Thursday, 28 April 2016

Bob Hill

Well the road is wide
and the waters run on either side
and my shadow in the fading light
is stretching out towards the nigh

Last night I dreamed that there were people playing cricket up at St. Martins, and because Bob couldn't go and watch, I thought I had better watch for him, it was the least I could do.
I am not a great cricket fan, but all sport is good.  When I was young, my version of cricket was daydreaming and then wondering why people were cross with me when the wooden bit accidentally got knocked off the other wooden things by the ball. I got hit by the ball a few times, which explains a lot.
But Bob was a real sillymidoff and LBW. He used to play cricket and then he just talked about cricket all the time, apart from when he wasn't talking about cricket.

Cos the sun is low
and I still have so far to go
and my lonely heart is beating so
tired of the wander

I was going to get a kitten and call it Bob, so I could shout 'Bob, get off the curtains!' 
But Bob didn't tend to climb the curtains, Ann used to shout 'Bob get off the computer! (and peel the potatoes or we won't have a meal)'. Bob eventually did go to do the potatoes, but he put Parker on the webcam, and Parker was more interested in jumping out the window and investigating the mice under the shed.
I have decided not to get a kitten for the moment, because I didn't take the downstairs flat this time, but next time it comes up, I will and I will have a kitten called Bob. I hope it behaves itself and doesn't try to do too many good deeds. And no, it won't be a Manx kitten or a police cat. It may be rather stubborn and pig-headed though.

There's a sign ahead
Though I think it's the same one again
but I'm thinkin' about my only friend
so I'll find my way home

I have kept this narration lighthearted so far, but life has been very dark since Bob was taken ill. Some people ask why I care when I was so angry with him. Why? Well because although he went about it the wrong way and hurt me badly, he meant well and he was one person who really did care and did see the horror of the suffering that the Church inflicted. And I blame myself, because I couldn't get him to stop, and he collapsed with the stress just after going on BBC Jersey to defend me without my permission and I was angry with him. Bob couldn't defend me properly because he didn't know my story. And I am left carrying this alone and it is killing me.

Cos when I need to get home
you're my guiding light
you're my guiding light
when I need to get home,
you're my guiding light

Last year in the autumn, my friend was ill and it was found to be cancer, she was a great friend and we never had a cross word and she was a tremendous support to me. By the time the cancer was found, she didn't have long to live.
She went into hospital to have her lungs drained sometimes, she went downhill very fast.
In the autumn as The Church and press and media relaunched their attack, I was starting my first term at university, with the encouragement of my friend who was now dying.
My friend was due in hospital and then Bob collapsed with the stress of his continued involvement in my case. No one can kid me that that that isn't the case. You know it isn't just that a great man collapsed stubbornly doing his own version of a good deed, it is that he was the main carer for his wife who has MS, and he was working to help other people who had problems. It kills me.

Oh, where the air is cold
and yonder lies my sleeping soul
by the branches broke like bones
oh this weakened tree no longer holds

Bob collapsed, and the Jersey bloggers advertised it but didn't know what was going on, and no one contacted me. I didn't know what had happened. All I knew was that my life was as dark as midnight in hell with my new degree course trashed by the church and press and media and my best friend dying and then Bob's collapse. Life has never been light and easy and well, but it has been very dark indeed since last October. I don't know how I get up each day or how I get through each day.

oh well the night is still
and I have not yet lost my will
oh I will keep on moving till
till I find my way home

There was no-one for me to contact about Bob and no one to help me or tell me how he was, so I was alone with the responsibility of his collapse. I am just thankful he was in better hands than my dad when my dad collapsed with his first and second strokes only a few short years ago while the church was destroying me. My mum being schitzophrenic, left my dad collapsed both times and didn't call an ambulance, so my dad died. Bob's collapse was a horrible flashback of that but at least he was in good hands.

When I need to get home
youre my guiding light
you're my guiding light
when I need to get home
youre my guiding light
youre my guiding light
when I need need to get home you're my guiding light

I didn't know how Bob was and if he had died (and I still don't but presumably he is alive and has made a recovery of sorts).
But I kept a candle lit all the time to keep him off the ghost roads, a guiding light. Maybe a bit like the lighthouse in 'The Lovely Bones' only different, and I played  this song 'Guiding light' because it echoed the tragic situation and my hope for Bob to be OK. Despite his sometimes misguided actions, Bob was a real man, who used his strength to protect the weak, a man with a clear conscience and a direct path to heaven, although the ghost roads are not nice, especially if you get trapped on them, halfway, like my Dad did.

