6 Weeks on…

Well, here we are 6 weeks on since Jenny died and 5 weeks on since her funeral and life seems to be running at a fast pace (certainly faster than it had been in Germany). It’s taken me a while to get around to writing on the blog again for many reasons – time, motivation and desire to name a few – but here I am feeling like I want to let everyone know what has been happening and that I’m ok!

Where do I start? Not long after the funeral Gemma & I (plus all 3 dogs) travelled down to Essex to stay with the Mackenzie Triplets (Amber had attended Jen’s funeral whilst Fiona & Ellie were in Germany) with the added bonus of seeing Lisa, who was also staying with them before returning to Australia. We had a great time catching up, walking the dogs and eating great home cooked food – drop scones to die for and eggs benedict fit for a king!

Later that week Gemma suggested we got away for a few days to Portugal to visit friends near Tavira on the Algarve – so we did. We had a great time basically doing nothing other than eating and drinking, something Gemma and I could both easily do for a living. It was great fun and a much-needed break – many thanks to Marie & Ray for looking after us. When we returned to the UK, Gemma went back to work whilst I chose to take some further time off (probably until the end of April) which seems to have been the right decision as I don’t seem to have any time to work! I have attended a few conferences over the last couple of weeks which have re-ignited a spark for returning to work and I can feel that when I do, it will be with 100% commitment, but only if I’ve had enough time off which is why I’m not in a rush to get back just yet.

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Wednesday & Beyond…

The funeral has now been and passed and what a turn out it was, with people travelling from all over the UK to pay their respects to Jenny. I will continue to post blogs when I can but I thought it fitting to post my eulogy (and my thank you speech from the wake) for those who couldn’t make the funeral.


Here I am, once again delivering a speech that shouldn’t be necessary, but which unfortunately became inevitable, and this time it is for my wife, Jenny. For some time now, this situation we find ourselves in today, had become a very real possibility, but at no point did myself or Jenny lose focus on the ultimate prize of survival. The worst has happened – that was 11 days ago – This is my eulogy to my wife, lover, business partner and best friend, Jenny – one of life’s amazing individuals.

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T Minus 24 Hours

It’s Tuesday morning here at home with Jenny and our dogs.  Tomorrow morning everything changes again, as the day of her funeral will have arrived.  The last week was initially full of organising followed, over the weekend, with a steady stream of visitors who wanted to say their farewells to Jenny.  There are still a few loose ends to tie up today before things commence early tomorrow and I thought I’d clarify all the details:-

Church Service @ St. Peter’s Church, Church Road, Woolton, Liverpool L25 6DA

The service is due to commence at 9.30am and Jenny will arrive by horse-drawn carriage from our house, accompanied by 1 family car.  For everyone attending the service, parking is limited and I would suggest that the best place to park is over towards the Woolton Woods on High Street which will also allow for easy departure after the service.  Next to the church is a primary school which is likely to be busy around the 8.45-9.10am period.  The road is normally quite busy and very tight with parked cars, so I urge everyone to arrive no later than 9am.  As Jenny is travelling by carriage, anyone who would like to see her arrive can wait outside the church, however once she has arrived we would like everyone to make their way into the church whilst the bearers organise themselves.  Jenny will then follow everyone into the church.  We are on a tight time schedule and therefore it is important that we commence the service as close to 9.30am as possible and therefore everyone’s co-operation, with regards to taking their seats, is appreciated.  The service is scheduled to last less than 1 hour which will then allow everyone plenty of time to travel to Landican cemetery.  It maybe worth considering an umberella in case of rain, especially if you are planning to attend the burial.

A location map for the church can be viewed here.

Burial @ Landican cemetery, Arrowe Park Road, Woodchurch, Wirral CH49 5LW (off Junction 3 M53)

Following the completion of the service Jenny will be transported, via hearse, to Landican cemetery on the Wirral.  This is about a 30-35 minute drive from Woolton and the best route is via the new mersey tunnel (Kingsway).  There are no planned closures of either tunnel during the day but the Kingsway tunnel is scheduled to be closed from 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th.  There is a toll fee of £1.50 each way which is payable on the Wirral side of the tunnel and I think it is cash only.   The burial is scheduled for 11.30am and is an open invite for everyone with no restrictions at all.  There is no service at Landican and all proceedings will be graveside.  Landican is a big cemetery, but parking can be difficult on busy days.  You should be able to park within the grounds of the cemetery, but please allow enough time to walk to the graveside.

