- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions»
Bowel Cancer Stole My Husband at 48 Years Old
Try to imagine being married to the love of your life for only three years and then you lose them within two weeks of them being diagnosed with bowel cancer, well that is what happened to me.
My Husband Dave was a lovely man, somewhat older than me by about 15 years, a hard worker, and a man who rescued me from a relationship I had been in for three years with a man who beat me up on a regular basis.
I met Dave when I worked as a petrol station cashier in Sevenoaks in Kent. At the time he worked evenings for a taxi company called "Beeline" that ran from Sevenoaks railway station. During the day he worked for a plastics moulding company as a production manager. At the time I was stuck in a very bad relationship with a man who was insanely jealous and beat me up regularly, in spite of the fact whilst engaged to me he had arranged to marry his ex-girlfriend Jo who had his four year old little boy. Like a fool having had the major row with him when I found out he was due to marry in a few weeks time, I had agreed to carry on seeing him after the wedding.
Dave used to come into the "Caffyns" Shell site I worked in most evenings, and he used to frequently flirt with me and chat me up. At the time I was far too in love with my dodgy boyfriend to be interested in anything more than a friendship, yet I did choose to confide in Dave as to what I was going through. Naturally Dave was horrified as he was obviously quite keen on me, (in spite of the fact he was himself married, albeit to a woman he was convinced was already having an affair with his eldest son's best friend Robbie).
It was many months down the line that I had finally had enough of my current boyfriend's violence and promises to repeatedly move in with me and leave his new wife. After giving him one final ultimatum that he failed to take heed of, I dumped my abuser once and for all, refused to take his calls and threatened to tell his wife and call the Police if he continued to call me. Ironically it was at this point he offered to move in with me the very same evening and pick up the keys to my flat that same night, but by then it was too late and I had finally had enough.
Within a matter of days Dave came to my work to buy his petrol, and at this point I asked him what he was doing that weekend. He asked me if that meant I was asking him out, to which I admitted that I was. Over the following weekend Dave showed me how a real gentleman behaves, opened car doors for me, refused to let me pay for anything and always dropped me safely home to my door.
I was soon very smitten with Dave and found myself falling madly in love with him and really looking forward to the next time I was going to see him. When he phoned me up one evening some many months into our relationship to say he had finally followed his wife and caught her with her lover and asked her for a divorce, I was over the moon, naturally assuming this meant he would be with me after things were finalised, unfortunately this was not the case.
Within weeks Dave and I went out one evening and he broke the news to me that he needed to finish our relationship, not least of which because he simply couldn't afford to be found out and it effect his divorce. He also now had both his sons sympathising with him because of their Mum's behaviour, and basically admitted he didn't want to rock the boat by being caught out in the same situation himself. I was devastated as I loved him totally, and had really put all of my trust in him.
Time went on and my broken heart healed to some degree. I moved on and went into another relationship for two and a half years that ultimately failed due to my boyfriend having an affair with an ex of his from many years before. Around the same time my sister, then 27, had a stroke and ended up in rehab in Southampton. At this time I was without transport and living many miles away. When Dave phoned me out of the blue and asked me how I was these-days I was shocked, but filled him in on all the news, i.e. I was breaking up in my current relationship, Hayley had been through a stroke and I was moving into a place of my own. Apparently by now Dave was divorced and his ex-wife was living in a flat with her lover that Dave had helped them find and finance.
Dave then spent a number of weeks going to visit my sister in Southampton, even bringing her back to his house for weekend breaks away from the rehab centre. In general he was marvellous, and although he did develop a bit of a crush on my sister, the feeling was not mutual and nothing came of it.
It was some time later he contacted me again, by which time my moving out date from my ex John was imminent. Dave suggested we get together for a drink at his local pub which was called the "Thirst and Last" just outside of Tonbridge. We had a great night and I fell totally back in love with him, although I refused to let anything sexual happen between us until I had moved out from John's home.
