Where to begin?

As I said before, there is so much to say. I think it would be overly ambitious to try to put it all in ‘one final post,’ as Wendy put it. I think that Wendy’s story isn’t over yet, so you may have to put up with a few posts from me. And besides, as soon as I hit the ‘publish’ button I will think of something else.

I feel quite dazed. This journey began back in January, and sadly became more and more difficult. Towards the end, Wendy had become progressively more dependent upon us. We had little time to ‘stop and think.’ When Wendy finally went to sleep in the early hours of yesterday morning, my feelings were so mixed. I was relieved that her suffering was finally at an end. But someone like Wendy leaves a huge void.

Wendy fitted that classic description of someone who could ‘light up a room.’ She was vivacious, enthusiastic, funny and passionate. She had an enormous heart and gave of herself endlessly. I feel truly privileged to have spent fourteen amazing years by her side. They have been fourteen years filled with love, joy and fun. What has been wonderful about the blog is the way in which some of her personality transferred onto the pages. You get a real feel for the kind of lady she was, and as a result, you have taken her to your hearts even if you didn’t know her.

I have read and received so many tributes to Wendy via these pages, Facebook and in person. So many that I just haven’t any chance to respond to them all individually. Please know that I read them all with pride and gratitude and your words move me.

I have also been moved by the way in which she has been treated by nurses. I understand now what kind of a special person it takes to be a nurse. During the last days she was tended by nurses in Ward 10 at Stoke Mandeville who have left me in awe of the way they could look after so many patients, and yet still smile and tend to my wife’s needs patiently. They pulled out all of the stops to get Wendy home when it became clear that nothing else could be done medically. Wendy’s wish was to spend her last days at home and they made it happen for her.

We discovered a wonderful charity called Rennie Grove Hospice Care (formerly Ian Rennie) who supply nurses to help with end of life care. I cannot tell you how many times they were there for us when we needed them. In Wendy’s last hours she was tended by Ian Rennie nurses with such tenderness and respect and I am so grateful to them.

Wendy also had some true, special friends (you know who you are) who have been there for us in the difficult days. Whether to just come and sit with her, or run an errand or help in so many ways, you proved your true friendship to Wendy.

She had the good fortune to be employed by a really special company. BHS have helped and supported us as a family in so many ways that they didn’t have to do. They stood by her and repayed the loyalty that she showed them in ways that are truly remarkable. These included buying her a special bed and offering to pay for carers to stay at our home. They also made it possible for her to attend the company conference, and senior people have visited Wendy at home and in hospital. Finally, they fully backed and funded the Bostin Bums calendar (I do hope that you have one).

While I feel a deep sadness right now, I also feel tremendous gratitude. Wendy and I packed a lifetime into fourteen years. She truly was a wonderful wife, and I have also lost my best friend. The years that we spent together I will never forget, and the love I have for her still burns inside me. I have been blessed.

Many of you have asked about Wendy’s funeral arrangements. I know that so many of you would like to come and pay your final respects, and you will be very welcome. Fortunately, we talked about this and Wendy wrote down her wishes for me.

Wendy’s funeral will take place at All Saints Church, High Wycombe at 3pm on Wednesday the 9th of December, followed by a committal at the Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham. As this is quite late in the day, we are planning to offer people refreshments before the service instead of afterwards. This will allow people with long journeys to arrive relaxed and refreshed (we will provide more details of this in due course). She has also chosen her favourite hymns, so please arrive in good voice! Finally she has stipulated NO flowers apart from the single arrangement that she has requested and we have ordered for her. She would love it if instead you donated the money you would have spent to her two charities: Beating Bowel Cancer and Rennie Grove Hospice Care. You can do so via the links on the blog, or hand your donations to the funeral directors on the day.

Wendy is also survived by her mum Judith, and two children Richard and Rebecca. They have all shown incredible dignity and strength throughout this journey. I am very fortunate to have gained these people in my family through Wendy. They all need your love and support too. We will stick together, and I will continue to regard them as part of my family forever.

A few days ago, Wendy said to me ‘I’ve lived a lifetime with you.’ I feel the same way. I have so many precious moments to look back on. We were lucky, we learned the importance of picking daisies when we had the opportunity. If you have an ambition, don’t put it off – do it soon. None of us know what is around the next corner, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Whether that’s swimming with dolphins or riding a motorbike naked in the sun. We picked our daisies and you must too.

Steve

40 thoughts on “Where to begin?”

  1. Bless you Steve, you’ve made me cry but cry with a smile on my face at the beautiful tribute to your wife and soul mate. I wish you, Judith, Richard and Rebecca courage and strength in the days, weeks, months and years ahead and I send you love too even though we are strangers.

