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Carol, oh Carol. We were together for over fifty years and you left me in the blink of an eye. And now all around me everything is the same, but nothing is the same.

I keep thinking that I am starting to come to terms with it all and then I suddenly stop and I remember you aren’t here and it all goes to pieces again.

What will I be when the part of me that is you is stripped away?

Just when I had learned all those Spanish verbs in the “we” form I will have to start learning them in the “I”

When we danced together you would whisper the next steps to me. How will I learn the new steps on my own?

How will our gardens flourish when the head gardener is no longer present and there is only the undergardener to care for them?

How will I find my way without my co-pilot? I used to joke that at least a satnav had an “off” button whilst you clearly did not. I will miss you – my personal satnav

Though we didn’t quite make it to our fiftieth wedding anniversary, we have been a couple for more than fifty years, so I think that makes us golden.

You know that you were not perfect. None of us is.  You could be headstrong, self-focussed and sometimes judgemental. We argued and we laughed. But we spent so much more time laughing than arguing and that gives me comfort right now.

You had a huge determination and strength of will. In the early days in Spain I spoke the language better than you. Most people in that situation would give up and use their partners to do all the talking. Not you. You persevered, you made mistakes, but you got better and your Spanish friends loved you for that. So did I.

You had a generosity, a thoughtfulness and an energy that I really admired. You were naturally cautious and often needed to plan for the worst just in case. In your diary you had a quote – “a pessimist is an informed optimist”.  You were generally a proactive pessimist and I was often happy as a reactive optimist, so we managed to fit quite well. I would sometimes get frustrated by your need to allow all that extra time – “just in case”. But sometimes you were proved right and I’m not sure I always gave you credit for that.

Despite all this you were surprisingly also a risk taker, even if you often immediately regretted it when you considered what you had just committed to. I will miss your drive. Without you I would probably not have had all those holidays to exotic places. I may never have come to live in Spain where we have created a whole new life and been adopted by our Spanish “family”

Without you I wouldn’t have made half the friends or worked anywhere near as hard to keep in touch with them. You are the one who picked people up in airport queues and made us several really good friends as a result. You were the one that made all those phone calls when we were in Dorset and remembered all the details of our friends’ lives.

You have been a huge influence in my life and I am what I am in many ways through you. I will try hard to continue to make you proud of me.

You asked me, you asked us all, in the event of your death to “smile, open our eyes, love and go on”. I will try.

In your diary you had also written this:

“It’s the events in our life that shape us – but it is the choices that we make that define us”

I promise you that I will try my best to make good choices. I will not be you. I will be me. But you will always, always be part of me.

Right now there are a host of people in England and in Spain who are thinking just of you. They are thinking of you warmly and remembering the good times they had in your company and the joy that you brought to their lives. The ripples of your life are still active and will continue for a long, long time to affect the lives of others.

I love you

Goodbye, my pet………..goodbye

May 2021

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