Tuesday, October 27

The phone rings....

1.50pm, Tuesday 27th October, the phone rings.

Oh god, what does my mum want now? It's the time of day she tends to phone, early afternoon.

No, it wasn't my mum. The caller ID showed it was Craig. Craig and I have been friends for about 4 years or so and we met through my photography website. He was one of the first people to sign up. He became part of the site team and we started to organise photography meets with other members. We loved our group meets and our other half's trundled along for a day out. I got to know Craig's wife Pam also. Craig and I have since become good friends although we only ever meet up at photography meets, we tend to chat on the phone every couple of weeks or so and seem to be on the same barking mad level.

So I answered the phone, hi Craig, how are you? Not good came the reply. Pam died at 1 o'clock. She died in my arms 50 minutes ago.

How do you answer that? A rare occasion.. I'm at a loss for words. Hearing a good friend, who has been in the thick of it in Iraq with the military and has seen a lot of his friends and colleagues die in action, who carries a tough guy image around with him (although I know it is just an image) in pieces because his wife has just died is enough to stun anyone to silence.

Pam was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of July this year. She also had liver cancer and cancer in her adrenal glands. She was given 5 weeks to live if she didn't have chemotheraphy, up to 5 months if she did have it. She opted for chemo. She survived just shy of 3 months.

I feel at a bit of a loss. A spare part. Craig lives about 100 miles away, not far really, but not close enough for me to nip round and put the kettle on for him and give him a box of tissues and a shoulder to cry on. All I can offer is an ear at the end of a phone line.

Pam was taken into hospital last week as one of her lungs collapsed. She was on the highest dose of morphene but was still in so much pain. She told Craig that she couldn't take it anymore. She took off her oxygen mask and died in his arms. She was 49. Craig is 40.

I'm at loss for anything else to say.


  1. I am so sorry, Miss Annie!

    I have been going through something similar with a friend I know through a mutual best friend from back home. I never knew him very well when we lived in the same town, but I always really liked him. I now live in San Francisco, CA and he is in Colorado.

    He just lost his wife recently (also to cancer and it was very fast) and he is of course devastated. They married just before she died (as it turned out) so that he could adopt and raise her 5-year old child. Now it is just him and the little girl.

    We first got back into contact on Facebook, and at first I just didn't really know what to say, so I avoided saying ANYthing. Finally, I just broke the ice and wrote him. We have since struck up something like an internet penpal relationship and I am grateful that I took the chance.

    And this sharing has helped ME too (since I've been isolating myself for so long due my illnesses and no longer feeling I know how to talk to or relate to other people sometimes).

    I think sometimes the very best and most welcome thing you can say is, "I don't what else to say but I know that you are hurting and I am so sorry. Just know that I am here for you, and *if you want to talk about her* I will listen."

    People send cards and flowers because it's expected ...but often no one ever SAYS that!

    Maybe sometimes just LISTENING is THE most important thing you can do. Even if you don't have anything to say at all.

    But I think if you listen, the right words will come.

    At least that's what I've found so far.

    Some people talk about angels, I'm not sure what your spiritual beliefs are, or whether you have any, I don't know. But *I* believe that we are all each other's angels, and we are put into the path of others or chosen by others for what qualities that we especially have to offer the other person that no one else can.

    I don't know if you are asking for advice.

    My advice, in case you are asking?

    Just listen.



    P.S. I am so glad you got your camera! Be well...

  2. Vex, I wanted to say thank you so much for your lovely comment.

    I have taken your advice and I have written Craig a letter. He may not read it for a while, but when he does read it, he will know that he has someone to talk to anytime he needs it.

    Your words about Angels touched a spot with me. I don't have any religious beliefs but I also think that we are each other's angels. I didn't realise anyone else thought that way.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a lovely message to me. I really appreciated it.

    Keep well


  3. You're welcome Annie.