2007 — 11 November: Remembrance Sunday
Time now (08:23) and I don't yet have the courage this morning to ring1 the hospice. To occupy the shining hour, I've just written a letter to Her insurance company to try to get a debt collection agency off my back regarding one unpaid drugs bill from August. I'm sure it's a simple oversight, and have been assured three times already that it's been dealt with, but bureaucratic wheels sometimes can spin for a long time. It would be mildly ironic if the final effect is to crimp my credit rating as a widower/pensioner after many years of free spending during times of high income. I am trying to cultivate the levels of calm patience and understanding that Christa always recommends, and will report in due course if this unusual approach (for me) pays off.
Somehow, an old school friend of Christa, Karl Pfleger (whose wife is another "Christa"), has stumbled across this diary and has written a nice note to us. And though my sister-in-law Lis in faraway New Zealandland claims to have run out of words, she too reads this diary and is constantly thinking of us. Their notes, and many others, really do help give us the strength we need to continue this frightful journey...
Don't worry, Lis. I long ago concluded that words for this horrible situation were just about impossible, believe me. And I'm a writer! I've had lovely notes from your girls. I read them to Christa, as I did your letter, and She seems to take in the messages, but she is so heavily sedated against the pain that our own words are mostly gentle, simple messages of constant love and reassurance... I don't know what awaits after Christa dies, but I've asked her (if she finds it's possible) to wait for me, and I've promised to join her again if and when I can. I am not religious, but nor am I an atheist — you can put me in the "just don't know" camp.
Meanwhile Junior, I'm delighted to report, has arrived safely in Seattle after his 10.5 hour flight. Time to make that phone call.
She had a "reasonable" night (one vomit) and is peacefully settled at the moment (09:25) so I shall be going in, co-piloted by Len, in about half an hour.
Christa Helene Mounce
I'm afraid I now have a sad, but inevitable, update to make to this diary: Christa Helene Mounce (geb. Becker) was born on 16th December 1945 in Meisenheim, Germany. She died peacefully at 14:40 this afternoon in the Countess Mountbatten hospice, Southampton. I loved Her from almost the first minute we met (and argued ferociously, in the vicarage of Old Windsor over a news story in the vicar's Daily Torygraph newspaper) in April 1974. Thankfully, the feelings were mutual. And even more thankfully, they lasted throughout the next 33+ years. Rest finally in complete peace, my soulmate. Auf wiedersehen, my love.
As I told our son, Peter, just a few minutes ago:
Mum died peacefully at 2:40 this afternoon. She did not suffer, but was calm and no longer frowning or in any way troubled. I will be busy with various inevitable bits of bureaucracy for the next several days. email is therefore better than any attempt to phone across such a time zone gap. Please, for both our sakes, carry on with your business over there and do good, son. We both wanted you to do this, and do it well. I will see you on your return.
I'm so sorry, son. We loved each other very much, and we love and are very proud and happy about you, too. Don't be too sad — this absolutely needed to happen. It was the only option still on the table, and Mum is no longer in any pain or medical misery. She fought this horrid disease about as hard as anyone could for the last six months. The various medical staff were all amazed at her attitude and courage throughout. Many of them fell more than a little in love with her on the way.
That's our girl, heh?
To Cathy G for your company at a meal, and chat, tonight. It was nicely-timed and a very welcome help and respite ahead of what Mike P has already assured me is the hard stuff. I'm due at the hospice tomorrow morning at 10:30 to start said stuff.2 To Len for your help and company today and (in advance) tomorrow. And thank you everyone for the messages of sympathy that are now arriving.