Easter Road 1992

Easter Road 1992.  That was probably the happiest time of Lindas life.  We’d got married in the June but that was nothing compared to her excitement when we bought our first home together in December 1992.  She’d had an abusive childhood, been a teenage single mother, moved from digs to someones couch to housing association flats for years.  So she craved security more than anything else.  So this was the big one for her.

Naturally it was tarnished.  She always said there was a perpetual fly in the ointment.  This time it was her teenage son who’d decided he didn’t want to stay with us and had went to stay with his bastard of a father.  Of course, being a teenage boy he quickly forgot that and used to turn up at the door late at night, drunk, offering me out for a doing.  Forgetting that back then I was a drunk biker with rugby muscles!

Regardless we made a life for ourselves.  Linda never wanted a big life.  She was happy having someone to look after her and a home of our own.  We pottered about not doing very much.  It all turned to shit when we left Easter Road as the butcher of a surgeon crippled her two weeks before we moved to our first house rather than living in a stair.

I carried her down the stairs and took her in a taxi to the new house, but she then had seven years of pain while the NHS bungled aftercare, told her she was a nutter (CRPS) before eventually admitting to their misdiagnosis.  Which was too little too late.  While that was going on we ended up with bad neighbours, sold the house, moved back into digs in Musselburgh and North Berwick before finally finding another house to buy.  And then Linda got cancer.  And died.

I was back in Easter Road today on my way to see her Uncle Tommy in the care home and nothing much has changed since we stayed there.

Top Row, left to right;

The Persevere – Sunday quiz nights for the pair of us.
Oor wee hoose.
Annas where the Sunday papers and rolls came from.  She was a martyr to her stomach, that one.
The launderette used to be a bookies back then so that was my fixed odds coupon taken care of.

Bottom Row, left to right;

The Coopers Rest – Saturday pre match pint in the lounge bar.
One Handed Billys (as it was unofficially known) for a Saturday bacon roll each.
Our nameplate used to be the top one here.  Seven years on it’s still empty.  Prophetic.
Leith Links where we’d go for long walks every weekend. Money was tight so the open air used to have to do.

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Linda and Uncle Tommy in happier times;

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Misty, green and blue

It’s my birthday.  Well, actually, it isn’t because I’m writing this ahead of time as I’ve no idea what state I’ll be in come the day.

My plan was to either, finally, take that henner off the Dean Bridge and stop talking about it, or stay under the covers all day weeping.  But David Walters is forcing me to meet him for lunch and I wouldn’t top myself after someone goes to the bother of meeting me.  It’s just rude.

See Linda always made my birthday special.  That came as a helluva surprise 26 years ago.  It had never happened before.  I spent my primary school years living with my Great Auntie Euphemia and Great Uncle George and I’d be amazed if they even knew when my birthday was.  By the time I was living back home my Dad was ill and dying so things like birthdays and Christmases just went by. Then I left home and lived in council flats and digs for 9 years. Again, I doubt anyone knew when my birthday was.

Four months after Linda and I started living together in a housing association flat off Dundee Street I was woken up about half six in the morning by Linda singing ‘Happy Birthday’ at the top of her voice. I rolled out of bed and found the flat festooned with banners and balloons. What the hell?

When we got home from work there was a store bought cake and a pizza from the chippy. We couldn’t afford to eat out back then.  And so it continued every year without fail.  Even in later years when we tended to be on holiday for my birthday she would pack banners and balloons in the suitcase, sneak out of bed about 4 in the morning and decorate wherever we happened to be, prior to another early morning serenade.

Last year on what turned out to be my last birthday with Linda we went away on holiday.  We didn’t know how ill she was but we came close to cancelling.  We’d come away early from the two previous trips due to Lindas infirmities brought on by the butcher of a knee surgeon.  But this time she’d been ill for months while the GP who ultimately killed her gave her antibiotics for a non-existent throat infection.  She struggled and the day before my birthday she spent in bed in the hotel while I trawled the chemists of Southport buying every throat medicine born to man.

