Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Steve's Cooking

I've just come off the phone to Steve's Mum, she mentioned my blog from last night and also told me how the big picture she has of Stephen fell off the wall at 5.30 this morning.  Nothing spooky, we just think the picture was too big or heavy for the hook that was used.  Even if he could I doubt he would push a picture off the wall.

It reminded me though I messed a bit out of my blog last night.  As I said Steve's Mum came down last night as usual for dinner.  I had been to check the freezer etc earlier in the day and decided I would just use up a ready meal Steve and I bought for those nights where you just can't be bothered cooking.  Not because I couldn't be bothered but because I was busy sorting out.

Anyway, when we popped out yesterday we bought some garlic bread to go with the meatballs and wedges ready meal.  Anyway, long story short, despite following instructions, the wedges cooked far too quick, the meatballs were too slow so had to stay in a little longer but the garlic bread got a black coating around the edges.  I insisted it wasn't burnt as Stephen would have done the same, I'll explain.

Since moving to this house some 5½ years ago Steve has had quite a few cooking disasters.  I say in this house because in the previous place when he cooked I don't recall him having that many disasters, mainly because he was home first so food was ready when I got home and any disaster would or may have been sorted before I got home.

Here though there have been many.  Not that his cooking got worse but he used to get distracted, he would pop something in the oven, on the hob, or under the grill, usually on a high heat "so it cooks quicker" then go back to whatever he was doing, get completely distracted and before you know it the bottom of the pan etc would be burnt.  Steve always said that the burnt bits were good for you or that they were not burnt they were just well done or slightly dark...

The same thing happened to Steve's Mum and I last night, we put the food in and got distracted (looking at cremation urn's on the Internet) and before we knew it we had a meal which resembled one of Stephens.  Not we can't be sure if he has had any influence in this at all (we wouldn't want to admit blame would we) but it did make us giggle, it felt like him having a joke with us so that's where we'll leave it.  I guess I could lots of things to disprove our theory but I don't want to.

It's strangely comforting to attribute odd things, coincidences, or strange goings on to someone close who has passed away.  It sort of keeps them here.  I know he is not and I desperately wish he was but I also know no amount of wishing and hoping will do that but it still doesn't stop me from hoping that soon I will wake up and this will have all been a horrible dream.

I'm not sure what today has on the cards, I think I might empty the car, it's going soon and I will get a banger.  I don't need a fancy new car, it was just for peace of mind knowing I was unlikely to break down with Steve and make him late for a hospital appointment or have him waiting around for recovery when he is poorly.  I don't need to worry about that so just an old banger will do.  I hope I don't owe much, or if I do I hope it is not a lot but it's something that needs sorting soon.

Well I am going to dash for now, my quick update has been a little longer than expected.
I'll write later hopefully,
Well firstly to catch up on where I left off yesterday.  Shirley came around as planned.  She stopped for a brew and a chat but brought the donations from the crematorium at Steve's service along with the Red Top hat, many people didn't know, (although a few asked) that the hat Shirley wore at Stephens service on Friday was his.  It was worn in honour of him, a little bit of Steve's stage career there out front and she wore it beautifully, although we did tease shirley that Steve would expect her to roll it up her arm, across her chest and down the other arm, not because he did but because he was always fascinated with how it was done.

She also brought back the order of service booklets that were left behind.  I have them here now so if you would like a copy sent to you then please let me know and I will post it out for you, I am guessing if you are reading this blog you will have another means of contacting me, either email or facebook etc rather than posting your address publicly/

Finally Shirley also brought Stephen home, well his ashes at least.  She said he weighs a lot less than the last time she brought him home, now he just weighs 9llbs or 4kg which is not much more than the 6llb something he weighed at birth, (I dont know what that is in Kilo's).  It's off having his ashes here, he sat on the floor in the lounge last night with me and then I took him to our bedroom last night.  I guess thats where his ashes will remain for now until I (and his Mum & Dad) , decide what to do with him. 

I was up till really late last night looking at urn's, jewellery which is made from or incorporates ashes and other things you can do with cremation ashes.  No decisions made but I learned a lot.  I learned I could pay up to £600 ish for a pot to put his ashes in which will collect dust on the mantlepiece.  I learned if I wanted to turn him into a diamond then it's likely to cost arounf £10,000 for a decent size stone and that there are a huge amount of legal and technical issues which would need addressing to scatter his ashes in a public place.

Too many decisions to worry about right now.  My head is not with it anyway so am not going to push myself to think on it just yet.

This morning the olds went away for a few days.  It is my mothers birthday today and although I got her a card etc she was not feeling at all celebratory.  In fact, I guess the card may have upset her a little as it was a reminder that Steve has missed what would normally be a fun excuse to spend timetogether as a family.  I am guessing there will be more such events to act as a twist of the knife.  I have said before, whilst it is lovely having friends and family around at the moment they have to return to their own lives pretty soon, their own families, partners and children.  I can't help but think though that the tough times lie ahead.  Our wedding anniversary, Christmas,  Valentines day, Steve's birthday, The anniversary of his diagnosis, the anniversary of his surgery and the many other dates and times where a glance at the calendar could strike a brutal blow, a slap in the face reminder of what I (and we), have lost.

As the house has been quiet I felt like "getting on" with stuff, I started by taking down the cards we have been sent.  There was almost 100 cards, I re-read them all and will keep them as a reminder of how truly loved Steve was and what lovely friends we have.  I have a lovely box which will now serve as my "memory box" with special reminders of Steve in.

