Four years ago today, Geoff walked into the house and told me that the heart specialist at the local hospital (where he had been referred for after care following his heart op in Oxford a couple of months earlier) had told him that his heart was leaking. But not to worry - he would see him in 6 months time for a check up.
Two weeks later he was dead.
Four years ago tomorrow, he was brought home from work, unable to breathe.
Four years ago on Saturday, he went into hospital in a dreadful state.
You will have noticed that the words "four", "years" and "ago" are featuring quite heavily in today's post.
Four years ago, I had this blog, but very few people outside my family knew about it or read it. And four years ago, I was very hesitant about what to write here too. Things change. I have changed. Life has changed and then changed. Again and again and again. And it keeps changing.
I was out in my garden this morning, and I looked at the roses all either in bloom or about to bloom, and it always reminds me, ironically, of the 2 funeral teas we have had here. For Dad and for Geoff. And on both occasions, the garden has been spectacular - as though it wanted to make me smile. The scents and colours were stunning both times, and here we are, getting close to that time, and the same is happening. Dad's funeral and Geoff's, although 6 years apart, were within a day or 2 of each other in mid July.
It would be lovely to just be able to remember the man and the multitude of memories amassed over so many years and not the circumstances of his death, you know. Until the legal case is over though, that is simply not possible for me. Heaven knows I wish it could be.
Four years ago, I had no idea what was ahead of me.
Four years ago, I had no idea what I would have to do, or rather, attempt to do.
Four years ago, it never occurred to me for one micro-second that he could die.
I was so much younger then, four years ago.
I was also fitter, thinner, sprightlier and had far less grey hair. Sigh.
Now? Hmmm. Wiser, battle-hardened, less naive, and ever so slightly dented. And so much older. Older than the hills at times.
The momentum, however, is inexorable. It keeps you moving forward. Very slowly at times, but forward, nonetheless. In a sense, it is like being on a roller coaster in that there is no reverse gear. Once it starts moving, hey, you keep going one way only..... forwards. Like it or not. The earth turns. Night follows day. The clock ticks on.
So, for four years, there have been children to raise and love. Family. Friends. Work. Learning. Challenges. Triumphs. Disasters. Gardens to plant. Mountains to visit. Words to write. Pain. Fear. Laughter. Tears. And do not talk to me re the paperwork. For all the above. Trees worth of paper. A forest.
And life has kept moving forwards. I wake up and it is another day on the calendar. Different. New.
Right now, I am still dragging that accumulated mega bundle of knowledge of hearts and hospitals and lawyers around with me. And it is heavy and I hate it. I want it to be over. Four years is a very long time. I want to be dreaming of four years from now instead. You know?
Four years ago, the sun was shining too. Funny how you remember insignificant details. The World Cup was on then as well. Geoff loved football, and arranged his leave to cover all the England matches. Four years ago, however, he was so ill that he didn't even want the tv on at his hospital bed. Unthinkable.
So I listen to the roars from the tv in the lounge right now. England is playing a vital match they have to win to stay in the competition. The country is at a standstill this afternoon.
And I think how Geoff would have been sitting there in the lounge, so involved and cheering England on.
Four years. It seems like a lifetime sometimes.