2007 — 10 November: another sunny Saturday

Time now (09:30) and some gorgeous Lassus polyphony on Radio 3. I rang the hospice just minutes ago to learn that my Best Girl had a reasonably comfortable night (three tummy aspirations) and I shall be driving out there at 10 with recently-returned from America Brian as my first co-pilot. This afternoon, of course, Junior is flying out to Redmond, and we wish him well in his dealings with Microsoft. On the way back from the hospice, and after some extremely sympathetic and patient listening from Brian and Liz (plus cuppa, of course) Brian kindly accompanied me to some local shops to pick up a handful of ice stick drinks for Christa, and then on to the IBM Hursley main car-park where, with help from two lightweight folding chairs, I got in some much-needed parallel parking practice ahead of my official driving lesson on that topic.

Meanwhile, the afternoon visit, if properly timed, should allow me to swing by Eastleigh station and pick up my neighbour's wife, who is returning from a two-day course in London. Logistics, heh? Turned out that serendipity rendered the side-trip unnecessary. I sat with Best Girl for an hour or more, holding Her hand while She slept, chatting gently and not terribly consequentially while She was awake.

She had actually whispered to me last night during my visit with Heidi that She was sorry, but She didn't think She'd make it through1 the night. I have gently assured Her that when She's ready to go She should just let Herself go (if only it were quite that simple, of course) and I won't be cross or upset with Her. (How could I be?) I was weirdly comforted, or at least, calmed, by the thought, last night, that She was really getting ready to go. "Comforted" may not (as my co-pilot pointed out when we discussed this again this afternoon) be the exact word, but I snatch my small crumbs of comfort wherever I can at the moment.

Taking the opportunity to reverse in and out of the hospice car park bays was also an excellent learning exercise, as I slowly learn where the edges of the car are, and how and where to point bits of it as I steer and manoeuvre in confined spaces.

The evening?

Who can plan things that far ahead, I wonder? But I'm predicting a visit out to the hospice ahead of a delicious supper if the last nine days are any guide! Yes: that's the plan, as of 17:53 or thereabouts. And the reality, as I return at 19:30 or thereabouts. I sat with Her for another 40 minutes or so, holding Her hand while She slept reasonably peacefully. We exchanged perhaps three or four sentences. I made a few desultory stabs at the crossword in Her (otherwise unruffled) copy of the Guardian. Then I kissed Her gently good night, reminded Her that I love Her forever, and tiptoed away.

This is one horrible disease.

Tomorrow, Len will join me on the morning trip and for lunch. Mike and Bryan will be there for the afternoon, and Cathy has kindly agreed to pop over in time for the early evening visit. Now it's time to pop Her accumulated jim-jams into the washing machine, and think about getting some beauty sleep. Thank you, Ute & Bob over in the Canaries, for your kindly email. I don't know whether the diary will ever make it into book form, but you're absolutely right about Christa: I love to look at the photo of your beautiful woman which was taken 15 months ago. That look says it all. She is such a tremendous woman, so brave, full of optimism and so caring about you.

Lost Property department

One of my Girl's recent visitors has left a pale pink, somewhat fleecy, four-button Marks & Spencer jacket on the back of the visitor's chair. I have retrieved this jacket and am keeping it at home until somebody pipes up and says "I wondered where the devil that had got to!"



1  I didn't really think She was quite so close to the end, but that didn't stop me wondering vaguely what time the hospice rings the next of kin in the morning after the inevitable happens.