After that I decided to make headway on sorting our bedroom.  It was tough to say the least but I thought I would start with the easiest, or smallest area, his bedside cabinet.  Well there was all sorts of memories there.  Brithday and christmas cards from me to Steve some 4 years ago, our first anniversary card and other keepsakes all of which Steve has kept.  Lotions and potions, youth cream, anti wrinkle, eye creams and the special moisturiser he was given by the hospital to treat the sore areas of his head from the radio therapy.    A mixed bag of emotion in there but quite easy to dispose of some things (like half used creams etc) and the other stuff which I hesitated over I figured those should be kept until my head is in a better place for making tougher decisions and they went back.

Next on to the two (large) drawers he had for t-shirts, some easy decisions there too, the ones he used for scruffs were easy to identify but there were a few in there, (which I have kept) which have very pleasant memories.  For example the Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt he bought the day after we met, instead of taking him home to get a change of clothes we just bought new because it was easier than driving to the other side of town.  It has not fitted him for a long time but I guess he had kept it for sentimental reasons too. I am not sure yet what I will do with it though.

From there it was on to his wardrobe.  I counted 27 pairs of jeans, some worn once or twice only and others he wore loads.  The jeans he wore the very first time I met him were there too.  I have made him keep them for such a long time.  His bum always looked so cute in them and they fitted him beautifully... I won't say much more though other than they bring back a lot of happy memories.  On top of that there were pairs of trousers, utility pants etc so a huge amount. 

Hoodies, shirts, jumpers etc, there was loads.  I have kept a huge amount of stuff, in fact a full wardrobe full.  It seems he had 3 wardrobes of clothes in his though so there is loads to dispose of.  Some things I have sidelined for certain people though, not sure if they will want them but at least I can ask, the reasoning makes sense in my head.

After that I decided I needed a break so I decided to input some donations I had received for Steve and his chosen charities, I did that and as I write we are at 84% of the total target.  I would love to be able to smash the target for him.  Brain Tumours receive less than 1% of any funds raised for cancer in the UK but more people under 40 years old die of brain tumours than any other cancer and there have been no significant advances in research in the past 25 years because funding is so difficult to get.  For those that have donated I am EXTREMELY grateful, as are Stephens Mum and Dad etc but please help us smash that target by sharing the facebook link, forwarding this blog, tweeting or re-tweeting (I am adifferentmark on twitter) any amount is appreciated no matter how small you feel it may be, the link is and I would REALLY love and appreciate any help possible in reaching our goal.  One less beer or takeaway this month might not make a big difference to you but to BTBuddies (Brain Tumour Buddies)  and Christies Neurosciences it would.

This afternoon Steve's Mum camedown, we chatted a bit and she also brought some money down that her friends had collected in memory of Steve.  We went to the Tattoo shop as Rone there had called to ask me to come down as he had something for me.   It was a transfer of Steve's tattoo he had done in August last year, not long before he was admitted to hospital.It was lovely to have the original and again, that will live in Steve's memory box.  Obviously I could never see his tattoo again but I can see the original artwork.

After that we did a little shopping, came home for dinner then went to Ikea for a frame for a large picture of Steve she has, (It needed to match the frames she already has) then home for a brew before she set off home again.

This evening I have sat here alone and in silence, it is quite nice to hear the silence.  No TV, music or traffic just silence.  I enjoy it more at the moment and I guess this is because my tolerance levels are really low.

So, all in all, it has not been too bad a day, I have had a few tears and a few tough moments but overall I feel positive.  I am conscious though I have been a bit of a hermit and not been in touch with most of the world, I'm sorry, normal service will resume as soon as possible.  I did just hear from an old friend though, she is not old but we have known her a while, it was good to talk, she's a bit manic but a great tonic.  She said the same as many have said, Steve's funeral was different to any she has ever been to before and she really enjoyed it and felt it appropriate.  We know "enjoy" seems like the wrong word but I got what she meant and enjoy is a good word, Steve wanted a celebration of his life, not doom and gloom, yes the service made people cry but it also made people laugh, not many funerals raise a laugh but Steve's did.  A unique service for a unique man, my man, my husband, my soul mate, still missing him more with every passing minute, still extremely proud and happy to have had him in my life.

I am going to sign off now before I start thinking too deeply and sending myself in to another wave of tears..
Please remember to tweet, Re-tweet, share and 'like' Steves fundraising page, as I said it is VERY MUCH appreciated, until tomorrow,

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Monday, 27 June 2011

RE-POST: I Want to be....


I woke up this morning - with a headache as usual, but also a little grey
cloud hanging over me, I soon got rid of it, but it did leave me thinking.

My prognosis of 12-18 months, all be it a bit pants, takes me to March 2012.
One month before my 33rd birthday.

Now when I was younger I never wanted to get "old" and the 30's was old in
my eyes. But now I want to be 33, I want to be 53 and so on.

With my birthday coming up next weekend (just a reminder for you all.... its
next Sunday) it just made me think.

I have promised myself that I will get to 33, and am having a party, and it
will be a right royal two fingers up to Cancer as I can then say, at least I
beat you.

Team Steve 1 - Cancer 0

That's my little grey cloud for today, its blown away though now, and the
sun is shining through.

Will update later.


Reading this today has made me think, nothing new but just think that I have
been right in pointing out that Steve NEVER gave up he always stayed
positive as this shows, his thought passed in a moment, he noted it for
future reference but he wasn't going to let the it get the better of him.

I guess in part I am trying to convince myself that for me to get upset and
grieve for him for an extended period means that I too have let cancer win,
I will have let it get to me, to affect my life or even to hinder my life,
Cancer won't beat me either, I will try to be strong for Steve and not let
it win, I can't promise I will win the fight every day or every hour of
every day but I will try. He was so strong and positive I need to be too.

