Then I went back down the Hall to work, Babs came to do the washing up. Mind you down there you did whatever was needed of you, cooking, cleaning, washing up, waiting on tables or anything else. It made it a bit more interesting.
Then my poor Ern got ill. He kept saying his legs ached, I just used to say ‘They will now we are getting older’. However, it just got worse. The hospital and doctors didn’t know what it was. He was in and out of hospital, he was ill from the May right round till September. I still thought he would be alright when they got him sorted out. When they said it was cancer I just didn’t believe them, he was still eating and gaining weight. I even called Dr Newton in and he said ‘He doesn’t look cancerous to me’. I was on cloud nine. We planned as soon as he was better we would go up to Scotland for a long holiday. I slept that night, first time in ages.
The next day the doctor came out from the hospice, took one look at Ern and said ‘He will be much more comfy if he comes into the hospice’. I had been pulling Ern about a bit and it used to take an hour to get him up the stairs and onto my very high bed. Also getting him out to the lavatory. We would stop on the first landing for a kiss and a cuddle and both of us would be crying. I didn’t want him to go away from me. I felt I had let him down. I was his wife yet strangers were going to be able to give him what I couldn’t. I kept thinking after all these years of caring, now he needs me I can’t cope. I just didn’t want to think of the future.
Anyhow, poor darling went into the hospice. Well I just couldn’t believe it. The minute Ern was in his bed he looked easy. Mind you they gave him medicine, which seemed to help him relax. He took a liking to everyone and said they had given him a shower, which he said was heaven. I was very pleased he took to it so well. When I asked Dr Oliver when I could have him home again he just said we will keep him for a fortnight and see how he is. So once again I was fooled into thinking that means I will have him home. Everyone who went to see him thought he looked good and how happy he was, he loved the girls. When I went in one day they said, he is our good looking Ernie, he has had all three of us in bed with him. They didn’t realise how heavy he was so when they tried to lift him apparently they had all fallen on his bed.
One of the girls took her three puppies in for him to hold, he loved them. We even took our dog in to see him. Well on Saturday morning Jen said if you like I will take you down to see Dad, I was thrilled, I thought he won’t be expecting us so it will be a nice surprise for him. He was sitting in his chair looking very comfy, so we chatted to him, he told me that he had eggs and bacon for his breakfast. Then Jen and Rob went for a smoke, I was talking to Ern. He said ‘I’m very hot’. He just looked at me and said ‘Love you’ then he closed his eyes and went very quiet. I called the nurse and she said I’m very sorry but Ernie has died. I just couldn’t believe it. It was the worse day of my life. I felt that our love for each other was different from other peoples. I just kept looking for a sign of some sort, I felt I would go insane. I prayed very hard for God to let me die.
When I went to bed at night I would just lie there, it was so dark and quiet I felt I was in a coffin. No more loving, no music, no Ern whistling it was hell. I felt very alone, I’m sure I was different to other folk, they just seemed to carry on with life.
Yes I suppose I was feeling sorry for myself but Ern had been my whole life from about sixteen years of age. Whatever I did or wherever I went he was always in my mind. I won’t say we didn’t have a few ‘ding dongs’ over the years because that’s life.
My whole life I had had a lot of loving from all my family. I must have been very lucky really. When I was about seven years old I remember going into Captain Bentley’s stables all on my own and as I stood by the door it started to snow really great big flakes. I stood very still after a while I didn’t even blink. I wanted that moment to last for ever. It seemed just like I was floating up, up very high. I felt as if it was magic. It was a lovely feeling at the time. I wondered if going up to heaven was like this. I have never forgotten the feeling of just peace. Anyhow I thought of this when Ern died. I hoped it had been like that for him. We should have held hands and floated up together.
Nothing seemed to matter anymore. One has to learn to live with it but you never get over it. People say but life goes on and you think ‘What life?’ I thought ‘Well no matter what happens now nothing will ever be so painful as my darling Ern leaving’. Good job we can’t look into the future years.
People were very good and kind, I had some very good friends and family so in that respect I was lucky. I still had Honey my dog, she was good company, we used to go for long walks. Mind you she would sit at the top of the drive waiting for Ern to come home bless her.