The consultant broke the news. “I’m very sorry to tell you both that Paul only has two months to live.”
He and I packed as much as possible into December and January. His last birthday celebrated at a restaurant, although he could eat little. Christmas, at our daughter’s house. My final goodbye at the graveside.
February brought slate grey skies and curtains of rain. Valentine’s Day approached. No cards or flowers for me this year
The shop is filled with heart-shaped balloons. Invitations to Be My Valentine. Cards ornamented with glitter, beads and ribbons are filled with romantic messages, and decorated with roses or cupids with bows in hand ready to shoot arrows.
I splash my way to Paul’s tombstone where I prop my card, wrapped in cling film. The rain washes away my tears, but can’t kill the powerful fragrance of red roses. It pierces my heart. I arrange the flowers in a vase and place them on the marble slab. God, please bless, my darling. One day, may we be reunited?
I trudge between graves, on some of which are sodden teddy bears. So much loss. My own threatens to overwhelm me. I want to run back to Paul’s last resting place and fling myself onto it. To tell him life is unbearable without him. Instead I catch the bus to the house we shared, every part of which brings poignant memories. Oh, we weren’t the perfect couple. Sometimes we had arguments, but they couldn’t have been important because I can’t remember what they were about.
I answer a knock on the front door. My next door neighbour holds out red roses. She smiles but looks curiously at me. “These came for you while you were out.”
Who on earth could they be from?
Alone, I read the card that nestled in the heart of the bouquet.
“My love, you filled my life with joy. Although I’ve left you, for my sake, please fill yours with happiness.”
I don’t know if I can ever again be happy, but day by day, for Paul’s sake, I shall try.