Archive for May, 2011

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Lollie’s Wedding

May 29, 2011

Everything I’ve read about ‘how to be a widow’ (yes, they do exsist!) tells me to avoid weddings as much as possible. ‘Don’t go! You’ll be miserable! You can’t be happy for them when you’ve just lost your husband!’

Well, piddle. There was no way in hell I was missing Lauren & Ollie’s (Lollie’s) wedding, and as amazing as the “Man Team” (groomsmen) are I don’t think floristry is their biggest strength. Even Alex the gardener didn’t know what a peony was.

So Mom and I spent Friday buying a LOT of flowers. We went to 3 different Morrisons, 2 markets, a flower stall, a florist and a Waitrose. Bought pink and white roses, pink and white peonies, lots of colours of gerberas, all sorts of chrysanthemum, lilies, freesias and a huge purple hydrangea.

We left the flowers at a friend’s overnight and on Saturday morning picked them all up, bought a few more (7 bridesmaids need a lot of flowers!) and went to the venue. Then I made 8 bouquets, 6 corsages, a gazillion buttonholes and 15 or so table decorations. And iced 100 cupcakes.

And it was awesome, I loved being so busy and getting so much done, and it all looked beautiful. I was really proud of myself for helping to give them such a fab wedding, and you know what? I had a really good time. The food was amazing and the ceilidh was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Of course I was sad that Andy wasn’t there, but actually I didn’t spend the whole evening faking the smiles.

So, moral of this story? Sometimes survival guides talk crap. And my Mom is a great wedding planner’s assistant! 🙂

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Andyroo

May 26, 2011

Click here for the video slideshow I made for the funeral: http://www.facebook.com/v/342415804995

And my tribute to Andy that our friend Rich read for me:

It was a cold day in late September, and I had been travelling for hours. Waiting at a train station, somewhere in the middle of the Netherlands, I had no idea that I was about to meet my husband. And my first thought when seeing this handsome young man step out of the car wasn’t ‘I’m going to marry him!’ – rather, ‘why isn’t that guy wearing a jumper? It’s freezing!’
But sometime over the next couple of days I realised that there was more to this guy than an inability to feel the cold and within weeks of our return to the UK we’d fallen in love. And life with Andy started.
Life with Andy was never boring . He wholeheartedly threw himself into everything – whether it was engineering – putting his degree into good use by teaching it in schools, developing patents and taking apart most things in the house, or, of course, biking. He was never happier than when he was bombing it down a hill on two wheels or taking his bikes apart – I never managed to persuade him that a cream carpet wasn’t a sensible place to service a pair of oily bike forks on.
And he was a wonderful husband. Before he got ill I broke my jaw and got really sick from the painkillers, and he spent weeks looking after me, taking me to the doctors and mashing my food up, even when I was grumpy and horrible and throwing up everywhere. And even after he got ill, and was feeling tired and rubbish, he always made sure that we had time together. And that was what I always admired most about Andy – his generosity – the way he would give of his time and himself for other people – whether it was devoting time to his relationship with me, getting up at 2 in the morning to rescue a friend stranded in A&E or the countless hours spent helping with Alpha here at church.
I think his smile is what I’m going to miss most. Looking through pictures, there’s hardly any where he’s not beaming. He beamed at roast dinners, at stupid faces I made, every time he picked up our adored godson Harrison. He beamed at bike videos, at Formula one and as he argued about barbeque methods with his parents. In fact, he beamed at most things, even after 17 sessions of chemo and weeks spent in hospital, he was still smiling, still happy, still a gentleman.
The cancer might have beaten him physically, but it never beat his spirit. When he got diagnosed, he prayed ‘Lord, if I live, I’ll live for you. And if I die, I’m coming home.’ And I believe that he has gone home and he has received his very great reward. And God has welcomed him with the words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’
He inspired me to keep hoping and holding on to God, even when the going gets tougher than we could possibly imagine. He gave me the gift of patience and perseverance, and for those things I will always thank him. And of course, I am just so, so proud and honoured to have called him my husband and my best friend.

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Busy

May 25, 2011

So busy…. orders of service and writing a eulogy and picking songs. My head hurts!

Plus I started clearing out Andy’s clothes – I had a charity shop bag and a textile recycling bag and went through everything – I kept all his t-shirts (28!!) to make quilts for his Mum, sister and myself. I put some other things aside to give to his parents and sister, and cufflinks for his brothers-in-law. Still, lots of stuff I got out and put straight back, but that’s ok. Still got to sort the bike stuff (eeek!) but I might wait until Dave and Ollie (Andy’s biking buddies wives) can come and help!

Thankfully most of our stuff is “our” stuff – he had clothes and bike stuff and computer bits. I have clothes and yarn and many, many shoes. And the rest of it is our house stuff and that makes it a lot easier.

