Friday, 14 February 2014

For my Forever Valentine...

A year ago today, I gathered with family and friends to say goodbye to my darling Diane at a service celebrating her wonderful life, a life cut far too short by the curse that is cancer. 
It took from us all a very special person – it has a habit of picking on the best – and the world is poorer for not having Diane here in it any longer.
I remember that Valentine’s Day last year very clearly. It was a day much like today. Overcast, with clouds blocking out any hope of sun. It’s how I felt inside as I stood there watching her be carried in, my last moments with her in this life.
But not my last moments with her, by any means. She remains forever in my heart. She will always be my Valentine, the woman who made every day special and who still, somehow, manages to do that now. She still guides me, looks after me and is still my inspiration. She also still slaps me down when I get too big for my boots. So no change, really. 
I just missing not seeing her, not touching her and not being comforted by that gentle smile she always had.
People have said that it was unfortunate her funeral was on Valentine’s Day, that every year the day when everyone falls in love would forever have a sadness for me. I didn’t see it that way. To me, it was the perfect day to have it. It is the best day to remember the woman you love, wherever she might be. 
It’s the day when, a year ago exactly, I looked at her one last time in this life and swore I would love her forever.  I know I can’t send her a card, roses or chocolates again. But I can give her one thing today, for sure. Me. For keeps.
I know that Diane will always be my Valentine, always filling my heart – nothing and no-one can change that.
So for me, from today, this isn’t going to be called Valentine’s Day anymore. From now on, February 14 is Diane’s Day. Our day. A day to remember what true love really is.

Just like I promised you...

At that service, I wrote these words for Diane. I hope you don’t mind if I share them with you again.

“There is a reason why everyone loved Diane.  She was simply the kindest, gentlest, sweetest, most generous person you could meet. She saw good in the worst of people and rescued me when I was at my lowest. She is quite simply the love of my life and the most important person there has ever been in it.
“Everyone who met Diane is a better person because of it. She had that effect on people. And she will always live on in our memories.
“It’s so cruel.
“We had just started making plans together again, now the future seemed so much brighter than a few short months ago. Then this. It’s all so unfair.
“It doesn’t end here, though. Neither Diane nor I will allow it to.
“They try to keep telling me she’s gone.
“So how is it I still feel her hand in mine, still feel her head on my shoulder and hear her voice in my ear?
“The might think they have taken her from me, but they haven’t. She and I will stay together forever.
“Just like I always promised her we would be...”

Please do whatever you can...

The sad truth is the situation Diane and I were in is not unusual. There are more than 500,000 people living their lives under a diagnosis of breast cancer. That’s 500,000 people waking up with cancer, getting the kids ready for school with cancer, going to work with cancer ... there’s not a moment in your life after diagnosis that doesn’t have that cloud hanging over it.
That’s why the work of Breast Cancer Care is so important and why Rachel and I are running this marathon in Rotterdam, the city where Diane grew up.

Please help by donating whatever you can using the links on the right. Do it for the 500,000 living with this terrible disease. For the 50,000 more who will find out in the next 12 months have it. And do it for the thousands of wonderful people – like Diane – who didn’t make it.

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