To cut a very long story short Dave and I soon got together as a proper couple, although we never told his sons that we had known each other before. Before a year was out I had moved in with Dave and sold my new flat in Chislehurst, and in spite of some problems with the oldest son Neal aged about 19 at the time resenting me, and the younger son Andy aged about 17 being an incureable liar, things were going very well. I even got on well with Dave's ex-wife, and we used to walk our dogs together, chat for ages, and some months into the relationship we would all go coarse fishing together, including her new lover that had been the eldest son's former best friend.
A few years later Dave and I decided to get married. by now we had our own cottage in Wateringbury in Kent and had sold the larger house Dave had formerly shared with his ex-wife and family. We had a lovely white wedding in a country church also in Wateringbury, and the weather could not have been hotter on the day. The reception was at "Poult Wood Golf Course", and was amazing. I had never been happier than I was that day.
Some months later we were in dire financial difficulties, and we decided that as property prices were booming we would sell our cottage and move to a less expensive place. The first people to view the cottage offered us the asking price and we accepted as we knew the surplus capital would pay off many other debts we had. Unfortunately we failed to find a suitable property to buy instead in the time we we had before the sale was completed, so we had to resort to moving into rented accommodation on a long term basis.
Dave and I on Our Wedding Day
By now Dave was working full time on the taxis and had given up working in the plastics industry. Along the way we had also set up our own chauffeur business offering a more upmarket car with more extras to travel to the various airports and London in. I had given chauffeuring a try myself for a while, but really didn't like it, especially the driving in London, so I had now become a full time housewife instead, and had set up my own small scale vegetable and bedding plant business.
We had ended up renting a large farmhouse on Romney Marsh that Dave had found and fallen in love with called "Slinches Farm", and as this had a large amount of land it was ideal for me to grow my own vegetables and plants. We also had a Doberman Pinscher, a rescue Cairn terrier cross, a cat and three ferrets by now, so all in all life was pretty full.
The oldest Son Neal was by now living with his mum after a major row between him and me due to his attitude problem, had resulted in Dave telling him to move out. Andy the kinder and younger son had been in prison for arson, but had come out and was living with us and helping a bit around the garden etc. Things weren't too bad apart from Andy's continuing lies and the fact he never did what his Dad told him to do unless supervised. The best thing was I didn't need to spend too much time with Neal any more as him and his Mum lived in Tonbridge which was well over an hour's drive away. By now she had split up with the boyfriend after he had an affair and was on her own again.
Dave and I decided to try for a baby, but nothing happened, so eventually we sought help, only to find I had a large 3" cyst on my right ovary and probably wasn't ovulating either. The Doctors booked me in for surgery to remove the cyst, and I ended up being in hospital for a week. In the first few hours after the operation Dave came to see me, but we ended up having a huge row over the fact Andy was not pulling his weight at home and Dave was letting him get away with it. To this day I blame the row largely on the fact I was still coming round from anaesthetic and didn't know too much about what I was saying. Unfortunately Dave was not so understanding, and left the hospital not to return for the full week I was in there.
At the end of the week I phoned Dave to say the Doctor had said I could go home, but instead of being pleased, his reaction was one of "oh, I will try to pick you up in a couple of hours". I was hurt, and desperate to get out of the hospital, so having forced the issue to a point he agreed to pick me up in about an hour. When he turned up he was pretty cold towards me, but came with me to get my prescription tablets that were now meant to make me ovulate.
We got home and I was still in a lot of pain. The doctors had told me not to lift anything heavier than a bottle of orange squash, so I lay on the couch and asked Dave for a piece of cheese to nibble on, (believe me the food in the hospital was awful). Dave brought me a piece of cheese, but it was really small, so when I asked him for a further piece he got really annoyed, and I ended up in tears. He did apologise and got me more cheese, but it was only a day or two before he told me he didn't want to be married to me anymore as he no longer loved me. This was particularly painful when you consider my doctors has said I needed complete care for at least six weeks, and here was I two days at home with a possible marital split looming.
