Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The end of 2008

Well, I am sat here at some ungodly hour unable to sleep due to the fact I have a really bad cold and I am feeling sorry for myself. I have been thinking about the past few months and the year that I have had and felt that I needed to put my thoughts down in writing - so my apologies for the possible length of this post.

I have had a year filled with so many happy memories and so many sad ones which have taken over the good ones. The beginning of 2008 was filled with so much hope, after having a very testing and trying end to 2007 for various reasons. Stewart and I had found ourselves again and were more together than we had ever been. We were looking forward to a wonderful year, how ironic is that now. In February I had a fall at work causing an injury to my shoulder which to this day is still troubling me but the support I got from Stewart was amazing. We went on the holiday of a lifetime, the holiday we thought would be the last family one as Jamie was growing up and we put every penny we had into a trip to Florida and Disney. Yet again how ironic was that, yes we were right that it would be the last family holiday but for such different reasons. The holiday definately fulfilled our dreams and watching Stewart's face light up as we walked down main steet in Disney and seeing all our favourite characters performing on stage was a magical moment which will stay with me forever. The holiday wasn't perfect, but then again our holidays never were, but it will be the perfect memory for me now.

On our return our troubles started although I didn't realise it at the time and our luck started to change drastically. Stewart's fall off a ladder seemed at the time to be just a blip and nothing more than a seconds loss of balance but I am so sure, in my mind, that it was a sign of what was happening to him but no one realised it at the time. Jamie went to New York in the summer and it was such a joy to hear him report virtually daily to us with his news and excitement and I know Stewart enjoyed those moments but these were probably the last moments we would enjoy together. In September my world collapsed and I can recall every moment since then in exact detail and sat here some 4 months later, cannot believe that my year has ended with me alone without him. I cannot believe that he has been gone for nearly 3 months, a quarter of a year - I cannot believe that i will never see him, never speak to him properly, never hug him, never kiss him, never shout at him again - ever. It is during these times that I have my darkest moments. The pain hasn't subsided, it is there every second of every day but I am beginning to have days where it is there beside me and not overwhelming me and I know, from talking to others, that those days grow but I cannot imagine spending the rest of my life without him.

When talking to others I can sound optomistic, talk about enjoying the children twice over, once for me and once for him, I can talk about the future and what and where I want to be, but in reality that's all it is, talk. In truth I cannot imagine enjoying anything properly again, cannot imagine my life 3 months down the line let alone years down the line. I cannot imagine how I can continue to exist without him, but I know I have to.

My children continue to be my rocks, so wonderful and supportive but I am trying so hard to be strong for them because when it gets too much and I break down, the pain on their faces is awful.

How we will get through the next few days is an unknown quantity - I cannot imagine how I will feel at midnight tomorrow, I have spent many new years on my own when Stew was working but he always came home, he always rang me - but not this year. I know I will be with friends but I don't want it to be hard for them either, even though one friend there will be struggling too as she lost her mum the day before Stewart died.

I keep thinking of writing a letter to stewart to help me deal with my feelings but I can't actually put pen to paper. I don't know if I am strong enough to deal with the feelings that will come out. I am sad, I am angry, I am lonely, I am missing him and that is only on the surface. I know it is something I have to face in time, just not yet.

However, there have been positives over the last 4 months I suppose. The closeness of my family and of Stewart's family - the support from them all and from our friends is amazing and continues on a daily basis. The community continue to support me with offers of help and the kids' friends are helping them. But I would swap it all for him back in my arms.

Every day there is more to sort out, we have sorted the garage and lock up and it feels like slowly he is disappearing from my life, I know in reality he will be with me forever but the physical things are slowly going and I know for the kids as well as myself this is so difficult to watch. I also know it's a necessity too but that doesn't make it easier. I think it is time to stop sorting and leave things as they are for a little while.

Today is the first day since the funeral that I feel that my legs just won't get me through the day, but I suppose when it gets lighter outside I will just get up and carry on again as I have been doing for the past 80 days. Gosh working that out means that he has been gone twice as long as the time we knew he was ill - I know it's just numbers but it really hits home when you see it like that. I feel that I want to go to the top of a hill and just scream that it is so unfair, that I want him back by my side, not just the feeling that he is here but to actually be able to touch him, hold him, kiss him and love him in person, not just looking at a photo. I know many will say go and do it, but actually it won't change anything, he still won't be here and it is that feeling that it is never going to change that is so hard.

However, I have to look ahead to the future, to next year and hope that there will be some lighter moments within it. We have birthdays and anniversarys to get through without him but we have special birthdays to celebrate like Jamie's 18th which I am determined that will be a happy occasion for him to remember, although I know there will be moments that are hard too. We have the fundraising that we plan to do to sort out, hopefully with dates being confirmed early in the year so that we can focus on some positives.

So I sign off for 2008 with these words. I want to thank my kids, my family, Stew's family, our wonderful friends, my amazing new friends, UKS'ers (who come under my friends) and everyone who has taken the time to either leave a comment on here, email me, write to me, talked to me or just held my hand whilst I walk this long and hard path. Without each and every one of you, I couldn't have got this far and I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2009 and I hope that all of your dreams come true.

Monday, 22 December 2008

An Update

Well what a week this has been, the good news is that my tax credit is finally sorted out and I have actually received some money. Only after a long battle did I find someone to help me out but they were truly a life saver and I feel so relieved.

Now I have the figures of what I will get, it is time to work out whether working is beneficial to me or not financially - it's a bummer when it looks like I will be so much better off not working - how ridiculous is that - if the goverment only allowed some of the other benefits you get on income support when you claim tax credit I could stay working but no, along with no free school meals which works out at £200 a month, help with council tax and help with the mortgate it seems virtually insane to continue to work .............................. except that I might go insane if I don't - we will review this in February when the rules for income support change again and see what happens, in the mean time I will struggle on.

This week Chanukah has started, our Festival of Lights, which is a lovely festival where we give each other presents. Usually we only give small tokens for Chanukah and larger presents for birthdays and this year was no different. My family mostly gave me alcohol which is a worrying thing - do they think I need it considering I am not a big drinker??? LOL. However, tonight, the second night of Chanukah (there are 8 of them!) we were home with just the four of us and for the first time the kids all gave me presents - that in itself was a lovely thought but what they bought me were so special. Gemma borrowed off grandma and bought me a teddy key ring to make me smile called buttons because she said I like buttons on my layouts (bless her), Alex bought me a cuddly Grumpy dwarf from Snow White, cos that was Stewart's nickname in Florida when we all took on alias's to use on the walkie talkies, he even bought a jacket with Grumpy on the back and the name across the front, and Grumpy is now sat on my desk looking quite crossly at me whilst I type this. Jamie bought me a digital photoframe which in itself is wonderful, but he had loaded a USB with photos of the family and especially ones of Stewart which run on a 30 second changing cycle, and yes it made me cry. What amazingly wonderful kids I have and although last night and tonight have been incredibly hard for us having to deal with our memories and the fact that Stew isn't here, we are coping to the best of our abilities.

As for me, well I am still having some up days and some down days and whatever I do it seems stewart is always on my mind. I am finding it still so hard to not be with him, I cannot believe it has only been 10 weeks since I lost him, yet it feels like yesterday too. There have been many tears but I seem to be finding a strength that I didn't know I had which means I can get up in a morning. All I need to do is find the strength to cope with Gemma's tantrums which are getting worse by the minute - I have had some advice which I am trying to follow but as yet, no change but I have noticed she isn't continuing the rudeness as long so maybe just maybe we will get somewhere.

Right, off to help madam sort out the new jigsaw she got for Chanukah - can see I might be doing this 1000 piece jigsaw with her LOL

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

On a happier note

Having posted about the trials and tribulations I am going through I would just like to tell you something nice for a change.

I got a pass out from my kids and on Saturday, after arranging for the kids to be out (thank you Elaine and Marie) I went to the Leeds Paper Dolls 12 hour xmas crop. It was lovely being out for the day although Kirsty was really poorly and went home and Alison only lasted till about 5pm because she felt lousy. I managed to do 3 canvasses and 2 DLO's and 1 SLO so I am really proud of myself. I will take some pictures of them and upload so that you can all see that I still do craft occasionally.

Tomorrow I have an appointment to see someone about some more invites so keep your fingers crossed for me pleeeeeeeease that they like them.

Right, better get off to bed, was planning an early night but as usual it hasn't happened.


Well, having taken advice when Stewart was poorly, we applied for tax credits and it went without a hitch. However, when I rang them the week after he died to tell them, they must have decided that I hadn't suffered enough. First they promised they would do the alteration over the phone, then they decided that they would cancel the existing claim and send out a new claim form which didn't arrive for 10 days.

Ok, I coped with that but what happened next - well being a little on the upset side, i put a wrong digit in my national insurance number and hey presto, the world stops. When I rang chasing the claim after 4 weeks I was told they didn't have it, then they found it, found the mistake said they would rectify it and said ring in a week. That has been the story ever since. Last week I demanded to speak to a team leader who having got me hysterically crying by this time, agreed to have the claim processed asap. Being me, I trusted them and today decided that having given them another 5 days to process the paperwork which they had had for 7 weeks, I would ring. BIG MISTAKE. "we haven't got a claim for you" and it started all over again. After much shouting on my side with the threat that this was about to push me over the edge and that did they have a bed in their office cos without my money I would be homeless or alternatively could pay the mortgage but then my kids wouldn't eat and we would have no gas or electricity???? I was told that I would need to write in and complain. WRITE IN AND COMPLAIN - I have found the second place in the world that has no emails or telephones, the tax credit benefit agency - cos according to the helpline they cannot contact them by phone or email. Maybe our prime minister would like to help them out and install modern technology so that they can be contacted.

