It wouldn’t have been fair on everyone there, and also I felt like I was doing the dirty on my family, who were still at the hospital, and had been since Monday.

I tossed and turned until the early hours of the morning worrying about Mum, still undecided of the best thing to do, do we stay or come home, waiting for my phone to ring…which it did at 2.17 am UK time 4.17 am Greek Time.

It was just getting light.,…

 13/07/2011 02:17

Phone recharged tho signal shite. We have all made it to the QE alive, mum included! She’s hanging on in there.


Go girl ! She’s a fighter & no mistake 🙂 good luck to her, all our love xxx


Hi All, I’m so so sorry that I’m not there with you all. Thank you all so much for everything that you have been doing, I love you all so much. Hold her hand for us please, give it a squeeze & tell her we love her & are going to miss her so much it hurts. God knows what is must be like for you all there, it’s not good here 😥 xxx


That was it; my mind had been made up.

Against all the odds Mum had survived the journey, unbelievable..

God I was so proud of her.

 My brothers and sisters were exhausted, I was exhausted and I needed to be there, be in the hospital with them and Mum.

We were going home on Thursday, whatever the cost.


I called the dive centre, and told them that Mum was dying and we were going home.

We would come and pick all our gear up before they left harbour. They were very understanding and sympathetic, and said they would have it ready, which it was.

I don’t remember driving those 45 kms toKostown, I do remember crying my eyes out so much on the way that we had to stop for 10 minutes for it to stop.

When we got to the centre, our friend who owns it gave me a big hug, and I just burst in to tears again. I couldn’t stop, in front of everyone, the tears rolling down my face and in to the harbour water.

We said our goodbyes, and wished each other good luck, the tears running  down both our faces now.


13/07/2011 08:52

Hi Al, we are coming home either tonight or tomorrow, should be back Friday at the latest. Can’t hack it here, can’t stop crying.Paradise isn’t so nice anymore. Will call you when I have a definite time/ flight. How is the poor old girl & how is everyone else? X


She’s hanging on in there, so are we. Doctors to update shortly. No Positive Outcome, just a matter of time and making her comfortable.


The stress was on the no positive outcome and this confirmation of how ill Mum was didn’t help at all, causing another outbreak of distraught tears. When I had recovered I phoned my sister up for more news… and got a stressed out woman, who had had very little sleep for the last 72 hours, not too much to eat, and was at the end of her tether.

After a short conversation I put the phone down, feeling like I had been given a proper flea in the ear.



Sorry I got a bit shirty earlier, need a glass of wine and a weeks sleep;-) I know you’re just trying to make it through. Same for all of us.


Al no worries at all. You are coping with this so much better than I could even think of, & I will be forever grateful to you, to you all. I’ve been in the 24 hours hospital pressure pot) tho not for as long) & I know what its like. We can all just do our best, when I said earlier about seeing everybody it was because I just want to hug you all. See you soon, fingers crossed for the next update xxx


Hi, how did the 4 o’clock update go? How is mum? X


No change, for better or worse. No immediate danger. Just wait and see.


Sorry Al, will do 😦 just worried about her as we all are x


No I mean they’re saying we just need to wait and see…


That was it…

It was now as my sister had said a matter of waiting. The Q.E. had run a load of tests on Mum, and had managed to remove some of the pus from her chest, Mum was responding to the anti biotics at last, but the outlook was still not good..


I still had another week of holiday left after we got back, which I could see was going to be spent at the hospital all the time,supporting Mum and my siblings, so I thought it only fair to let my boss know what was happening as although the prognosis wasn’t good, the time scales for poor old Mum were changing by the minute.




Hi Ed, / Karen.

 I have had some very bad news from home about my mum and we are coming home  this Friday as the hospital has given her 48 hours to live.


 She had a fall while we were here, and was on the floor for at least 24 hours- the carer found her on Monday- she didn’t use the phone or the careline.. I don’t know why?

 But we didn’t find out here until Saturday evening, as my family didn’t want to worry me  & the prognosis wasn’t too bad.

