Scrolling Back.

I knew I couldn’t let this day pass, unrecognised. This is the day when, exactly a year ago, my son-in-law Phil died. I want to remember that. But I also want to remember how proud he would be of the way his family has made a go of their unwanted new lives together, despite the grief, the empty place at every family gathering. Ellie’s successfully relaunched their business: the new website went live late yesterday. The boys started at high school, and are doing well – they’re sporty and busy. Ellie’s out to prove that she’ll see her own cancer kicked conclusively out before the end of 2017, and she’s got the bald head to prove it. Brian the dog declines to grow up,and recently ate his bed – again. Luckily, he’s lovable with it.

Phil would be proud of all they’ve achieved. I am too. They’re doing well. But there’s still a Phil-shaped hole at the centre of their family, and I guess there always will be.

Fanny the Champion of the World

Death in a digital age is a funny old business. On Facebook Memories, a photograph has just flashed up to tell me that three years ago today, we were on a family day out to Liverpool, which we all enjoyed, save for the gnawing feeling in my stomach that my husband’s difficulty swallowing was not good news. Two years ago this week, or so it tells me, our little family was on a wonderful holiday, which we’d booked to celebrate our wild assumption that the whole shitty cancer thing was behind us. One year ago this week, my husband was lying in a hospice bed in our sitting room, dying.

Messages, wall posts and photographs have popped back up on my phone from this day last year. We’d told our wider circle of friends, through Facebook, a few days after my husband had been given a couple of weeks left…

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28 thoughts on “Scrolling Back.”

  1. Oh, this a bittersweet day Margaret, all the memories and the need for life to move on, I feel the loss and yet can’t imagine how much harder it would be, were I to have had something so beautiful and lost it, sending you and your family much love and blessings during this time.

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  2. Anniversaries like this are tough, all the more so it seems when the rest of the world is having family get-togethers and celebrations. I’m thinking of you and your family today. Sending love as always 💜🌷

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      1. It’s especially hard when there are children, you are constantly thinking of how little they’ll remember and wishing the missing loved one could see them growing or at significant events. My daughter doesn’t remember my father and neither of them knew my brother who died aged 22. It must be so much harder when it’s their own father.

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  3. I’m not sure that anniversaries such as this ever get easier, but the first must surely be one of the most difficult, especially under present circumstances. I remain in awe of your daughter: her grit, her honesty and her deep love for her husband and her boys and for life in all its messy complexity. Thinking of you all.

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  4. I answered the door to the Tesco delivery man with tears in my eyes: he arrived just as I finished reading Ellie’s post. She writes so well and so powerfully. Anniversaries like this are a b****r, but of course so is life after, and living with, cancer. More power to all of their elbows. I do admire them. Lx

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  5. As you say the Phil-shaped hole will always be there and though I don’t agree that time heals, time gradually lessens the sharp contours of the hole left by a loved-one and we can remember with less pain. It’s been a tough year, I hope the next one is a million times better for you, your daughter and your grandsons.

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  6. Margaret; I know I have started a comment, quite some time ago…. I found it almost unbearably difficult to read all I could find in your daughter’s blog, her website, I was listening to Phils posts, getting lost in their life….. Then I came back here and although I started writing, I didn’t send it off – it was unfinished, my thoughts in a turmoil…. then I had two young girls (17 & 18) visiting for the week after Easter and Hero Husband knocked out my ‘departure’….
    And here I am again, and I’m still mostly without the power of words. On Sunday we learnt from the death of a 3-mo old baby, last week the husband of one of our choral-singing friends died totally unexpected during the night – sometimes one wonders how much a heart can carry, or even how many times it can get broken and yet mend again.
    Thinking often and much about you and your truly exceptional family, wishing you all strength, courage and sending blessings, together with good thoughts and a smile to carry you through each day. Lots of love

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