I found myself in Kelling Heath and went down a long path to where I remembered a pond.
We stayed as a family in the holiday park there years ago when Alice was young.
Alice loved the park. The pond in those days had just been reworked and it was quite bare, just a hole filled with water and a few people fishing.
Finding that in the intervening years it had become a beautiful place made me both happy and sad, happy that not all that happens in the world is destructive or ugly even though it feels like that.
Overwhelmed with the beauty I wish Alice could have seen it like this and be inspired by it also.
Thanks to the kindness of Sue Flood I had the opportunity to go on a trip to the North Pole. In Iceland on the way back I went into a shop that sold these wooden birds. Its a design by Kay Bojesen of Denmark.
I could not stop looking at it as I just knew Alice would have loved it. Its simplicity, its unusual colour, its feel of roundness in the hands. She loved quirky things like this. I wasn’t sure of the colours but then I remembered that Alice’s choices are not always the ones I would have made and I bought it for that reason.
Alice was her own person, she had her own tastes and preferences. we really miss her and having this bird in the living room is a reminder of why we miss her. The bird has grown on me and I would not ever want any other colours now.
We will never stop loving you
It has been one year since the service at Cromer where we said goodbye to Alice. Between Alice’s death and this ceremony was less than four weeks and Im not quite sure what happened other than we had a lot of support and help from other people.
21st August 2018 3:23 in the afternoon. A long walk up to Kelling Heath to enjoy the landscape and Nature of this place. There are not many flat open areas on Kelling Heath as it is quite dense with plants of the spikey variety so it took us a while to find a place suitable to eat the lunch Jennie had prepared for us. Sitting here and chatting was just lovely and I was prompted to take a picture to record the scene.
We didnt know that 2018 was to be the last year of a long run of not having cancer. Im glad I could slow down enough to spend time with Alice and not worry about working that day. Thank you Alice.
It is very hard to put this up but I feel its important to remember.
Alice had just had a brilliant day where she had a friend over for a sleepover the previous night and had spent the morning playing retro games with another friend.
I could tell that Alice was getting a little tired by late afternoon and she wanted to go to bed to rest. I nipped out to Tesco to get a few things including some beer but at the checkout I received a call to say that Alice was having difficulty with her breathing.
By the time I got home she had overcome the difficulty and was smiling, this prompted me to record this video on my phone.
Not long after the problem reoccured where she would take a gulp of air but then not seem to breath for a short time before taking another gulp.
Her friends and family were around her bed and she knew that we were ther for her. She remained calm, she absorbed our love.
The local team looking after Alice came and changed her and got her comfortable, she had lost consciousness by then but was still breathing erratically.
It was about midnight that I suggested people leave and go to bed whilst Jennie and I stayed with her. I held her hand under the cover as she slept. Listening to her straining to breath. At about 2:50 in the morning of the 12th there was no more breath after the pause and I knew that she had left us.
We called in the support team that prepared her body and set the bed for a visit from the doctor in the morning.
I wish Alice did not die but I cannot see how it was possible for her to go in any better way. She knew she was dying. She was calm, She was accepting. She wanted us to know that she loved us even when her voice was hardly audible. We all said we loved her.
Im posting this one year on, its the 7th July 2023 It seems like yesterday Alice was here with us.
She had 5 more days to live but we did not know it then. In retrospect it was good that none of us knew, it would have made things unbearable.
We miss you Alice.
3rd July 2022. Less than 10 days from her dying. Here she is flushing the tube after running her food down it. Alice liked to help herself, growing up from an early age she liked to get involved in the various procedures around her treatments. Giving Alice control was important.
In her many many injections and taking of blood samples rather than look away like I would do she instead looked straight at the needle. She was mentally strong, she was amazing.
Alice loved her food. She ordered things out of the ordinary and was keen on taste. I’m glad I found this image because my memory was that it seemed cruel at the time that she lost the ability to swallow and could not enjoy food but had to be fed through a tube.
Less than one month before her death here she is enjoying an outdoor meal at a garden center. I do remember she took ages to eat it and may have got a little upset at her swallowing but here she is in the sunshine. The feeding tube must have been fitted within the next week or so.
Update: Jennie reminded me that Alice couldn’t eat the meal after all and Alice did get upset. Alice had eaten well in the previous days but then it became difficult and Alice needed a feeding tube.
Sorry to have misled, perhaps my optimism, the sun and Alice with a plateful of food in front of her skewed my memory, we had successfully gone through all sorts of trials previously by being optimistic and just bouncing over things but there came a point where that no longer worked and we were lost.
June 2022. I think we knew by then that Alice last chance treatment didnt work and we entered a kind of uncertainty where we got through each day the best we could. I think I persuaded myself that a miracle might happen and Alice would get over it. I didnt think very deeply about what might be happening.
A cancer charity was in the process of enabling Alice to go to visit Bristol to be shown around Ardman animations but we ran out of time to do that. Ardman sent Alice some items (including the Shaun the sheep slippers) It was very kind of them and help lift spirits. Not that we were down in the dumps. Alice led the way by showing how she could cope in an impossible situation and still smile. Still play games and still enjoy learning and making.
Shortly after this she became worried that she might be forgotten and I said I would make a website about her and we would fill it up so we could remember her. Each of these entries is difficult to make but I dont want to stop. Alice, you are still an inspiration. We miss you every day.
Alice is not around to say new things, to do new things. We carry her in our memories but our memories are poor.
Taking a long walk and finding a bench in Beston Regis.
I remember sitting on this bench with Alice on one of our long walks, when we spent 3 or 4 hours away from home.
Alice only got her scooter a few years ago, her strength just started to leave her.
Many happy memories of those walks, they seem so long ago and despite it being Spring now I feel so sad.
A lovely day visiting An ex neighbour today, nice to see Rosemary in her home, thanks to Karen and her husband for the lift there and Rosemarys friends for the lift back.
on Rosemarys mantle piece a little bit of Alice’s work
In the home of Sue and Paul Lucas, a heart given by Alice:
In the home of Paul and Elaine, a portrait of a their dog Henry made by Alice.