A location map for the cemetery can be viewed here.

Wake @ Brook Meadow Hotel, Heath Lane, Childer Thornton, Wirral CH66 7NS

After the short burial at Landican, everyone is welcome to the wake at Brook Meadow (about a 20 minute drive) to celebrate Jenny’s life and swap fond memories.  The easiest way to get there from Landican is to turn right out of the cemetery and return to the M53 at junction 3, head southbound towards Chester and exit at Junction 5.  The location is the same venue as our marriage and light refreshments will be served once everyone has arrived.  The hotel is expecting people from noon.

A location map for the hotel can be viewed here.

The funeral is an all black affair and everyone is welcome throughout the whole day.  I hope to see as many people as possible and finally put some faces to names.  I’d like to thank everyone for their support throughout the last 4 years.  Jenny touched so many people and had such positive impacts on many lives. I know her spirit and courage will continue for a long time to come.

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Home Sweet Home

Today was the culmination of 5 days hard work organising and scheduling all sorts of things, whilst trying to make sure everything has been remembered. It all came together this afternoon, things clicked into place and I’m pleased to say Jenny made it home to our house at 4.30pm.

The day started with Gemma, Cathy and I meeting, at our house, with the vicar who will conduct Jenny’s funeral on Wednesday. The meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, was very constructive with the order of service compiled with little fuss as we had thought through our wishes as the week had progressed. Richard is standing in for the normal vicar, who is on holiday next week, and was happy to work with our ideas as well as suggest some things we hadn’t thought about.

We were expecting the coroner’s verdict around 3:30pm which left us little time left in the working day to ensure Jenny would make it home for the weekend, so when I received a call at 1:15pm explaining Jenny had been cleared for burial, it was all systems go as she was expected home around 4-5pm. We walked the dogs and met with the funeral directors before she finally arrived at 4:30pm.

The casket is truly amazing and Gemma and Helen had made a fantastic choice in Germany. Due to its size it proved a tight squeeze but the casket just made it through the rear patio windows (it did require me and my tape measure to make sure things would fit!) The dining room was arranged, with the casket positioned under the large mirror and Jenny was finally checked before I was allowed to see her.

She looks amazing and so beautiful in the dress that Gemma has chosen. The undertakers have done an amazing job and got her make-up just right (they didn’t even have a photo to work from). She looks so peaceful with all the pain and stress finally removed from her face.

How do I feel? This week has all been about organising her arrival home and the arrangements for her funeral and it feels like we have successfully achieved the first of those. There is a huge sense of relief amongst us all that she is now home and I personally have taken great comfort from being in her presence. I fully understand that she has died, but also feel she is here with us and it’s brought a sense of “warmth” back to our house – it now feels like a home again.

My mum and her friend June (a regular contributor to this blog) came around this evening to spend some time with Jenny and us, over a glass of wine and we managed to recreate some of the feeling we had last Saturday night following Jenny’s death when we were sat around chatting in Germany, eating pizza, with Jenny lying in the bed. It’s a very difficult feeling to convey accurately unless you have experienced it before, but it just felt appropriate and comfortable.

This is the first day I’ve felt comfortable blogging in a similar vain to the posts I was writing in Germany and it will be interesting, for both you and me, as to how I feel about communicating my feelings and experiences of the next few days. Time will tell.

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To Jenny From Mum

To my Jenny you were so brave and amazing my love, throughout your illness your strength and determination astounded everyone with your man beside you and heading up your KTF team, it all seemed doable so to be here today is just so heartbreaking – my life is torn apart.  The question is Jen, how do we go on from here without you?  How do we go from day to day when everyday was all about making you better? 