So no-one was more surprised than me to be woken by the annual serenade.  What was more amazing was her sore throat was all but gone.  Linda couldn’t believe it after 5 months of pain.  Even her usual muscular and joint pains were diminished by the relief.  We thought “this is it”!  You’re finally on the mend.  So delighted were we that we got on the train to Formby.

We’d wanted to go there for ages after seeing pictures of the beach there.  But it was hardly easy to get to from Edinburgh.  But now we were only 15 minutes away on the train.  Of course if we’d realised it was a 45 minute walk at the other end we still wouldn’t have gone.  For a non cripple it was probably half that but even with the reduced pain the walk through the nature reserve and the dunes took Linda a while.

But it was worth it.  The sun was shining, the beach was empty, it was glorious.  We just basked.  Then I mentioned to Linda how the Irish Sea was always warmer than our North Sea what with the water being Caribbean rather than Arctic in origin.  She was having none of this but October be damned I went paddling.  After a lot of persuasion she joined in and for the first and last time paddled in the surprisingly warm, Autumnal water.  See pictures below.

We head back to the hotel pausing only to see our first ever red squirrel in the woods of the nature reserve.  It was a truly happy birthday.  And our last happy day.  The next morning she was sicker than ever.  A week later we found out she had cancer.  My beautiful girl.  Thank you for being the only person who ever made anything special for me.

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8 weeks

8 weeks.  It was 8 weeks before you died when were told.  At least it was 8 weeks when that arsehole of an oncologist at the Western General told us.  You know, before they started the medication for the inflammation on the brain.  So he told us.  The next day you’d forgotten. So I had to tell you.  And the next day.  And the next day.  Until you (mainly) remembered.  No-one should have to do that.

You never knew it was going to be that quick. I didn’t want you to know.  What was the point.  Even a week before you fell into your final 5 day coma you were talking about getting new blinds in “your other house”.  By that time you weren’t sure what the hospice was so you called your room “my house”.  And our actual home was “my other house”.

I spent 8 weeks watching my beautiful girl fade before my eyes.  You forgot how to write, then you forgot how to read.  So I read you feel good stories out of the Peoples Friend.  You forgot how to walk so I pushed you around in a wheelchair.  I sat up all night holding your hand so that when you woke with the night sweats I could wash you and change you.  Sometimes four or five times a night

It’s 8 weeks now since you died and I would rather be doing that than sitting here without you.  Which shows how selfish I am and how much I miss you every second of every day.

My Lindy.

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

Oh I Wept

 

And so did you. Everything about your death was horrible but it was at its worst when you forgot you were dying.  And then you remembered. It was like being crushed over and over again.  One time when the therapets came to the hospice and you started talking about what kind of dog you were going to get when you came home.  And then you remembered. We wept.

Anyway, my dear, here’s another meaningless thank you.

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

7 weeks

The most horrible seven weeks imaginable.  Actually, that’s not true because I was told you were going to die eight weeks before you did.  So, those weeks were even more horrible.

But this is bad.  Each day gets worse as I reach for you only to realise you’re not there.  Anyway, my dear, here’s the latest meaningless thank you.

Dear Mr Hamilton,

Thank you so much for opening a Tribute Fund in memory of your wife, Linda Hamilton. The Fund is a way to celebrate the life of someone you love whilst doing something positive to ensure the care they received will be available for others who need it.

There are so many ways to help your tribute fund grow – some people donate at times of the year that are special to them ,such as birthdays or anniversaries, whilst some may choose to organise a celebratory event in tribute to their loved one. Others may find it easier to arrange to make regular payments. Whichever way you choose to manage your Tribute Fund we aim to make it as special to you as possible and we are here to offer advice and support in any way we can.

We have arranged to have a leaf engraved for your wife and it is now ready to dedicate on one of the ceramic Forget Me Nots in the Tribute Garden. We understand how deeply personal and meaningful these gifts are and if you would like to dedicate the leaf in person please let us know and we will arrange this for you.

Thank you once again for opening your Tribute Fund which will ensure the highest standard of care continues to be available for those who need it at the most challenging of time.