Having hung up on them in floods of tears I left work and came home and rang again to be told "you've rung already twice today". Actually, I said, I have rung only once but I want to know if you will be processing my claim before I contact the BBC and ITV - he informed me they wouldn't be processing the claim but if I rang the Inland Revenue in Leeds they would help me with an emergency loan......................... possibly!!!!!! So I did that to find that the number in the telephone directory is for Income Tax!!!! That was it, having told the lovely lady in income tax my problems and being told she couldn't help me I said never mind, I won't need the bloody benefit and put the phone down. Within 5 minutes another lovely lady from income tax rang me to give me the information of where I go in Leeds to get face to face help. I have to say I think this lady saved my sanity - so whoever you are, thank you so much for being a normal human being and caring.

I went down to the benefits help section at the local inland revenue offices and WOW another nice, caring normal lady called Ayasha (I think that's how you spell her name) helped me out and after listening to my story went to speak to her supervisor. She came back having got all the advice she needed and helped me fill in a new form which she personally will process tonight and call me tomorrow to let me know when I will get some money (hopefully next week) which will be back dated too!!!

So, ok, that's one government department that was totally and utterly crap and uncaring, can you believe I have found someone else equally as unhelpful. EMA. That is the payments that Jamie gets for staying on at school, you know the ones that had silly adverts with talking heads in the classroom telling the kids they can get paid to stay in school. Well, they are wrong, cos the people who process the claims are useless, the people who deal with your queries are blatently stupid and the only way for them to correct an error they have caused is to go to appeal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What did they do - well you fill the form in and send in your P60 showing your income. That's easy, honestly. There is only one of me so all i had to do is send in my P60 which I did. What do they do, they double the pay on it!!! What the F**K is that about - I mean it was so obvious that they had put in the figure twice which meant Jamie doesn't get what he's entitled to. So very calmly I ring and explain that they have made this error to be told all I can do is appeal even though if someone got out the form and P60 it would be obviously their mistake. Nope, they won't check in you have to write in and it takes up to 6 months for the appeal.

My blood pressure must be up near Mars by now with all of this, not what I really need at the moment. You'd think that between all the forms you have to fill in for widows pensions, bereaved parent benefit, bereavement benefit, any benefits additionally you may want to claim, that they wish that they could kill the partners too. All I can say is I hadn't realised how distressing this would be on top of the grief which is really beginning to hit home.

So all i can say is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Busy doing nothing

Well thought I should update on this blog on the weeks that have gone by - it has been a tough week for us all. I think it is starting to hit us how hard this is going to be. We have had some really rough days individually and a couple of really bad days as a whole which was really not nice to live through but I suppose we should expect it. When we all have a tough day then there is nothing that can be done to help us through it, except to get through to bed time, sleep and start again.

Not sure why this week has been so hard, is it cos it's 8 weeks and that in itself is a milestone, i mean on thursday it is 2 months. I can't get my head round that figure, 2 months without seeing him, hearing him, touching him. And my god, this is it for the rest of my life, no stewart, wham that feels like i have been hit by a steam train. I knew i would have to hit rock bottom to get back up and i think i am definately on the way down if not at the bottom but I have to pick myself up and start my life all over because i have three wonderful reasons and although it is going to be hard, I am going to do it.

And to top my horrid day off yesterday, i fell coming out of work, exacerbated my shoulder injury and totally destroyed my knee which is very very sore and a mess. It was so hard coming home and not having Stew here to make me feel better or look after me. That really hit me hard because after telling me how stupid I was for falling he would have been so caring and let me rest, but I had to get on with it and that in itself was hard.

So, to start with getting back into a "normal" life I have applied for membership at WAY, a young bereaved partners group. I have spoken to Winston's Wishes to get some help for the kids, the boys now have someone to talk to, i have requested Gem's school get someone in and I need to speak to the oncologist to answer some questions I have. On a personal note, I am having a busy weekend, going to a 12 hour crop with the Paper Dolls on Saturday. Although the kids were supporting me going, it was only this week that I realised I hadn't sorted out the kids for food and care whilst I was away, I suppose I had forgotten Stew wasn't here to have them, but my family and friends are amazing. Gem is going to her friends, the boys are sorted for food, Jamie is going to the football and picking up Gem when he gets home and I am allowed to be out till 10pm. I am so looking forward to it as it is my anniversary with the paper dolls but at the same time, so nervous that I am leaving the kids for that long without me. Sunday I am working then have a 50th anniversary party at lunch to go to - I am sooooo nervous as other than a table of us "youngsters" they will all be my parent's ages and some of them I haven't seen during the last 8 weeks so there will no doubt be sympathy and tilted heads all afternoon - great can't wait!!! but I know it's a good "first" because come the new year I have a 50th birthday to attend which I am hoping will be easier for me doing this week.

So, I suppose it isn't any easier at the moment but we are muddling through. I am going for my monthly visit to Stewart on Thursday as long as the snow doesn't come down again which I am hoping will give me some peace and we are set for another month. I want to scoop the kids up and hold them and take away all their pain, but I can't and I think that is the hardest thing about this. But I am determined we will get through this and start living - they have their lives ahead of them filled with all the excitement it will bring and I want to ensure they are ok in themselves to not miss those opportunities. Without the support I am getting I wouldn't be able to put one foot in front of the other, so I suppose that even though I am bleary eyed typing this at 7am in a morning, I am out of bed again and starting another day, which at the moment is an achievement in itself!

Monday, 1 December 2008


Well it's not polite to swear is it!!!! But it's how I feel life is at the moment.

The numbness is starting to wear off and the pain is worse. I am so angry, sad, tearful, mad, frustrated, guilty and fed up all at the same time. I am angry I am alone without him, sad that he isn't here to share my life, mad that we didn't pick up the cancer earlier and have a chance to have time together, frustrated that every bit of paperwork takes so long, guilty that I didn't trust my intuition that something was wrong earlier and just totally fed up of my life.

The kids are really struggling with everything and of course that means taking it all out on me in various ways which is so hard with no-one behind me backing me up and it seems that all I seem to say is "I am sorry daddy isn't here" and "I am still the parent and you will listen". It just feels like everything with them is hard work.

We have had good moments like a presentation at school for Gemma where the boys came along with my mum and dad and it was lovely to watch. They picked Gemma for a very special part of the presentation which of course made me cry and I just wished that Stewart had been here, cos he would have been soooooooo incredibly proud of his little girl. Everything is tinged with sadness at the moment and it is really hard to cope with.

I went back to work but I am not sure I have done the right thing. I just don't have enough hours in the day now to do everything around the house and all the paperwork and the nights seem endless even though I am only in bed for 4 or 5 hours.

And there is something else on my mind. Stewart had two lots of x-rays prior to him showing the obvious sign of cancer. One when he had the fall off the ladder and one just before he was diagnosed, yet neither times did the doctors pick up the cancer. So to settle my mind I am going to try and get hold of the x-rays and get a second opinion. I just need to know if there were any signs there that should have been picked up. When we were in A&E just before we saw the eye specialist for the last time he had x-rays to see what was causing the gastric problems, surely the sign of pancreatic cancer was there and should have been seen. If so, maybe I would have got him the help he needed 3 weeks earlier giving them a better chance of treatment meaning I would have had him longer. I know it won't bring him back but maybe it will save someone else the pain I am going through if I can help teach them the correct diagnosis. I cannot believe that it didn't show up - the pains he had were due to the cancer yet we were given gaviscon and anti-inflammory's for his stomach. I know I am grasping at straws but I have to have some answers. I also need to try and speak to his oncologist to suggest that MRI scans are given annually to patients so that these things would be picked up - if Stewart had had one every year the chance is something might have shown and although he may not have lived, he may have had a chance of a longer life.

I have also sent off my application to join WAY - a group for young bereaved partners (think you have to be under 50) so that maybe, just maybe I can talk my feelings through with people in the same situation. I hope someone will be able to reassure me that I won't feel this awful for ever, because if they can't I don't know how long I can live feeling like this. It is awful. I don't want to give up and die because I have three amazing children but I can't face this pain forever. It is crushing me and all I want to do is curl up in bed and never get up. I do get up but it is so hard. I thought it would get easier but at the moment it seems to be getting harder and harder. Maybe it has to get worse to get better but all the insecurities of bringing up the kids on my own is weighing me down so along with the grief I just don't know what to do. I am not suicidal at all, this blog helps me through my bad times, but the thought of life as it is going on as it is is very depressing.

I gave the kids framed photos of their dad today for their rooms and I don't know if that was the right thing to do. Simple things that seem to be right, are so often not. I just wish there was a guide book for people like me, it would make things so much easier.

Right, having been to a lesson tonight I am about to tidy up my house before eventually getting to bed - lets just hope I sleep better than last night (2 hours).

Monday, 24 November 2008

Nearly 12,000

Yes, that is the total visits nearly to my blog. 12000 is such a huge number (and although it count's my visits, I don't read it that much!!)

I was thinking today of why I write my blog. I know I do it to keep a diary of everything so that when I am forgetful (which these days is most of the time) I can remember the order of things. I know I do it as it is cathartic to write down, almost privately, my feelings. I didn't realise though that it may help others. It wasn't my intention but it is something that makes me feel good, so thank you to everyone who has posted but special thanks to those brave enough to say my words have helped them. By saying that, you have helped me because at least I can feel that Stewart didn't die in vain. There was a reason and maybe, just maybe me writing this blog has helped someone through their pain or helped someone understand what someone is going through. Maybe this is the reason for everything, or does that sound big headed. I haven't saved anyone's life, I haven't find the cure for cancer, in fact I haven't actually done anything, yet with the words you kind people have left for me, I feel I have done something.

