2007 — 23 November: Christa, it's time to say "farewell" my love

At least, and at last, the sun is shining. I was just filing the most recent kindly note from Carol over in New York and re-read one I'd sent to her a week ago. It reminded me that, as far as I can recall,1 I only ever told Christa one lie in our entire time together.

A couple of days before the end, She said to me "When I woke up this morning I suddenly thought 'I've still got this cancer in me, haven't I?' And I'd been thinking I could go on like this forever." I said, yes, She did. She then said "But if I go 'pop' you'll still get my pension, won't you?" I said, yes, of course, don't worry.


That was my lie... Her state pension ends with Her death, whereas my IBM pension would have continued, albeit halved, to be paid to Her if I went 'pop'. I think I can be forgiven, don't you? She continued to worry about me right until the end, bless Her. And She spent so carefully, and invested so wisely, that I don't think I face any significant money worries despite the effect of early retirement from IBM and despite the loss of Her income. Besides (sudden horrible thought) I suppose I can always go back to work!

Reminder: Funeral service for Christa — today

At 2:15 p.m. in the West Chapel of Southampton Crematorium, Bassett Green Road.

Followed by tea and a biscuit at Frith Hall, United Reformed Church, Kings Road, Chandlers Ford from around 3 p.m. Nigel Guilder is the funeral director. Donations to the Countess Mountbatten hospice would be a lovely gesture, rather than flowers.

Don't you just love it when...? department

You get a letter from an insurance company acknowledging your wife's recent death, and it adds: You may receive mailings in the next few months referring to the late Mrs Mounce. Unfortunately, we regret we are unable to prevent this. Please accept our sincere2 apologies if this does occur and kindly ignore them. I can hear Christa saying "Good God!" quite clearly, though (again) with a twinkle in Her eye.

It's been a long day...

But I wish to thank everybody for helping me say farewell to our Beautiful Girl today. I couldn't really have done it without you, and I'm only sorry She wasn't there too as She'd have been tickled pink to hear some of the lovely things people said about Her to me. I guess it's one of the ultimate ironies of the Human Condition that we none of us get to attend our own funerals, heh? Christa was a dearly-loved friend to so many of you, and I'm just devastated that She's left us all behind.

If anyone was in any doubt, by the way, She was my Best Friend too! I hope I managed to do Her memory and Her life a smidgen of justice in the pitifully short time we had available today. Several of you were kind enough to say you thought I had, which pleases me immensely. But I still think I should write a book...

This mortal life is a little thing, lived in a little corner of the earth; and little, too, is the longest fame to come — dependent as it is on a succession of fast-perishing little men who have no knowledge even of their own selves, much less of one dead and gone.

Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations



1  My memory is unusually retentive, I confess. There are times when I could wish it were otherwise. <Sigh>
2  A whole different meaning of the word "sincere", don't you think?