Greg’s Story

Woman (UK) - - Real Life -

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

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