[Nothing of a professional nature here - feel free to skip. It's also very personal, but I don't have problems sharing it.]
Jill loved nature more than just about anything, though Spring was her favourite time, and she got so much pleasure out of seeing buds on the trees. However, even in the Winter she really enjoyed walking, and this is one of my favourite pictures; she'd been diagnosed by this time, but my love remained cheerful and upbeat, and I think this is seen here.
I remember December 30th 2009 with complete clarity - it's burned into my mind. It was bitterly cold and there was still a huge amount of snow. Jill's best friend Gaynor was fighting her way around the M25 to see her, and her sister Anne was doing her best to get down the M1. My brother also got across to us as well. I was rushing around getting liquid morphine for her to take, once she had company. Even during the day I don't think any of us quite realised what was happening. Luckily the medication ensured that she was pain free and capable of chatting. By the time her sister arrived she was dozing in and out, but she knew that we were there. I sat with her, holding her hands, and as the clock reached 7pm I realised what was happening. I'm told, and it's something which gives me comfort, that the ability to hear is one of the last senses to go, and that morphine helps here. So the last thing that Jill would have known was that she was surrounded by people who loved her, and she would have heard me saying over and over again that I loved her. I suppose that I've achieved many things in my life - none of them matter. The only thing that I think is important, and it's something that I cling to is that I loved and was loved completely and unconditionally. In that, I am very fortunate.
I'm fortunate to also have my family and good friends and colleagues, and this is as good a time as any to thank you all for helping me. Grief is a physical pain - it does actually hurt a lot, all the time. It doesn't go away, but you learn to adjust to it, and to accomodate it. I met someone at Online this year - I have to confess that I didn't remember her, but she said that she was very sorry to hear about Jill. She told me that she'd met her at Online a few years before, and chatted to her for about 20 minutes, and was struck by just how lovely and friendly Jill was - so much so that it had remained in her memory ever since. Grief is simply another aspect of love, and it's the coin with which we pay for all of the good times, and as such, I am happy and content.