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.

Eulogy

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.

The relationship Jenny and I had, was built on some very simple concepts; honesty, love, respect and friendship. Four ingredients that if combined in the correct quantity can easily lead to a lasting loving relationship. I know it is true because that is what happened in our case.

Up until 6 years ago cancer meant nothing more to me than a zodiac sign, and if I’m honest that didn’t mean too much either. Things changed overnight with my best friend Craig being diagnosed in 2006. You start to not only acquire knowledge on the subject, but also start to gain an insight into what cancer is all about. It simply takes over your life, in both positive and negative ways, whether you are a cancer patient or a “jock strap”. You start to assess the worth of things you thought were important, you address the issue of mortality and you also question reason. On the flip side you start to prioritise what is really important, realign ethics, values and opinions and reassess your standing in life.

In 2005, Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, delivered a speech at Stanford University, 12 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, in which he spoke about 3 subjects, one of which was death. Here is a short extract from that speech:-

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Jenny was 36 years old when she died and I was privileged to share the last 8½ of those with her, initially as her partner and latterly as her husband. From the moment we met, things clicked and I’m sure most of you who knew us well enough would agree that it really was a perfect match. We met on a pseudo “blind date” and things began to move quickly as it became clear that we had found something special in each other. That special something just seemed to get better and better as the years rolled on.

I’m only qualified to comment on the last 8½ years, but when I’ve reflected during the last few weeks we achieved so much in a relatively short space of time, some of which wasn’t that uncommon; such as buying a house, getting engaged, getting married, becoming parents, initially to Marjorie and further down the line to Mabel as well as being an Aunt & Uncle to Daisy & Jamie. However, there were things which didn’t quite follow the normal course of life for people of our age; we were instrumental in helping to raise awareness to save the cinema here in the village, we successfully negotiated and bought a business, we stayed in some of the finest hotels in the UK and ate in some of the best restaurants, we had the honour of becoming godparents – twice, and probably most significant of all, we took the fight to cancer – head on!

Jenny was first diagnosed in March 2008 which has meant we have spent nearly 50% of our 8 years together facing this disease and at each point we have listened to the advice given, and made decisions knowing they could prove to be either right or wrong – I’ve learnt over the years that all our decisions were the correct ones based on the information we had available at the time and for that reason I harbour no anger or regrets, just sadness that Jenny was in this position through no fault of her own.

For most of the 4 years she was battling the disease she managed to fend off each problem as it arose, through 10 operations, 2 chemotherapy cycles, a course of radiation and numerous hospital visits, with us coming very close to a clear CT scan only 12 months ago. However, things changed significantly 8 months ago when a CT scan revealed the disease had spread to her right ribs, bringing with it pain which was constant and unrelenting, coupled with loss of appetite and weight loss and a decision was made to wait 3 months and rescan in order to chart any disease progression. This second scan showed spread of the disease and our oncology team decided there was no further treatment available to Jenny that would help. It was suggested that we should concentrate on quality of life and that decision to not offer any further treatment started us on a journey that we had sometimes wondered if we would ever need to embark on, without ever really considering how it would pan out if it became reality.

This is the moment when you realise which “cancer camp” you are in. I believe cancer patients fall into one of two camps and it is in-built into you which camp you are in – I don’t think it’s a choice you make. You either accept what you’re being told, or decide to fight and find another way. Bearing in mind Jenny was 36 years old, it was a relatively “easy” choice for us – “quality of life versus no life”. The choice becomes a simple one when out of the two choices you have, one isn’t really a choice. It simply wasn’t acceptable to us – plain and simple – that was the point at which the German Clinic entered the ring.