I was devastated, and talked to him endlessly about how it had come about that he felt this way. I suggested it could be largely because we still had the pressure of Andy living with us, and I was ending up spending more time with Andy than I was with Dave, not an easy thing to do when the lad in question is a pathological liar and this goes completely against my morals. Dave finally agreed our best chance was for Andy to move out and that we would give our marriage six months to see if we could resolve things between us once living alone.
Andy moved into a flat, and almost immediately things started to improve and both Dave and I relaxed. I was starting to really feel our marriage was back on track when Dave began to complain of abdominal pains and ended up having to go the the doctors.
The Doctor initially suspected Diverticulitis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. By now Dave was getting dark coloured blood in his stools and suffering increasing pain. To be on the safe side they arranged for him to have a colonoscopy, but that was a complete failure as it was too painful for the camera to go inside Dave more than an inch or so. I remember to this day that apparently the doctor administering the colonoscopy said to Dave, "Stop being such a baby Mr Pearce" when he complained of how much it hurt. It later became very obvious why this procedure would have been excruciating for Dave and he was not "being a baby" at all.
Some weeks went by and I spent many hours on the Internet researching Diverticulitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, adjusting our diet to try and help these problems. We even went to a Chinese Healer to have treatments done and provide Dave with Chinese Herbal Teas etc.
We were now closer than we had been in along time, and I was still optimistic that I could help him simply by changing his diet and trying to do spiritual healing on him.
During this time a few weird things happened. Firstly we accidentally started watching "Crossing Over with John Edward" on Sky. This guy is amazing and if he can't convince you of life after death, no-one can! We even got Dave's younger Son Andy convinced from watching it, and I now believe this was no coincidence and that it happened as a preparation for Dave's soul to move on to an afterlife and to help us cope when he did.
Another strange incident happened when Dave went for an afternoon sleep during our marital difficulties. He came back downstairs a few hours later and told me I would not believe him if he told me what had happened to him. I asked him to tell me anyway as I am open to all kinds of spiritual happenings. Apparently he had just been about to doze off when he had heard a voice telling him that he was here for a reason, and that reason was to help me and be a support to me in my emotional healing. When Dave had returned downstairs he was completely convinced he now had a purpose in life and that he was here for me and my well-being. It was kind of spooky, but I did believe him as he was generally a very practical person and not prone to being easily led or convinced by such things.
It was only about 2 weeks later that Dave was in so much pain one Sunday that he asked me to call either a doctor or an ambulance. I ended up calling the doctor first. When I explained on the phone that Dave was in such agony the Doctor told me to call the ambulance which I did. Within about 20 minutes the ambulance arrived and the men carried Dave downstairs and off to the hospital. I sorted out the dogs and headed off to the hospital in our car still thinking this would be a curable problem. When I caught up with Dave in Accident and Emergency he was in excruciating pain. They took him to Xray and I waited for the results. When he came back he was begging for pain relief, and I chased up the Nurses who were meant to be getting it for him until he was given some. The Xrays came back and the doctors seemed unsure of what they could see, so they told me they would have to operate and that there was no point in my staying, I may as well return the next day. Because of our animals I decided this was the best course of action, and headed home to spend the night in our rented farmhouse.
The following morning I called the hospital to see if there was any news, but they simply told me to come in and speak to the doctors. Still thinking it couldn't be anything too serious I headed for the hospital.
