His tender hand caresses Patsy, the wife of seventy years; Patsy knew she was loved then, at that time at that place. All the love in the world was theirs. Thousands of hours Patsy and Bill had together, in that wonder world of togetherness that love made good. Bill would think of Patsy as he got up for work on the 5 am shift.
He would dream of the time he could earn enough to buy her one of those new fangled television sets and a washing machine.
Days that never seemed to end, those generous days after the war. But work at the factory was hard and for every shilling he earned a pool of sweat was on the floor.
Summer holidays at the Holiday Camp, the children’s screams of joy, a time when the sun never seemed to set.
One day Bill started to notice that Patsy was getting forgetful; he thought it would pass but, it didn’t. One day Patsy went out in the middle of the night in her nightdress and was found at the bus stop crying. Soon she forgot who Bill was. She became a danger to herself, leaving the house at all hours and not looking as she crossed the road. The doctor said she would have to ‘go into care.’
Bill went to the ‘Care Home’ every day for six years. He would try and feed Patsy but, it got impossible, she ended up being fed by a tube. One day Bill got a phone call to say that Patsy was ‘very ill’ and he needed to come to the Care Home as quick as he could, he did that, Patsy died as he held her close to him.
The children had moved abroad but two managed to come to the funeral.
Bill sat alone in his council house, in his old chair by the window where he could see the mill where he used to work. He sat there utterly bereft of any company for three months. On September 8th 1994 he hung himself.
Footnote: Patsy and Bill lived in walking distance from a ‘Lively Church’. The local magazine spoke of the vast improvements’ to the, ‘contra flow system’ on the new road that went past the council house where Bill and Patsy had lived since 1956.
This story, written by Chris, also appears on the website “Care Community Action“