Bug's funeral took place on Tuesday. The hymns, music and reading were her choices made over 8 years ago, long before we had ever heard of PSP. With 20/20 hindsight, the symptoms were there then. Earlier last year, Bugs was discussing her funeral plan with the Hospice Chaplain and remembered all her previous plan. All I had to do was to write and deliver the tribute. It helped me as I was able to concentrate on the happy memories of all things we had done and achieved in over 40 years together.
I spent many hours trying to sum up the life of a lovely lady in about 10 minutes. An almost impossible task but it went ok. There were some laughs and many smiles - Bugs had said she did not want any tears, just joy for a life lived to the full.
Bugs had specified cremation so we went to a new crematorium just outside Gravesend. It is in a lovely location, overlooking farmland that slopes down towards the Thames Estuary. The roof resembles oasts and the chapels are flooded with natural light from the top. When the landscaping matures it will be very tranquil.
I honoured Bug's wish for no flowers, except a small one from me and another from her 2 nephews. Everyone else was asked to make donations to PSPA or the RNLI. I'll let you know the amount raised in Bug's memory.
When I came home on Tuesday evening, the house really felt empty for the first time and yesterday I had nothing I needed to do. I felt lost so I got in the car and drove with no destination in mind. I ended up at Hadlow College where I walked in the gardens. Nothing much was above ground, just a few snowdrops peeping above the soil. Everywhere was frosty except the few places where there was a gap in a hedge or trees, where the sun shone through to melt a path across the lawns. I followed one of these paths, with a hopeful looking Robin hopping along the bushes beside me. The path led to a broad lawn, the part nearest me was in shade and frost covered but the far part was in the sun and glowed. The backdrop was a lovely wide display of many different Dogwoods, glistening in the sun as the frost on the stems was melting. The colours were simply stunning.
This reminded me that warmth does follow cold and light comes after after darkness. Spring is on it's way with the promise that brings each year. Bugs has her new life and I will now have to start mine. What path the future will take I have no idea.
My experience of PSP since Bug's diagnosis was short. I think she was in an advanced stage when diagnosed and so her end came quickly. We did not have to experience many of the things I have read about on this site. For Bugs I think this was good and it was only the last 3 months when everything just went downhill so quickly. In consequence I have not learned enough to be able to offer much in the way of advice. However, I have found the advice, help and love of you all to be beyond measure. Thank you.
Carol was always known as Bugs to her family and some close friends. At first I used the nickname for a bit of anonymity but then you all became family...