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Everything posted by cooperlola2

  1. If truth be told, it was the act of turning each para into French that helped me get through. I had to suddenly revert from one accent to another (with me, accent is of course a relative description!) and this helped me not to think about the coffin that I was standing next to! Once I'd completed the reading, and the music was under way, I did have a few tears. What I hope you are finding is that Deb and I had comparable writing skills, as part of our overall compatibility. As I may have said before, Deb's eulogies for her father and sister were top-hole stuff, and delivered without hesitation or sobs. I would have been letting her down if I hadn't tried to equal her performance, which I nearly did. I'm a bit tired after such a day, have had dinner on the terrace with three friends - one of whom delivered the dinner - and have still to feed the horses. Goodnight France Forum!
  2. How bloomin' useful - it really works! TVM RH! OK, this should link direct to my eulogy https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ru00wqf3zwidlff/V1_YLxszSN
  3. The cremation went as well as these thing can, and I got through my 8-page eulogy. There were about 30 mourners,which was ideal for me to meet and greet. I knew every one. I did not stop to watch the CCTV relay of the actual burning, thanks, but a few people did. Loirette of this parish was there with her husband, so France Forum was represented, and I said so in my speech. I would be happy to post the eulogy - but as it's 8 pages (albeit 14 point, as suggested on here, good idea!) I'm not confident that would be popular. I am struggling to think where I could place it to provide a link. Perhaps one of the clever-with-IT people has an idea?
  4. Deb's Nissan is registered in her name, as is the insurance. Can I crave an indulgence here and simply ask how I get it transferred to my name? It appears the Carte Gris will have to be amended by the Prefecture - but what grounds do they have for doing it? Presumably I need a "something" from a Notaire to say I'm entitled to the transfer of ownership? Once I've passed that hurdle I can expect sympathy from the insurer, presumably. My Skoda had better get me to the funeral tomorrow!
  5. Well the eulogy is written - each para in English, then French. Most of it is factual, describing Deb's progress through life, and the complication of reading it in alternating languages will help me forget the import of the event. A sensible-shoes mourner will also have a copy to step into the breach if needed. I have selected a piece of music - Fairport Convention's "Meet On The Ledge", which although first recorded in the '60s, has become an anthem for the Fairport faithful in the modern era. It is always the last number at midnight on the Saturday - ending the Cropredy Festival. The version I've stumbled across was recorded live in 1997 at Cropredy, and since there is one verse where only the audience is singing, Deb's voice is certain to be there somewhere. How do I know? Well, she was almost always in the front "row" - this is a stage in a large field, remember. Some years back someone published a book about Fairport and its members and associated Folkies. In this book there is a photo of two leading musicians, Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, but they are not performing. They are sitting in the area below the stage, in front of the punters, watching their daughter Eliza perfom. The photograph is taken looking away from the stage, and therefore shows the audience behind them. And leaning on the rail right behind and between them, clearly enjoying the show, is Deb. The pic would be from a similar era to the recording, I think. I am sitting here holding a framed copy of the pic, which Deb got from the original photographer.         
  6. With the cremation on Monday, this weekend I have to compose an eulogy. It will need to be in both languages, but I am determined that it should be all mine - the French may be weak, but it will be the best I can do, with a little help from online dictionaries etc! Inasmuchas I have been a bit curmudgeonly about invitations to the event, I feel the least I can do is publish it here after I have delivered it - and I can also tell you how far I got if I fell to bits on the way. Cunning plan - as recommended by a friend's vicar - is to have a copy with a sensible member of the mourners, who can step in and read to the end if I am unable to continue. As I may have mentioned, I have a hard act to follow, with Deb delivering first rate eulogies for both her father and her sister. The funeral Director was quite happy to accept the plastic duck, by the way, said it was most suitable, and enjoyed its provenance.
  7. The coffin will be sealed on Monday morning by a policeman, as per French law before a cremation. No chance of sticking Mother-In-Law in as well, then.[Forum members will be aware that Deb had no regard for her mother, hadn't spoken to her or had any contact since february.] I am allowed to add a keepsake in the coffin. When very young, Deb bought her father a yellow plastic duck, amd when he died it was still in his bathroom. it is now in ours. Guess where it will be on Monday?