I suppose I should have thought things weren't quite right at the point the Doctors called me into a separate room after suggesting I leave Dave's bedside. When I went into the small room there were about three or four Doctors and the same amount of Nurses. I still thought nothing was odd, and cheerily asked them to "hit me with it". What a shock came next. The Doctors gently told me that when they had opened Dave up he had extremely advanced bowel cancer. The way they explained it was that his whole bowel was like solid plastic, rigid and brittle, apparently it was as if someone had taken a handful of rice grains and thrown them into the abdominal cavity. Apparently the cancer had spread into the liver, and when they had operated they had realised there was a perforation in the bowel, but they couldn't find it, and even if they had been able to, they could not have sewn it up as the bowel was too rigid. They said it was no wonder Dave had found the colonoscopy too painful to go through with. They also felt this was a Cancer that had been so aggressive it had probably advanced within 3 months, and now there was nothing they could do other than give Dave pain relief until the end. I was completely shocked and I have to confess my first selfish words were, "I am too young to be widowed" (I was 33 at the time). The Doctors advised me not to tell Dave for a couple of days to give him a chance to rally from the operation. I agreed to this, although I knew it would be really difficult for me not to break down in tears around him. I asked how long they thought Dave had to live, and they told me between six weeks and six months. In total shock I phoned my parents in Guernsey and had to leave a message on their answerphone telling them what had happened. Being the great parents they are, they were soon on a flight to the UK to help me out with the animals at home so I could stay at the hospital with Dave.
In the process of the operation the surgeons had been forced to fit Dave with a colostomybag, and due to the advanced nature of the cancer they had been unable to fit it on the normal part of the intestine, and had to fit it on the small intestine on the opposite side of the body to where they would normally be placed.
Two days later the doctor told Dave the prognosis. This was a relief to me as I had been covering up the truth for two days and making out I knew nothing, not an easy thing to do. I had broken the news to Dave's Sons and ex-wife Ann, but they were also sworn to keep it quiet for now. Dave took it incredibly bravely, and quietly asked how long he had left. Once told, he simply said, "well, when your time's up it's up", to which the surgeon said, "Well Mr Pearce, I only hope if ever I am given news like this I take it as well as you have".
Later I confessed to Dave that I had known his true situation for a couple of days, and he fully understood my reasons for not telling him at the time.
The coming days were hell for both of us. I slept in a chair by his hospital bed, frequently having to provide cardboard sick bowls for him and help him to urinate in similar cardboard containers, all of which had to be given to the nurses for weighing so they could monitor if he was losing more fluids than the drips were providing. I was not always quick enough, and often had to change his sleepwear and clean him up in the event of any accidents. Throughout the night I would sleep with my head on his bed, and if he needed me he could poke my head to wake me up. Some of the time he simply stroked my hair until one of us fell asleep. On a daily basis I was bathing him and helping him to clean his teeth, and on the rare occasions he felt the urge to go to the toilet, (in spite of their being little or nothing there to pass due to the colostomy bag), I would help him, clean him up afterwards and take him back to bed. By now I had emailed his Brother in Australia and explained he needed to come over ASAP. I had been forced to get the Police to contact his Sisters as they were both ex-directory and I didn't have their numbers and his best friend Mike Wake (also our Best Man at our wedding), had been in to visit and help in spite of having a major phobia about hospitals following the death of a previous friend. I wasn't eating at all by now, and nor was Dave. I could see he was wasting away and surviving only from getting fluids through a drip and using up his own body-fat. I must have been running on pure adrenalin, as unable to face food myself I still tirelessly cared for Dave every day and night, although my own weight was dropping rapidly too. (At the point when Dave did eventually pass away I only weighed five and three quarter stones or 36.5 KG).
At one point Dave's testicles and penis swelled up to around four times normal size, and he was in excruciating agony. I tried to joke with him that he would be the envy of all the other male patients, but inside I was really concerned about him and suggested to the nurses we put some ice on the area to take the swelling down. They agreed, and once I had got the ice from the next ward I applied it in a bag inside a towel the area for 20 minutes at a time. This worked and his swelling went down and the pain was reduced. It was the little things like this that made his distress less extreme, and yet the nurses would not have had the time to do this, or even suggest it if he had not had me there to look after him and think of the idea.