I know many of you have followed my blog over the last 3 months which tells the story of our time in Germany, and I have received so many messages of encouragement and support. Our lives took a very different direction back in November when we made the decision to seek further treatment abroad – emotionally, physically and logistically! When we heard about other people’s diagnosis at the clinic and listened to their stories, almost without fail the fundamental processes they had been through were very similar to ours. Yes, the details were unique to the individual, but the general experiences were spookily similar. The cancer patients that find themselves in the same camp as Jenny start to display special qualities, which may have always been there, but in the hustle and bustle of today’s daily life get relegated down the priority list, as things that aren’t as important, take over. This, I suppose, is modern life. Cancer is a leveller – it can bring out the best in people and when it does amazing things can be achieved, both physically and mentally.

Following his diagnosis in 1996, and his subsequent treatment, Lance Armstrong wrote about “being one of the lucky ones”. This wasn’t because of him beating the disease, it was because it made him realise his true potential and brought out the qualities in him that made him a better person. He was a world-class cyclist before he was diagnosed, but his illness made him realise he hadn’t been giving 100%. He changed his attitude, approached life differently, and went on to win 7 successive Tour de France races between 1999 & 2005 – that puts him in a whole different league from any other professional cyclist to date. Cancer allowed him to realise his true potential and what is truly important in life – that’s why he (and most other cancer patients) are “the lucky ones”.

I have been living on the peripheral of the disease – not with it directly – but I believe I’m also one of the lucky ones in meeting, falling in love and then marrying Jenny. This disease doesn’t change things, it changes people! and in most cases, whether you are the patient or the “jock-strap”, and irrespective of the pain and suffering that inevitable goes with cancer, you become a better person.

The life Jenny and I shared, whilst relatively short, did pack a punch. We did so much together and anything we embarked on was done with commitment to each other and the task in hand. Her determination was a real force to be reckoned with and the last 4 years is a clear indication of that, especially over the last 6 months when things became increasingly difficult. Her spirit didn’t crack once and she fought bravely and courageously to the very end, which I can sum up by a famous quote from Lance Armstrong…

“Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”

We did so much together and I have so many happy memories of my time with Jenny. We had as many great times prior to her diagnosis as we did post-diagnosis. The disease changed the day-to-day elements of our lives but the fun and passion never waned. I was never particularly known for being a romantic, but I do remember Jenny explaining to me what she considered the most romantic thing I had ever done for her was. I remember it well but didn’t consider it romantic at the time, and in some ways still don’t. It was September 2008 and we were returning from a break in Ireland with our great friends Steven & Diane and their daughter Erin. Jenny’s first operation had been earlier in the year and she had just finished her first course of chemotherapy. We were at a surprisingly quiet departure hall at Dublin airport and she needed a wheelchair as she was feeling the pace. She explained to me that the sight of me running across the concourse with a wheelchair for her was very romantic and was a clear display of true love. I’m not sure I understood where she was coming from at the time, but that showed me how simple things in life can make enormous differences to people, and materialistic gifts and presents can’t replace moments like that. Don’t get me wrong, Jenny had a passion for nice things – namely handbags and shoes (which had a detrimental effect on our bank balance), but deep down Jenny was a thinker with a real heart of gold. She was convinced that we had met as children at the Liverpool Garden Festival in 1984 – She recalls meeting a small blonde boy who looked like me, and whilst I did visit the festival as a child I don’t recall this incident. It is highly unlikely, but Jenny believed it to be true and maybe she was right – who knows that day may have been the very start of something special without either of us ever realising.

I have learnt so much from Jenny and the last 9 weeks have had a significant effect on me – I urge you all, when faced with small, insignificant things in life that, at first, appear to be major hurdles, to stop for a second and recall the image I’m about to present.

I’m going to take you back to a warm Sunday morning 18 months ago. It was the 4th July 2010 and I was in Birkenhead Park surrounded by 4500 women, all sporting various items of pink paraphernalia and about to take part in Race for Life. As great as that was, that isn’t the image I want to portray. I want you to picture entrant number 1806 who was about to rewrite my definition of courage, determination and sheer bloody mindedness. She was sporting a Livestrong T-shirt, a baseball cap and stood next to her was a black border collie named Marjorie. Nothing too special at this point, until I tell you what was around her neck. She had a small bag which contained a vacuum pump that was administering a 48-hour chemotherapy infusion and she was about to run a 5km race – I’ll let you decide who the lady was wearing number 1806. Remembering that image should help to put most things into perspective.