  8. Deb will be cremated at Le Mans (where else?!) on Monday 10th September at 1100. I am NOT expecting droves of people to turn up. Some of you will have recognised that I am a more private person than was Deb, and I do not relish having to meet and greet many mourners. Reading pages of your generous tributes has had me on the ropes, believe me! We are still negotiating the final resting place of the ashes, which is subject to strict rules in France. The funeral director is being as helpful as he can within the law.
  9. Deb and I became an item 39 years ago this week. I basically nicked her off my flatmate, who moved out shortly afterwards! It is all a bit ironic, because in that same week my mother was dying of cancer on the liver, and I know Deb had been touched by my story of sitting back to back with mum to ease her back pain. Mum died the following week, and my father suffered horribly. The Deb I think France Forum knew was a strong minded, intelligent person, caring, left-wing, always likely to want her own way. We married in 1974, when deb was 19, on the strict understanding that kids would not be borne, and there was never a moment's regret on that subject on either side. Deb wanted to work with horses, and did so for about 6 months, but the pay was on the low side of dreadful, and so she decided to join the railway. I had worked there for 7 years, and the previous boyfriend and other friends were also there. She did quite well, and within a dozen years was a senior manager in a BR subsidiary – Travellers Fare. She then progressed into the Executive Group – beating me into that grade, in which there were very, very few women. She was part of the Management Buyout of TF at Xmas 1988, but from there things went wrong. There were too many partners – 10 – and Deb was the only female, as well as being the youngest. She was put under enormous pressure, and in mid-1989 resigned, never having made a penny from the deal. Almost immediately she won a job with Bottoms Up, the wine purveyors, as Marketing Manager, and had a hectic year before the last recession started to bite and sales fell. She was offered a package to go, and did so. That was her last “demanding” job, and that is part of your story. From 1990 until 2004 she did menial work, supermarket stuff, then caring for horses and cleaning house. During that time she met some first rate people, several of whom I have had to talk to in the last few days – i.e. enduring friendships. They recognised Deb was more than a cleaner. One – a retired teacher who has herself been bereaved in the last year - told me that her whole family adored Deb and thought the world of her. In 2004 we moved here as I opted for early retirement, having opted to work part-time for the previous 18 months while we got things sorted. I still find it implausible that in BR and its successors, no-one ever paid me to go away! I’m not sure when Deb joined France Forum, but I do know she found it a most gratifying environment, from which she gained a great deal of knowledge and cameraderie in tandem. It fulfilled an intellectual need that had not been met since she dropped out of executive life in 1990. Thus when the healthcare issue arose, she was determined to take it to the top and fight the good fight, with a result - due to the input of plenty of others, of course - that put many minds to rest. After the main battle seemed won, she went away for a boozy lads’ weekend in Rotterdam, and loved it. Someone there asked where I was – and she said I’d hate it. True! But when she returned she was exhausted, and basically had a flu-like condition for about a week. The accident in 2008 was a turning point in our lives. On one level it made us closer, because I had a new role as a partial-carer, but on another level it just created new tensions – because Deb so resented needing care. Last year’s cancer was a shock – except that to me the accident had kinda changed things irrevocably, so I was almost philosophic when it was diagnosed. Since 2008 she had been different – Mrs Grumpy in her own words. And now she’s gone. I’m sure the full impact has not yet hit me, but it is as if I’ve expected it, perhaps right back to 39 years ago, when I watched my father suffer. Living alone is not a novelty – Deb’s many months in hospital have given me preparation in spades for that – but no doubt there will be some bad days. You may see me on here from time to time, but don’t expect the quality that Deb delivered. That has gone for good.
  10. It is with the heaviest heart that I have to tell you that Deb died at midday, peacefully. I intend to pay tribute to both her and to France Forum on here at a later date.