When I am calm and at some sort of peace and look at my life now, I realise that I have been extremely lucky. Firstly I am lucky to have known true and total love. Now don't get me wrong, Stewart and I didn't have the perfect relationship, didn't have the perfect marriage and certainly didn't have perfect kids. But I do know that I loved Stewart with every ounce of my being and I believe, and I hope, that he loved me that much too. We had many ups and downs in our marriage and far more downs than ups to be honest. We rowed, we had money problems, we had problems to face with the kids, but we did it together and when we rowed, we made up and forgave, when we had money problems we sorted them out together finding ways to make money and when we had problems with the kids we sorted them out together. So I was very very lucky to have met my soul mate, the person I would have gladly shared every day of my life with.

I know that I am lucky that i had enough time to say some of the things I wanted to say to Stewart before I lost him. I know i am lucky i didn't have to watch him suffer for too long. I know he said to the kids everything he could have said.

I know I am lucky that I have my family, my friends, my kids to keep me going every day. I know I am lucky to have the most wonderful work colleague who keeps my spirits up and brings me wonderful chocolate and biscuits to get me through my day. So however unlucky I am to have lost my best friend and soul mate, maybe just maybe there is a reason behind it. Because before all this started both Stewart and I felt we didn't have masses of friends and that we needed to make the effort to get out and be with people. Yet tonight I spent time with a new friend I made since losing Stewart. Someone who I knew of due to her having lost her beautiful daughter some 18 months or so ago, but not someone who I would speak to. However from one visit to see me when I lost Stewart I have someone who is the kindest, sweetest lady you could imagine who I can share my inner most thoughts with, those of frustration and loss, those of humour at peoples comments although well meaning which are just so not appropriate and I know that she understands. She puts things into perspective for me and i hope I can help her just a little bit too. I have never been invited out for coffee, lunch, or the family invited to tea to so many people before. I have never had the phone ring so many times or the emails pop up with messages of support and love. It is an amazing thing to realise that actually some people quite like you and obviously quite liked Stewart. It's just such a shame he can't see this and benefit for it, for however a big, strong man he was he had little self confidence and although I told him he was a wonderful man, actually I never appreciated how wonderful and that he touched so many lives. We as a family are benefitting from this and I hope that he can see it.

So there we go, 12000 visits to my little blog, so even if you have visited my blog 100 times each, that is 120 people who have read what I have said, who have been interested and cared enough about my story and my life. It really, really, really is amazing that such sadness and loss can bring so much to someone - and that someone is me. So from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for your support, you really really really do help me through each day with your comments.

Now, I must go back to my mundane life and do some shopping. We have no fruit or veg in the house and I can't just send Stewart out to get it like I used to. Mind you, as someone said there are perks. We have no need for marmite in the house, we only have the food we need being bought and we don't have mountains of one item just because it was on sale. Oh, and I've moved the kettle and cups to where I want them (sorry, Stewart) so I suppose I have to grab everything I can as a positive. (Mind you, if he keeps making my lights flash in the kitchen I will start getting quite cross with him - I can still shout at him from here and benefit from him not shouting back at me LOL).

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Handbags and Gladrags

Well actually, wardrobes and drawers but that didn't seem too catchy a title!!!

Well this week has definately been one of the more "interesting" ones.

We have had ups and downs this week, plenty of tears from us all but lots of people offering to help. I have been busy visiting the bank manager (she was lovely and only looked about 6) who off the record reckons on the income I gave her and the outgoings we have I am unofficially SKINT!!!! We will have to see what they suggest with the business loan but I am determined I will not lose sleep over it - well actually not lose any more sleep over it!!

The kids are having their good days and their bad ones. Jamie has been amazing as always although last night it all errupted and for an hour it was horrendous and we actually had tears, he is going to see someone on Thursday and I hope he feels he can talk to them. He has admitted he is trying not to cry and be down to keep the rest of us boyant which is so sweet but is very hard for me as it should be me doing that and it isn't. Alex had exams this week for his GCSE's and was very very nervous. Without his dad saying all the right things (well he doesn't listen to me) he was putting extra pressure on himself but he thinks he did ok and although he is still struggling coming to terms with things, he is such a wonderful little boy (ok 14 isn't little but he's my little boy). Gemma is great during the day, I met with her teacher this week who says she is doing fine at school and mixing well. It's the night time she finds difficult and we have to have lots of cuddles to get through the tears!! She is so stubborn, just like her dad, but we will get through it all.

As for me, well yesterday was 6 weeks and I got a bee in my bonnet that i needed to sort out our bedroom, so I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the wardrobe and drawers of Stewarts things. I have to say, I found so many brand new t shirts, jumpers and jeans that it made me giggle, he used to tell me off for buying clothes and stuff but at least I used/wore them. I sorted out some stuff I can't get rid of and some stuff the kids may want - they all wore his work tshirts (new ones) for bed last night - it looked like a uniform!!! It was so hard to do it but I know keeping them there won't bring him back and there is a bit of the triple wardrobe which has his stuff in for me to be able to touch/smell when I need to. It was hard work and I know that I have to do it, to clear away his clutter from the house to be able to move on but it is so hard. I know that if I leave it it will be harder to do later on and although it is very raw and hurts so much, it won't be easier to do later and may set me back on this very hard and long road I am walking.

I just wish he was here to cuddle me and guide me as to whether I am doing the right thing with the house, the kids, work, me .................................... I hope I am and I hope I am doing him proud.

I have arranged to go back to work tomorrow which is a little nerve racking but I suppose it's one step back to "normality" as such. I am hoping that once the initial days are over, I can just be me again where I don't think about the situation every second of every day.

As for our fundraising efforts - well hopefully we are set to have 12 months of the most amazing fundraising I could hope for. I have well over the 200 women set to do the Race for Life if the date is ok and will be looking for a sponsor for the tshirts for them. The local kids club are doing a huge fundraiser to raise funds to revamp their disco room which Stewart helped set up when they started years ago. They have asked if they can name the new room after him and use his name in the fundraising which obviously I said yes to. The leaflets came home from school, advertising the 24 hour disco and yes, they had his name on and yes, it was a surreal moment but Gemma was so proud that it was about her daddy that I was equally proud. We as a family, along with our extended family and all our friends will be there - it's a £10 entrance fee (but no sponsorship needed) and I hope that the boys will be able to do an hour or two's slot so that we all feel that we are helping.

As for the men's walk we are trying to sort - well I have someone for St Gemma's coming to see me this week to discuss setting up a race/walk specifically in his name for men. I am so excited that we could do something like this and I hope the boys will be able to help in arranging it as well as taking part - I know I have over 100 men to do it and would like to open it out to the general public too - the money raised will be for such a good cause.

And we have started putting together the final fundraiser which will be a dinner dance in October/November next year. Well the band is sorted (f.o.c. I think) so we need to find a date, a hall etc but I will do this once I get the walk sorted.

Today I am off with the two little ones to a friends and I hope to actually do some scrapping. It will be the first I have done (except for the crop) so fingers crossed my mojo comes back.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Money, money, money

Actually, it should be no money!!!! Unfortunately due to Stewart having had cancer before we couldn't get life insurance, we were waiting for him to be all clear (6 months more) and then at worst till he was 50 when we would get one of those policies off the tv - it always made me giggle cos June Whitfield always advertised them and she is sooooo much older than us, and I used to tease Stewart that he really was going to be old!! Well we never got there so unfortunately money is slightly tight - I have lost over 75% of our income and still have the same bills etc to pay, actually more in some ways but today was the day for being proactive and I sat down with my wonderful amazing dad and went through some of the figures. It doesn't look good to be honest, but it did make me sort out the paperwork properly and I managed to contact some of the companies who, bless them, have written off the debts in cases like the business advertising, parking fines (don't ask, I found 5 unpaid ones!!!!) and hopefully dad will sort out the rest of the business debts - however as a joint signatory on the business loan it will fall to me to pay it off so I am off to see our new business manager to see what she can do (keep you fingers crossed that the sympathy vote will win here).

I am also going to look at changing the car we have. I have had to get rid of my car cos it essentially was a 2 seater, not much use with 3 kids (I know Jamie drives but even 2 kids can't fit in) so I am left with Stewart's car, a Vectra which is too powerful, too costly, too much to insure, too fuel guzzling and too bleeding big for me to park!! Hopefully we will be able to put our car in part exchange and get something better for me which will cost me less all round.

Well I took the kids up to see Stewart. They were absolutely amazing - not a tear from any of them - can't say that about myself though! We also took Gemma to my grandparent's grave which she had never seen. The ironic thing is that they are three rows behind stewart, to the right hand side, you can actually see their graves from Stewart, so yes that set me off again, it's like they are watching over him. I managed 10 minutes chat on our own before we came home again. I must say I am so proud of my kids in so many ways.

The only major hiccup I have come across is the fact that the sponsored walk I wanted the men to do for our local hospice is women only!!! They can do a sponsored row or it's a knock out but no, no walk is available. So, what have I decided to do - organise one myself - I MUST BE MAD, I hear you cry, but why not, it can't be that difficult can it? - What have I let myself in for?????? I just need to the ok from the hospice that we can use their logo, name etc and then I will get a group of fellas together to help me organise it - and my trusty work colleague and friend, Joanna to help me (she just wants a clipboard, pen round her neck and a megaphone!!). One of my other friends, Ruth will do all the spread sheets I will need - she loves them - organises everything by spreadsheet - even her daughter's birthday party, so she'll come in useful for this!!

