Wednesday 15 February 2023

7 years on...a letter to Steve

When you loose a loved one the day after St Valentines Day, you never forget the date of their death.  The reminders come thick and fast, with every pink heart, every red rose, every "Valentines Day Special" offer online, and in the real world. At least I still have the last Valentines card you made for me the day before you died, with its poignant message that love does not fade away...

...and here we are, seven years on since that fateful day.  

There is still a Steve-shaped hole in my life, but slowly, slowly, it's being overlaid with memories of things that have happened since you left us and hopes for the future.  

So what has happened since this time last year? 

Covid is still with us, but life has resumed a "new normal" with the world opening up again and many people shifting to a hybrid way of working, a mix of working from home and going into the office.  

I have enjoyed traveling abroad again, with two visits to Spain, a short break in Athens with our son and his lady, and a few solo days in Paris, a rail-based tour of several German cities, a group photographic holiday on Scotland's North Coast 500 route and a meet up in Italy (Venice and Milan) with photography friends from my 2019 Ethiopia trip.  I've also managed to meet up with some UK based friends, but there's still a backlog of people I'd like to see after a couple of years of lockdowns on and off...Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to catch up this year.

On the professional front, I've finally retired from the world of town planning (for the third time) and I've never been busier...I've been enjoying photography, had images exhibited and awarded and took part in a panel discussion on The Female Gaze at the prestigious Photo London event at Somerset House!

I've even managed to fit in a bathroom renovation at home.  I think you would approve of the design 😊 

Both of our grown up children are thriving and happy.  After spending much of lockdown with me, our son is now back in London with his lady, and they are hoping to move a bit closer to me here in Oxford in the not too distant future.  Our daughter and her husband have turned their "doer upper" of a house into a beautiful gem of a home, and it's great to have then within walking distance.  I enjoy dog sitting for them, from time to time!

The bad news is that your brother has now been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos which cut short your life.  However, he is having immunotherapy (which was being clinically trialled when you were being treated) and that has proved very successful at helping people with mesothelioma live significantly longer with good quality of life, so that's a positive development. However, a father and now both sons being diagnosed with the same relatively rare from of cancer reinforces that there is a genetic susceptibility to developing mesothelioma when exposed to asbestos, so I have drummed it into our kids NEVER to take chances, whatever anyone says...

What of the future?  Well, I'm off on my travels again shortly, camera in hand, feeding the wanderlust, and there are some other exciting things to look forward to if all goes to plan. More of that maybe, next year...

Lastly, did you know you are famous?  Someone is selling photos of you and us on eBay, taken from old newspapers. Luckily, I don't need to buy them as I have the originals.  But it's funny to look back on our younger selves, with no idea what the future holds.  If nothing else, it reinforces my view that we should make the most of our lives and be kind to people.  And that's what I try to do...

Until next year xxx