Bee talks about her partner Simon, a film editor and writer, and how Trinity made their final Christmas together special.

This time last year, on December the 21st, Simon was still in Hospital. I was not sure whether he was going to make it out.  

I stayed with him all the time. The chair next to his bed became my bed, and the nursing staff were wonderful in allowing me to stay to support Simon. Simon wanted me there with him, as he thought he would die, and his wish was for me to be with him when the time came.

Thankfully, he pulled on his inner resources and recovered, so that he was able to return to Royal Trinity Hospice in time for Christmas and the freedom that the hospice allowed him.

We were back in the hospice on the 22nd December, where he settled. We went out for short walks in the gardens, to his ‘shed’ for a smoke, and walked into Clapham to The Sun pub for me to buy a drink and him to swish it round his mouth without choking.  

Simon spent a lot of time sleeping, which was to be expected. I knew he was fading.

Royal Trinity Hospice is a beautiful place with large, well-kitted en-suite bedrooms and incredibly helpful and supportive staff. Simon wanted me to be with him, and I was given a comfortable bed in his large room, so that I was never far from him.  

I was there to calm him, support him, help him to the bathroom, call the nurse when his pain was intolerable. I was there to hold his hand, most of the time, kiss him and tell him how much I love him. We were comfortable in each other’s quiet company. Words weren’t always necessary as it was the gestures that mattered.

I managed to pop into Clapham Junction to do some quick Christmas shopping for Simon and members of his family. Simon received an oatmeal designer jumper, bright patterned socks to replace his old ones, some indulgent toiletries and a new flannel for the shower. I also bought his birthday present while I was out – it was on the 27th December – when he was given a pair of Levi’s I’d bought for that very special occasion.

Christmas came, and Trinity put on a feast for patients and relatives. I was plied with never empty glasses of wine, mince pies, and a delicious festive dinner. It was not what I had planned or expected, and it was the kindest gesture that anyone could have done for us at that time. Simon enjoyed opening his gifts, and said how much he loved the jumper that he wore all the time from that day forward.

The sun was out, it was unseasonably warm, like a beautiful spring day. The daffodils, snowdrops, and even the cherry blossom, were out. In that way, Simon saw the spring before he died.

That is how I’d like to remember Christmas this year, as a good day with lovely surprises.

Sadly, Simon is no longer here, but he is with me still, in everything I do. The day he died, I told him that he will live on, always, in me, as we were so close that he had almost become part of me.

His hand was close in mine even after he had died.