 As the weekend has progressed her condition has worsened, she has  developed a severe case of blood poisoning, and abscesses in her chest from the operation. Her chest apparently has never healed up properly, so the infection is very severe.

 This has got worse over the last 24 hours , she has been transferred to the Q.E. for assssment,which was a risk in itself, where the specialist has told my brothers & sisters that she has got no chance of recovery, the infection is too deep rooted, and that basically there is nothing they can do… just managing her pain until she dies, which could be anytime from now.

 She’s a fighter though & giving it her best shot, which might prolong it for the 48 hours, so we might get back in time , though it isn’t likely.

 They aren’t going to put her onto a ventilator or life support as all this would do is prolong her suffering,.


 I’m sorry to send this terrible news by email, but I can’t talk at the moment, & I’m finding it very hard to keep myself together right now.

 It’s not fair on our friends here, or the other holiday makers, so we have brought the flight forward a week.

 I won’t be in next week as arranged, but I know that K is off for a week after that. I’ll try my best to get in but I’m not sure right now how long for  / when that will be.

 It might be a good idea to refresh other people with cashing up

 Sorry both, I’ll call you when we get back. I though you should know, it’s a bombshell 😦

 Hope your last 2 weeks have been better than mine, Ed you were right, what have we done???




The rest of the night finished in a bit of a haze with lots of tears. Tears of sorrow, tears of hope. We found some more Jack and finished that off  – not as much as the last time though,  I needed to be able to wake up if anything happened .

The next day, Thursday 14th,  we were due to go to a beach barbecue with our friends.

A lot depended on the news about Mum, if any, that night.

Mum was a fighter and would give it her best shot, whether she was unconscious or not, but at the back of my mind all the time were three words…


No Positive Outcome.


Days to hours – 48 to go

This gallery contains 3 photos.

And God WAS willing. Mum made it through the night.. told you she was a fighter!   Plans made were plans changed, and they were changing by the minute. We were supposed to be going scuba diving that morning ( … Continue reading

My Dad – 31 years on – 12th July 1981

I had originally planned to post about my dad this time last year, to commemorate 30 years since he had died. Unfortunately the events of last July superceeded all other things,and I didn’t have the chance, time , or more accurately the inclination to post anything, as my life was in the process of being turned upside down with my mum’s hospital trip and subsequent demise.

I was going to completely rewrite this blog, but after reading it, I honestly feel that this post ( slightly altered from the original ) really sums up the feelings of 31  years ago.

It was a desperate time, one that I thought I would never get over.  I had a real bond with my dad, and his death when I was 23 had a profound effect on my life, and it took me years to get over it.  



Unfortunately he died in 1981,  after  that old cliche,  a short illness..

And it was short.

Taken ill  just before Fathers day ( ironic isn’t it ), to dead July 12th. He was only 48

Cancer, of the brain, a brain tumour, a nasty insidious evil way for anyone to die.

In less than 2 weeks I had lost my hero , my friend , my dad.

1981 was a strange time for all of us.

My mum and dad had temporaily separated, though it was looking permanent at the time.

Dad had bought himself a flat not far away from the  ” family ” domicile, and was struggling with the demands, both emotional and financial of the family, and of holding his career together, trying to see as much of us as possible, but without pressurising us into choices.

He had suffered from a slight paralysis of one side in early June, which the doctors thought was possilby a reaction to the stress of his personal life.


He was scheduled to have tests the week after Fathers Day, and I remember him going to a hospital in Northampton, where some clever and enterprising young intern suggested that this was not  ” Hysterical Paralysis “, but had all the halllmarks of  a brain tumour, and that he should be tested straight away.

They took him to the neurological hospital not far from here for the tests, and I went to see him on the Sunday.

I hadn’t seen him for a week before that and I was devastated.

He looked like an old tramp, it was shocking, this dapper , educated , sophisticated , proud, professional man …., they hadn’t even bothered to shave or wash him.

We got that sorted out, and after a wash & shave , he looked like a semblance of his former well self.

