Delia to The Highland Hospice

Yesterday morning I stood outside Kirkhill House and watched an ambulance going off down our driveway. Dee was on board; it was taking her to The Highland Hospice in Inverness. The deterioration in her condition has reached a pitch where the combined efforts of the local doctors and nurses - and of course myself - have not been enough to make her pain less than unbearable.

In the ambulance she would have passed by all those wonderful, isolated, off road, off track routes we have discovered for ourselves and our dogs over some eight years of daily one to two hour walks: Laide wood, the watermill, all the climbs down from the road's summit to the rocks, the chanterelle, the Gruinard river walk, the four beaches, the beechwood and so on and so on. Wonderful memories. She would no doubt have been thinking that she would never see them again, never come back home this way. Probably not. I may be the romantic but Dee is always the realist, unafraid to face the truth. There is but one end of a lymphoma as far gone as is my wife's right now.

Two hours after the ambulance left I followed on to Inverness and the Hospice to see her settled in. I have driven there and back again today and plan to do it again tomorrow, and etcetera. I have found the nurses and doctors staffing The Highland Hospice  remarkable people with remarkable skills as well as huge understanding and kindliness. My lady is happy there, her pain finally under control, and now even says she will be able to come home to live out her days. I hope so. We shall see.

When that ambulance drove away I have to admit to a set of emotions unprecedented since my first wife Joan, wheelchair bound with advanced multiple schlerosis left me to enter a Nursing Home. (Yes, what a Vale of Tears this is!) Anyway with Kirkhill house now empty I stood in the living room for a long while, in silence, blinking back the tears. Self-pity or pity for my Delia? Who can tell and does it matter? Suddenly this is a house, not so much a home any more. The whole place, as my whole life, suddenly seems empty. I listen to the echoes. I know I must think about the day to day and what might come next, I know I must try to stop mulling over all those past happinesses. Memories should not be food for the here and the now, should they.

I have my painting and my writing and I still have my wife.


  1. Dear Bryan I am so sorry to read the latest news about Delia. I can picture you standing alone in your sitting room and can only imagine the your pain at seeing her go. It is good to hear that the hospice has been able to control her pain. Please give her our love and we are thinking of you both. Love Davina and Barry xx

  2. Dear Bryan....please give Dee a hug and a kiss from all her old school friends down south...she is such a brave lady...we've all enjoyed being in touch with her these past few years and hate to think of her suffering. All our love and good wishes to you both...Rose, Doris, Joyce, Pam, Pauline ,Heather, Joan, Joy, Maureen


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