The doctor has today signed me off work for 2 weeks, I don't know if I will
feel better in two weeks but I will have to find a new norm soon. I spoke
to my boss earlier, he was there on Friday too and said how nice he thought
the service was. I turned to mush, just him mentioning Steve made me
crumble, hardly able to talk and tears running down my face,

Steve's Granny called this afternoon, she said how pleased she was with the
service and how peaceful she felt after it. I guess that was one of my
worries as Stephens service was unlike any other, no Vicar or Minister just
friends paying their last respects to a man they knew and loved.

After Granny called Shirley called from the Funeral home, she has been
brilliant and I am so pleased with all she has done for Steve. She will
call around later to sort a few things, that'll be good, she has a calming
influence on me, much like Steve did.

Well I might write more later, who knows, like I said I just saw this post
in Steve's "Sent Items" and it made me think.

Sunday, 26 June 2011


Well here I am, Sunday afternoon at home. It's odd, Steve and I liked our weekends at home, just relaxing or busying ourselves with ebay etc but today isn't the same, pretty obvious really I guess.
I don't want to feel sorry for myself though, I have been here sorting Steve's laptop, I started last night but got upset. I felt like I was spying on him. I have never read his emails or logged in to his accounts before so I felt awful doing that yesterday.
As I said it upset me just the realisation that I have to do it because he can't, it is difficult to explain.
At the moment I am just trying to tidy up our files, starting with e-copies then i will try and sort some of the paper files. There is such a lot to do and even more so when you can't think properly since Stephen died. Simple things seem to take a long time and more complex stuff is a no no completely.
I have been making a list of things to do. So far it is in my head but it changes as I forget then remember and forget again.
I suppose it will all get done eventually.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Two posts in one day again, I must try not to make it a habit but wont make any promises.

Well for those of you unable to attend the funeral yesterday and perhaps for those that did but are interested in my take on it then I thought I would update you all here.  At the moment I cannot explain my feelings but it is a bit like anaesthetic I guess, I am conscious of what is going on around me but I am not really feeling it.

The morning began yesterday after just a few hours sleep.  I hadn't gone to bed until 2am and the alarm was set for 7.30 and I seem to recall being awake at some point through the night but I think I did sleep a little.

I got a shower first thing and a shave, not a big deal really but the shave felt significant.  When Stephen first went in to hospital I hadn't managed to shave for a day or two, work and hospital routines meant grooming was kept to a shower, change and back out the door. 

Steve didn't like the beard that followed but we made a deal, I would get rid of it just as soon as he got better, (at the time we didn't know it was a tumour), he ageed but, as he has never got better I have worn a beard for 9 months.  Yesterday really signified the start of a new chapter for Steve, whether one believes he has gone on to elsewhere or not his legacy is alive and well and here and I have taken his legacy as my purpose.

Stephen was brought home around 8.30am, we had made space in the lounge we called our own and his coffin was open.  He looked so peaceful, just like he was sleeping, still as handsome as always, it was a fitting close to that chapter in his life as he left from his home, our home, for his final journey in this life at around 12.30.

The journey to the crematorium was relatively short and it was warming to see so many familiar faces at the Crematorium including some Steve and I met in the first days of his diagnosis,  family, friends and colleagues who have been there throughout Stephens journey to support him and us in so many ways.  Some just by being there or being themselves and others in different ways but I felt proud to see how many people had come to say a fond farewell to Stephen.

The service went without a hitch and many said they felt it a fitting tribute, "Life is a Cabaret" by Liza Minelli is not really a typical funeral song but it was one chosen for Stephen's and as well as it being one of his favourite numbers to perform it also represented his mantra.  Before we went out on stage, whenever he felt nervous or just when a situation was difficult he would just say, "Tits and Teeth!"A broad smile and a large intake of breath and on with the show.

All of the speakers got through their pieces brilliantly and for that I am VERY proud of them all, the did Stephen proud and would like to re-iterate a public thanks here too.  It was an emotional and difficult day for us all but we got through it.

Afterward there was the usual beer and buffet at a local golf club.  A bit out of the way but it was fine, we were there to drink a toast to Steve not to critique the decor.  The afternoon came to a natural end as evening approached and many went on to their locals to continue celebrations, Steve would have approved.

Many of my friends and family went on to a friends house to continue with the celebrations but I felt I wanted to be with Stephen's family so I went with them to Oldham.  It was lovely to spend time with them and we all went for an Indian meal at a restaurant which has without doubt become a firm family favourite with one member in particular dining there at least three nights a week. 

At the end of the night though I felt I needed to be home.  I was very grateful for a lift home from a close friend of the family, I felt guilty as it had been a long day for her but she would not allow me to get a taxi and would not drop me at the train station.  I had just felt it inappropriate for me to be out all night when I had only laid Stephen to rest earlier the same day.  My family were surprised to see me home.

That was the end of the day, after changing and putting the world to rights before bed I think I did manage to get some sleep.  Today has felt weird.  The only way i can describe it is like I  feel lost. 

For the last week or so I have been planning and arranging and fussing overt a funeral.  Thats done now so I can get back to normal.  Whats normal though?  Normal life has Steve in it, at the centre of it and within every aspect of it.  I don't have Steve here any more so therefore I don't have a normal.

Maybe it will come in time........

A moments thought...