Right off to another finance meeting - I am getting pretty sick of them now!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

It's surreal ...................... but it's wonderful

Well, I did go to visit Stewart at the cemetery, that is once I found him. Bless the sexton at the cemetery, he'd buried him on the front row where no one else was so that he would be easy to find for the next year or so (till the row gets filled up) but I hadn't noticed that on the day of the funeral so stood there looking like a fool trying to find him, I knew he had to be there but just couldn't see him. He always said I had no sense of direction. It's really funny because I have never understood the need to visit the cemetery when someone dies, they aren't there but now I have experienced it, I realise the need to talk to something tangible is a necessity. The weather was freezing and windy and raining when I arrived, but the sun shone whilst we chatted as though he was answering me. It went back in once I walked away!!!

Things at home have plodded on with a few minor hiccups with the kids being touchy all at the same time. It's great fun I can tell you. Alex's school have brought someone in for him to talk to and he will have that for half an hour each week, she's a lovely lady called Carol and I hope it will help him through these dark hours. Jamie is being stubborn and strong at the same time and I am having to let him do things I wouldn't normally have allowed, like driving to and from Manchester on the M62 which we had agreed he wouldn't do until he'd been driving longer, but I know he needs his independence - it is just giving me more grey hairs with worry tho. Gemma isn't too bad as long as she is busy - nights are still awful and always filled with tears but we will get through it.

Last night I had a wonderful but surreal experience. A friend and her daughters came to visit and have a takeaway which was great. My friend is a spiritualist who has passed on to me a couple of messages but last night she was here just as a friend. However, when all of a sudden she started to laugh and said that Stewart was sat in the chair and determined to give me some messages!!! He always interrupted my conversations with friends so this was no different to normal. She passed on various messages with only a couple that I couldn't get but he mentioned the fact he always had "hairbrained schemes" and that I was the one that kept his feet on the ground - that was the exact term he used during one of our many conversations when we knew he was ill and something that no-one else had known. She told me many things even describing places we had been away together, again something she wouldn't know as she only really knows me through Gemma and only met Stewart twice!!! She also told me to get rid of the joggy bottoms he wore, he couldnt understand why I was keeping them - well we had emptied one set of drawers in our room for Gemma to use in her bedroom and one of the few things I couldn't get rid of were the joggy bottoms he wore in hospital - again something NO ONE knew!! Its a very surreal experience to know he is here for me, but it's wonderful too.

Today we are off to the cemetery. Gemma has been asking to visit her dad so I thought today was a good day for all of us to go up. I hope this will give us all some peace and will enable us to move forwards.

It is a long road ahead I know and I am not sure how I will do it all without Stewart, without him by my side physically. I miss everything about him, even our arguments. I miss him kissing me, cuddling me, laughing at me, laughing with me, I miss him rolling his eyes, him telling me I can't cook, actually I just miss it all. I am not sure how I can live for however long I have without him and how I live with the constant physical pain in my chest and the stomach turning that I have, but I know I have no choice. What I would give just to hold him, cuddle him, talk to him, kiss him for 5 minutes, to tell him I love him once more and hear him say he loves me too. And the hardest bit is I know there is nothing I can do to change what happened and I won't ever have these things again.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Is it only a month?

Well it's the 11th November. A month since I lost Stewart. But it feels like forever since I saw him, touched him, talked to him, held him. The pain hasn't lessened but I have had moments where I've smiled. The kids are struggling too, Jamie is just finding he wants to be here supporting me and although he has just got back from visiting Natalie in Scotland he said he needed to be here instead, Alex is struggling to cope at school and his mood swings at home are worse than ever and Gemma is just one very sad little girl every night when she kisses her daddy's photo.

As for me, well I hate my life and although I need to carry on for the kids, I don't want to be here anymore. Without my soul mate, my best friend, my rock I feel there isnt a reason to get up in the morning. But I do and I go through the day's motions, speak to everyone, even laugh occasionally, but at the end of the day I know it will be just me going to bed and just me getting up and to be honest I hate my life.

I know that it will get better cos everyone says it does, I know that I will carry on living a life cos everyone says I will, I know that I will laugh again and smile again because I see that other's manage it, but at the moment it just feels like an uphill struggle.

I miss Stewart more than I ever could have imagined. I never realised that someone could be so part of your life that when it's taken away you feel that putting one foot in front of another is so difficult. I never realised that a month could go that slowly yet go that quickly at the same time. Where has the month gone, it is only yesterday I kissed him goodbye yet I feel as though he has been gone forever and sometimes I struggle to remember his kisses and hugs.

We have all managed firsts over the last 31 days, the kids are back to school, Jamie has been away, Jamie passed his driving test and we were happy for a moment, I went back yesterday to St Gemma's to hand a donation the synagogue had for them and to take a present. Now that was probably one of the hardest things I have done since I buried him and left him alone on a cold windy hill. Everyone remembered me and all commented what a lovely man Stewart was but it brought back so many memories and was so hard to be there without him.

I also went back to work for the day yesterday and am going in to do a job today there but I want to do another first and probably the hardest one. I want to go to the cemetery and see Stewart. I know he's not there, I know it's only the shell of him we buried but I just need to go and see him. It's the nearest I will get to touching him again and although I will be talking to a mound of soil, it's what I know I need to do at 12.30pm today, exactly one month since I lost him. I am so apprehensive and not sure I will actually do it but it is my goal for the day. That and survive till bedtime without too many tears and tantrums (from me and the kids!!)

So after this depressing post I better go and get ready for work, get the boys off on time, sort myself out, give myself a talking to to enable me to put my smiley face on for the world and I will catch up with you later.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A very proud Mum

Well, things have been quite up and down over the past few days.

I started sorting out the loft on Monday which I thought would be awful, but actually other than the fact Stewart has collected the biggest load of rubbish, it was quite comforting. In fact I found things I didn't know we had, 4 DVD players, a tent, more cases than I can fill, an ice bucket from the 60's and so much more!!! But I did find my wedding dress, head dress and veil, the typed original of Stewart's wedding speech and a diary he wrote during the time we met which was lovely. I have managed to clear a space so that I can sort the rest of it out in the near future.

Tuesday was a down day and the kids were down too, not sure if they picked up the vibes from me but it generally was a tough day.

And today, well what a day. Jamie had his first driving test which had been booked just before Stewart got ill. He stayed at home today and the nerves kicked in for us both. However, the best thing was that HE PASSED and I am so incredibly proud of him. Not only did he pass but he did it in style with only 3 minors. I had a few tears that his dad isn't here to see his achievement, especially one where he would have been so incredibly proud but I know he is looking down with a smile on his face. He is on a high tonight, having picked his brother up from the bus, driven to get me milk and see his grandma and then onto a friends we were at for dinner. He is still up and still has a smile on his face. The picture below shows how happy he is (sorry for the hair and beard but as he can't shave or have his hair cut during the first month of bereavement there isn't much we can do!!).

Saturday, 1 November 2008

3 weeks

Well, it is nearly exactly to the minute 3 weeks since I lost my beloved husband. It has been a roller coaster of a ride since then with emotions being high on the agenda. The kids are still amazing even though we have had some difficult days. It is so hard dealing with them without the support of Stewart behind them. When they are being argumentative or rude there is no one else to back me up, no one else to support me through it and no one else who can hold me and tell me they will be ok. I have cried most days but the mornings and evenings are the worst along with weekends, especially saturdays.

I couldn't face going to the synagogue today. It's so hard to be there when I know it is so many weeks exactly since Stew died. Every saturday is a milestone which makes it a hard day to get through. I feel as though every day I get through is another day nearer to me being with him again. How depressing is that thought - that all I want is to get through the rest of my life so that I can die and be in his arms again. I know that I have to learn to live my life again but I cannot imagine how I will do that with the pain that I feel. My heart physically hurts and my stomach is constantly in knots. It's that sinking feeling when I realise that Stewart is not out working or upstairs on the computer but that he never ever ever coming back.

I have started to ring his mobile just to hear his voice on the answerphone but actually it isn't a comfort just upsetting but I still do it. It's the last thing I have of him and I know that I have the kids but I want him here by my side.

There have been good moments over the past few weeks and I am lucky that the support of my family and friends is continuing. I am still having constant visitors which keeps me busy and makes the days easier but going into our bedroom at night just breaks my heart. I just miss him so much that words can't express it.

The support for the Race for Life 2009 walk/run that I want to do next year in his memory is gaining momentum and have so many women and girls offering to run it with me that it is incredible. I am hoping to also walk the Midnight Hospice Walk on May 16th with the kids and with the men folk who want to support me to raise money for St Gemma's. I hope I can make 100 men for that and 200 women for the Race for Life. That should give a huge boost to both Cancer Research and St Gemmas and will be a legacy in stewarts name. I also hope to get tshirts sponsored so that every member of "Team Stewart" will wear his photo and name and make me a very proud lady.

I have really rambled on today, sorry, but my thoughts aren't really straight, this time 3 weeks ago he was still just breathing and still with me, i cannot imagine how I will get over this devastation.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A Way Forward

Having re-read yesterday's post and the wonderful comments and support I have received from it, I realise that yesterday in total was a really crappy day.

On top of waking up very low emotionally, my brother came round to start sorting out Stewart's van. It was so hard to watch someone else go through what essentially was Stewart's domain. I know in order to sell the stock etc it is a necessity but that made it no less hard to watch. He did it with such tact and care that it made the start of a difficult job easy and when last night he told me he had priced up one box of stuff at over £1000 I hope we will get enough money to pay back some of the outstanding bills left over.

There were many tears yesterday, but by last night I realised I had to put my grief into something positive and having spoken to my daughter we realised that the first way forward was to run or actually walk the Race for Life 2009 in Stewart's memory. However, me being me I wasn't just going to do it with Gemma, no, I am trying to get 100 possibly 200 women together to run or walk the race as part of a team in his name. There are two dates usually in Leeds so hopefully this will give more people the opportunity to do at least one date and Gemma and I will do both of them.