I am so proud to be your Munty and you have left a wonderful legacy of love and devotion no-one can surpass and your man Andy has been the rock to enable you to leave this legacy. His love and devotion to you is awesome and I know will continue to be.  So, thanks to all who have loved and cared for you and to the clinic for giving us all hope.  Love you so much my love we will always be a part of each other.

Good night, God bless love and miss you always.

Your beyond heartbroken Mum xxxx

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Jenny’s Final Journey

Following on from last night’s blog I can announce that Jenny’s funeral will be on Wednesday 29th February 2012, starting at 9.30am with a church service at St. Peter’s church in Woolton, followed at 11.30am with a burial at Landican cemetery on the Wirral.  The wake will be held at Brook Meadow Hotel near Childer Thornton, from noon (rooms can be booked directly with the hotel if required).  The day is an open invitation to everyone who wishes to pay their respects and the dress code will be all black.

Jenny is due to return to our home later this afternoon, where she will remain until her funeral.

As a family, our request is that instead of flowers, donations can be made through the funeral directors (payable to Marie Curie Cancer Care) which will be presented to Marie Curie in Woolton.  The details are:-

Thomas Porter & Son Ltd
66 Allerton Road
L25 7RG
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Life After Germany

Leaving the ClinicIt has been a difficult, but busy week since returning from Germany on Monday – was it really only Monday?  That feels a much more distant memory than only 3 days ago.  It was a very emotional time when I left the clinic as it had been a hugely positive place as well as our home for over 2 months.  Since returning home I have felt quite in control (with only the odd “wobble”) and have spent a lot of time with Gemma & Cathy organising the usual (and not so usual) arrangements.  I thought it may take me a while to adjust to being back in Liverpool, but it was like I’d never been away – how weird.  All the organising has kept us all busy for the last few days and has helped somewhat – I presume it will all start to sink in once this busy period draws to a close.  I have received so many messages about my blog over the last 3 months which have fed back to me, how and why, individuals read my daily ramblings, with a multitude of reasons being apparent.  One of which is information about the clinic and the “workings” of a situation like ours and how the blog has helped quite a few people over that period.  Because of this I’ve decided to continue writing when I can and try to convey not just the emotional element of the situation I find myself in, but also the logistical / organisational issues we, as a family now have to contend with over the next couple of weeks.

It may seem a little strange that I can relay this information in such a way under the circumstances (rest assured it’s not easy) but one of the aims of the blog was, and still is, to inform others of the processes, and procedures, we have gone through whilst in Germany and I don’t see how this part doesn’t fall into that category, especially as it happened abroad and I knew very little about the process until this week.  Therefore I have written this post for 3 reasons.  Firstly, in the hope that the information may help anyone else who finds themselves in the unfortunate situation I did last weekend, secondly because I think it’s the right thing to do, and thirdly because it has helped me.  No-one ever wanted this to be the outcome of our efforts to battle this disease, but as time went on we knew it could eventually be a very real possibility.  It may come across macabre, or clinical, but it is a very real part of the amazing journey we have undertaken together over the last few months, so I’m quite comfortable writing about it and I hope you are relatively comfortable reading it.  However, I appreciate some people may not be, as it is a very personal thing, so I have added a page break to allow anyone to choose whether to continue reading…

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Farewell to Germany

I’m currently sat in the departure area (it couldn’t be described as a lounge!) at Frankfurt Hahn airport awaiting our flight back to the UK. We should arrive back at Stansted Airport around 3pm GMT.

It has just been announced that the flight is delayed by 30 mins – well, Jenny was always late for everything!

This morning has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would when leaving the clinic. We all had an early breakfast in the clinic an a lot of the people there came to wish us all well. I managed to speak to the nursing staff, administration and Dr. Herzog himself and expressed our gratitude for all their efforts. All Jenny’s medical teams have been amazing over the last 4 years and I’ll be eternally grateful for all their efforts. However, Dr. Herzog was the one medical person who gave her hope when all other options had been exhausted. As long as Jenny wanted treating, he would continue to treat her – that was all we both wanted to hear.

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