Going to costco later to pick up drinks for tomorrow and finish writing the eulogy. I’m just so tired and want too sit down and cry, but I can’t seem to be able to. This is all so horribly hard and yet the laundry still needs to be done and the plants still need to be watered.

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Andy’s Funeral

May 23, 2011

Andy’s funeral will be held at Garston Crematorium on Thursday 26th May, followed by a service of thanksgiving at St Albans Vineyard at 2pm. Please wear bright colours – no black!

The crematorium is going to be pretty tight for space and so we’ll have to invite people to that separately, but the service at Vineyard is totally open – whether you love Andy, love someone who loves him or just read the blog – if you want to come, please come. I really, really mean that.

Please find parking in the surrounding residential streets and ride your bike to the church.
(Edit – the gates can’t be closed, so please bring a sturdy lock, there’s plenty of railings to attach them to.)

As a family we’d really appreciate it if you could print your favourite pictures of him as 6x4s and bring them with you.

Please let us know if you’re coming so we know how many to cater for.

Church address: Unit 7, Brick Knoll Park, St. Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 5UG

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The First Day

May 21, 2011

Yesterday was tough, but we muddled through. No hysterics, but frequent shouts of ‘Someone needs to hug me now!’ My whole family and my best friend Rosie are here and are looking after me.

My Dad started the phone calls at 9am – by 10am we had the funeral directors, the crematorium and the church booked. Then we had to go and pick up the paperwork from the hospice which was fine, people were lovely and seemed genuinely sorry about Andy – he had been charming everyone left right and centre so not surprising!

The funeral directors was a bit harder, I had to sign a load of stuff, but she was really nice which made it a lot easier. As to Andy’s wishes we chose a very unfussy coffin. (‘Don’t put me in an expensive coffin Ses, such a waste of money!’ They’re all expensive darling, but that’s ok!)

We gave them his biking clothes for him to wear – including the bunny ears and his “stealth rubber” shoes, still covered in mud from his last rides.

Registering the death was much the same – forms, practicalities. I proudly put myself down as ‘homemaker’ on the form – because that was my job, to make his home. And he loved our little home, despite the yarn I kept filling it with. Whenever someone admired a blanket or cushion or picture I’d made he’d puff up and proudly say ‘Ses did that!’ and then precede to bore them with talk about crochet or weaving or sewing!

After that was over Andy’s parents went back to Enfield and my parentals and I came home. I couldn’t really think of anything to do so I bought a load of bedding plants and went to work with Rosie and Mary digging over the front bed, putting a border in and planting it up. Still got more plants and summer bulbs to go in today, and then Kat & Matt are coming to help me chop down more stuff in the back. It was really good to help focus me and tired me out enough that by 10pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Had to sort out the car insurance yesterday as I needed to put my parents on it. So I rang them up and explained what had happened, and they cancelled Andy’s policy and started me on my own. At first, despite giving me Andy’s no claims and another discount because I’d been messing around doing quotes for different cars on their website, it was still going to be £945. Which is fair enough, I’m young and it’s a big car. But then I added my parents on – and because of their age and experience and a Royal Navy discount, it brought it down to £687. I practically told the guy I loved him. Though he did say ‘right, marital status, single I guess?’ and I screamed ‘WIDOWED!’ down the phone.

I’m going to start calling myself ‘The Dowager Mrs Andrew Hill.’  pffft

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A Realisation on Heaven

May 20, 2011

From an earthly perspective, when you die, you sleep until the day of resurrection.  Then “the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” [1]

God will have created the new earth and the new Jerusalem, [2] and we will be resurrected together in our new bodies, free of cancer and dodgy shoulders and pain. [3]

So on an earthly plane, Andy’s spirit is sleeping until the day that Jesus comes again.

But of course, you don’t remember whilst your sleeping. And heaven isn’t on an earthly plane, God is far too big to be constrained to our tiny little universe.

Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” [4]

As we die, our spirits are running into the arms of the Father. Andy is there right now, because for him, unbound by and outside of Time, the resurrection has already happened.

And the glorious thing about it, is that I’m there too. He didn’t have to wait to see me again. The rest of us will have to wait a little longer, but my grief is soothed in the knowledge that I will be with him again in Glory.

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1. I Corinthians 15:52

2. Revelation 21:1

3. Philemon 3:20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

4. Luke 23:43

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Andy

May 19, 2011

My darling Andy went to be with Jesus at 4.15pm today.

He was surrounded by both our families and our best friends. I kissed him, and told him that I loved him, that I’d miss him, that we’d look after each other. And that it was time for him to go home, Jesus was waiting for him. I prayed over him, and he slowly, peacefully stopped breathing.

He was a wonderful man, and I feel indescribably blessed to have been married to him for one year, ten months and a day. I can’t express how much I’m going to miss him.