I started by facebooking everyone I knew locally and a few further away, I then emailed everyone in my email address book and lo and behold this morning, some 10 hour later I have in the region of 50 people signed up to join me subject to the dates being right. Some are bringing their daughters, some their mothers, some their sisters but once again I am humbled by the support of the people I know. My family, my friends, my acquaintences are all amazing people. I have been offered some publicity free on a local radio station and I am hoping to get a sponser so that we can all wear a tshirt with Stewart's picture on - he would have laughed at that and the fact that I am walking not one but two races, neither of us being particularly fit or sporty people!!!

I hope I can put some of my grief into a good cause and if I am allowed by the Race for Life organisers I would like to split the money between Cancer Research and St Gemma's hospice, if not then the next fundraiser, and there will be one, will be for St Gemma's.

We have already come up with a disco in Stewart's name but due to our religious restrictions this can't be within the first year as we are not supposed to dance to music or listen to live music and I would like to get a live band to go with the disco (Stewart was a DJ for over 25 years so this seems to be a fitting tribute). There are so many other things we can do to raise money and I hope with this in mind, I can life the darkness that is hanging over me and the kids and we can use our emotions to a good cause.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

17 days

Yes it's been 17 days since I lost my darling Stewart. Doesn't sound much does it, a fortnights holiday plus a bit, half a month, 17 days. Yet it feels like eternity. I have only ever been away from Stewart for 5 days on the run and I constantly spoke to him and I knew he was joining me at the end. The feeling like he has been gone forever is the most difficult. I suppose I really lost him when he went into hospital the first time because he was only home again for 5 days and for 3 of those he was really poorly. Although during his stay in hospital he was quite well once the pain medication kicked in, it isn't the same as just being together. The 5 minutes we had cuddled on the bed behind the closed curtains was really the last close, intimate moment we shared and although we managed the odd cuddle for a couple of seconds in St Gemma's he really wasn't well by that stage.

He was always my support, my rock and without him I am missing an important part of my life. It's like I've lost my right arm and everything I do is impossibly hard.

The feeling of true pain from the morning when I wake up to the time sleep takes me over is unbearable and yes, I admit there are moments it isn't as intense but it's there all the time. I know that I will learn to live alongside this pain later, as others do, but at the moment it is all a bit too much to bear.

However, to add to everything it all seems to be sinking in with the kids and the financial situation we find ourselves in is kicking in here at home.

The boys went back to school yesterday and joined the morning prayers at school in order to recite the "Kaddish" - mourners prayer they are to say daily for a year. It was a difficult time for them both as obviously they are the only ones (thank god) in this position and for a large school it makes them stand out. I had rung the school in the morning before they got there to try and ensure the teaching staff were aware of the situation, however there were teachers who didn't know and this caused some difficult moments for the boys. The younger kids asked Alex constantly about the situation yesterday leaving him feeling very stressed which he doesn't cope with too well. For Jamie, the realisation that his dad isn't coming back hit him. Travelling home ont he M62 you pass the cemetery on your left hand side in full view and that really really hurt him. I cannot imagine what my boys are going through at the moment and feel totally useless to help them through, but I am trying. Gemma has had a couple of quiet and tearful days as she realised that daddy isn't here and won't be, she even commented how he wouldn't see her grow up. How on earth do I help my kids when I feel the way I do, I have no answers other than to say we must love and support each other. I feel so totally helpless.

To add to the awful situation, money is very tight. We had no life insurance for Stewart as we had claimed the first time he had cancer and no one would re-insure him - obviously for good reason now and we were hoping to get him to 50 years old so that we could take out one of those policies you see advertised. However, that day didn't come so I have a mortgage and all the bills to deal with which without his income is more than I can afford. With the support of my mum and dad, my MIL who for the first time in our lives has become the sort of MIL you should have and is ringing daily, and the benefits agency, we will get through but it is so hard at 40 to be taking from others. We were an independent couple who although had high outgoings were managing to pay back their loans regularly. I just feel as though i am up to my neck in debt with no way out. I cannot keep taking money from my parents, it just isn't right so I am hoping that once I have sold his business and paid some of the loans etc we will be able to keep our heads above water.

Sorry that this post is a rant, not what I actually meant it to turn into but I suppose sometimes you just have to offload. The support of my family and friends is phenominal but there are things I just can't voice to them. I am so angry, so upset, so hurt, so lost, so frightened and I don't know how to deal with it all. I am usually a coper, an organiser, bossy and strong but that seems to have all gone away - I am not the person I thought I would be in this situation and feel so incredibly weak. I just need his arms around me and him to whisper it will be fine - I just need my rock.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Up days and Down days

Hi again, been told off by my fellow LPD for not updating my blog and offloading so here goes!!!

Well the good news is Boo is settling in nicely and sleeping through the night. Not really getting the housetraining yet but has learnt to "sit" today so that's something. He is so sweet and brings so much joy to the family.

As for the rest, well I am ok when I have visitors and it's wonderful that I have had so many. In fact I have thought about putting a revolving door in the front of the house to help the flow but maybe security would be an issue!! Yesterday was a tough one for my eldest, Jamie and last night we talked and talked and cried and cried. But this morning was one of those days you just want to hide under the covers. It is my first really really bad day and I can't seem to get my mood to lift, although the many visitors who have been round today have helped. It is the fact that I cannot imagine living my life without Stewart but have to, that is making me feel so angry, guilty, hurt etc - I really do understand the saying "dying of a broken heart" because without the children that is exactly what I would do. I have a huge hole in my chest which is a physical pain and it is there every second of every day. The only relief I get is when I smell the aftershave Stewart used to wear, I have sprayed it onto his pillow which I sleep with every night. I know it's not him but it's the best I have.

I have managed to findd the Cruse Bereavement website and having read some of their pamphlets feel a little better that my feelings are "normal". I am not ready for bereavement counselling but maybe just maybe it will help me in time.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

A picture of Boo

Ok, it's only 1 little picture but it shows you why we fell in love with Boo. We have had a busy day today with loads and loads of visitors, not sure whether they have come to see me or Boo but as long as we are all kept busy we seem to be coping a little. Nights and mornings are the worst but spraying Stewart's aftershave onto a pillow for me to cuddle seems to help (and Gemma has one too!). Jamie is a bit brighter as his girlfriend is up from Scotland for a couple of days and Alex is just Alex, wonderful. Gemma has gone to Manchester to stay with her friend so tomorrow morning there will be just me in the house (with Boo of course) for the first time which should be interesting!! Will update more later.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A reason to smile just a little

Well, we've done it, we made it, we're through it - what you may ask, well the first week without Stewart. It's been hard, there has been tears and laughter and shouting but we have done it together.

We started the day off by going to the Synagogue for the sabbath service, something that will become a regular occurance now the boys say "Kaddish" - the memorial prayer, every day. It was hard because the last time I was there was when we all went with Stewart for New Year. Yes there were tears but we were supported by all the family who came to join us. I cannot express the gratitude to them all.

However, the house is incredibly quiet, no Stewart and no Harley and although you can't compare the two, the house feels empty without the two of them here - it's like a double whammy on the grieving and quiet front. So what do I do yesterday ................................... we got a puppy!

Before anyone asks, he's to replace Harley not Stewart :) but I am hoping that he gives us a reason to continue and to smile and we have something to look forward to daily as opposed to only having something to dwell on.

He is soooooo small, soooooo sweet and is called Boo - why Boo? Well when I met Stewart many many moons ago one of the songs he told me he liked was "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" - so there may not be the Me and You but there is a dog named Boo in this house :)

Admittedly Alex asked if we could call him Stewart!!!!!!!!!!!!!! didn't think that was a good idea at all - can you imagine peoples faces asking them in and if they'd like to see Stewart!

He's been wonderful but it's so funny when he wants your attention because he squeaks, he sounds like sweep off sooty and sweep! As I type this he is playing with one of the toys we bought him yesterday - he is happily shaking and chewing this bright pink monkey - he hasn't bitten it on the squeaky bit yet - that will be funny to see. Yes I am cleaning up the accidents but cos he is so small they are only little so I can cope. He is so inquisitive and funny that although my heart is still so very heavy, I can smile a little and now I have something to cuddle and kiss again.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Amazed, Overwhelmed and Humbled

Those are the three words I would use to explain how I feel after the past week.

I cannot believe the support we have received during our week of mourning. The memories of Stewart by so many people have been amazing. We have had visitors constantly during the week and in the evenings for prayers and it has been a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so much love. I am totally humbled by the love that people felt for Stewart during his life and in some ways feel guilty for not realising what a totally amazing and wonderful man I was married to. He has touched so many people's lives in so many ways, from DJ'ing at their special events, being a friendly and efficient electrician and generally being a good friend to all. The letters and cards we have received are coming in a constant stream from people from so many backgrounds that it is amazing.

My children have been phenominal and I (and I know their dad) am so incredibly proud of them. They are a credit to us and more so a credit to themselves.

Tomorrow's Jewish Telegraph is running an obituary on Stewart with quotes from many leading figures in our community and once again I cannot believe so many people want to voice their feelings, and to top it all it will be front page news - something that has blown me away but made me the proudest wife in the world.

There will also be the announcements from the family to read through and I am sure there will be many tears shed over it tomorrow.

At the moment I veer from crying, to laughing, to angry, to numb and tomorrow is the start of a normal life again - it will be a totally different normal to the past 20 years because of course the most important person in our lives will be missing but I know that we have to start to get our lives in order and start living. It will take a long time for me to get out in the normal world but for the kids the routine of school, homework and socialising must begin again. They have their whole lives ahead of them and must grasp every opportunity they can. As for me, well who knows. I have the most amazing family and friends supporting me and as one friend said to me tonight, we will hoist you back up and even give you a huge shove up if we have to.