  2. Steve

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Judith , Richard and Rebecca. I feel privileged to have met Wendy and her family. I am so sad that I didn’t get to see Wendy in her last few weeks but have some lovely memories to keep. She was a very special person.
    I am still in shock and the silliest things just start my tears but I can’t even begin to feel your pain.
    If there is anything I can do,please don’t hesitate to ask.

    All my love and prayers are with you and your family, Karen xxx

  3. God bless you Steve, also Rebecca, Richard and Judy. Our prayers are for you all at this very sad time. Wendy was truly a remarkable person and an inspiration to many, and will remain so for a very long time. Love from Sue& Tony

  4. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak the family is feeling right now I hope you find some comfort in all the wonderful kind heartfelt messages that are being posted by friends family and those whose hearts Wendy reached out to, as I sit here thinking of the precious memories she has made the tears trickle down my cheeks, I really do love you Wendy sleep with the angels my dear friend. I wish we didn’t have to say goodbye but you have the most beautiful wonderful children in Rebecca and Richard and they made you burst with pride and to Judy I want the world to wrap their arms around you and then Steve who Wendy promised her Mr Wonderful would find the words we needed to hear thank you love and Juddy hugs to all xxxx

  5. Steve, that was such a beautifully written tribute to Wendy, and to everyone who was involved with you both. I’m so.sorry for your loss, she sounds like an amazing lady who brought so much to everyone who knew her. Take strength from this, and know that you’re in all our thoughts and prayers. Much love to you and your family xx

  6. Steve, Mom, Richard & Rebecca I am broken, no other words can describe how I feel.
    My heart aches for you all.
    Wendy loved you all with a love that warms the soul, and the void in your hearts & home at this time must be indescribable.

    I am still trying to come to terms with Wendy gaining her wings and traveling to pastures new & peaceful.
    I am in shock and can’t quite get my head around these past 72 hours.
    I am going to work because I can hear Wendy saying, suck it up Reet Petite and get on with it. But it’s so difficult I have to switch off and close my thoughts down because each time I think about it, I crumble.
    So the Lord alone knows how you are all feeling X

    Know that what I felt in your home when we were all with Wendy was a tender love that will be with me forever.

    Your tribute to your adorable wife is beautiful, God Bless you all because I was truly humbled watching the love & care you, mom, Richard & Rebecca gave to our selfless, courageous amazing Wendy. xxx

    P.S.
    Wendy, have I told you lately that I love you

  7. Such beautiful words. I have really enjoyed reading all of the blogs and will be ordering a calendar. I am sending you and your family blessings and healing all the way from New Zealand.

  8. Thank you Steve
    Wendy was truly a remarkable lady who has touched so many hearts. I feel very lucky to have known Wendy and to have shared time with her I will always keep my memory’s of her in my heart and never forget her.
    Steve we are all still here for you and your family when ever you need us.
    Keep you all in my thoughts and prayers XXXX

  9. Well done, Steve, Rebecca, Richard and Judith. We have watched with respect your loving care for Wendy – one remarkable woman. Thank you for sharing her and her journey with us all.

  10. So nicely written Steve Wendy would be so proud im sure…i can’t possibly imagine how you are feeling right now my heart breaks for you all as there must be such an empty gap.. i have some great memories of Wendy when our kids were growing up and im so glad we came to see you all in High Wycombe.. its so sad that she has been taken so early…. we will always be here if ever you need us Steve, Richard, Rebecca and Aunty Judith, who has not only been through losing one daughter but to then lose another well i just cant imagine how she is feeling….thinking of you all and sending a big hug and lots of love xxxxxxxxxxx

  11. That was so beautiful Steve. You have done Wendy proud. That’s such a powerful emotion and one I have felt before – that conflict of praying for the end because you love them so much that you just cannot bear the suffering any longer but so desperately wanting to cling onto them and never say goodbye.

    I told Wendy that my mum had died but I didn’t tell her from what and she didn’t ask. It was bowel cancer. I was Rebecca’s age. My mum passed away in a side room in hospital all alone and oh how I regret that. When I read Wendy was home I cried xx

  12. Steve
    What beautiful words. She was proud of you all. She often told me not to worry about her, she was “ok” when clearly she was far from it. She talked about her Mr Wonderful and boy are you more than that. You should be so proud of yourselves as a family unit. What you have done for Wendy in her final months is amazing. The care she has received from you all is second to none.
    I can’t imagine the void in your lives and I know it’s going to be hard for you all but please bare in mind we are all here if you need a hand an ear or a shoulder.
    God bless you Steve for writing this as you must have so much going on and thank you for letting us be part of your lives. I shall miss Wendy so much. Every day I had a message telling me to go pick daisies for her so that is what I shall be doing.
    Love to you from me xxxx

  13. Beautiful blog Steve, such lovely heartfelt words, you are an amazing man with a huge heart and every bit of Wendy’s Mr Wonderful, sending you and yours much love X