The results came through on Monday 29th June.

A horrible day….for two reasons.

It was a red hot day, sunny, dry, a beautiful english summer day.

I blew the engine on my motorbike on the way home, and had to push it 3 miles home.

Then the call… horrible.. just like a soap opera,

” Hello, I’m afraid they have found something… it’s a tumour…. a brain tumour.”

“Will he die?”

Yes….. I’m afraid so…..”

How long? “

“How long? “

Not long as it turned out, and the next 2 weeks  just flew past in a flurry of hospital visits.

I was lucky really, at least I had the chance to tell him how I felt, what it meant to lose him,and to tell him how much I loved him.

It took absolutely  ages to be even able to think about him without bursting into tears. I was sitting in a pub one day just chatting, and the floods came on, I was so embarassed..blokes dont sit in pubs blarting.

The emotional scars of that summer are still with all of us one way or another.

Time IS a great healer.. well not a healer really, but as the time passes, memories are not so vivid, hurts not so sharp,emotions are tempered with age and understanding, but I still miss him sometimes, even now over 30 years later.

I never thought that I would out live him, and I always thought that he would be around.

I had some great times with my dad, funny, serious, angry.. but I loved him and still do.

I would have given anything to have swapped places with him at that time.

Enjoy your time with your parents, they are precious times that can never come back.

Gone is gone, until the next life?..

1981….. it was a shit year.

My dad 

Footnote: I’ve read and re read this post so many times. I remember the pain of that time in 1981 still now, and I take heart from some of the words I have written, especially those about it getting easier after time.

That is very true, things have got easier where my dad is concerned, I can talk about him coherently without getting upset,remember the good times with a smile and not a tear, and take hope that this will happen with my Mum, and that time will ease the pain and sorrow I  still feel now.

But this time, the circumstances are different. After Dad died, everything carried on as normal, we were still in the same house, doing the same things, living the same lives more or less, except that dad wasn’t there anymore. There was a huge gap in our lives, but essentially life was the same.

This time EVERYTHING has changed.. Mum has gone, the house has gone, all the old reference points of my life have gone. The break is sudden and complete, all the little  familiar things are gone, my favourite places, places where we have shared so many things as a family, things of comfort are all unaccessable now.

There is a danger that my Dad is going to get forgotten in all of this. Mum’s death so close in date to his,albeit 30 years later, seems to have over shadowed the life and death of a brilliant man whom we all loved very much and miss still now.

Rest In Peace Dad xxx

3 days- you need to come home

Monday 11th July 2011

 “Nick, ring me. You need to come home.”


We were on the beach enjoying the sun, I had just been for an hour long snorkelling session and we were planning a light lunch at a nearby taverna. The sun was shining, the sea was warm, it was a lovely day.

My wife told me that my phone had gone off whilst I was in the sea (at this stage it was on 24 hours just in case). I thought to myself, or maybe said out loud “that’s not good news then “

 I never dreamed it would be the terrible news that my Mum was dying.


There was this text message displayed on my phone

11/07/2011 12:04:02

“Nick, ring me. You need to come home.”


And I knew… instantly.


“What’s happened??” I said to my sister…and the words spilled out from the speaker on my phone……


My brother had gone to the hospital as arranged that Monday morning.

He was looking forward to going on his holiday the next day, ( that went straight out of the window ) and walked in to the ward to be met by the sight of my Mum’s chest all swollen up, with her scar blown up like a big squishy chorizo sausage.

Mum was in obvious distress and complaining of pain all over.  The consultant called him over, took him into a side office, and without a break in sentence callously informed my brother that Mum’s condition had worsened overnight, she was going to die, and would be lucky if she lasted 48 hours, and to get anyone who wanted / could be there straight away.

The doctors were going to re- examine Mum at 4.00pm and give a further diagnosis.

All my brothers and sister had literally dropped everything mid task, and were either at or on their way to the hospital….except for me….3ooo miles away, on a beach in the sun.


I burst in to tears, I just couldn’t stop myself, there on the beach, still dripping wet surrounded by holiday makers, Greek friends, and my wife, who could see my distress, my worst nightmare had come true.