I miss Stewart with every bone in my body and with every breath that I take, I am still waiting for him to walk in through the door and shout "hello doll" at me and the hardest thing is that I know that I won't ever hear that again. He is my light and the has been the reason for everything I do and I know that I have to focus on the positives now and the future, but I also know that it will be the hardest challenge I have ever faced.

Stewart, you were everything to me and I miss you so much. I miss the smile you gave just to me, the hugs and the kisses and the safety I always felt in your arms. You were the sunshine of my life and I hope that you are safe and happy and free from pain and that you will watch over all of us and keep us safe. RIP my darling. xxxx (remember sweetheart that I will love you forever and a day).

Monday, 13 October 2008

Laid to rest

Well all I can say is the past 48 hours have been surreal. From midnight Friday night when Stewart worsened to now has gone by in a haze.

I am grateful that we had the time to say how we felt about each other and I am grateful he didn't suffer for longer than he did, but I am so sad that he isn't here, he was truly my best friend.

He died in my arms, just the two of us, just as we had wanted. He managed to tell me he loved me during the night and told the kids that he loved them and always would when they visited early on Saturday morning. He had love surrounding him the whole time he was ill, but none more so than those last few hours.

The nursing staff at St Gemma's were amazing and gave us all the support we needed to get through those first few hours. Leaving him there was the hardest thing I have ever done, but getting into bed last night knowing he would never be there again was so difficult.

My children have amazed me with their maturity and care and their promise to be there for me.

The funeral was held today (we bury our dead within 24 hours) and I had requested that the hearse brought Stewart home before we set off for the funeral. We then went to the synagogue where there must have been 100 people, but nothing could have prepared me for the number of people at the funeral at the cemetery. It is estimated there were between 400 - 500 people, I have to admit I didn't realise we knew that many people. Not only were. all our family and friends here - some travelling from the other ends of the country but all the clergy from Leeds were there - and between them all they took the service, something I have never seen done in all my years and truly a great honour. The honour continued when Stewart was lowered to his final resting place by four Rabbis - again something that only ever happens for other members of the clergy. Our sons recited loud and clear the mourners prayer at the grave side, so heartbreaking to watch them aged 17 and 14 having to do this. It took over 1 1/2 hours for the mourners to file through the hall to pass their condolences on to us, something that usually only takes 20 minutes tops.

Tonight was our one night of "shiva" - prayers as tomorrow night is a festival which cancels out the other 6 days. To sit in my sisters house, which to be honest is fairly large, and to watch the queue of people up the driveway and down the road waiting to come in and pay their respects was overwhelming. Not only did we fill the house with people, including the kitchen, but also the garden, the driveway and partially the pavement outside. People came from all over but to see the support the kids had, especially Jamie whose friends all came over from Manchester was amazing. Even three of the Rabbi's that were on the trip he took in the Summer were there. Mind blowing is all I can say.

The prayers were recited by my dad, one of the clergy who is like an uncle to me (his eldest daughter is one of my oldest (not age but in long standing) friends, and a speech given by the Rabbi I work with was amazing. The speech was so spot on, Rabbi Levy had Stewart down to a tee, his words were moving and funny and he even made a point of talking directly to Gemma at one point to connect with her - he also lost his mother aged 9 - all of which made an amazing speech in memory of my darling husband. No one could ask for more.

I have to say that the emails of comments from here, emails from UKsers, my amazing and wonderful family and friends have given us all strength, but to see so many people come to pay their last respects is mind blowing. As I said to Alex, when we are down we have to think of today and be proud that the man who obviously touched so many people was our daddy and my husband and we are the lucky ones to have been part of his life.

Stewart was a large man, in stature and in size but he was a true gentle giant. I have heard things about him in the last 24 hours that I never knew and I am so proud to have him choose me as his wife and to have spent the last 20 years with him.

I will be at my sisters for the next week so that visitors can call and prayers (without the memorial bit added) can be said so that the boys can continue to say the mourners prayers (which they are required to do every day for a year) in the comfort of family and friends before stretching out to the synagogue with all it's members.

Once again thank you for your supportive and warming messages. I am a lucky lady, not just because I have shared my life with someone so special, but because of all of you.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Stewart 9.3.61 - 11.10.08

Just a short post to say that at 12.30pm today, Stewart sadly passed away.

I will update this blog again later in the week.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Just a note

to say that today has been so busy. The consultant came again to see us this morning and went over everything with Stewart again. Afterwards we talked privately and he basically said that 2 weeks was probably not possible as Stew had continued to deteriorate and a few days was more likely. Everytime I think we have had the worst news, I am wrong and there is more to come. The kids came and I explained that it is vital they spend as much time with their daddy as they could. Jamie has had a good day with him, and they have managed to talk to each other on and off (well more off as stewart keeps drifting).

The visitors that have managed to make their way here today, especially today on such an important day - the day of atonement which is the highest of holy days - is incredible. Family, friends, some acquaintances and more have been coming throughout the day and I am really exhausted. But one of the most moving moments tonight was our friend Richard sat with Stewart for over 1/2 an hour on his own whilst his wife Debs and I had a drink. I am amazed at his courage and support.

I have also got such respect for my family - all of them - but my brother, sister, brother in law and eldest neice, have been amazing today and David has given me so much support. It's a long story but things haven't always been that good between my sister, brother in law and me - the last year or so has been difficult and about 3 months ago we sorted ourselves out enough to be a family again. However this situation has changed the dynamics of everything and close and supportive are two words that do not do justice to what I feel they have been.

Anyway, a short note has gone on and on so I will get myself off to bed - the bed that I wanted - a double bed to share with Stewart!!! Night Night

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Just not enough time

Well today has certainly been the worst day of my life. Having had the consultant round with the blood test results, which show Stewart's bilirubin (sp???) levels are very high, it seems that the cancer in the pancreas has grown and is blocking the liver causing severe jaundice and other problems. Stewart is really really not well. I then met privately with the consultant and we agreed that unfortunately stewart is just not well enough for any surgery or anything and therefore it is time to make him comfortable and let nature take it's course. Unfortunately it means we only have 2 weeks at most to have him here and probably only a few days of him being aware of us.

Obviously I rang my dad immediately (well he is always calm in a crisis) and mum turned up with a sandwich and I have to admit to crying my heart out. What a shite life this is and so totally totally unfair - I am sooooooooooo sooooooooooooooooo angry that within 2 weeks I will have lost the love of my life and the father of my kids. Telling them has been awful and I have made the difficult decision to sleep at St Gemma's from now onwards, which leaves the children alone a bit which worries me but I also know I can't lose a second from the time we have left together. It's a difficult one but my kids are settled tonight and will be here tomorrow.

I think I will organise somewhere for Gemma to stay, like at a friends for a bit, and then sort out the boys who break up for 2 weeks on Friday anyway. Jamie has cancelled his trip to Scotland but his girlfriend is coming here instead for a couple of days and Alex has cancelled his first "night away" in Manchester but I know that they need to spend as much time as possible with their dad over the next few days.

I am sat here in St Gemma's watching Stew and knowing that every second is one second nearer the end. I know I don't want him to suffer but he is and that is really really hard. I hope they come and set up the new pain medication shortly and that he may get a better nights sleep which may help his concentration and speech tomorrow.

Good night all, I am about to tuck myself into bed, however tomorrow the hospice is bringing in another bed to fit alongside Stewart's so that we can be together and the kids can curl up (well as near as they will let him) alongside him for some last minute treasured moment.

Shit happens!!!

Not sure whether that is an appropriate title or a totally appropriate title.

Without going into too much detail, we managed to have a result on the bowel front!! However, the pain didn't subside so Stewart went back into St Gemma's yesterday. They were gobsmacked by the speed of his deterioration but it was lovely to be in the care of the same wonderful nurses we had last time, they have even managed to get him another room on his own which will allow him some privacy at least.

His spirits are very low and I don't think I helped when I started a discussion with him last night about some of the morbid things we need to discuss at the moment. I think he realises that this doesn't look promising, that the chemo due in 10 days may not happen but he had a good cry. I also promised him I would be with him every step of the way and not leave him when the time comes and that he has my blessing at the end not to fight against it but to go peacefully and that although I will give the kids time to say goodbye, it will just be him and me at the end, I think a fitting end to our wonderful 20 years together. I did really well and didn't cry until he said he had wanted to grow old with me and that was it, the floodgates opened and although I was upset, he couldn't even find the strength to hold me.

I have accepted that we are on the slippery slope towards the end (unless a huge miracle happens) and that in some ways he has already gone, but this morning I am determined to put the fight back into him and make whatever time we have a happy one.

Sorry my news at the moment is depressing but I thank you for all your love and wishes, it really does help.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Sorry it's taken so long

It was only when I signed in this morning to update my blog that I realised I hadn't blogged for a couple of days. Well what a couple of days. Sunday I went to work leaving Stewart sat on the settee with the telly for company. Jamie was refereeing and Alex was looking after Gemma. I had put a notice up on the door of the house to say no visitors till after 1pm, giving me time to come home from work. But what did I find when I got here, a visitor safely ensconsed on our armchair chatting to Stewart - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!

The afternoon was filled with visitors and by tea time Stew was shattered and went to bed. I spent the rest of the evening tidying the house!!!!

However, he had a bad night with lots of pain so by Monday morning I knew I had to ring St Gemmas up which I did. They contacted Julia, the community paliative care nurse who was due to see us yesterday afternoon and I spoke to her and the doctor (who'd I promised to report in about bowel movements to - it's fun being in my house I can tell you!!!!) who both called the district nurses in.

