Farewell My lovely

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...

Thanks again.

Keith

18 Replies

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  • Hi Keith, I've just wiped a tear from my eye after reading your moving post. It's so hard saying goodbye to someone you have shared everything with with for over 40 years isn't it. I'm pleased you went out right at the start of this new chapter and Hadlow College is a good place to start. Colin and I went many times and we always knew Spring was on it's way when the Hellebores started showing their buds even when snow was still on the ground. It's a place full of new life. 7 years ago we met our son and his wife there for the lambing weekend but my daughter in law asked me to take our grandson into the sheds. She had just read the notice which advised pregnant women to stay out. We learnt then that she was 4 weeks pregnant. We saw 4 lambs being born, a real reminder that life goes on.

    Keith I hope you will build a new life very soon. If you have a U3A near you, it's a brilliant way to try new things and make good friends. Carol will always be in your thoughts but I have found life can be good after PSP.

    Sending you a big hug.

    XxxX

  • Keith, thanks for all these wise and wonderful words! It has crossed my mind, when Bartho won't be there anymore, what am I going to do with my time. But then it also crosses my mind that the possibility that I can go before him is also true and that scares me even more! Who will look after my lovely hubby if I'm not there!

    Karen

  • Hi Keith, beautiful post. I can relate to everything you wrote.

    We will some how move on, find a new life for ourselves, I don't know how at the moment, either, but we will.

    Lots of love

    Heady

  • Yes don't know how myself at the moment but think I am just feeling sorry for myself as I have a flu type cold. Hope I can throw it off and start enjoying 2017.

    Best wishes Heady

    Vicki

  • I'm so glad it went well Keith and that you were able to enjoy an outing afterwards. It's so cold here in Kent at the moment but lovely to see the sunshine. The days are getting longer and I hope 2017 will be good for all of us trying to forge a new life on our own.

    Love

    Vicki

  • What a lovely tribute to your lovely wife tinged with sadness as you start on this new phase on your life, trying to get your head around your past few years of caring for Bugs and what your future will be. It is a huge task and everyone has a different approach on what they would like that future to be and how to manage it. I wish you well Keith and hope that you manage to find happiness and fulfilment in this new phase in your life along with happy memories of your life with your dear wife.

    Love Kate xxx

  • Keith such a beautiful post, sending you a big hug xxxxx

  • Hi Keith, your post brought tears and a smile to my face. You are right, there is warmth after cold and seeing new life in the spring gives us new hope.

    It must be difficult to speak to someone about what your final wishes are and I am happy you fulfiled them all.

    I have found with this site that it is nt only advice we search for, sometimes it's validation that we are not going throught this alone.

    Your post is beautiful, it reflects the love you and Carol had for eachother. Your new life will always have her in your heart.

    Hugs

    Paola

  • Hello Keith, I know what you mean, a service of 30 minutes or so seems so in adequate to say the final goodbye.

    I wish we'd discussed the arrangements he would have liked in more detail, the last conversation we had, which was a few months ago, he said he'd leave it up to me, but I guess he would have been pleased I included a Johnny Cash song..

    I live in Hertfordshire, but some friends from Hastings stayed from Sunday until today, so I didn't have to face the next day 'home alone' I now feel like I need to try and make sure I have something to do each day, a bit scared of being lonely, but I feel like it's a tall order to start doing things on my own, when until a couple of weeks ago it was difficult to do anything on my own because of caring duties.

    Sending hugs to everyone, and even bigger hugs to those who need bigger Hugs right now

    Debbie xx

  • Wishing you a bright and warm future filled with love & light X

  • I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your beautiful writing about your lovely Bugs.

  • Keith, a beautiful memory sent of the moments after when in solitude for the first time. The loneliest moments to be sure. But you went and found beauty in cold hard earth; you filled your loneliness with hope and the confidence that spring, no matter how far off, still presents itself when one is looking forward, not backward. God bless you man. Please know you have brothers who have just lost their wives too. Dan Ketchupman, and Tim Amilazy. Their experiences were long and hard but like you were committed to their wives. I pray that all three of you are able to start your new journey in life with joy and happiness ....

    AVB

  • Thanks for your lovely post, brought a tear to my eyes.

    Goodbye to Bugs. You were both lucky to have found each other.

    Its good you were able to enjoy nature and appreciate the beauty. Its really tough continuing alone. I hope you will be able to enjoy your memories but move on as well, when appropriate.

    love and best wishes from Jean xx

  • Dear Keith, that was a lovely and heartbreaking post. I just don't have any words for how it made me feel, except that I am truly sorry for your loss. Love and Peace, Easterncedar

  • Dear Keith,

    I'm at a loss for words. I'm so sorry. I'm afraid too, of the days after, terrified.

    Please stay in touch. Again, I'm sitting here crying for you.

    Prayers are coming.

    Love,

    Cuttercat

  • Dear Keith, Bugs must be smiling down at you after such a lovely post. Why is it men who seem to write so beautifully? Thinking of Grandpa here.

    I loved the way your walk gave you hope for the future. I dread being alone I have to say. I have been so depressed recently that I wonder if I will be able to manage it. Posts like yours give hope. We all need that?

    I know I will never be able to speak about my husband at his funeral and neither of our kids will either. I guess the important thing is that our loved ones know we loved them?

    I envy you such strength. Wish I had just a fraction of it.

    God bless Keith and thank you for sharing that lovely day when you were able to remember Bugs and think about the future.

    Stay in touch with all of us? You certainly helped raise a few spirits and you might well do that again? Or maybe if you have a rough day we can haul you back up again?

    Take care of yourself.

    Marie x

  • Thanks Marie. Looking back I am surprised that I was able to read the tribute but then it was the last thing I could do for Bugs. Hope was what kept me going - even now that one day there will be a cure. I will keep in touch, even if I can only offer a kind word. Regards, Keith

  • Keith, I have just read your beautifully descriptive and wonderfully optimistic post. Bugs is at peace now and she was a very lucky lady to have such a positive and caring partner. May God bless you both. X

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