Soft tears of sweet Welsh rain obscure our green valley.

One single year ago, a lifetime’s whole heartbeat, we lost my dear sister Melissa – yet we are still struggling with who knows why, or how, this tragedy happened? – perhaps the inquest, when it eventually comes will give us an inkling – but that will be at the close of Winter, at the earliest; & meanwhile all we who are left can do, is wait, patiently; & grieve, profoundly.

A Type One Diabetic since the age of only four, Melissa had been finding it increasingly difficult to control her symptoms, exacerbated since she was switched from conventional insulin onto the genetically-modified Humulin type.  She had tried without success to be returned to the former product, but was dismissed lightly by medical staff as overly concerned – & it would appear that this is what killed her.  The tragic discovery was made by her partner Peter, one terrible morning when they were on holiday together in Cornwall.  Unfailingly considerate, Melissa had been suffering from bronchitis so had slept alone to spare him her snuffles.  After going for an early-morning sail on his boat he went to wake her with a cup of tea – but it was too late; she was already gone.  She was only 42 years old.

I’ll never forget that fateful morning.  The sun streamed across the orchard & through the little window at the back of the kitchen, as I wrapped freshly-picked apples in preparation for their storage & our winter sustenance.  Tony was working on the farmyard; it was one of those rare early autumn days when the sun’s warmth was still sufficient to dissipate the dew & ripen the raspberries hanging in small, juicy clusters on the canes in the garden.  I’d been looking forward to catching up with my sister later in the day, as she’d been due to return from her holiday; in fact I’d wanted to call the previous evening after a particularly frustrating time at work for a cheery chat – she was guaranteed to always make me laugh & lift my darkest moods with her wit – but she was notoriously frustrating when it came to switching on her mobile ‘phone, so I’d decided patience would be the best virtue.  But when the telephone rang, the shocked disbelief at the news was almost too much to comprehend; & even today, it is hard to bear that our chat has been postponed for eternity.

A year later, the weather more accurately reflected the mood of the moment: clouds scudded the sullen sky & veils of rain soaked the valley in wind-blown sweeps, the animals tucked up out of the weather in snug, straw-filled stables.  I tried to occupy myself with a myriad of tasks but my thoughts never strayed from my family; my poor parents, who would be visiting her grave & would place the bouquet of vibrant autumn flowers we sent, thereon.  Having the ffarm to care for, I could not unfortunately be with them; however I took cold comfort in my enforced solitude.  Chatting to Mum this evening, I discovered that Peter had been late for their visit; he had been out for lunch to meet a woman which, on the anniversary of Melissa’s death, seems somewhat insensitive.  Nor did he bring any flowers to the grave; but then again, he never does although he said he would bring her some flowers from their garden, just across the road from the churchyard where she is buried, in due course. 

Tony called from Aleppo at regular intervals throughout the day, & spoke to my parents too, for which I was extremely grateful.  I tried to keep my conversations light & cheery as ever; but it’s not easy, when you know that the lonely ache in your heart is for a gap which can no longer be filled.  But there were many loving, supportive messages from friends & even from people I’d never met, particularly on the OMD Forum to which I subscribe.  Thanks to all who kept my chin up, today.

A year without words; spoken, unspoken.  Who could fail to miss such love?


About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Diary, Family, Life, September 2007. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Remembrance

  1. Tony Knight says:

    I met Melissa shortly after courting, then marrying Jo. Melissa was a truly wonderful woman. I was lucky enough to know her for 4 short years- but will always be proud in calling her my sister.

  2. Jay Whitfield says:

    What am amazing blogsite. You are certainly putting your heart and soul into it. All very poetically written. It’s a pity they don’t have smells on this. The smell of drizzle or the barn with new hay or a bag of freshly opened sugar beet.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Michelle Butler says:

    One year on and look how much you have achieved, Melissa would be so proud of you and Tony for keeping going and making the farm such a wonderful place to visit. She was lucky to have had such a lovely family arounf her. Looking forward to visiting you soon. ps. Is there a photo of the dog?

  4. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Hello there my very dear friend-

    thank you so much for your warm & wonderful words – Melissa would be very grateful! We too are looking forward to your visits, both for our ‘girlie’ weekend & for the pleasure of meeting up as families – as our ‘kids’ are looking forward to Lucas & Erin providing them with plenty of milky teatime bottles! Photo of Nanuk, our lovely Greenland Dog, can be found on the ‘New Arrivals’ post dated 15th August 2007. I’ll add a ‘photos’ tag for those who want to see the pics, I think as we have some really nice ones it’d be a shame to miss (did you see the nestful of swallow chicks? – gorgeously solemn!).

    Thanks for your kind words & VERY much looking forward to some quality time together!

    Jo xx

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