Mum was dying, she had 24 hours to live, maybe 48 at a push, and there was no way I was going to get there in time.

This can’t be happening, this shouldn’t happen to me, this happens to other people, in films, on the TV.. this cant be happening ..Poor old Mum, how am I going to cope, what are we going to do???

All these thoughts were running through my mind, whilst all the time I was thinking about my poor old Mum lying there in the hospital, fighting a losing battle, and crying all the time.

We left the beach – paradise wasn’t any fun anymore – and went back to our room and waited for any news.

Which wasn’t good when it came.


They suspected that Mum‘s infection had spread to the bones in her chest. They would try to analyse what had caused this infection, but she  was 80 years old and if her condition worsened, she wasn’t a candidate for further treatment. In short, they we going to let her die.

However, they were going to put her on a course of the strongest anti biotics available which might help prolong her life a bit, but that there was still no change in their original diagnosis.

I was babbling, talking rubbish to my sister, I didn’t know if I should come back, I had said my goodbyes on the 28th June and I didn’t need to say them again, Do I come back or not, should I come back, would I get back in time, what were the expectations of everyone… all sorts of stuff, a lot of which I just can’t remember, as the shock of what was happening took over.


To my eternal shame, I do remember thinking about not wanting to go back because we had paid for this holiday, and waited so long for it, and that I was thinking about staying. I was so mixed up I didn’t know what to think, or what to do.


The texts at the time tell a story on their own.


A, I can’t make a decision I don’t know what to do. I can’t stop crying & I can’t think straight. I’ll give you a call in a bit, can you run thru the options with M please x


Completely understandable. Get M to ring me


Cocksucker flythomascook office shut until tomorrow, will try internet otherwise call them tomorrow. Love to all, & especially to poor old lovely mum. Any news any time please let me know good or bad I’ll have my phone on 24/7 tho if I drink this jd I might not answer it 😦 x


Have just checked on internet and Thomas cook flights look available for Thursday so that’s a start


I’m so sorry to dump all this on your shoulders, I feel so helpless & lost. Thanks for your strength & support, I know this is hard for you & everyone. Look after rich, this is going to destroy him, poor little chap 😦 x


Hi, I can’t change flights online so will call them tomorrow & let you know what they say. M says I’ve got to have something to eat but to be honest I really don’t feel like it. Fingers crossed all night, any change let me know please anytime day or night x


Ok let me know tomorrow we’ll keep you updated. Even mum has had whip and two energy drinks so you go eat something!


Whip & 2, energy drinks???? I thought she was on her last legs??? X


I know, impressive eh! And all whilst still apparently asleep.


Hi Al, any news?. X


No, they’ve just done obs and signs are good cos temp is not high but a worry. Mum asleep. I’ll let you know if there’s any change.

1/07/2011  21:08:13

Does that mean the anti biotics are working then Ali,?.am I panicking for no reason ? X


No and no. It’s just something to hold on to


Okey dokey I’ve had some spaghetti tonight & am about to get completely blasted on jd. I’m holding on to anything I can at the mo 😦 x


We are all doing much the same only without spaghetti Bol and jd 😉


In between a lot of crying, our Greek friends were so helpful and understanding, offering words of support and advice and shoulders to cry on.

We managed to eat something though every bite stuck at the back of my throat. My thoughts were on just one thing, which was my poor old Mum, lying there in hospital dying, and I wasn’t there by her side. I was having problems keeping myself together in the restaurant our friends own, but I didn’t want to go back to our rooms where there would be no distractions, just worry.

I couldn’t stand to think of this any more and took refuge with a very good friend of mine Mr. Jack Daniels, which I shared with our friends,and we all got completely blasted. We walked back home,  there was no way I could drive, a tear and a prayer with every step, and threw myself on to the bed, eyes wide open, unable to sleep even with the help of Uncle Jack.

Tomorrow was another day, which hopefully would bring better news…..God willing.

Some of Mums favourite things