My parents were now staying in our home and looking after the animals. During the day I got a few hours at home whilst Dave's Australian Brother, (also called Mike), stayed at the hospital and looked after Dave to give me a break. You may ask where the Nurses were whilst we were doing alot of the care work, but they were very busy too, and could not possibly have coped with the level of care Dave needed by now. Dave had been put on a drip of morphine, yet the pain was so intense that at a later date one of the nurses told me he had begged her to help him die. As time was passing Dave could not keep any food down at all, and was wasting way in front of our eyes. By now Dave was mostly asleep or incoherent, and when he did start talking it was the ramblings of a very sick man on lots of drugs. He would say things like he believed the doctors were all part of a conspiracy to operate on people who didn't have anything wrong with them, would demand to leave the hospital and wanted to go home. I would have to gently persuade him to stay where he was and explain to him the doctors had nothing to gain from operating on people who weren't sick.
During my time at home instead of sleeping I was sitting avidly watching " Crossing Over with John Edward" episodes and often smoking cannabis to relax. I would then travel back to the hospital to allow Mike to return to his hotel whilst I stayed the night shift with Dave. The nurses were great, often bringing me cups of tea in the early hours of the morning, and even suggesting I should consider a career as an auxiliary nurse, although I explained it was not the same doing this kind of care for someone who was not a partner or family member.
What I did find pretty disgusting was that Dave's Sons were virtually unseen especially Neal the eldest, and when they did turn up they only came for a routine visit, and even that wasn't every day, and they certainly didn't do any caring. By now they were both in their 20's and should have been more than capable of helping out or taking shifts looking after Dave as well.
The taxi rank where Dave had worked had held a collection for him, and the money was a Godsend as we had household bills to pay and Dave was the only breadwinner at the time because my small plant growing business had not yet been established long enough to be in profit. Although it was only a few hundred pounds we were really grateful and I wrote a thank you card from both of us to be passed on by the eldest Son Neal to the taxi office where he too worked. Even that invoked spite from Neal who pointed out I had filled up the card with text leaving no room for Dave to do anything other than sign it, although Dave was way beyond being able to do much more than sign a card by now.
The days went on and Dave's condition worsened. Still in denial I had an idea that we would end up spending his final months wheeling him round golf courses and letting him enjoy what was left of his life. The Macmillan Cancer Nurse asked me if I realised how sick Dave was when I voiced this idea. I think she realised that I was in denial and was trying to make me admit to myself that Dave was far too sick to be going out and about even in a wheelchair.
Shortly after it was very obvious Dave's condition was rapidly deteriorating. He was pretty much incoherent and when he was able to speak clearly he was begging me to take him home.
Having discussed this with both Dave's Brother Mike and the Doctors it was agreed that as there was nothing more the hospital could do Dave could go home. An adjustable hospital bed was arranged and regular visits from the district nurse to help with keeping Dave clean and changing his colostomy bags etc. All his drugs were to come home with us, and he would need to sleep downstairs. I had refused to consider the option of him going into a Hospice to die, and was determined I would look after him myself in spite of the warnings by the nursing staff of what a huge task this would be.
Dave came home and seemed so much better for a couple of days. Genuinely he seemed brighter and he had his Sisters and Brother all around him, but this improvement did not last. I was later told that this often happens when terminally ill people return home, but they soon go back to where they were in terms of decline.
Within 48 hours suddenly Dave became hugely weaker, and even though he had been talkative he began to lose this and become incoherent again. On one occasion when I couldn't understand what he was trying to tell me I later realised he must have needed to urinate and had eventually urinated in the bed when I couldn't understand him.
Dave's Brother and I took turns in staying with Dave, and I usually did the night shift. Dave's Sister had formerly been a nurse, and she would know when the final stages of breathing would kick in. Apparently there are seven stages, so you can fairly accurately judge when a person is breathing their final breaths.
I went to bed on the final night, and around 7.30am Mike ( Dave's Brother) woke me to say the final stages of breathing were here. In the home were Dave's Brother Mike, Dave's best friend Mike, his sister Jackie, his youngest Son Andy and myself. By now my parents had gone back to Guernsey thinking Dave had more months or weeks than it turned out to be.