  11. I was invited yesterday to stay in Deb's bedroom ovenight, and my night at the hospital could certainly have been worse. I arrived about 8, and the bed was all made up. Deb was being a bit restless, kept displacing the oxy mask. When I replaced it and asked her to wear it "just for me", there was a bit of a nod. Later in the night the nurses were concerned that she was displacing the bedclothes as well, and applied a foil blanket - surely the world's noisest bed-linen when the patient is restless! Deb has a history of waking up with fewer covers than she started with, so this was not news to me. About 2 they found it "necessary" to change the bed (i.e. it was!), but seemed to do so without any resentment. They also adjusted the medication, and from then on Deb slept soundly, as did I for a few hours. Regular checks were made throughout the night and I cannot fault the service, really, just smashing girls. I left just after 7, drove the 25 miles home in the overcast dawn. I am welcome there tonight - if there is a need. Thankyou for all the warmth. I am finding it very therapeutic to write this stuff down, but apologise for sometimes providing "too much information". It is quite hard to be truly balanced in every judgement just now!
  12. When I say I was called back to the hospital tonight, you will appreciate that things are grim. In fact I took my stalwart sensible-shoes English neighbour Sheena - the same lady who gallantly accompanied me 4 years an 1 week ago to Rouen after the car crash. Deb has now been moved into a private room, is still lucid to a point, and we stayed about an hour and a half, until Deb said she'd had enough and wanted to sleep. We sat next to each other with my arm round her massive waist - she looks 8 months pregnant. Sheena was brill at making small talk, and Deb responded as she could, but was often pre-occupied with details of things that had happened during the day. I have been warned that the final act could be at any time, and felt France Forum, and all the great people that Deb met there, should be aware. I also promise that you will be the first online community to know....
  13. While I would love to tell you that Deb is feeling better, I can't. She is still dreadfully short of breath - despite the oxygen supply bieng increased earlier today - to the point of being unable to plug the lead into her netbook. She spends a lot of time rinsing her mouth out - with Coke! This is provided for her, as is a bowl to expectorate afterwards. No doubt a tiny % goes down her throat. She is also using one of those water atomiser sprays. I cannot claim that the hospital aren't caring. After all, it's the weekend, when we know from experience not much happens, and since attempts to drain her abdomen have failed up to now, we had little hope for today. But they did their best, sending her for an ultra-sound scan, to look for the best place to make an incision. Sadly even this didn't work, so she still looks very pregnant. She is now on morphine, and some sort of drug to stop her worrying - thanks, psychologist! She is vulnerable, needy, affectionate - not characteristics she often shows when well, as you all know! - so quite a wan, different Deb, but very attractive! So there have been quite a few kisses and hugs, and I spent a long time rubbing Dove Silk cream into her back, then doing the same for each foot. Intimacy of a sort! I'm sure they will solve the bloating problem - it took a few days last year, and that was in a surgical ward - but it can't happen soon enough for me, or the patient. She will have a knockout drop tonight, so should sleep a bit more. Her new room-mate, a lady of 54, is obnviously well-known to the staff, and we wonder if she has a brain tumour, as she really is out of it, sleeps a lot, clearly not at all affected by these Anglais jabbering away in the next bed! You can always find someone worse off than you. I visit tomorrow, but unless there is some turnaround will not bore you with all the same dreary stuff. Hopefully Monday more resources will be brought to bear!
  14. Deb had a poor, tossy-turny night, but I've Just had a txt to say she's been seen by a psychologist, a masseuse, and a doctor. The old lady, probably gaga, with whom she's been sharing since Weds p.m., is being moved out. I visit this afternoon, natch, and we may try to get Deb online. Pleased to note that you lovely lot haven't lost your warmth in the past 4 years since I started posting bad news on here!
  15. Please take a deep breath. The cancer is back, now on Deb's liver. More than that I really don't know, and what lies ahead is completely opaque, but it won't be fun, that's certain.
