It had been a great game of football, they had managed to successfully complete a number of moves that they had been practising for weeks. He was proud of the fact that the ball was always safe, in his arms.
The post-match party was a happy and raucous affair, a swirl of colours and noise, but everything seemed to stop, when she walked into the room.
Their eyes met across the crowded space, everyone else became invisible and they instantly fell in love. Soon she was, in his arms.
Fast-forward 23 years to an admission into our family room. Again a swirl of colours and noise as they settled into the room with their seven children, and their children’s children.
Early on in their relationship they had reflected on their own upbringing, having being raised by their grandparents, they made a pact that they would raise their own kids themselves.
And they did so over the next 22 years which were filled with joy.
She had become unwell over the past year, needing many trips to clinics and hospital for many treatments and even more disappointments. Always supported by their family who stayed strong around them.
It had taken a lot of convincing to allow Hospice into their lives – he was scared of them – but the fears were soon allayed by the visiting staff.
Barely three weeks ago she had organised a family trip up North, just them and their four youngest children. “She knew that her time was short, and that was her preparing me.”
During the weekend, he had shared, “Thank you for providing this large room for us, it has allowed me to be the husband again, and the father to my kids, we can be ourselves again.”
There were many visitors over the weekend and into the new week.
On the very last night the couple were together, peacefully in bed, surrounded by the love from all their kids sleeping on the floor around them.
Coming back from the bathroom on the final morning, held up in his arms, “I think it’s my time to go.”
Gently back to bed, still in his arms.
Feeling safe, surrounded by the best things in the world, their kids and grand-kids.
She leaned back, in his arms, and then quietly left the room.
“She was looking after us all, right until the very end, giving us the strength to carry on walking tall.”