Wendy's life

This blog has been created as a celebration of the life of Wendy Margaret Cronin (born 16 October 1944 and died 10 October 2007). The blog owner (me) is Steve McRobb (aka Macro) - I was Wendy's partner and then husband for almost 30 years. To add comments or a post, you must be an invited friend or family member - email me if you knew Wendy and would like to join.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Wendy's cheerfulness

In my garden there is a pot full of cheerfulness bulbs, along with others that probably include hyacinth and iris. I planted them one morning at the end of August 2007, while at the far side of our garden table Wendy was helping Celia and Harvey to plant a pot each of their own "Granny's cheerfulness". Tim had brought his family to see Faraway Granny for what we thought might prove to be the last time. Wendy knew it was very likely she would die before spring, and she wanted these flowers, when they came up, to remind the children of her cheerfulness (in the face of death, just like any other time). She had thought for a while before settling on this activity as a focus to allow her to talk to the little grandchildren about what was happening to her. The flowers themselves were also to be a reminder of her, and a source of comfort at the same time. As it turned out, the little faraway grandchildren did get to see Granny again, last of all in hospital just a week before she died. (The photo shows almost our whole family and some friends after the LOROS fundraising walk on 16 September).

It's early February now and Celia and Harvey's pots are in Whitstable, in their own garden. And I hear they are growing strongly. The bulbs in my own pot are also sprouting well and will soon be in flower. So are the irises I planted in the lawn underneath our plum tree, just in front of the "Wendy house" (what she called the summer house, naturally). In fact the irises are in flower already, along with the snowdrops in the borders. I bought the irises hoping we could plant them together one day, and of course that she would live to see them flower. But as things turned out, she was too ill to help by the time I came to do the planting. And it was a truly forlorn hope that she would ever see the flowers. Like so many other things I wish she could have seen...
Wendy would have loved to see all her spring flowers coming up and the buds beginning to burst on some trees. From our first spring in this house (2005) she thought there were not enough spring flowers, and had been planting more every year. This year might be the first that would have satisfied her. Now I must content myself with the memories they will bring. But one of the strong memories, and one that gives me strength, is that Wendy herself genuinely was cheerful to the end. Exactly one month before she died, she wrote in her diary "the papers are full of Portuguese police accusing Kate McCann of killing Maddy. How my heart goes out to that poor woman who has appeared with dignity for all the months she has lost her child. And I'm only dying of cancer. It puts that in perspective."
Just a few days earlier, she wrote another diary entry: "Life is just going to go on being beautiful for me until I get sick again. I've had another wonderful day." There just wasn't a scrap of self-pity in her character.

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