I know this is going to seem really strange, but I'm so glad that last Monday has been and gone. That's July the 3rd past for another year.
I know it seems odd to single out one particular date as being one I don't look forward to, but I've got reasons. Three pretty good ones I'd say. Let's break down what happened on the 3rd of July over a three year span.
1998: Lorraine hadn't been well all week. Over the preceding few days Lorraine's parents had called me to say I shouldn't come over, as she wasn't well enough to see me. She was constantly being sick. I saw her brother one night that week and he told me, "I've never seen her this ill."
On the morning of the 3rd and I got a call from Lorraine's Dad at my desk at work, saying that Lorraine was in hospital in a diabetic coma. I heard the word coma and immediately feared the worst. I must have turned white as a sheet. I was certainly shaking. Looking back deciding to drive there after leaving work was a really bad idea, as my head just wasn't right. I was lucky not to have an accident on the way to the hospital.
It turned out that a local doctor had advised Lorraine's parents to stop her insulin and ply her with Lucozade. Her blood sugars went through the roof. Thankfully another doctor came and visited the house, immediately phoning an ambulance. Lorraine regained consciousness the next morning and recovered over the next week in hospital. She came home and was off work for the best part of a month. Pretty scary to think about it all now, I still have never asked Lorraine's parents for the name of that first doctor.
(And of course Lorraine lived happily ever after... until she married me, naturally.)
1999: Speak to my parents on a Sunday afternoon. They're absolutely heartbroken because Heidi, the golden retriever they owned for thirteen years had died the previous day. I spoke to them on July the 4th.
2000: I received another phone call from my parents at about 8.45pm. My step-father's mother had died. I had only introduced Lorraine to her a little over a week earlier. She hadn't seemed quite herself on that occasion, but I didn't think there was anything terribly wrong with her physically. It was a pretty big shock. Furthermore she was unquestionably one of the kindest people you could ever wish to meet. I don't think I ever heard her say an unkind word about anyone.
With one thing and another I found myself thinking about all this last Monday. Not that it was just another Monday. On top of it being July the 3rd it was also my first day at work following England's World Cup exit. I'm touchy enough about international football up here, but when you know a few people are going to remind you of your nationality then you're ready to be defensive in advance of anyone saying anything to you.
For some strange reason though I was more aware of the date and what had happened eight years earlier. Perhaps it was because it was Chloe's first July 3rd, and that without her Mother she wouldn't be here. Looking back that should have made me thankful, but instead it made me tense, nervous and edgy.
By mid-afternoon I was even more anxious. This time I can clearly say it was irrational. Anti-English sentiment was practically non-existent (although as usual I was doing my best to avoid it), it wasn't a bad day work wise by any means. The only piece of bad news was the likelihood that a training course would lead to me being away from home on my wedding anniversary. Not great (as obviously I'd sooner be with my wife that day) but not the end of the world either (if need be we'll just celebrate another day).
This didn't stop me from asking Lorraine for us not to go to the supermarket that night. I just wanted to come home, have a quiet evening and let the day slip away, go to sleep and wake up on the 4th. No such luck.
So off we went to the supermarket, having the usual discussions about what belonged in the trolley and what didn't. At the last minute before we reach the till Lorraine grabs a crawling mat for Chloe, turning a reasonably priced shop into an expensive one. Not ideal, but these things can't be avoided when you're a parent.
What also couldn't be avoided was to see Lorraine start to doze off in the car on the way home. Lorraine doesn't really take naps, and she never does while in a car. This meant one thing - a hypo. Can July the 3rd never pass without incident? Okay, it wasn't a particularly big one, but on that day I could have done without it.
I've already pencilled in what I plan to do on July the 3rd next year. I'm spending it in bed. Some days aren't worth trouble, especially if you can see it coming.
Have a good week!