I went downstairs in my pyjamas, and sat with Dave along with his Brother in the dining room whilst Dave lay on the hospital bed. Dave's friend Mike and Jackie stayed in our kitchen, whilst Andy the Son was still asleep in bed upstairs. I held Dave's hand although he was probably unaware I was there. We played meditation music through the computer that shared the same room, and burnt candles.
At about 8.00am the sun was rising and streaming through the window and the date was Nov 23rd, (Dave had been taken into hospital on the 9th Nov). It was a lovely day, and Mike and I sat with Dave, Mike holding my hand. As I heard Dave's breathing take a turn for the worse I snatched my hand away from Mike's and gabbed Dave's, within seconds his breathing stopped.
Mike went into the kitchen next door to break the news to everyone else, as well as having to wake up Andy and tell him. Neal had been offered the chance to be there but had stated to me that he had already said his goodbyes.
I continued to hold Dave's hand, and I gently removed his wedding ring as I wanted to treasure this and was concerned that certain other family members e.g. Neal, would try to grab what they could after their father's death. I could hear his best friend Mike crying in the kitchen, but at this point I was too numb to cry any more. I did lift up my little dog Misty to lick his hand as her goodbye to him, and my other dog a Greyhound called Lady came and sniffed his hand. I wanted them to understand that he had died so they wouldn't wonder where he had gone.
The funeral arrangements were all made by Dave's Brother Mike, and I threw myself into designing the funeral brochure, resizing the best picture I had of Dave so it could go on the front cover, and downloading the words to the hymns etc. I was still very much in shock, and my parents thankfully flew back over along with my Sister and they stayed with me for a couple of weeks after.
At the funeral I had the "Brothers in Arms" track by Dire Straits played on CD, as I felt this was particularly appropriate, and it had also recently been played on Dave's favourite TV show "The West Wing" when Mrs Lanningham was killed in a car accident. At the time I had felt this was the perfect song for the occasion.
You would think that once the funeral was over I would be able to move on with my life and would get support and help from Dave's family, but this was not the case, and quite the opposite happened. Not only had Dave died with no life insurance in place because he had ceased making payments into the policies six months earlier when he declared himself bankrupt, but we also had no savings and of course were still in rented property. I had the blind panic situation now of how on earth I could find money from somewhere to pay the rent, the bills, food etc. I had all the animals to consider, and I myself had loans that I had taken out to set up my poly-tunnel for the plant growing business. Macmillan Cancer Nurses had paid for some of the bills that had come in during the time Dave was in hospital, but I still had ongoing costs to worry about, and of course where we lived was in the middle of no-where with little in the way of job opportunities, especially in the depths of winter.
It wasn't easy to get time to mourn properly, as I frantically tried to secure some money from somewhere. As it was obvious I could never afford to stay in the farmhouse, and the Benefits department would never pay for me to live on in a large farmhouse on my own, I began to sell things off as fast as I could. By now my evil Step Son Neal had tricked me into "lending" him the £800 Camcorder that I had bought for Dave a couple of years earlier, only when I asked for it back he refused to return it and told me his Dad didn't love me and that he thought his Dad would have been proud of him for how he was now behaving towards me. Another horrible thing Neal did was to "steal" his Dad's car from me. He got away with this because when Dave had declared himself bankrupt he had transferred the car into his ex-wife's name to make sure it wasn't taken in lieu of monies owed (she was also working for our Chauffeur Business then and relations between all of us had been friendly). He needed the car for the Chauffeur Business, and if he had lost that he would have been unable to make an income. Ironically I found out months later that his car would never have been taken from him if he needed it for his business and to earn money anyway. When Neal had heard I was looking for someone to buy the car as I could never have afforded the insurance on it myself, (it was a Mercedes), he took offence to it, and as it was in his Mum's name he used this fact to bring his Uncle with him to my home and confiscate the car. This left me with only an ancient unreliable old van to get around in, and no money to replace this with a decent car.
