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.