I wouldn’t be the man I am today if I hadn’t met Jenny and I’m proud to have been a major part of her life. She was a larger than life character, who was creative, witty and possessed an infectious personality – a small selection of reasons why I fell in love with her. I am indebted to her for choosing to spend her life with me and I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart.

She made an impression on most people she met, which I know will continue for years to come and I’m going to leave you with a quote from the American Songwriter Irving Berlin, which I think is fitting…

“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on…”

Thank You Speech

We are all in agreement that Jenny was an incredible person who brought so much to so many, but she and I couldn’t have managed in the way we have without the enormous support we have received from family, friends and unknowns over the last 4 years.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some of those people. There are far too many to thank individually so I apologise if I miss some. Rest assured your support and contribution over the last weeks, months and years is greatly appreciated and valued, and every single one of you have at some point been part of an incredible journey.

Firstly, I’d like to thank all of Jenny’s medical teams at Arrowe Park, CCO, Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital and the Royal, in particular her consultants, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Page, Dr. Swift and Dr. Smith and their various teams including Julie, Gail, Kathy and Anne-Marie. A special thanks to “Angel Gabrielle”, staff nurse Gail Ali at the Royal. Also the efforts of Dr. Richard Latten and his team at Marie Curie who played a major role in making Germany happen, together with the Macmillan nurses and the district nurses and all the staff at Woolton Medical Centre, especially Annie & Lesley. All of your efforts were monumental and forever appreciated.

I’d also like to thank Dr. Herzog and all his staff at the clinic in Germany for their efforts. They provided hope at every step of our journey at the clinic and are true angels on earth. Also the people we have met throughout this whole process, but in particular those we met in Germany including Ney & Sylvia, Cathy & Dick, Hilary & Arthur, John & Mary, Monica & Keiran and the Mackenzie Triplets.

I’d like to thank Porters for organising today and relieving us of a lot of stress and Richard and his team at St. Peters Church for the service and burial, and once again to the management and staff here at Brook Meadow.

Gemma & I met with a few of Jenny’s work colleague’s this week at United Utilities. It was great to meet them all and we were truly overwhelmed with the efforts they had put in over the last 3 months fundraising on Jenny’s behalf. UU backed Jenny right up until the end and the opportunity to return to work was always there and that provided Jenny with continual hope. We’d like to thank Steve, Kath, Liz, Charlie, Rob & Janice for their amazing support together with all their colleagues.

We’d like to thank everyone for their efforts fundraising for Jenny’s treatment, especially the bag packers for giving up some of their weekends and everyone involved in organising and participating in the “Keep The Faith” cup, plus all the individual fundraising efforts that people have undertaken.

Extended thanks go to all my staff at Formby Surveys, for continuing their hard work during difficult times, both economically and personally. Special thanks to Les and Carole for continuing to support us and provide valuable advice during difficult times, and of course Chris for stepping in when needed. I’m forever grateful for all your efforts.

Our close friends with whom we have shared some of our most memorable times together, including Dave & Sharon, Chris & Debs, Jo & Vinnie and Steven & Diane. We have a multitude of friends and each and every one of you has played a massive role in helping both Jenny & I including Vicky Halligan, Sue King, Jill Hamilton, Angie, Jody, Laura and a million others – I simply can’t name you all. I’d like to thank Charlotte & Harriet for making all of this happen in the first place and Niggy for referring Jenny back in 2008. I’d also like to thank everyone for attending today as I know some of you have travelled large distances.