As I sit here now at the side of the canal alone I don't feel lonely. There is something strangely comforting and calming about being here, the wind in the trees the birds song and not a lot else.
Being alone is not a bad thing right now, it has been lovely to have lots of people around but it is nice to have quiet time too.
It feels like I have escaped, I took Natalya to the train station then drove to the canal and have so far walked over an hour from where I was. A hour or so to walk back means there might be a phonecall soon to check on me.
I can't explain how I feel, I don't understand it I do know at the moment though I am struggling to be sociable for any period of time, it's a mask I can put on for a while but it slips. Stephen was my world and he's gone.
I keep reminding myself he won't be back, am I punishing myself or helping it become real, I don't know.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Well that’s it, it seems like Stephen is already having a laugh at my expense, that’s not meant in a bad way but in a nice and reassuring, happy to have him around sort of way.
Some of you may recall that a few years ago Stephen got in to the habit of buying the most random presents. One was a Lordship, not the proper type but the type where I am officially Lord of a patch of oil rig somewhere another such gift was a star. A lovely gift really but, at the time I teased him, a star?!?! Why a star?!? He said it was because I was his star and lit up his world, it made me smile.
How could he buy a star? The don’t belong to anyone. Also, I couldn’t see it touch it or feel it, if it had come with a telescope then fair enough but with the light pollution in Manchester it was unlikely I would ever see it.
We laughed about it for a long time after in fact he ribbed me about it just a few weeks ago and this was a gift from a few years back. It was very much appreciated and the sentiment was lovely, he knew I liked sparkly things and what’s more sparkly than a star? We have chatted about this story a few times since stephen passed away and have had a titter about it every time, Stephen and his odd ways.

Those happy memories have come flooding back to me today. I received a letter, it had come from Stephens work so I assumed this may be some documents from HR or something they found in or on his desk etc.
It wasn’t, far from it, when I opened the envelope I immediately saw what it was..... A STAR!!!

His colleagues have bought a Star in Stephens honour, it is called Enid Whiplash and it has been registered as such from 15th June, the day he passed away. The star is in the Taurus Constellation, Stephen’s birth sign. It is just perfect and I am now resolute about getting a telescope and seeing Stephens star and mine. This is something we had planned to do on the boat as there is less light pollution in the countryside and I shall still do this.
For those of you that already have a telescope the star is:


Taurus Constellation

Registered name:- Enid Whiplash

Registration date – 15th June 2011

RA: 3h 39m 06.7s

De: +24* 42’ 11”

I will cherish Stephen’s star, I can’t help but think he has influenced his colleagues decision to buy a star just to have a laugh at my expression when I opened the envelope and realised I now have a second reason to buy a telescope. I have already sent my thanks to Stephens colleagues and explained it has made me smile and brought back these happy memories.

Thank you and Stephen, you got me this time.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Well this is my second entry for today, there seemsto be so much going on at the moment that it's necessary PLUS I am fuming! 

Firstly after my entry earlier I had to phone DWP to advise of Stephen passing away, something to do with pensions etc even though he wont be claiming it I guess it means nobody could claim it in his name, I dont understand it and don't  need to really. 

After explaining to the woman I was phoning to notify her of my partners death, (although I suspect she knew that because of all the coices I had made, "press 1 to report a death" etc anyway, her first question, was, "was She claiming any pensions?"  She?!?!? I was very quick to correct her... HE!!! Why the assumption, in this modern age surely people in public sector have been on training courses etc all paid for out of our taxes to teach them how to address people they may speak to, I am sure they have dropped the term "christian name" from their standard forms and now ask first name and last name, this was in recognition of our multi ethnic society so when we live in a multi-sexuality society is it necessary for me to be madeto feel uncomfortable about my partner being a HE not a SHE?

As I mentioned earlier I have sorted Steve's ebay and thought I would drop them at the post office and, as the post office is near the bank I thought I would bite the bullet and go and speak to the bank.  The bank was empty, just two clerks on the desk chatting.  I walked up and explained, "My partner has passed away, I need to speak to someone about sorting our account" the usual condolences were offered then I mentioned how I needed to cancel his Direct Debits, well (stupid cow) then turned to me and said "oh we need two signatures to cancel a DD" Hmmmm I saw Red!  "Really?  And how do you propose we do that when I have just told you that ny partner is dead!?!?" She of course apologised and said she would go and get someone to speak to me.  I waited a few minutes until shecalled me to come to the counter (evidently the walk over was too far...) She told me the people in the back are waiting to answer the phones so cant come out and I have to go back at another time....there were two of then sat at the counter doing nothing, there was nobody in the branch, (which incidentally looked a mess) and the precinct was dead too so no excuse for such a blatant apathy.  RBS - BIG FAT FAIL.... Letter of complaint going off ASAP!  I should have known from the scraped back hair, tattooed eyebrows and orange face that customer service was less important than looking pretty and getting the correct amount of pout.

Reporting a loved ones death is bad enough anyway without having to live it over time and time again explaining to the authorities or dealing with other obstacles which get placed in the way.  From here I went to a different branch.  Different branch different story and thank you Kaye for that, for her I will be sending a letter of praise as too few people say thank you.  Such a shame, same bank different branches and completely opposite responses

Oh and I am sure there is a rant in there about how we all own RBS anyway because of the government bail out etc, such a shame, two large organisations today with little or no compassion.... What a lovely society we live in!

The wheels keep turning...

It's a sad realisation but although Steve was the centre of my world he was not the centre of everyones.  the wheels of industry keep turning.  This is a point I (and Steve when he was here) tried to make to a good friend who feels a strong sense of responsibility to work, sometimes to the detriment of his loves ones.  When you are not here life will go on, Steve knew this and, even though he seemed to always be busy working away, (I never really saw what he did) his work will have still got done on Wednesday last week, the day he died, and on Thursday and on Friday etc.  this is not a criticism of his employers because they were great but just an observation that not one of us is that critical to an organisation that our not being there will bring the company to it's knees.