 

With best wishes

Individual Giving Fundraiser
St Columba’s Hospice

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

Grace Muir Hamilton

Autumn leaves

Linda died on the 8th August.  Two days after her funeral it was my dead Dads birthday.  Now it’s my dead Mums birthday.  The fun just never starts.

I never forgave my Mum for shunning Linda.  16 years we’d been married when my Mum died and they never met.  Linda was right, it was my Mum who chose that path. How she could do that to her only son I’ll never know.  Linda was and is the girl I love. She was my life.  Yet the woman who gave me life couldn’t get past her ludicrous prejudices.

We had an uneasy truce over the last few years of her life. She was getting older and despite everything I would visit her every month and she knew she could phone me if she was in need.   I know you were widowed at the same I age I was and that life had been cruel, but I was your son. Mum, (pictured below on the left) how could you.

Grace Muir Robinson 1929–2008

BIRTH 25 SEP 1929  122 Bonnington Road, Leith
DEATH 29 MAY 2008  Hotel Burstin, Folkestone

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

A puppy

All Linda wanted from life was peace, quiet, less pain and a puppy.  She got none of those.  At least in the hospice she got regular visits from the Therapets provided by the Canine Concern Scotland Trust.  I’ve just written to them as below.

“Please find enclosed a donation from my late wife, Linda Hamilton, who passed away at St. Columba’s Hospice on the 8th August this year.

She had always wanted a dog of her own but due to a botched operation she had been infirm for a number of years.  I actually took my redundancy late last year so I could be at home with her and so we could finally get a dog of our own.  Four weeks later we found out Linda had cancer.

When she was admitted to the hospice the visits of the therapets were an absolute treat for her, even though, because the cancer had spread to the brain, she still wept when she remembered she would never have a dog of her own.

Please pass on my best wishes to the owners who brought Brodie, Flash, Yassie and Harry to see her before she died.”

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

 

PS: Lass, I didn’t know you could weep so hard it makes you sick and give you a nosebleed at the same time.  Who knew.

Thanks mean nothing

It’s true, thanks mean nothing.  I just want you back.  And if that can’t happen I just want to be with you.  But you made me promise…

Down below you’ll see the thank you letter from St. Columba’s Hospice for the donation Linda made after she passed.  It highlights one of her best attributes which was also one of her biggest flaws.  She never put herself first.  Even the chaplain in the hospice seems to have picked up on that.

There was always someone else who needed her more.  Be it her Uncle Davie, her ex best friend Margaret, her stepdad or her evil mother.  Regardless of how she was feeling, how infirm or how sick she was, there was always someone who needed her more. Even when she was dying she knew it.  She actually apologised to me for always having put other people before me.

I told her not to be daft.  After all, she saved my life.  That’s not hyperbole.  I’d be long gone by now if it hadn’t been for Linda.  I had no life before her and there’s no life after her.  I just wish I could have given her the life she deserved.

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

Friends Life

Motto – “everything we do is full of Good Thinking for you”
My reply to a recent letter from their Claims Management Team is below.
I refer to your letter of 1st September to my dead wife, Linda Hamilton.
You wrote to advise her of a BACS payment to her account reflecting the fact that she had died and was not eligible for a full months payment.
You knew that she had died as I informed you of this fact yet you have still written to her in the present tense and have made a payment to her bank account which has been closed, due to the fact that she is dead.
This payment will have been returned to you and may I suggest that you tidy up your admin processes for dealing with a death as I don’t want to receive any more letters to my dead wife from people I’ve informed about her death.
Stuart Hamilton
Widower of Linda Hamilton
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Battle of Britain Day

It was Battle of Britain Day yesterday but I was too busy being maudlin and depressed to mention it.  But that would be to do my Dad a disfavour.

Alexander Walker Hamilton

Born 23 AUG 1922 • Breich, West Lothian, Scotland
Died 24 DEC 1980 • City Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland

He was actually too young to have been in the Battle of Britain but he was called up to the Royal Air Force shortly after and spent six years fighting Hitler so you lot could swan about drinking artisan coffee and moaning about how hard your lives are.

Here he is in his Royal Air Force finery.

Thanks Dad.  Linda would have liked you.

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