  14. What a lovely piece about Wendy, my heart goes out to you all, sitting here blubbing. Since I knew Wendy was ill, she has been on my mind and sometimes, I think I cannot be bothered to do something , then I think of Wendy and do whatever it was. Her blog was an inspiration. Love and hugs to you all, I so feel for all of you but her mum, I know what it is like to bury a child but two, there are no words. X

  15. What a lovely tribute Steve. My eyes are blurred from tears while writing this. Wendy was a truly remarkable woman,
    as the saying goes SHE WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. You are all such a remarkable family that have touched so many people’s lives. As Mary has said we are all here for you and if there is anything at all that we can do for you or the family just let us know xx

  16. Steve,
    What beautiful words.
    Sending you all my deepest sympathys and love.
    What an inspiration, such strength and courage.
    Sleep tight Wendy xxxxxxx

  17. God bless you Steve she was a one off Wendy was an the impact she had on everyone she met was unique She was a brave inspiring lady I think the hardest part for her must have been leaving you and her babies please stay strong and keep us posted about plans as we live bit of a distance away xxx take care

  18. Aww Steve.. a wonderful tribute by Mr Wonderful, it made me cry.
    You’ve all done her proud.
    Such a brave family unit.
    My thoughts are with you all (as they have been for many months now).
    Wendy has made (and will keep on making) a massive impact on bowel cancer awareness… and the money you have all raised (over £10.000, WOW) for the cause is a wonderful legacy.
    I’m proud to be connected to her through the Crestwood, and to have befriended her in later years via Facebook.
    She will be missed by so many. Her blog, alone, showed her amazing character & strength, and she was shocked and proud to have people all around the world reading it.
    My heart goes out to you all.
    God Bless xxx

  19. Many many thanks to all of you who share this blog and post such lovely comments. I have lost the light of my life but intend to stay strong for my amazing grandchildren and son in law, we have all supported each other in a remarkable way and I am very proud of them as I know Wendy would be.

  20. Steve

    Such beautiful heart felt words for a beautiful lady. The world will be a little darker without her but know the stars will shine more brightly now she is amongst them.

    I am proud to have known such a courageous lady and am thinking of you all xxx

  21. Steve, Richard, Rebbecca and Judy,
    My heart goes out to you all, I can’t seem to put into words what I want to say, I’ve a lump in my throat as big as a cricket ball and eyes all of a blurr, I feel so lucky to have known Wendy, they broke the mould when Wendy was born I’m sure, as I have never ever met any one like her since, she was such a big presence where ever she went, she will be greatly missed and I just keep thinking of all the pain and sleepless nights she endured, I think ‘ she out of that pain now, but it still doesn’t make it right or fare, life is crap the way it turns out , again I’m so so sorry, I will never forget this special lady, she’s always in my heart, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  22. Steve Rebecca Richard and Judy my heart goes out to you Wendy was my friend at school and thanks to Facebook and school reunion we was able to connect again as friends xx will miss her lots and will always think off school days and Facebook chats and messages xx miss her she was a very special lady xxx. Love April

  23. What a beautiful, heartfelt and accurate way to describe Wendy. I am so sorry that she has been taken away from you all far too soon, you deserved many more happy years together picking daisies. You are completely right about Wendy lighting up a room when she walked in and that is exactly how I will remember her, never a dull moment when she was around. Thinking of you Steve, Judith, Rebecca and Richard, God bless you all xw

  24. Steve,Rebecca,Richard and Judy what a lovely tribute Steve wrote at such a difficult time for you I know all her blog friends will appreciate as much as me the feeling that you didn’t want her to leave you but she had suffered enough and you brought her home,we feel that too once she couldn’t be her usual organising and bossy little self. Cook clean and contribute in her business life she must have been so tired with the fight. How wonderful that you are all such a tight unit and can help each other.My thoughts will be with you all at the funeral and in the difficult days that follow.Wendy and I worked so well as a team even though we were both bossy and although we hadn’t met for a while had some great chats and laughs online.Everyone is so proud and admiring of Wendy’s thoughts for others and her £10,000. Fund and of course her “BOSTIN BUMS.Not many people are lucky enough to be remembered with such love and admiration what a legacy.Love to you all ex ex ex Boss Dorothy.