On the flip side though Steve still had a load of stuff listed on ebay.  he had a mammoth week last week, a huge amount sold and on Friday last week it took me the whole day to package and address loads of parcels and get them ready to go.  It might have taken less time for Steve to do but I really wasn't focused on it, I got relegated from operating the computer (and stuffing it up because I couldn't think) to putting items in packets.

Today again I have checked his account and there is a load of stuff to go, I feel bad as I know it has not had the attention Steve would pay to it but I hope people understand, I am sure most will but it is difficult to continue. 

One thing which has upset me today is that someone had left a "neutral" feedback, this felt like a dig at me, there was a note in every parcel explaining the delay, in fairness there were only 1 or 2 items which fell outside our usual stated timings but that one comment was like a knife, "yeah I know you sent me the item, I know your partner has died but I really don't care, you should have sent my item quicker" all I hope is that one day that person will realise just how hurtful that is.

As I said I am struggling with keeping it going for Steve, both physically and emotionally so I don't need that aggro! 

I have been to see Steve again today, Saw him Monday when I gave him a shave, (the beard was cute but I know he would prefer to be clean shaven) and I wanted to do that for him as it was one of the few things I could do.  I saw him then Monday afternoon after he had been dressed but I didn't visit him yesterday, today I wanted to though.  Obviously he doesn't look fantastic but he does just look like he is sleeping.  Seeing him feels odd, I know his body is there before me but I know he is not, it is difficult to explain and I don't know how I have managed to spend so much time with him since he has passed but it feels right.

 I had my tattoo for Steve yesterday, just something simple around my wrist with some special dates, we had spoken about it on the Friday before he passed away and he and I had both planned to have it done.  Only I have managed to have it done of course but it is in my line of sight and I know it is there for him, it already feels like it has always been there, I love the tattoo, I am not so comfortable with the circumstances which have prompted me to get it now but that will fade and I will be left with a permanent reminder of Stephen which will always be there with me.

Well I think that is enough for now, I have stuff to do and ebay shizzle to sort for Steve, I cant let him down so onwards.....

Back soon,
Well here I am again, just after midnight writing a blog.  Steve used to do the same, sit here late and write a blog before bed as he knew his Mum read most days and she got worried when there was no update.

Today has been busy, I ahve tried to keepcomposed and for the most part I have.  I called in to the doctors this morning to pass funeral details on to our GP, Steve got on well with him and from my visit today it seems the staff there got on well with him too as they were all upset about his passing. 

Then to the post office, you will recall Steve upsetting old dears at the post office with his parcels well, Zak at the post office was upset by Steves passing too and asked that I keep him advised of the arrangements then it was off to the hospital to pass info on the the Macmillan nurse Steve had taken a shine to.  I didn't get to speak to the burse in question but spoke to a member of staff.  Now it is perhaps relevant to mention I had a printedsheet with a picture of steve on and details of the time and date of the funeral, the Macmillan colleague I spoke to looked at the picture and asked, "Is this your brother?"

I was annoyed, I explained he was my partner but again this just highlighted to me how people still have pre-conceived ideas, even in this day and age  where assumptions are made about sexuality about the way you look.  Yeah you guessed it, no featheres or sequins, limp wrists or camp voice today, I just went for the jeans and hoodie destroyed partner look.  That perhaps was my mistake, how could she possibly know without me signposting it for her?  The point is she shouldn't need to know, would she be more quick or less quick getting the info to her colleagues if he was my brother?

Then it was off to BASIC where Steve used to go for his massages, the lady there was upset too and, despite turning up unannounced I managed to get past the old dear on reception who not only said my name wrong despite me repeating it three times but also couldn't comprehend that my partner may be male!

soap box away though these people were just going their jobs but, were they doing them correctly? Should I have to "come out" for every health professional I meet?  Should they just be more educated instead?

I have lots more to write here but I am struggling to stay awake, I am going to take advantage of this and head for bed, maybe tonight I will sleep. Last Tuesday we spent the night at Stephens bedside.  I don't remember the last time I slept well but what I do remember is that it was when steve was there alongside me.

Monday, 20 June 2011


Well it has been an odd few days, I guess things are really starting to hit home now.

Yesterday was Fathers Day, a pretty grim one really for Steve's Dad this year and my Dad too as my parents have lived with us for 5½ years so they have got used to seeing Stephen on a daily basis too.  I called up to see Steves Dad so he could have his present, Steve and I had bought it and bought cards last Saturday on our way home from a day out, we never knew then that this was one of the last things Stephen would ever do. 

It was hard to go there, I don't know why but it was, I guess I feel guilty, guilty that I couldn't make it stop.  I know it is not my fault at all but to see the pain in their eyes last September when I had to break the news that their little boy had a terminal illness was terrible and to see them lose their little boy so cruelly after just 9 months when things had been going so well and we were still  some time off the 12 to 18 month prognosis was worse. 

Focussing on them makes me not wallow in my own self pity, it stops me feeling bitter that our time together was so brief, they brought a wonderful guy into this world and I only got to share him for a short period of time.  They have lost a son, a fantastic son but they also have each other to turn to for support and comfort.  I have that too, a great set of friends and family but, as wonderful as they all are there is only one embrace I want to feel.

