Dear John

Here’s another thing I wrote which could have gone in the leaflet, but I thought it was too sad and too personal.

When you get better, John

When you get better, John, you won’t ever have to go to work again.

Your retirement has begun.

All you will have to do is exist.

Recover and recuperate and relax.

When you are slowly improving in hospital, I will visit you every single day.

Every day I will bring you a different book or magazine to read, a different CD to listen to.

I will use the ‘Chapman Bag’ I bought for you.

It will have a lunch box of food in – grapes and little sandwiches and your favourite biscuits.

I will hide little surprises in the pockets of the bag, little notes that say I love you.

And I will bring in ‘enrichment’ items so you’re not bored.

Various things I’ve found around the house, something with some meaning or history that you will remember.

One of the little birds we bought in New York; one of the little containers you bought on an antique stall.

And we’ll have long conversations each day, John, about what’s happened, and how it will affect our future.

Loads of people will visit you in hospital.

You can chat to your friends about things in the news and about football.

I’ll have to arrange a visit calendar, they’ll be so many people who’ll want to see you and wish you well.

And then one day you’ll come back home, John.

We’ll have a welcome home party.

You’ll come in the front door and sit in your chair, resume your place.

And you will be so happy to be home at last, back in your familiar house, surrounded by your own things.

You will be pleased at how I’ve tidied and arranged your things – you will forgive me for touching them.

You will see that I have bought the new lamps we always meant to buy, for your homecoming.

And that I had an electrician fix the faulty fitting.

I will show you the kitchen whiteboard.

How every day, I was changing the number of days since you were taken ill.

Until the day you finally came home, when the number wouldn’t change any more.

The whole thing would be over.

I will look after you, in your new life, John.  I will tend to your every need.

I will do everything that needs doing around the house.

I will nurse you, I will cook for you, make healthy meals.

Everything carefully prepared and controlled according to medical advice.

Slowly, we will go for little walks around the garden.

Then eventually we will drive out to parks and go for longer walks, slowly getting fit and healthy together.

When you are better, John, you can stay with your brother David by the seaside.

Sit with him and watch sport on telly – go for gentle walks along the seafront.

We will buy a new house, eventually, by the sea.

It will be on the East coast of the country, not the West.

So that you will see only sunrises, John, which you so love.

And no sunsets.

All this will happen, John – if only you will get better!

Hurry home, John, so we can start our new future together!

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