He is one of those types that will never contact, or keep in touch with anyone, with the excuse being “Well, they never ring me, so why should I ring them”.
Ady is a good boy, and makes the effort to keep in touch with him and rings regularly. I even speak to him on the phone sometimes and we actually get on well!
He has a daughter called Julia who is about my age with a husband and four year old son. He is really cute, the son that is...
Anyway, they used to travel down from the Cotswolds to spend the day with us. We would tell Ady’s other brothers and they would pop in and say hello sometimes.
As long as you got the hang of Tony, he was good fun.
Julia would spend a lot of her time keeping control of all the boys and we got on very well.
Last year, Julia was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was operated on and had chemo. All seemed well and they got on with their lives.
A few months ago, they came to see us and we had a great day. Julia, however, was complaining about pains in her stomach. We both chatted and agreed that she needed to go back to the consultant to make sure all was OK.
She did that and the consultant said that it could be pain from the op as he couldn’t feel anything else.
The pain continued and so she kept going back to the medics about it.
They eventually found that the cancer had returned, but by this time, she was quite ill. They admitted her to hospital for more tests and to get her strong enough for some more chemo.
They then decided that she would never be strong enough and that actually, there was nothing more they could do for her. Julia didn’t want to know how long she had left and they transferred her to a Sue Ryder home.
All the while this was going on, we were on the phone to Tony getting updates. He was totally devastated. His only child.
We agreed that we would come up to visit around Easter and bring the girls too cos they wanted to come.
Ady was very quiet for a few days and really wasn’t sure if he wanted to visit.
He wanted to visit, to support Tony and Julia, but he wasn’t sure that he wanted to visit a cancer patient in their final days/weeks. He was just not able to cope with that mentally while he is trying to fight his own battles. And of course, he felt very guilty that he was thinking of himself and not of Julia.
Before Ady told me how he was feeling, Tony and I had spoken and wondered if him coming would be a good idea anyway. We both agreed that if we were in Ady’s position, we wouldn’t want to make that trip at all. We also knew that Julia would completely understand.
We all ended up agreeing that I would visit on the Monday before Easter and Ady would stay at home with the girls.
I got my twat nav ready and even bought some new blu tac to stick it to the windscreen, cos I have lost the holder thingy. I got the postcode of the hospice and checked on google maps to familiarise myself with where I was going cos I am very good at getting lost!
Monday came, and I thought I would take myself a packed lunch and a flask cos it was a three hour trip there. I was going to find myself somewhere pretty to have my lunch.
In a way, I was quite looking forward to taking a day out, on my own...no rushing anywhere, nice and peaceful and sitting with Julia for a while and comforting her and then going off somewhere quiet and pretty to eat my lunch and have a good old think and then maybe pop back in to see Julia one last time before I went home.
I rang the hospice about 9 in the morning to ask that it was OK that I came. They suggested that I rang her husband. I told them that I had been in contact with them all the way along and that I was doing a three hour journey to see her.
They said that if I was planning on visiting, then to visit today.
I asked the nurse to tell Julia that I was on my way.
Ady was going off for a blood test and so I told him that I would be gone by the time he got back and I was making my lunch and then leaving.
I had just packed my Haribo and crisps for my lunch and the phone rang. It was Tony, telling me that Julia had just passed away.
Poor woman, probably lost the will to live when the nurses told he I was coming to see her.
She leaves behind her husband, her four year old son and her father . They are all devastated at the loss of such a brilliant woman. Julia used to organise them all and keep them all towing the line.
Ady has really struggled with her death and it has shaken him quite a lot. She was 40 years old.
We are going to her funeral in the Cotswolds on Monday. It will be a very sad day for everyone and although we will celebrate her life, 40 years wasn’t that long, was it.
Rest In Peace Julia. I will miss you and our chats and laughs.