  16. Well thanks indeed to the estimable Russethouse for posting my news. For some reason my broswer - IE9 - doesn't like the mesage box and won't play properly. E.g. it won't let me add the missing s in message - just puts it after the last thing I typed, so no editing function, which is bad when you type as erratically as I do! Anyway, Deb has had a scan but no news. Apparently the xray taken yesterday didn't show anything - but wasn't regarded as a great example of the art, either. I suspect, as last year, the bloating fluid is obscuring the detail, and there will be lots of head-scratching to decide how to remove it. Actually, now she's got some oxygen, Deb doesn't seem too bad in herself. She had had her room to herself, but they were preparing to bring in another patient, so Deb may invoke her single room rights, just to get some peace. It is also a bit annoying for the other patient if Deb can't sleep and wants to watch movies at 3 a.m. While she'd use headphones, I know from experience that the computer makes flashing lights all over the room in the dark. We hope to get Deb online within a couple of days, so you can return to normal service, but until then I undertake to keep you informed whn possible. France Forum and the people who dwell here mean a great deal to Deb. XXX  
  17. Doh! The phone in Deb's room was defective! A friendly nurse rang me to say Deb was "etonne" not to have heard from me. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, the instrument was changed and bingo. As expected, no ill effects so far, eating normally. Putting the patch on early proved to be a good move, no discomfort during the session itself. Let's hope she sleeps soundly!
  18. Deb set off by ambulance/taxi at 8 this morning. At about 10.30 she txted me to say she would be staying overnight. Towards mid-day I had a phonecall from a nurse saying that Deb's session had finished, her poserphone (mobile to the younger set) was inoperable and I could ring her on this number. I repeated the number back to her en Francais, so I'm sure I recorded it correctly, but despite ringing it more than 20 times since then, no b****r answers! No doubt it's unplugged, or has the sounder turned off - as Deb has been known to do to avoid her mother! But - Grrrrr! For the avoidance of doubt - as they say - I entirely approve of D's shorter hair, which deffo takes years off her. The wig is also a great success, and as Deb said, the lady doing the cut-and-fit was a delight. If she plays her cards right I may be back to get a trim! I see the Autumn as a write-off, but that then allows us to have occasional days when Deb feels almost human and we can still be us, which will thus seem a bonus. Managing your own expectations can make life seem more positive!
  19. Personal slave? Cor - there are moments in a chap's life when he feels almost important!
  20. As a few days have drifted by, and Deb is feeling a bit down, I thought I'd add a small update. We saw the surgeon yesterday, and he said the biopsy result confirms that only the left ovary had any malignancy, which is great. A short course of chemo is now called for, and we see the oncologist this afternoon. Deb's blues stem from the fact that she is still oozing, and feels there is no end in sight. She is now eating much better, and packing away prescribed iron, vit C and potassium supplements, but feels wishy and washy. The surgeon was loath to get back into inspecting her, as he felt that would indeed trigger more activity, without actually getting the early cessation Deb seeks. Tough all round.
  21. Following Wednesday's remedial works, there seems to be more confidence now that they've sorted the bleeding, and Deb can come home this afternoon. Still no result from the biopsy, so we are left hanging, in effect. Let's hope this time she's home for good at least!
  22. Just had a - you've read this before! - slightly groggy Deb on the phone, bemoaning the fact that there isn't a can of ice-cold Coke next to her bed! She has no external stitches, nor drips or drains, and I had had a call saying all had gone well. Evidently she had a transfusion before the op, which means the anaesthetist agreed with me that she looked wan and had not recovered from her blood loss last week. We can only hope this is the full and final tidying-up exercise!
  23. The roller-coaster (thanks for that analogy - spot on!) that is Deb's recovery continues to rise and fall! As already posted, after an ambulance took her back to hospital yesterday, she was examined separately by two docs and kept in overnight, more for observation than anything. Now she says they are prepping her for another small op to further tidy things up inside. No hint of anything sinister, but all a little tedious! Almost a fortnight after the main op, one hoped to be a little closer to the edge of the woods by now.....
  24. Panic over, and they have sorted a clot coming away, but it's all "normal". [Nothing seems normal when you're bleeding unexpectedly, I suggest!] They are keeping the poor thing in overnight, but one senses that it's just very kindly precautionary. I visit shortly avec mandatory DVD player et tout ca! Let's call it all "character-forming"! When, some months ago, I made that remark a propos Deb to un anglais who does some work for us, he indicated that that was the last thing she needed. Some men do not cope well with women with balls!
  25. Sadly Deb has lasted less than 48 hrs. Despite hardly getting further than her bedside commode since Monday morning, she felt further activity at midday, and sure enough, was bleeding again, albeit not as profusely as Thursday, thank goodness. After a brief phone call to the intern at the hospital, an ambulance was called. I await further orders.....
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