Today would have been Suzanna’s birthday. It is a year today since I last saw her away from hospital and in the ‘real world’ before she died. She made a huge effort to escape the hospital for a short time.
We travelled by car the short distance from North Durham Hospital to Wharton Park and we wandered the park for a while. The weather was very similar to what it is today, still, quiet, a bite of frost in the air. We talked about the things we intended to do more of once she was ‘out of hospital’. We held hands, sat on a bench overlooking Durham Cathedral and cuddled in to each other in the cold.
She was tiny, not only had she lost a significant amount of weight but also presence. She was exhausted. We had a cup of tea and a really badly toasted teacake in the cafe, she barely touched either.
I think she knew. It was her birthday, but I think it was all for me, perhaps to give me something to hold onto. I am overflowing with guilt about what I could have done, should have done better, that my life has become so much more than it was since she died; that as things got worse for her, they improved for me.
I struggle to hold onto the memory of her. Some days I can't remember the sound of her voice, the smell of her, the feel of her, those things I used to take for granted.