I was particularly hurt by this behaviour as I had already voluntarily given Neal all of his father's fishing tackle and a very expensive watch that I had bought for Dave myself. The younger Son had been given an expensive electric razor that I had also bought for Dave, although I didn't give Andy anything of great sentimental value because I knew he would only end up selling it. I felt furious that Neal had suddenly turned so spiteful, and couldn't understand why when he knew I had looked after his Father so well at the hospital and kept him and his family informed of all news pertaining to Dave's condition. It didn't seem to matter to Neal when I told him totally honestly that in Dave's last days he had told me he loved me very much and we would be together for many years. He failed to be interested when I told him if he spoke to Dave's best friend Mike, he could verifiy that Dave had told him in the hospital that I had "been marvellous".
I am afraid I channelled all of my anger and frustration at how Neal was treating me into getting back that Camcorder at any cost. Having tried writing numerous letters to him and his Mother Ann, even trying to involve the Police, I finally took him to the small claims court shortly before I was due to return to Guernsey seven months after Dave's death.
By now I was living in a couple's home running their plant nursery for them in return for accommodation and £50 per week. My dogs and cat were still with me, but I had rehomed the three ferrets. My one small bit of luck had been that when Dave's Brother Mike went through all of Dave's paperwork for me, he discovered two frozen pensions that amounted to around a £15,000 lump sum. I was also now receiving £168 per month from a company pension that Dave had accrued back when he worked in the plastic mouldings industry. Dave had died owing my Mum over £15,000 that she had lent to him to try to help him avoid bankruptcy, and he had always intended to pay this back. Of course now he had died he could not pay Mum back himself, so I gave Mum back £7,000 out of the pension lump sums I received, only holding back the remainder so that I could survive and buy a small car that I could get around in. I was too young to receive a Widow's Pension from the government as I was under 40, so all I had now was the £168 per month and my lump sum in the bank (I might add that in a few years the £168 was dropped to under £4 per month by the administrators of the fund, so now I receive barely any income from it).
When I took Neal to court the judge asked us to spend time in a room and try to reach an agreement. This failed miserably as Neal simply refused to give the camcorder back, and stated that his Uncle Pete was willing to say he had witnessed me give the camcorder to Neal as a gift. When we went back into the court room I told the judge this had been said, which was a mistake as he said he now had been told too much and could not try the case himself and it would have to either be resolved now, or passed on to a new judge to be heard at a later date. As I knew I soon due to return to Guernsey, I decided in the interests of getting this resolved I would agree to accept the current value of the camcorder as a settlement assuming Neal got it valued by three different places and we went with the average valuation. Neal accepted this and the judge drew up the releavant agreement.
Outside the court Neal was waiting for my Half Sister (who had accompanied me for moral support) and I. He produced an envelope and gave it to me. When I opened it out fell a picture of a girl in stockings and suspenders. Neal then claimed Dave had been having an affair with her and that not only that, but that Dave had slept with my full Sister Hayley also. I saw red, and promptly told Neal that I had met his Dad by having an affair with him behind Ann's back, to which he simply shrugged his shoulders. What I should have said was that actually I didn't believe any of what he was saying for one minute. In hindsight I realised it would be very unlikely Dave would have been having an affair and given a picture of the scantily clad girl to his own Son. Of course Dave was exhausted from all the hours he was working, not to mention the fact he was so ill. I suspect now that the picture was probably an old girlfriend of Neal's and that he simply claimed the picture had been one from his Dad to cause me pain. As for the Sister accusation that was ludicrous, as Hayley had not long had a stroke when she spent time with Dave and was semi-paralised, plus not being attracted to Dave anyway. Unfortunately it took me some days to think these things through rationally, and so at the time, I guess Neal got the reaction he wanted from me.