Stewart decided bed was the only place for him so after his tablets he settled down for some extra sleep whilst I was visited by my wonderful friend, Marie (of the wonderful cakes) from the Paper Dolls, who brought all her stuff with her to give me a pedicure - well at least that's one way of making me sit down!!!! It was amazing, she is amazing and I am so grateful to her for the love and the laughter she brought to the house.

My wonderful brother also played his part yesterday rushing to and from doctors and chemists to get perscriptions for Stewart during the day.

Well Julia called as promised at 12.15pm and we had a wonderful chat together. She made me realise that I don't have to be strong, I am not getting it wrong with the kids - just doing the best I can, and generally being my fairy godmother. Once the district nurses arrived (they were amazing too to both stew and I) to administer enemas (told you it was all fun here!!) we decided that with the enemas and the movicol to work from the top, if nothing had happened by this morning then Stew should go back to St Gemma's to get sorted. This way we will know if the extra pain is due to the bowels or the cancer spreading. Unfortunately, although I know the bowels are a huge problem my fear is that the cancer is spreading rapidly. He has so many new lumps and bumps and the ones he has just keep getting bigger that I am not sure if we should could continue chemo, but we will wait a week to decide that one.

So the result of all the medicines - NOUGHT, ZERO, NOTHING and bless him, he has been in pain all night with me running up and downstairs getting milk, medicine etc for him. So I am waiting for the 8.30 deadline and then I have to ring to get him back in!!!

I know I have tried my best but I am disappointed that I can't cope with having him home, but looking after him for 24/7 is such hard work when I have the kids to sort out too. I feel like I am grieving already as the Stewart that is here at the moment isn't my Stewart at all.

Well, I've rung Julia and she has a meeting regarding admissions at 9am and will ring me back but it looks like we are on the move again!!!! I will try and update you all later if I get a chance.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Saturday night (but not at the movies!!)

Well, today has been slightly better than expected. Stewart has had a relatively quiet day - his mum visited him this morning and without going into details it was a difficult visit for me. Unfortunately they haven't been talking for many years, in fact most of our time together, and although I know he is delighted to have her back in his life I am finding it difficult, especially when she doesn't seem to actually care about me or the kids. I kept them out of the way for this visit, not sure why other than i don't want critisism from her or more importantly, for them to get hurt when she disappears out of our lives again. However, I have been told by a family member (on Stewart's side) who has spoken to her that she regrets what has happened but doesn't know how to make it better - well speaking to me would be good. Mind you, in fairness she did throw a bunch of flowers at me when she arrived so maybe that is her way of speaking to me!!!

A quiet afternoon was had by us all and I zonked out on the settee for 2 hours but feel much better for it. My good friend Debra rang later on for a chat and made me giggle as she always does. She really is the best medicine I have, along with my other friends, cos they keep me feeling sane.

Our friends Bev & Andrew came for a chinese takeaway this evening and it was lovely when all 4 of us sat round the dining room table and it felt so normal. Andrew even rescued me from a spider, so will keep him on call for that job cos neither of my boys are any good with things like that!!!!

Stewart gave in after about an hour and a half and went to bed but he had done well tonight. He's a bit grumpy tonight but he's had his tablets and medicines and hopefully will have a good nights sleep.

I am working tomorrow and a bit worried about leaving him with Alex and Gemma but I am only a phone call away and I might ask my mum or dad to pop in at 11ish to check on them. Jamie is refereeing but at 9.30 so should be home for 12 I hope. I need to go to Argos tomorrow to get a dictaphone cos he wants to make tapes for the kids for them to listen to later on.

I am off out to get bagels from the bakery so that will save me a trip out in the morning and give me valuable sleep time and getting prepared for work time!!

Lets hope tomorrow is a good day too.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Friday night update

Sorry I've not been on but since Stewart has been home my feet haven't touched the ground.

Wednesday night was ok, Stew tried to sleep on the settee sitting up in the hope it would ease his eye problems but it didn't :(

Thursday wasn't a good day for either of us. Stewart was on a lot of extra painkillers and I had an overly emotional day. I think the responsibility of looking after Stewart for 24/7 just overwhelmed me and all the fears of him dying, me not looking after him well enough, not being a good enough mum and dad to the kids got a bit much but by the evening I was brighter. Stewart just about coped through the day but didn't eat much and had absolutely no energy.

Today was a better one for me but Stewart really isn't good. Our care worker from St Gemma's rang to introduce herself and felt that we needed to review his pain relief. After talking to the doctors at St Gemma's we decided a visit from our GP was necessary, and bless him Dr Fellerman (or Dr Simon as the kids call him) was there within an hour. He has upped the pain relief patches, changed the laxative cos he thinks that this is the problem which is causing the pain (sorry if too much info), and gave him eyedrops. However, tonight he really isn't well at all and I feel totally helpless and I don't know what to do. Maybe he shouldn't be here and I don't know if I am keeping him here for my sake or his. We will have to see how tonight goes but if he is no better then I think I have to accept that maybe he needs proper nursing. It's breaking my heart but I have to make sure he is not in pain. The kids are playing up a bit too and I am sure it's cos they are finding it hard having him here. It's a no win situation really and I just hope tomorrow is a better day and we can keep him here.

I am at a loss what to do and feel so incredibly low. Maybe tomorrow we need to keep the visitors to the minimum and let him totally rest up and see how he is tomorrow night.

Sorry it's a depressing post tonight, just the way I am feeling. I've been trying to have a shower all day and still haven't managed it and can't now cos I need to be around for Stewart, I just feel my life has stopped and I am living his death with him. You wouldn't put a dog through what he is going through but there is nothing I can do to help him and it really really hurts. He is so painfully thin, having lost 3 stone in 5 weeks and I just hope that he picks up with the new drinks and things get better.

Thank you once again for following my journey.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

He's Home

Now how excited am I? I brought Stewart home today to stay - the list of drugs is enormous and I've done a spreadsheet for it (my friend Ruth will be overjoyed at that) but I am so pleased to have him home and know he's here for as long as possible. It also means that life will start to resemble normal again in a way.

I am determined to be strict about visitors, especially as his immune system will start to diminish in the next day or so but I am so happy at the moment (which is something I have forgotten how to be).

Well let's hope that September is gone and with it the horrible time we are having. I know the prognosis isn't going to go away but at least now he's home we can live our lives as best we can and try to live for the moment and not have the weight of the situation on our shoulders all the time.

Right off to make a cuppa and put my feet up for a bit.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Happy New Year

Well today has been a good day, if emotional. It is the Jewish New Year, one of the most important days of the Jewish calendar and Stewart was determined to go to the synagogue today. So I went down early to help him shower and brought him home to get dressed (he didn't leave the hospice naked, I promise, but needed appropriate clothing - his joggy bottoms and tshirt were not really appropriate). Then all 5 of us went to the synagogue together. Stewart went in a wheelchair but nevertheless we went in together and the boys sat together and Gemma and I sat with my mum. I was exceptionally tearful looking down at my men, (including my dad) all sat together and knowing that it may be the last time I see them like that. So many people came up to both of us to wish us well and there weren't too many tilted heads (even tho my friend Malcolm, purposefully tilted his head to such an extent it must have been painful - but it made me giggle).

Stewart only managed an hour but it was a wonderful hour and I then brought him (with Gemma) home for a rest. Within 5 minutes of sitting on the settee he was fast asleep (nothing new there then!!) but I felt so relaxed knowing he was here where he belonged. I even managed an MSN conversation with my fellow LPD's Kirsty and Hazel during this brief break too which was wonderful and made me feel I was nearly back in the land of the living.

We then went to my sisters for a family lunch which was wonderful. Just to be surrounded by those we love on such an important day was special. Unfortunately by 4.30pm stewart had had enough and was shattered and I brought him home again to change but then had to take him back to the hospice. That was really hard and I didn't want to leave him there tonight. However, the brilliant news is that as long as he has a fairly good night tonight we can bring him home tomorrow and keep him here as long as he copes with his medication and pain levels. So I have been tidying round like mad, even sorting the fridges and freezers out so I know where everything is, in happy anticipation of a day I was beginning to doubt would happen. I know that once he is home he will start by sleeping downstairs where he can sleep comfortably upright which will help his eye, but I hope it won't be too long before I can curl up in bed beside him.

My friends continue to be a constant support to me, phoning me right up to late in the evening to ensure we are all doing ok.

The kids and I had a very long chat together tonight, discussing various issues with regards to how we are all dealing with this and after about an hour it finished with Jamie suggesting a family hug. I know my children are my future and without them I wouldn't want to continue, but I also managed to admit to them my feelings regarding losing Stewart and they spoke about how they feel about the time they have left with their Dad. I hope by being honest with them, laughing with them and crying with them I am giving them the security to know it is ok to be sad but equally it is ok to be happy. There are no instructions on how you do this bit of the job and I hope I am not scarring them for life.

On a positive note to end, today is the last day of September (ok, by the time this is posted it will be October but lets not split hairs). Stewart was diagnosed with the cancer on the 1st September, then diagnosed as terminally ill, then we had to tell to the kids, then we had to foster out the dog, then my parent's dog was put down so I am hoping that we will contain the bad news to the month of September and October will give us reason to smile and increase our hopes.

I wish each and every one of you a very Happy and Healthy New Year (even to my non-jewish friends) and may we all have our health, our families round us and our dreams come true.

Monday, 29 September 2008

How much more

can go wrong for our family?????

Saturday night and Stewart has a really bad night, waking two or three times with pain which they cannot get under control. By the time I arrive on Sunday morning at 8.30am he looks awful. Unfortunately I have to work so after speaking to the nurses who promised to give him more pain relief, I went to work. It was a busy morning being the last Sunday before the Jewish New Year and unfortunately I had to arrange a funeral for a member of the synagogue who also happened to be the father of an old friend. It's difficult enough at the best of times but I found it so much harder this time.

