My Life with Judith - Rowan
Created by Rowan on 12/01/2013
How do you even start to describe someone who has been by your side for the past 37 years? Actually that’s not even right as we were married for 37 years but started going out together when we were about 14 then got married when we were both just 20 and no the rumours were wrong! Whatever I write here won’t do justice to the woman I loved.
Judith was born to a pair of lovely people Bill and Kath and like me she was an only child. I guess that gave us a foundation to start with. However she had a large extended family which in those early days scared me more than just a bit… So clever, witty and LOUD. It’s great to see some many here today and later I am sure we will remember those who can’t be with us a bit later.
Judith was one of the kindest people you could wish to meet. She rarely had a bad word to say about anyone…well except the odd guest and I mean ODD. She was quiet and shy but always helped out if there was a need. From running playgroups to junior hockey she was always there in the background making sure it ran smoothly. She was always well organised and logical but just occasionally had the capacity to surprise. Judith had listened to me sounding off about my work etc. and when I was in Germany proceeded to renegotiate several of the guest house contracts saving us a lot of money. Suddenly I could be made redundant!
She had a beautiful smile and was always ready to laugh at something. Even herself which she did often in later life.
She loved the Lake District and walking the hills although in recent times we didn’t get the time to do much and after her operation she was a bit slow. I remember sitting having lunch at Walla Crag looking down onto Derwent water. The sun was out and it was perfectly still. She turned to me and said ‘You know there is something spiritual about this place’. That was it. Just a sentence that captured the moment perfectly.
In August 2009 Judith was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I remember the day well as it was our wedding anniversary. So much for heart burn! Our life was about to be turned upside down. A few days later she collapsed at home and was rushed to MK Hospital. Even then it was touch and go. There followed a few weeks trying to get infections etc. stabilised so she could have a ‘Whipple’ operation in late October. While the clock is ticking the chances of a successful operation grow less. Look up the stats and you will be shocked. She finally had the op and 7 hours later came round minus a lot of bits and some major re plumbing.
That single day in August was to be a catalyst for a life change but was also a cloud that was forever with us. As she convalesced with steps forward and backward, we decided to live the dream that we had almost jokingly talked about…running a guest house together….good grief we were mad!
I left my job in London and we started to look for the ideal house finding Link House quite quickly. December 2010 we moved in on the coldest day of the year. As ever the organiser Judith and Jen came up to organise the move in while I stayed in MK to finalise the move out. By the time I arrived the day had been a success though I don’t think anyone knows how given the snow and ice, and we had an invitation to a party. The first of many here and an introduction to a real community. We couldn’t have landed in a better place. We did wonder what we had come to with the first party and a few days later Brian arriving out of the blue with a bottle of bubbly to welcome us. We found real peace and happiness here and that was in no small part down to the people who are warm and friendly even to soft southerners. From enjoying the Harvest Festival and produce auction to the Christmas Carol concert. To socialising with friends to dressing up for a gangster night with NLAP. All these events made us feel welcome and belonging. We especially enjoyed breakfast in the summer after the guests had gone just sat at the front enjoying the weather and waving at the passers-by.
Well I started this by trying to describe Judith and I don’t think I have managed much. You will all have your memories and know what Judith meant to you but Judith was my best friend. My mentor and coach, she could praise and scold me, she was my lover. A great cook she never really accepted how good she was till she was praised by an ex chef when getting our Breakfast Award which she was so proud of. She was our gardener, our planner. A mother who had to be dad as well at times when I was working away. She was all of these and so much more to me. I miss her and think of here every day.