The next problem was the judge gave Neal 30 days from the date of the valuation of the camcorder to pay the money to me, and not 30 days from the date of the court case, so guess what, Neal simply never got the camcorder valued, and I never received the money. As I was going back to Guernsey there was no time to go back to court and the flights would have been too expensive to return, plus I could have lost the case if Neal's Uncle Pete (Ann's Brother) lied for him in court so could not have claimed back the cost of the flights from Neal.
I did get my revenge though, and in a way that would leave Neal spending the rest of his life wondering if what I had said was true, as he, like me, could no longer ask Dave to verify what had been done or said.
Shortly before I left to return to Guernsey I typed up a letter around eight full A4 pages long to Neal and his Mother Ann. In the letter I told them exactly how I had met Dave, how we had got together, what he had said about Neal's bad and lazy attitude, what he had said about his failed marriage to Ann and how boring she was, how he had at one point fallen in love with another girl during his marriage to Ann and would have left her for that girl, but the girl went back to her abusive Husband instead and broke Dave's heart in the process. There were many more facts included in the letter, and the best thing is that I didn't need to lie about any of them as they were all 100% true. I posted the letter to Neal, plus a copy to Ann on the day I left to drive to Poole and catch the ferry back to Guernsey. To this day I truly hope he spends his life dwelling on what his Father really thought of him, and since then I have had at least two separate Psychic Medium's state that my late Husband is ashamed of how his Son treated me and is sorry. Neither of these Medium's even knew I had lost a Husband when the appointments were taking place, and in fact the latter Medium told my Sister about this not me, even though my Sister was there for her own appointment and had mentioned nothing about even having a Sister, never mind a widowed one with a nasty ex-Step Son.
I had also written to the entire database of clients we had for our Chauffeur business and told them what had happened, strongly suggesting they used an alternative company. To all intents and purposes I destroyed the business we had built up and cost both Neal and Ann far more than the camcorder was ever worth, and probably the car as well. I know this worked as Neal brought it up in the court room, so it must have been repeated to him by an annoyed client, many of whom knew and liked me.
Neal, Dave and Andy
One final interesting and comforting point. Shortly after Dave died my Sister Hayley had paid for me to have a telephone reading with a very well respected Psychic Medium called "Marjorie Kite", (sadly now deceased). Hayley had simply booked the appointment as being for "Cindy", and did not even tell Marjorie that I was her Sister, or why I needed to speak with her. At the appropriate time I phoned her, and promptly was blown away by the level of facts she gave me. Without quoting all of it, she told me I had lost my Husband, she told me he had a limp on his right leg, (true as he had broken his ankle a year before he died), she told me he had a large bi-coloured dog with him, which would have been our deceased Doberman "Odin". The real irony to this being mentioned was that when Odin had died I had said to Dave if ever he died before me could he make sure he came back to me through a Medium and let me know Odin was with him, and sure enough he did! The facts went on, including giving the name of what turned out to be the next man in my life, although I didn't put two and two together until many months later when I came across a transcript I had written down of all the things she had told me. She also said he knew I talked to his photo and to continue doing this as he liked it. In addition to that she asked me about resizing his picture, which of course I had done to put it on the cover of the funeral brochure.
I am comforted that I know Dave is always still around me. I still talk to his photo and know that when things get tough at home his way of letting me know he is around is by sending me the number 51, which was his taxi call sign. You would be amazed how often this number will appear on a number plate on the car in front of me when I am feeling low, or have a big decision to make.
To lose a spouse from Cancer is a horrible experience, and I wouldn't wish such an experience on my worst enemy. It is also a horrible way to die and the feeling of being powerless to help is horrific. I remember at one point saying to Dave in the hospital that if I could have taken the pain from him and on to myself I would have done, and I meant it sincerely, but of course that is never an option that is on offer.
Now I am remarried, but have never forgotten Dave, nor forgiven Neal, but know Karmic justice will have sorted Neal out, and I have reason to believe this has already happened without giving away too much!!! I know Dave is still with me, and he approves of my current Husband Richard, and this is all that matters.
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