Jenny has a large family with far too many people to thank individually but each and every one of you has provided a massive boost when needed, especially her cousins, both here on the Wirral and also north of the border. I’d like to express a special thanks to my parents Ann & Bill for their continued support throughout this journey, especially in relation to the dogs. I’d like to thank Jenny’s Dad Peter, her cousins Helen & Justine, my brother Glyn and his wife Georgina and of course Jenny’s mum Cathy, who has been amazing this week. My second to last thanks goes to a very special person in my life, Gemma who has been simply monumental throughout everything.

My final thanks are to my wife, Jenny, for providing me with the best years of my life and teaching me about the best things in life.

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    • On ne peut pas plaire à tout le monde. Mais je suis curieux : pourquoi absurde ?« technolâtre », que je cite est un (mauvais) jeu de mot sur « idolâtre », un qualificatif qui suffisait à l’époque à envoyer quelqu’un au bûcher. D’où mon envoi aux sorcières, qui sont un bel exemple des « bonnes » raisons qu’une autorité (Haute ou pas) pouvait trouver pour justifier n’importe quelle connerie.

    • Ici, le Père Noel passe dans la nuit livrer tous les petits et grands n’enfants; nos enfants sont motivés et se lèvent tôt (enfin raisonnablement) pour découvrir ce qu’il a déposé au pied du sapin.Des souvenirs d’enfance où le Père Noel profitait de la messe de minuit pour passer, super rapide ses livraisons !

    • Ha ha. This is so true!! I have suffered the kitchen re-arrangement and my cleaning too was not up to standard. Couldn’t find a thing afterwards. Rather than say anything, I just try and look at it from a different angle. Well, is she wants to clean my kitchen for me then it gives me more time to do other things.

    • Jeg har aldrig oplevet Superheltemor som forloren, men kan godt forstÃ¥, hvis hun prioriterer backstage i en periode. Blogtrangen vender garanteret tilbage.

    • las cocinas que pones siempre a parte de ser preciosas…son tan grandes que me dan envidia por partida doble!!!!!!!!!que maravilla por dios!un besote

    • No conocía el caso, porque aquí en España no se oye nada al respecto, pero a menudo la realidad es ésa, que los estados supuestamente libres y democráticos sólo nos garantizan una libertad muy relativa.Con mucha injusticia de por medio.Interesante el tema, y buen blog, Amparo…voy echándole un vistazo, poquito a poco 🙂

    • Die Kette ist wirklich super 🙂 Für den Rock wäre ich glaube ich nicht mutig genug, aber ich finde zu dir passt er wirklich wundervoll! Liebe Grüße, B.

    • Tens inteira razão meu caro Vitor.Também eu penso que este facto não vai deixar de ter repercursões em primeiro lugar em Espanha, mas também na Peninsula e na Europa.Faltam ainda as análises sobre o impacto deste passo dado pelos catalães ao nível de qualquer destes espaços.Como está mal estudado esta dialéctica, cada vez mais acentuada, entre as pulsões nacionalistas não só em Espanha mas noutras paragens e as proposições no sentido da unificação política da Europa.

    • And we’ll be cheering Olivia on from all over the globe. I love your honesty, Tiffany, and the way you truly seek out the positive in a way that everyone can relate to and take part of.You challenge and inspire me. Happiness!!!

    • I like one day telling stories about my TTC Journey and the next posting a random thought about Stripper Songs. Sometimes I want to talk about relationships and bodily functions and the next about my life as a

    • Each time I get a run now, forever of November, my manhood continues to be harming. Sometimes I must stop however it does not help. Can there be something I’m able to do/put on or perhaps is it simply natural?

    • Zgadzam siÄ™. Może od dziÅ› uÅ›miechajmy siÄ™ do tych ludzi, na których nigdy nie zwrócilibyÅ›my uwagi. Dajmy im tÄ… jednÄ… chwilÄ™ poczucia siÄ™ wyjÄ…tkowym. Umilmy im dzieÅ„ uÅ›miechem i może dobrym sÅ‚owem? Chyba wÅ‚aÅ›nie tacy ludzie – zakompleksieni, zrozpaczeni, unikajÄ…cy siebie w lustrze – potrzebujÄ… od innych uwagi.