Going to bed at the moment is an ordeal in itself, it means having to re-live the grief all over again, I guess I may be being hard on myself as it is still just a few days since he died and I am entitled to get upset but not getting that hug before I sleep, or being able to give him a hug is torment, sobbing into your pillow so as not to wake the rest of the house then, when eventually you do fall asleep I wake with a start and grasp for the person next to me, the person who is not there, for a split second there is a feeling of relief when you realise he has just popped to the loo then it hits, like a ten ton weight on your chest, he's gone and wont be coming back, there is no morning hug this morning, just a pillow...

My thoughts over the past few days have been random, I guess to be expected but it is simple things that cut so much.  On Thursday I went to register Steve's death, something I had dreaded.  In reality it was not that bad, the registrar let me witter on about what a fantastic husband I had and how he made me so proud but that wasn't the bit that made me think.  To go and register the death they asked that I take Steve's birth certificate if it was available, it was, if you have read Steve's blog for some time you may recall him mentioning it.

For as long as Steve and I have been together he had not been able to find his birth certificate, he had no idea where it was but knew it was in a safe place.  Just after his diagnosis we had a day or two of "mourning", just tears for no reason and a mind full of thoughts of "what if" and "if only".  Steve realised this was counter productive and decided that Cancer would not mark the end of his life but the beginning of his life.  He was now going to go all out and have as good a time as possible, his Uncle Mike had given him some advice and was quite blunt with it too but it jolted Steve and Mike's story stayed with Steve.  In fact he recalled the story to a friend not more than a few weeks ago as he has done many times before.  that isn't the point I am making though. 

After Steve had decided to start life anew he woke on monday bright and early and got dressed early, he decided to sort through a few things and generally started to make headway on clearing clutter from his life and focussing on what was important.  On that day when I came home from work I was met by the most excited Steve I had seen for weeks, "it's a sign" he said, "I've had a sign", I thought he had lost the plot but then he showed me.

Proudly sitting atop a pile of papers on his desk was his birth certificate, the very same one he had not seen for years, it turned up in a random pile of papers.  Steve took this to mean something, it meant he was right and that today was the start of his new life. 

That was about nine months ago now and, whether we look at Steves life or the life he had since finding his certificate again it has not been long, it feels like days, we have done so much in this time but it still feels like so little.  I curse the time we spent doing nothing, sitting, watching a film or staring into space as I wonder if maybe we should have done something more significant.  I don't know what though but, each and every moment, each and every memory whether it is remembering how we would hit the snooze button "just one more time", or how Steve would chop the veg as I cooked food or even how he would annoy me by not taking his tissues out of his pocket before his clothes went in the washing machine, every single moment and memory is precious and that is what scares me.

I am scared I may forget those memories, I am scared I may forget how only he could hug me "right" and I am scared I will forget how his text with our special phrase made me feel...

I know now Stephen has ended this journey he has begun another, I know his memory will live on in me and those whose lives he touched and I know my next journey is only just beginning.  Stephens legacy will live on, I hope his passion and drive will keep me afloat when I feel like I am sinking. 

He is with me in my heart and for that I am grateful but, he has gone from this life and for that I am not.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Action Stations

Well today has been an odd day, I spoke to Steve's Mum this morning, she is much the same as us, unable to focus etc, it's to be expected, I feel the same.  Simple tasks are extremely difficult and concentration is negligable.

Yesterday we sorted Steve's ebay account, LOADS had sold over the past few days, well, in saying days it is almost a week because the stuff that sold on Saturday last week hadn't been sent either as I had more important things to worry about.  Simple tasks like printing the ebay invoice was impossible, my mind was a blank and I couldn't do it.

Back to today though, (thats another thing at the moment, my mind wanders very quickly) today some friends came round, it was good to sit and chat.  Steves Mum came and we went up into the attic to get Steve's clothes for the funeral.  We came across a few photos of him and again found it difficult to think that we will never see him again.

The realisation is sinking in slowly for me I've not had a conversation with him now for 6 days, when he was in hospital he wasn't talkative as was too drowsy and distracted by his headaches and now he cant respond.  That is the hard part, we loved being in each others company, chatting and just being close.  It has always been the same, our first date lasted from 5.30 pm when I met him after work until 5.30 am when we finally decided we needed some sleep and all that time we had been talking, I dont remember what about but we discussed all sorts of stuff and the time flew by, it felt like just an hour or so.

Our whole relationship has flown by, from meeting on Friday May 13th 2005 to Stephen's leaving on Wednesday 15th June 2011.  It just feels like a flying visit, we had so many more things to do, he wanted to go back to Thailand, he wanted to see Phantom again this summer, he wanted to visit Leon in Israel and Ollie in Spain and Tal in Mull, he was looking forward to going away this weekend, which should have been today and he was also looking forward to our other break later in the year for our 5th wedding anniversary.  there were so many more chapters to write, photos to take and memories to make, now I have to do them alone.  I know he will be with me but I wont be able to see him or hear his voice or clink glasses to toast to another 5 years.

As I'm writing my eyes are streaming, what did I do to deserve this pain?  I fell in love with a truly remarkable person but, if I had my time over I would do it all again without a moments hesitation.


Saturday, 18 June 2011


Well toight has been a tough one, I have done a little more work on Stephen's site,, the site now has a gallery of pictures and somewhere for people to post their condolences, tomorrow the funeral arrangements will be posted as will a few other bits and pieces.  The past 48 hours or so has been spent trying to co-ordinate a fantastic send off for Stephen. 

