28 July 2016 oops. I got Clare absolutely stoned this morning. my bad. we had been at the hospice – or Club med as I call it – yesterday, and the lovely doctor had prescribed upping some meds that she’s on, and introducing others to help with bone pain. He’d typed out a protocol for me to follow, so, in my defence, I was just ‘following orders’... Suffice to say, she had a very relaxing day. all good to find out, though – at what point pain control becomes tripping. 13 august 2016 we had a glorious 10 minutes in the back garden, just as the evening sun was dipping behind the big trees. Clare looked like Jackie onassis – sitting in her wheelchair with her big sunglasses. 22 august 2016 what is a ‘water stripe’? this was requested by Clare at some point in the wee small hours of last night. She had recently had enormous amounts of pain meds exploded into her system. I had been dragged out of deep sleep to facilitate whatever it was she needed. and we found ourselves at an impasse. a water stripe… a water stripe… aaaah, of course: a straw. Clare drinks her water out of the glass with a stripy straw. we got there in the end. 29 august 2016 Clare has always been a great one for an agenda, for planning. even when we were young children, she would organise games, dressing-up adventures and puppet shows for us. at sixth form, she became known as ‘Clipboard Clare’ – always the organiser.
I, on the other hand, always found it hard to put things into a diary. I feel trapped by the idea of a mapped-out time ahead.
So we are both confronting new things – she has no agenda, and I am required to plan ahead (hydrating, feeding, giving, medicating).
but I’ll never be ‘Clipboard Greg’. 14 September 2016 Clare died at 8.10am yesterday. I held her hand, I kissed her forehead. I told her that she didn’t have to worry, that everything was sorted. and I told her that she could go now, if she wanted to. I kept her hand in mine, and she died about a minute later. 29 September 2016 Clare will be cremated tomorrow. Funerals are such horrible things. Formal things. and Clare didn’t want formality. love to you all. 30 november 2016 we gathered on Saturday 19 november to mourn and celebrate Clare, on what would have been her 52nd birthday.
one hundred and twenty folk came together for the 1980s-themed party. everyone there told me just how much Clare would have loved it – always one for a party – and I am sure she did. we said goodbye to her in the most fitting way and the love in the room was transcendental.
and having said goodbye to her, it is time for me to stop my writings.
thank you all for following Clare on her journey. It has been a privilege for me. love to all, for the last time. Goodbye and thank you. Greg
‘i said she didn’t have to worry’
The siblings in Queen’s Park, London, in the earlytomid-1990s