It has been a while since I have been able to enter the doors to the Writers World but that is ok, I understand and am confident that the 18′ high solid oak doors will allow me access very soon. I think I needed to learn some lessons about myself and my writing to date before I could grow tall enough to insert the magic key in the door.
I am almost there but first I have to pay tribute to a very special man who has been by my side for 64% of my life. This blog is about my journey to be published but Dennis is such a huge part of my life that no journey I undertake could ever be without him therefore he deserves a mention here.
Last night I sat reading his love letters to me from our very early days of courtship (yes it was called that back then). I realised that I have lived with a very talented witty writer for all these years without really realising it. I also discovered that those letters were written in the same year that one of my good writing buddies Shaun Quarterman shaun-mywords.blogspot.com was born, how sobering is that?
No – I will not be publishing those letters, sorry they are all mine, every word. But I would like to share with you my tribute to my husband written last week when I reconciled all the demons and came to terms with his passing.
Dennis was a big man, a big heart, a big wit, a big love of life, friends, sport, his family and me. He liked to be at the top of all that he did, he loved to be the captain of his cricket club, he loved to have the quickest wit and repartee in the bar after the match, he loved to be the first to flirt and flatter the prettiest girls, he always HAD to win at monopoly or tiddlywinks or whatever game he might play with our son Paul, he absolutely hated being paired with me for a game of trivial pursuit, he loved to win.
Den never lost that “bigness”. Even in intensive care just before Christmas when I visited at the one hour slot I was given, when he was sat slumped in a chair with more wires and monitors connected than in the entire NASA inner sanctum, even when those two physically giant male nurses tried to usher me away so that they could put him to bed, even when I turned backed to see them each holding the top and bottom of the sheet he was sat on and lift him up out of the chair. Even then when he had sunk back into the sheet and curled into himself looking so small and frail, the giant of the man awoke and caught my eye with a smile and a wink that filled me with both love and despair.
Even in that moment of passing, chosen by him, not the doctors, not the medication, nor me he was strong. He waited for me to be at his side and tell him that we all loved him but most especially me and then he went with no further ado.
Many years back before any of this long road of illness started in 2006, Den joined the local Spanish cricket club as umpire. The standard was worse than poor in Den’s words, “none of them have picked up a bat or a ball in league cricket, they don’t know their ar** from their elbows”. He was in his element coaching from the stumps!
After a few matches he announced he was meeting the “lads” mid-week for a coaching session. Off he went, muttering to himself what a pointless exercise it was, they hadn’t got a clue, but he went with a huge smile and tremendous pride. The next match he reaped the benefits of his troubles, his team still lost but at least they “read” the pitch of the ball as it came at them and managed to score some unexpected and triumphant runs. Den was a happy bunny although he gave his new mates dreadful stick for their performance.
Another coaching session was needed, off he went. As was inevitable the coaching became a “come on Den show us how it works, bowl a few in the net”. The big mind could not overcome the ravages of age, two hip replacements and general rustiness and that experience ended his career as an umpire. Try as I might I could not persuade him to continue, he insisted it was that he didn’t want to be bothered but I knew. He liked to be top of the game.
It is Friday February 10th, my eighth day alone and I woke remembering the good times not the sad. I walked Muttley taking my thoughts and memories with me and I suddenly realised that to wish for Den to come back or to have stayed longer is selfish of me. He was no longer on top of the game of life, it was time for him to move on.
Now I must somehow do the same.
For Dennis RIP Big Man.