My previous blog was about our marriage. This is about Laing’s last week. Some of it is as clear as day, some is blurry, some I have no memory, so you will find the narrative lumpy, like my first attempt at microwave porage (or as us uncivilised Sassenachs insist, porridge). I hope that anybody who finds themselves in the same situation as did I will find this useful, as events leading up to his death seemed to happen so fast, and I was blithely ignorant of them being in the eye of the storm.
After our lunch, we made our way home. Laing was tired I remember. He had been fantastic, so fantastic I thought the radiotherapy would at least give us a bit more time and he would soldier on. Neither of us was particularly hungry that evening. I had been greedy as ever and finished off with an Irish coffee. Well, I pissed already so why have caffeine unadulterated by this stage?
Sunday we needed some food items. I was feeling worse about leaving Laing on his own (not that I enjoyed doing precisely that ever since his diagnosis). I rather forced him into coming out. He was not capable of taking the stairs at Hainault station, so we took the lift. Somewhere along the way a family, obviously on their way to church judging from the way the children were in the bizarre fancy dress their parents obliged them to wear thinking it made them look smart. The father rather caught my attention as being particularly obnoxious, it was one of those gut reaction moments. It was proved he was not a good giver of example as he had some paper or card, which he was tearing up. We surfaced at Leytonstone station, and when the doors opened he jettisoned the shreds in the gap between the train and the platform. Laing was incensed, I could feel that.
When we got off the train at Stratford he was not in a particularly good temper. Nonetheless, we went and did the shopping we had to. When we eventually got back home, during which time his temper was not any better, he said, “I am never going to Stratford again on a Sunday.” Of course I knew what he was meaning, but did he realise or know what he was saying in view of what was to unfold? It’s unlikely, but the truth of his remark echoes with me still.