On returning straight after work, I found Stewart was just exhausted and still in some pain and the doctor was called. She was wonderful and after chatting to us both it was decided a pain relief injection would be the quickest route to getting Stew back on track, and it worked but the whole day the exhaustion meant that except for getting up for an odd cigarette, he stayed in bed and didn't really want to talk to anyone. However, late afternoon and we had a room full of people cheering him up - it was lovely to see Fiona and Mark from Manchester (who had had Gemma to stay overnight), Brian, Tony, Debra, Carole and Dave and various others too.

We also had a very special moment occur. Unfortunately with our many house moves we had lost our Ketubah (Jewish Marriage Certificate) and had arranged to have a new one signed. Rabbi Kleiman and Rev. Michael Saville came to see us and due to a small error on the certificate, the head of the Beth Din (Jewish Court), Dayan Refson had to redo the Ketubah and bring it in. Stewart had to accept the Ketubah again (which is the equivalent of making the vows in church, where you promise to love and look after your wife) and the Ketubah was signed. It was then handed to Stewart who, by tradition, then hands it to me. It was like getting married all over again but without the fuss and there was no wedding dress either!! However, it was a very moving moment that after 18 years of marriage he was willing to commit to me again. We have joked that we have got married again - and I would do it again for real if I could too.

I spent the day running to and from the hospital sorting the kids out and looking after stewart and stayed with him till 10.30pm when the nurse and I persuaded him to take a relaxation pill to help him through the night.

This morning when I rang I was greeted by a cheery good morning which was lovely. Unfortunately because of the bad night previously we had to accept he wasn't coming home with us today but we managed to have a good day despite that. I even went out for a bite to eat with my sister and mum and had a lovely time. This afternoon the doctor came and confirmed that tomorrow (Tuesday) Stew could be picked up early for a day out with me so that he could attend the synagogue for a while to celebrate the New Year and to have lunch with the family. He also said that as long as he has a good day tomorrow we can hopefully bring Stewart home on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, even though there was good news, the sad news was that my parents had to have their beloved dog, Sophie, put to sleep. She was rescued 11 years ago from a life of misery and has spent the last 11 years being totally spoilt by Mum and Dad. She goes everywhere with them and even sleeps on the bottom of the bed - something our previous dogs were never allowed to do. She was a charismatic dog with enough brains for us all and although she went blind, she was still a loving and loyal dog who ruled the roost when she was with the new puppies we had all acquired over the past few years. However, the past week she has gone downhill fast and today Mum had to take her to the vets. When she rang I just sat and sobbed and although I know it was the right thing to do, it is harder to bear when we are going through so much.

I had to break the news to the kids which was so hard, haven't they had enough hardship to bear over the past 3 weeks?

Tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday are the Jewish New Year where we start to pray to G-d to inscribe us in the book of life and our prayers continue next week for Yom Kippur where we fast for 26 hours (no food and no drink) and the culminating prayer that day is where G-d decides who lives and who dies and our names our put in the book of life. For me this year, this period will be a hard one to cope with, knowing that unless G-d decides to give us a miracle, there will be no inscription for Stewart. We can only pray that little bit harder this year to repent our sins and hope that he gives Stewart and this family the miracle we so desperately want.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Facebook and Phones

Ok, just a quick post that if you don't have a black sense of humour you may wish to miss.

I was talking to Jamie last week and he asked how people would get to hear that Stewart had passed away. After explaining the mechanics of a jewish community - one call and the world knows (but it's lovely really) and the fact that grandpa would make calls to out of towners, Jamie decided that it was easier to sign into facebook as his dad, and change the status to read:

Stewart is going

Stewart is going

Stewart has gone

Ok, not funny but it has tickled us an awful lot (and Stewart found it humorous too)

Jamie then came up with the fact that as he sounds just like his Dad and therefore once he has gone, he could ring up customers who haven't paid from his phone and scare the living daylights out of them!!!!

So anyone reading this that will owe us money for work Stewart has done - be warned (LOL)

Told you it was sick, but hey it's what is keeping us going and I didn't want to forget the humour that we have shared.

Chemo and catch - up

Well this is the catch up bit cos I just didn't have the time or the energy yesterday to update my blog.

Yesterday was an interesting day. It started off with me having a meeting with Stewart's apprentice to try and sort out work times etc. However, having admitted to billing one of our customer's direct for a job I took him to, I provided the tools and fixtures and Stewart had come up and helped finish, I lost my temper. That is three jobs he's charged for, actually 3 jobs he's undercharged for and taken our money so that's it, no more work for him from us. I am quite calm about it at the moment but I have never been so angry with one person in my life and I told him so.

Then I had a call from Denise, a Macmillan worker who Mum knows. She talked to me for about an hour and I managed to off load quite a bit onto her.

Then into St Gemma's to see Stewart and we left for St James' at about 12.45pm. On arrival at the hospital I realised we didn't have the hospital notes with us. I sent my mum and dad off to pick them up for me (whoops, like they don't have enough to do for me!!) and we waited and waited. For some reason the chemo was late coming up which meant it was late being done!! Never mind, we weren't due anywhere! Once they had it set up at the right speed so it didn't hurt Stewart, we were set for an hour and a half of very boring conversation so I plugged stewart into his music and I went downstairs for a cuppa. Once I got down there everything started to catch up with me and I didn't feel too well, so I made myself eat something. Whilst there the wife and daughter of the gentleman who had been opposite us in the ward at St James' came and sat with me, he also isn't in a good way but it was nice to catch up with them and I think they plan to pop in at home to see us in the near future.

The trip back to St Gemma's was interesting with Stewart wretching all the way there but then he settled down for a quiet evening, and I went to my parent's to have dinner with the kids, something I promised I would do at least every Friday night. We popped back together to say goodnight and once we got home, got the kids settled for the night I went to have an early(ish night). I woke at 8am this morning which was a lie in for me and I feel so much better for it.

I am now sat at St Gemma's chatting to stew as I type this.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Profiteroles or Tiramisu - perfect ending to a lousy day

To start off on a slightly humorous note - today's tilted head count was 8 - a record!!! I am really not ungrateful for all the kindness that people are showing me, but I just can't help smiling inside when someone tilts their head!!!

Well today's update - not a good day really. It started off peaceful when I arrived at 8am at the hospice. Had a meeting with the Macmillan Welfare Benefits lady, Tracy who was so helpful and filled in lots of forms with me including the dreaded disability allowance form which is just baffling, the tax credit form and the blue badge form. She is rushing them all through so that we can get some money coming in. She has also filled in a Macmillan grant application to help towards petrol costs and bills.

However, by the time I got back Stewart was not having a good day. We had a call from his apprentice who was exceptionally off hand, totally un-understanding (is that a word? it's late so apologies if not) and rude. He has managed to lose us £250 on a job by invoicing direct which means the company he worked for isn't covered by our insurance and he only charged a ridiculous amount. I have to have a meeting tomorrow morning with him to try and sort out what is going on.

We went for our clinic appointment at the hospital for bloods to be taken and to see the oncologist. I have never disliked a doctor before, but by god this one is soooooo rude and abrupt. I had taken Stewart in a wheelchair because he has trouble with his balance and to be honest he hasn't much strength and when we got in she looked at him and said "why are you in a wheelchair" - "aren't you well enough for the chemo". How we didn't walk out there and then I don't know. His notes clearly showed he'd lost another 6lbs in a week which shows he isn't well and I wasn't planning on him exhausting himself the day before chemo - stupid women. However, as the appointments are in the afternoon which is Stewart's worst time of day as he is exhausted then and the fact she was rude to us throughout it meant that by the time we got in the car, he was in a worse than foul mood. And boy did I get the brunt of it, he'd got angry with me whilst we were in with the oncologist, he got angry with me whilst we were in with the professor, he got angry that I didn't speak, he got angry when I did speak, he shouted at me all the way back to the hospice and he got angry when I wouldn't let him get the wheelchair out of the car. A lovely day actually!!!! I took him up to the room and then left him because I couldn't cope with it any longer and went for a cup of tea with a friend, met the daughter of a friend who is wonderful and actually I count her as a friend too and had another cuppa and then I decided to be brave enough to return.

I went back to meet Alex who had arrived to spend time with his dad and I spent 15 minutes with him trying to talk to him when visitors arrived so I made my excuses and headed off to pick up Gemma. She'd not had a good day either - had been very upset about everything, why did daddy have cancer, why wasn't the dog a good dog so he could stay with us, she missed her daddy, she missed me, she missed coming home after school, she missed harley - oh dear - the tears flowed. I got her inside the house and left her cuddled up with her brother and headed back to the hospice.

At least being on our own gave us chance to talk and I apologised for upsetting him and after 20 minutes of talking he admitted how angry he had been about the oncologist, his apprentice, his cancer etc and apologised to me for how he'd spoken to me. Although I understand how he feels it doesn't make it easier to deal with and I suggested that maybe now he was ready to speak to a counsellor. He actually agreed and I hope tomorrow the nurses will sort something out. They have offered me someone to talk to too so maybe we can try and get our heads straight with all this.

Having come home and filled in the rest of the necessary forms I got a text saying "profiteroles or tiramisu?" Yep, my wonderful buddy debra had been to a party and along with Elaine brought me some leftovers to have with a cuppa tonight. I couldn't have faced the party as although I knew everyone there, I would have continually had to answer questions and taken away the enjoyment of it being a party. And after today it was too much. However Debra and Elaine sat with me for over an hour and chatted and laughed and drank tea (and Debra acquired 2 hats too!!!)

So I am off to bed and so not looking forward to tomorrow, the meeting with his apprentice, the chemo and everything else that seems to be going on - all I know is that tonight I am shattered.