Sometime after my wife Marlene died I wrote a letter which I was going to send and I thought ‘no this sounds a bit twee’. I’ll give you the gist of it.
St. Gemma’s is a tree and everyone who works there is a strong branch of that tree providing shelter, compassion and treatments for the fortunate patients who have managed to come here.
Six months ago I couldn’t have done this. It took me a long long time even to get used to the idea of not seeing Marlene again. Then suddenly I started not to be well and I thought ‘this is mad, I must get things organised for the kids’ so that when I do go they have nothing to do.
The only thing I can remember is waking up here with a nurse sitting on both sides and Mei who looked after Marlene was the one on the right side. And she said ‘Ronnie!’ and held my hand. You can’t put a price on it can you?
You’ve got to show your emotion, if you want to sit down and have a cry fine. I cry often, even now. I sat at home with my son and started thinking about Marlene and I burst into tears. It’s normal, we were married 61 years.
When I came with Marlene originally, the minute you walk through reception the whole atmosphere is one of peace, quiet, welcome. It’s amazing and it still is.
I’m really hard to impress, but this impressed me. I’m the luckiest man in the world to be here.