I've not managed this alone, I am so pleased to say I have the support of fantastic parents, all four of them.  We've laughed together now we cry together.  The support doesn't end there, there are countless friends and you have really been there for me and I truly thank you for this, your text, your hug or just your smile is often enough.  Calling on and conscripting some old friends who have known Stephen for many years has made the task ahead bearable, I am confident with their help we can make Stephen proud of his final performance and for that I am eternally grateful.

As for you Stephen well, I hold on to; and take comfort fom knowing I have thousands of happy memories with you and because of you. From our first date at Ikea to our marriage less than 18 months later, from holidays and "us" time through to travelling the UK with a suitcase of frocks and car full of kit but most recently our walk last Saturday along the banks of the canal where we chatted about the trips we would make along there in our narrowboat home working on our newest venture where instead of your first words of the morning being "I Love You" as usual, you instead told me about how we have to do "that", it was a good job I knew what you meant.

I miss you pud, the pain seems to double with each passing minute but I am trying not to cry for what I have lost but with joy for all the good times we shared. You're gone too soon from my side but I know you will be with me every day. I sense your warmth but long to see your beautiful blue eyes, your cheeky smile or feel your arms embrace me just one more time.

I still love you more with each passing hour and my heart will be broken until the curtain goes up on our encore and we meet again...

Mark x

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Well readers right now there is a new and bright star in the sky and a different person sat here typing this message.  Many of you will know Steve in different guises, maybe by Greavesie, Whippy, Enid, GoGo or just Mate but I am sure he holds a special place in your heart as does he in mine.  As his partner of over 6 years I feel proud and privileged to have had the honour of sharing his life for this time.
Right now I am struggling for words but I wanted and felt I needed to come here and continue Stephens story, his legacy is already gathering pace and his name will live on forever, in memories, in love, in many hearts and in  something he became extremely passionate about in recent months, I will not discuss that yet as it will be deserving of it’s own blog entry.
By now I am sure you have gathered, if you didn’t already know, that Stephen  passed peacefully away at 4.24am on 15th June 2011 following an extremely sudden and acute deterioration of his condition.  I will post more of the events around his passing over the next few days but for now this is as much as I can bear to write.

If you are a Facebook user please “like” the page I have created for him at!/pages/Enid-Whiplash-aka-Stephen-Faccenda/231797150180500 keep visiting our website at as it will be populated with pictures and details of our celebration of Stephens short but varied and full and inspirational  life.  Details will be posted as and when available and I feel I can speak on behalf of his family as well as myself when I say we will be pleased to welcome you to join us to celebrate the life of a truly inspirational man, a Son, a Grandson, a Brother, an Uncle, a Friend a Performer, a Colleague, a Neighbour and many many more things to many many more people but above all he is the man I can proudly call my soulmate. 

Thank you for your continued support,  please come back soon and please take comfort in knowing Stephen loved having such a wide, varied and wonderful set of friends, some whom he may of met in person and others he had not, but your being there made him happy, he always wanted and loved seeing people happy so don’t be bitter for what we have lost, be truly thankful for his life.

Mark – The Proudest but most heartbroken partner in the world.....

Saturday, 11 June 2011


Well what a shit day, I started this morning quite well, although my machine
decided it was going to do strange things so I had to ask Antonia to reset
it at the office which resolved the issue (pressing g was making it do
strange things - just my day) I was then working away quite happily before
my head kicked off and decided I was having a migraine. Now I wouldn't wish
anyone to suffer from migranes as they are horrible, sometimes I can catch
then and make them go away, but with everything going on in my head, the
reducing steroids and everything else I had no chance of getting rid of it,
so off to bed just after lunch I went.

I managed to clear the main part of the headache as I was asleep which is
good and I managed to avoid the sickness too.

The reducing steroid is a pain in the arse at the moment as I get a
throbbing in my head, and it literally stops me in my tracks, hopefully it
shouldn't last for much longer though as my body gets used to the reduced

I'm still tired despite the fact I slept for over 4 hours this afternoon,
but that's nothing new for me, I might try and stay in bed for a lay in,
tomorrow morning although I know it probably won't happen, as I have post to
do for one, that and I get bored in bed and my body aches so I end up
getting up early in the morning.

Tomorrow is more log making as the paper has been soaking all week so will
make as many as we can and will start again, mum has said she can keep them
in her shed at home as a way of storing them whilst they dry out (I don't
think my dad knows yet though) they don't take up much room, though and we
can just keep making them until we have enough to last us through winter, if
for whatever reason we don't end up getting a boat this year a number of
people will be getting really random Xmas presents this year.....

This evening despite feeling still under the weather we met up with a friend
that was making a fleeting visit to Manchester, I know I probably shouldn't
have done but sometimes I have to think about other things, and I would have
been ill at home anyway so might as well be happy and ill.

Anyway am tired now so will sign off and update tomorrow.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

I'm Married to a Geek

Now I mean this in a nice way, but my other half is quickly turning into a
Techno Geek

First it was his laptop, then was his Camera and now it's his mobile, but he
is increasingly becoming more and more gadget minded. To the extent where he
has overtaken me, I'm not that interested anymore but he is always on the
lookout for a new lens cover or something.....

Anyway back to me... I have been a little bit absent for the last few days
as it has been pointed out to me, simple answer is I haven't been so clever.
As I have already said earlier in the week I wasn't well on Sunday and
Monday and this has continued for a few days, I think some of it is a little
bit self perpetuated, but I still do feel really tired. I know I always feel
like this the week after chemo week and also am on the reducing steroids
which only leave me feeling in a word Sh1t, but hopefully I can now see the
light at the end of the tunnel though with the steroids as have only got
about 2 weeks left before hopefully I don't have to take them again. This is
going to be a big step for me as I have been taking them since September
when I was first admitted to hospital

I know its going to have a few compplications along the way bt at the moment
I appear to be coming with Ibuprofen to combat the headaches that are caused
byt the reduction in steroids, but if I can get throgh the next few weeks
with this little help then bonis, life can return back to normal.

