Losing Bob four years ago left a huge gap in my life. He had a heart attack when he had an accident after tripping on a kerb. The paramedics took him to hospital and he was put on a life support machine.
I phoned his daughter and the consultant suggested to her that the decision was made to switch off his life support. If he had survived he would have been paralysed from the neck down. He couldn’t have coped with that.
I have wonderful memories of course. I miss being able to do the things I used to do with Bob. We loved travelling and visited Switzerland, Spain, America, Germany, and east Africa where he used to work as a civil engineer. Bob also loved ballet and was very interested in the theatre, including Shakespeare.
Bob’s daughter, Sarah, still comes from Kent to see me, so I have a connection with him through her. She bought me some lovely irises the other day and looking at them now makes me realise there’s more to life than the life we know – looking at nature you see how life develops. Looking at life in this way helps you along.
Over the years since he died things have got better. I do believe there’s more to life than what we see. Some people are visionaries who look past the seen world.
I worked in show business all my working life and have worked on the stage. In London, I was in Oklahoma! and danced in Moulin Rouge. Both were quite successful which made me happy. I worked in most areas of the country. It was a wonderful life and having those memories has helped me a lot to keep going.
When you are bereaved, you have to believe that there is more to life than this one. I am interested in the power of positive thinking, healing and meditation and I belong to a spiritual organisation that helps me. It has made a big difference to my attitude.
With this sort of help and counselling it is wonderful to see people emerge so much stronger. Three quarters of the group is bereaved. Without this help, I can’t think what life would have been like.
I think it is easier to be in my situation as a gay man than it would have been in the past when there was so much persecution. A lot of people suffered terribly and were little understood in those days. People frowned upon you very quickly and put you down. They used to call it ‘the love that daren’t speak its name’. This is equally true for ladies.
Now our grief is acknowledged. I am very happy with who I am: you have to love yourself, though not in an egotistical way.
I have only been with Independent Age for a short time. I have a lady who visits me and we talk. It is lovely to have company and to discuss things with her. I always look forward to her coming to visit.