    • Well, I deduce that could ensue because Abigail and the girls commenced accusing other folks of witchcraft when they had been just open dancing naked in the interior the woods and therefore, bad. Abigail furthermore engaged in a affair down with John Proctor. Those they were accusing were completely not legally responsible of correctly what they’d been just accused coupled with, and the exact accusers had been the greatest entity on the globe from being holy… they ended up orientation bogus witness.

    • There’s tons of websites that have loads of fun recipes with human (and safe) food for doggies so they can eat like we do. Im wondering is it ok for them to never have to eat boring regular dog food and they can eat the fun safe recipes all the time as a normal diet?

    • Nydleig post Rune, og virkelig en god Norgesreklame. Gaula akkuat til mannen her…, for Ã¥ spørre om vi har vært der, men ingen av oss er sikre faktisk… begynner visst Ã¥ bli gamle .-)

    • Svar pÃ¥ tiltale er det beste.Hvorfor skal man slite med bygdedyret og janteloven ?Drit i dei 2 og si din mening.Selv om postkassa di blir fylt med kumøkk og verre ting.

    • , is important. So is "keeping the end in mind," like learning marketing so someone reads the work when it gets published.Speaking of which, I’m not sure I can swing it, but would love to see your presentation in Evansille tomorrow. Are you doing something similar at Midwest Writers Workshop in July, or is this different?

    • For me, it’d be the ice cream maker for sure! (I regret trading in my cheapy electric waffle iron for an aluminum stove top one.)I’ve seen ice cream recipes that call for xanthan gum. Apparently this makes the texture really nice and reminiscent of dairy-based ice cream. But I need to research it more. I can’t remember where I saw it but I read that xanthan gum powder can sometimes be made from by-products of the dairy industry.

    • about evidence in history that the bible is not being understood correctly. Not so easy to wave the book in the air, say that all the proficies came true…well they would because only the bible has documented these events. That is fact. We can look at other facts and connect them historically but there is no book that makes the same claims over these prophicies as the bible does.. Please don’t pray for me.VA:F [1.9.13_1145]please wait…VA:F [1.9.13_1145](from 0 votes)

    • Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well

    • 王逸2012 å¹´ 10 月 11 日游戏渠道:pp助手版幻想精灵区服:闪耀平原账号:gghollyID号:12160角色名:星空我的建议/想法:我觉得这个游戏的乐趣应该在于让玩家不停地探索不同精灵的搭配,技能的搭配等等,诸如练级,抓宠之类特别耗时间的还是尽量缩短些吧,可以考虑回复活力值的时间加长一点,打怪的经验和金钱大幅增加。像亲亲客服组之类的副本最好能让队长设置进入加入队伍等级限制,自动开始战斗和自动再次创建,然后创建了以后也能切出来干点别的。网友搜索里建议能加入占领搜索,自动过滤掉无法占领的人,比如等级过低的,最好能让玩家自己设定筛选等级范围,是否已经被占领,以提高占领的效率。卖掉已经升级过的装备最好能直接卖,而不用先降级到0级。带上的装备可以不占仓库位子,缓解仓位紧张的压力。另外,由于扩展了生命泉,所以一天十次的机会不如集中到一起好了。

    • 1c7hola marylu,un fuerte saludo…. quiero comentarte que ley todo tu blog,comence con la energia universal y ayer empece el ritual y mi ex novio vino a vicitarme,no podia creerlo,que en 4 meses que no lo veia,hice lo que lei de tu blog y me funciono.de verdad muchas gracias,pero ahora nose que hacer,nesecito de tu ayuda,el no me pidio que volvieramos,solo estuvo carinoso conmigo y quedo en venir otro dia,pero yo quiero que volbamos que hago?24

    • grim,got it on the definition of ‘comps’ – another question – the tax assessment on the bottom of those listings….do they also use comps? morris county seems to have a huge difference between the assessed value and ‘asking price’ why so many different ways to value something like a house?? from the looks of is seems like no one (banks, tax assessors, appraisers, realtors) knows what the real value of these homes are?