The eBay store is still going well, and there is more stuff going on there
every few days. Therfore the house is getting a little lighter - not as
downsized as we would like but its making a start.

I have been trying to finish this blog all day but every time I think about
it I get sidetracked so its not getting anywhere. Therfore its not got

So will sign off for today and will start again tomorrow with full blogs.


Monday, 6 June 2011


Well I can honestly say I have had a very crappy last 24 hours.

I was going to do a blog last night but my body decided to be ill instead. I
was sick and I felt like I had been hit by a bus, it was the same all night
then so I spent most of last night sat on the landing, toilet, bathroom, and
so on trying, don't you love it when your body plays Russian roulette with

Needless to say I got very little sleep last night, I eventually fell asleep
this morning when mark had headed off to work, although he was back again at
about 11.30 to check on me. I have then slept off and on all day on the
sofa, I still feel a little crank but much better than I was. This is
probably down to the fact that I am on a reducing dose of steroid, not good
at any time, and I have been here before, I think I might just have to like
It and lump it. I know it will get easier eventually, it's just a pain for
the time being.

Tomorrow I am at the doctors just for a check up, I haven't seen the doc for
a couple of weeks so he wanted to just see how things were going, the docs
are good like that.

Am off to bed now hopefully I will feel much better tomorrow.

Will update then


Sunday, 5 June 2011


OK so I admit it, yesterday I did too much. And it shows today as I feel
like I have been hit by a bus (although Mark says he can't see the
difference as I'm still a fatty....)

Yesterday we sorted out the eBay office as it's become known. We have the
front spare room and the olds have the back spare room, At least now when
everything is on eBay its easily found, and not mixed in with each other's

When we had done all the photographing, moving stuff and tidying, we went
for a walk down the canal past Worsley, both for a walk and also a look see
at where we could potentially moor, as it's something else we have to look
into for when we get the boat.

Walking along the canal was lovely despite the fact I was tired and couldn't
walk as fast as I would normally. Mark was taking pictures of the canal etc
and was trying to take photos of the wildlife too but they were simply not
having any of it, the swan kept sticking his head underneath the water or
its back to Mark, so didn't really get a picture of him. Then it was a Heron
and again it must have been shy as soon as the camera was out it was off.

We were going to pop in on Nick and Geoff on our way back but again somebody
somewhere had decided to change our plans, and the rain came down and we
were soaked, so we came straight home to dry off, and then it was a case of
just veging on the sofa until I had to admit defeat and go to bed, hence no
blog yesterday.

Today we are deciding on or outfits for Sheffield Pride which is only about
6 wee away now so it's back to the drawing board as we no longer have any
costumes - and even if we did they wouldn't fit us....

Will update later to let you know what we have been upto today, although I
doubt much will get done knowing the way we both feel.


Saturday, 4 June 2011


Well today has been a huge day for our eBay store, its taken me all night to
sort out all the orders.

The downsizing really has kicked into force this evening, with two
mattresses going to the skip - now I know that goes against all we believe
in and normally they would have gone to the charity, but they were old and
knackered so worthy of nothing so the skip for the. We have also taken down
our crystal bed and it is now stood up in the spare room, which has also
become our eBay office. We are having the front spare bedroom and Tanja is
having the back spare bedroom, it might help to keep the house sort of tidy

I like days like today though even though I have been tired as it gives you
a boost to do more.

I managed to do a full day for the office from home and sorted loads of
queries out that have been hanging round for a few days as the systems have
been down, so I can start afresh on Monday now with a clear inbox (although
it will fill up nicely over the weekend)

My chemo is going well, the anti sickness does still make me slightly queasy
but that doesn't last very long so not an issue. As long as I manage my time
with the anti sickness then the chemo then some food it passes by with
relatively little fuss. One thing I do suffer from though is I can hear my
pulse in my head for a while after I have taken the chemo, it sort of raises
my blood pressure, it is odd but only lasts an hour or so, so I just have to
put up with it.

Anyway I forgo to send this, so here it is, off to bed again,

Will update tomorrow


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Avenue Q

Well today has been an odd day to say the least. I woke up so tired it was
as though I hadn't slept all night, even though I had slept relatively well.

As a result today has been a bit of a slow day, I didn't log onto work as I
couldn't focus my mind into working so didn't want to make more work for

I have done little bits round the house but it's all been done slowly, I
haven't had a nap though today so will be heading off to bed very shortly.

This evening we were at the theatre, mum and dad bought us tickets and we
almost forgot about them.

Avenue Q is an amazing show and the fact that the main characters are
puppets is secondary to the show, you forget that there is an actor singing
for and handling the puppets.

Anyway if you get a chance to go and see the show then its definitely worth

Anyway am tired and so am off to bed.

Hopefully I will be feeling a little more spritely tomorrow.

Will update tomorrow


Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Well one good bit of news from today's appointment. I am again on a reducing dose of steroids over the next 4 weeks. So hopefully this time next month I should be steroid free.

Hopefully I can start to loose weight again.

As usual no news from the oncologist so as they say no news is good news....

Just another standard 5 days of chemotherapy to get through.

Will update later.


Sent from my iPhone


Well am sat waiting in Christies for my appointment. Have had my blood taken and everything will be good as normal. Just hate waiting.

Will update later.


Sent from my iPhone