So lead me on, lead me strong
Life's a road we walk on
and when I need to get home
you're my guiding light, you're my guiding light.

Anyway, I went to the hospital where my friend was, Bob was also there, and I had not expected to see Bob, wouldn't have asked to. But what happened was, I went to leave a card and a letter for him and his family.
The Samaritans said I should ask the nurses at the hospital  if Bob's illness really was my fault. So I did, it turned out that Bob was in the bed by the nurse's station and they got me to sit with him.

Bob was breathing on his own, he was awake and lucid and could comprehend. And that helped. The nurse said not to worry about telling Bob I was sorry, because I cried when I tried to, and the nurse didn't want either of us upset. I hadn't thought Bob would be awake if the brain haemmorrage was severe as the bloggers said.

Bob couldn't speak, he had lost the ability to speak and he had lost some sight and movement, but he turned over and looked at me and he could nod and shake his head. I was amazed, I knew he had survived and although nothing could take away the seriousness of his condition, I had hope. I have known too many survivors of strokes and TIAs and I know how serious and lasting the effects are. I remember sitting with my dad after his first stroke and he was fully conscious and able to function, albeit lopsidedly, and he went on to live reasonably well for a while longer, so I had hope for Bob.

I asked Bob if he knew who I was, but he wasn't sure, I told him but I don't know if he understood.
I asked him if he remembered being on BBC Jersey, and he nodded.
I asked him if he knew where he was, but he wasn't sure so I told him where he was and what had happened and how long he had been in hospital.
He didn't know when his family would be at the hospital, and at first he wanted me to stay, but then either he was tired or he realised who I was, and he wanted me to go, so I did, I said 'God Bless you Bob' and that is the last thing I said to him.

I went into the chapel and didn't realise there was someone there so I was crossly berating God and there was a man sitting in the corner eating his lunch. It turned out that he was a Christian member of the hospital staff on his lunchbreak, and he prayed with me for Bob and family and for my dying friend and her family. I don't think he had ever heard someone having words with God like I did that day.

Sitting with Bob reminded me so much of sitting with my dad after Dad's life support was switched off and my brothers and sisters went to get drunk and left me there alone with Dad.
It reminded me of sitting with Ted when he nearly died as well, and Ted made a miracle recovery. 
It is a good thing I wasn't alone after seeing Bob, I wrote this, do you remember it?

If I could turn back time, what would I do? How would I get Bob to take my story and not rewrite it and hurt me? I don't think I could, and maybe I knew that what happened would happen, because although he refused to back down and leave the case alone, he told me it was making him ill, he told me he couldn't write his book. But nothing I said could stop him.
And all I can do is live with this and with no one to turn to.
There aren't many people like Bob left in this world, people are getting more selfish and self-interested, so for someone like Bob to fall, the world becomes a worse place. He has great integrity and kindness and a need to help others, even if he insists on doing it HIS way, and he was usually very calm. I can't put right what has happened but I can't carry it any more, I won't survive if I try.

I am the speaker
she has no voice
I speak for her

I am the lantern-bearer
the guiding light
I am not the speaker
I stand beside him, waiting
to banish the shadows
from St. Clements bay
when the end comes
I stand in the shadows 
and they never see my face

I am the wanderer
I am one alone
walking in darkness and pain
towards where I fell
on St. Clements Bay
looking for the light

The speaker fell
but I will trade my life and strength for his
he has no voice
give him mine
lantern bearer guide him
not me, I will go instead

This post is the only form of conclusion I can bring to the situation with Bob. 
I hope that he doesn't worry or have nightmares and I hope that his family are alright.

There are those who fail
there are those who fall
there are those who will never win
then there are those who fight
for the things we believe
and these are men like you and me

In my dream we walked
you and I to the shore
leaving footprints by the sea
and when there was just one
set of prints in the sand
that was when you carried me

The lyrics in this post apart from my ones, are from 'Guiding Light' by Foy Vance and Ed Sheeran and 'Snows of New York' by Chris DeBurgh, I hope that they don't mind me borrowing them for Bob.

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