I must say the dread and anticipation of yesterday had been larger than anything I’ve tackled in my life. Yesterday was the anniversary of Mark’s passing.
I had intended to visit him and his family back in March but the time wasn’t right and in the end I had to back out of that trip. To be fair I didn’t make up excuses, why would I need to.
The journey is still about 3 hours. The M6 is still full of roadworks. The roads are still full of people who in a more practical world, would never have been granted a driving license. But all in all the trip was uneventful.
My first stop-off was Cambridgeshire Police HQ, where Mark had worked for many years.
I last visited the Memorial Garden at HQ last summer when I visited for my great-niece’s Christening. It was a very emotional time as it had been the first journey I’d made once emerging from the state of shock from Mark’s death and finding the little tablet there marking his passing was heart-breaking. This time around, at least I was prepared and felt a lot more at ease with the situation. Slightly ruffled by a couple of members of staff chatting away at the next bench, clearly on their lunch – but one has to be realistic about things.
I then drove over to the village of Fenstanton, where Mark grew up. Although he lost all of his religious faith during his illness, I felt the church-yard, where he had grown up a stone’s throw from, was the appropriate place to lay him to rest.
Fenstanton is a very traditional village, very peaceful and picturesque. Last time I visited, I placed him in the ground there which was a very distressing day. Today it felt very odd, I’ve felt numb for so long. But the emotion was still very strong and I was better for being alone this time. Actually I was kicking myself as I’d not brought anything down to brighten the grave up – the family had recently disposed of the most recent flowers as they’d passed their best.
I then went back into Hemingford Grey and met up with a few of the family members and had a pleasant meal out with them and a long chat late into the night with my Step-Mum-in-Law about the past, the present and the future.
I feel at peace about the events of 11 June 2012 now. It’s sad to think that he’s been gone for (over) a year now but I’m safe in the knowledge that it’s been a whole year without him being in chronic pain. Perhaps that’s the way to look at it. It’s a tiny lining on the edge of a huge storm cloud, but silver it is.
And before I left, I returned to the church-yard and took along a bit of bright colour to cheer him up. Mark loved the flowers in his garden. Hopefully these will keep him company for a while.
The orange colour attracted me but it’s only now I realise it’s the same as the bright colours of Myeloma UK. Coincidence perhaps?
Well done Si. He’d be proud of you; and we are proud of you. Safe journey back. Andrew