  25. Steve I have found your yourself, Judith, Rebecca and Richard to be the most amazing, selfless, caring and loving family I have ever had the privilege to meet.
    I have always said you never forget meeting Wendy, indeed she lite up the room with such passion and energy. Wendy always said she was like marinate, love her or hate her, well I loved her for her honesty, passion and attitude.
    When she spoke of her family it was with such love and pride, so I guess you were blessed to have had fourteen wonderful years together picking those daisies that you will be able to look back on in time.
    Right now I cannot imagine the rollercoaster of emotions you are all going through, I have a very heavy heart right now too. But I hold onto the fact that at least I was privileged to have know Wendy, just wish it could have been for longer.
    Love to you all. Alison. X

  26. Steve
    What lovely words about an amazing wife, mother and daughter.
    I never had the privilege to meet wendy I am part of the bhs family and followed her blog and her love for you all came over loud and clear.
    Wendy achieved so much with raising awareness about bowel cancer and her inspired fundraising she is truly a very special person.
    I feel honoured that she choose to share her story with us and made a difference to so many of us I think all her readers appreciate all the more that life is short and there’s many daises for us all to pick.

    Judy
    My heart is breaking for you, as a mother I can only imagine the devastation you must be feeling, but your first thought is of your grand children I think its clear where wendy got her strength and care for other people from.

    My thoughts are with you all everyday
    Debs xxx

  27. Steve such a fitting tribute to a wonderful lady and all who helped her through this awful disease. Steve,Richard ,Rebecca and Judith. Words cannot express my pride and admiration for you all and the way you dealt with Wendy’s final weeks. She would have been so proud of you. Such amazing strength and selfless acts from you all to make Wendy’s final days exactly as she wanted them at home with her family. I am proud to call you all friends and just so you know I think of you as family. Rest in peace my dearest friend Wendy I will miss you so much!!!I know that your family will all continue to make you proud as they did when you were here with us. Finally to Steve for having the strength ,courage and compassion to fulfill Wendy’s final wishes even though she is no longer with us. Love to you all always. Xx

  28. Dear Steve, Rebecca, Richard & Judy, we’ve never met but I started reading Wendy’s blog in the late Spring 2015 and for me the way that it was written, edited, Warts & All was amazing. I’m a mature technophobic BHS Store Manager who had never read a blog before in my life but for me reading it became part of my daily routine like so many other people. I was extremely privleged to met Wendy in September at the Conference, she was LITERALLY surrounded by her friends from the BHS family but we had a little chat

  29. Sorry about not finishing above post. I did say I was a Technophobe. But to continue…
    the customary photo taken of the West Midlands Store Manager’s & she gave me a single Daisy. I’m not sure that blogging will ever be the same for me as I will ALWAYS think of Wendy & her family and what an inspirational story you all told. I look forward to getting my Bostin Bums Calender from Merryhill & will continue to support Wendy’s chosen charities in her memory. God bless you all xx

  30. There are no words to make things better for you all right now. You have all suffered terribly. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been to watch Wendy deteriorate so quickly. It is a blessing that Wendy is no longer suffering but your pain will continue in your hearts. Life is so cruel. None of you deserve this pain. Be kind to yourselves. That is what Wendy would have wanted. She will be with you all always. Lots of love xxxxxxxxx

  31. Beautiful words and brought tears to my eyes! Condolences to you and all your family. Thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time.
    Wendy is not suffering anymore and is up there with all angels. amazing women God bless xx

  32. Steve you say you were truly blessed to have had Wendy by your side for the last fourteen years but she was truly blessed to have had you by her side. No one could wish for a better or more supportive husband or family than Wendy had. I am thankful that she made it home to be with her loving family in her final days. I feel for all of your broken hearts right now but know you will all support one another. Thinking of you all at this terribly sad time. Xxx

  33. Dear Steve, Judy, Richard and Rebecca,
    I’m so deeply sorry that you’ve lost your beloved wife, daughter and mum.
    There are no words I can offer you in your pain, however, the words that have filled this blog from start to finish from Wendy and all who wrote, are a true testament to what you already knew;
    That Wendy’s character, strength and depth of heart and soul were truly extraordinary. I learned more from Wendy within this year than she could ever have learned from me in a lifetime. She achieved what she set out to do – to raise awareness. She did this in more ways than one, and that for me, is her legacy to us all. x

    Love and thoughts to you all at this very sad time. x

  34. Steve this is such a beautiful tribute to Wendy. Your love for each other comes through so clearly. The both of you have gently shown the world the importance of taking the time to pick daisies and we will forever be grateful for it.

  35. What a beautiful piece of writing Steve, will be thinking of you all on a sad day but also remembering the fun loving person Wendy was, she will be sadly missed but will live on in all our hearts, so pleased I had the opportunity of knowing Wendy she was a great Deputy manager at Debenhams where we worked together, keep strong, all my love Lynne xxx

  36. when this time is over and people get back to their own lives.
    I will remember her.
    when the sun shines or the wind blows.
    I will remember her.
    you just can’t blow out the candle of someones life that has touched your’s.
    I will remember her.
    judy, steve, rebecca as time passes and things get back to normal,
    I will remember you all, and of course julie a memory that has never faded.
    I will remember you.

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