THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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'Mrs Paine' - 1956-2011

My beloved 'Mrs P.' has passed away. She died peacefully in the early hours of this morning. I was at her bedside, holding her hand and telling her for the last time in this life how much she is loved.

I cannot thank enough the staff at the Cromwell Hospital in London. They have taken great care of her since she was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2008. They were marvelous in the last few weeks. On Friday, they stood around her bed singing 'Happy Birthday' to Miss P the Elder. Mrs P's eyes lit up as they came in bearing an enormous cake made in the hospital kitchens. She ate a few crumbs, smiled at them and mumbled through heavy sedation 'I am very pleased'.

She was my wife of 31 years, my best friend of 37 and my chief counsellor in life. Her love of foreign languages and her curiosity about other cultures made my international career possible. She was a wonderful, instinctive mother to our two splendid daughters. She made every family occasion special. We will miss her more than I can possibly express.

We have been together since I was a boy of 17. She was the author of most of the good in my life. The road ahead seems very dark without her by my side.