    • I was under the impression that a pocket square could be in the same color family as the shirt, but not the exact same shade as the shirt.But in this context, with Bond being as well-dressed as he is, I think if you know the rules, you can bend them without repercussion.

    • Superb post Chris. Interesting to read a review from someone who's been to El Bulli fairly recently as well, to make an informed comparison. The food looks incredible, and lovely photos Ben. Really want to go and experience this for myself.

    • Omg Really.. I think Robert is WAYYYY hotter than Steve lol.. I think Rob is Gorgeous but i dont think Steve is Hot at all.. But thats just my Opinion !

    • Does anyone else remember Simmons pulling a Triumph on the Lewis signing too? Lets just say that growing up watching the Celtics does not automatically qualify you for running a franchise.

    • Kristen, thank you for your videos. You are an inspiration for me to live better, love my kids more, try just a little harder.I followed you last year when you became homeless but I had no idea that you were so you hid it well…I had just moved into a town home with room and could have shared what extra I had with you. I see your success by the look on your children when you are with them. They never looked like they were missing anything. Take care and know that people do look up to you.Bill

    • I feel the same way, being a BC native too. I was slightly more hopeful though when I read on that aby 2am, 10,000 people had pledged to go down and help clean up the next morning.Other cities may have riots (much larger than last nights' too) but where else in the world do we see the people of the city driving the cleanup? It made me feel good.

    • داداش این خیلی خوبه ولی وقتی از بازی میای بیرون و دوباره میری تو همه چی به شکل سابقش بر میگرده

    • I have read a few good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to create such a wonderful informative site.

    • The bad thing now is the kids mother is using his bad behavior to get a pay off. And is givng the kid the message that its ok to pick on other children and its ok to be a bully cause we can get paid.His mother should have been at home teaching him some respect for his elders and how to treat other human beings.Im so sick of these kids treating other children like crap and getting away with it.

    • le-am primit,iar coletele sunt in drum spre voi :)sper sa le primiti pana la sfarsitul saptamanii :)lectura placuta.cand primiti cartile,va rog sa postati pe blog sau pe chat,pt ca tot timpul ma gandesc sa nu le rataceasca posta.

    • No,nadie está a favor de romper nada,pero si dar un margen para que quede todo limpio y recogido:Estoy con ANA,¿que raro que aun no habeis colgado fotos de las obras que dentro de poco llegaran a la Plaza del Conceyín?.Así se darán más caña que es lo que os gusta ¿No?:Pues a ello.

    • By swaitela November 25, 2012 – 12:56 pmHa ha ha!!!! Good job. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one to find these types annoying. I thought I just didn’t get the point of Twitter ;o) I’d add one though…I’m now being following by someone called FluffyTheCat…whose only tweets are “Meow” four to five times a day. Wow…get a life! Needless to say I refrained from following back.

    • What I have always told persons is that when evaluating a good internet electronics retail store, there are a few factors that you have to consider. First and foremost, you would like to make sure to locate a reputable plus reliable retail store that has enjoyed great evaluations and rankings from other consumers and business world professionals. This will ensure you are getting through with a well-known store to provide good assistance and help to the patrons. Many thanks for sharing your opinions on this website.

    • LOL. The advantage of the wii fit is that it’s a ton easier because you don’t have to actually balance the hoop. You’re doing it the much better way. I’ve never in my life managed to get a hula hoop to stay where it should. As soon as I’m actually able to walk again, maybe I’ll try!

    • The product from gooseberry Australia that I’d really like would be the footmuff 3 in 1 so I know my little one would be snug on our winter walks but I could also use it in summer as nappybag and pram liner! Love it!

    • using tactics that we should abhor, such as the BATF facilitating gun sales to drug cartels, the Obama administration is seeking stricter gun regulation of American citizens. What he should

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