February 16th, 2016 marks the day that my friend, lover and wife departed this world for her next life, the life she was guaranteed with God as a born again Christian. Understandably she didn't want to leave me, her daughters Kirsty and Claire, her granddaughter, Keomi and her many relatives and friends. She fought bravely for 19 months living life to the full before succumbing to this dreadful and rare cancer.
Monica was always immaculately dressed and just weeks before she passed away was clothes shopping and getting her nails done, she always looked stunning wherever she went.
Her dedicated voluntary work for our native wildlife with a local rescue charity (WRAS, East Sussex Wildlife and Rescue Ambulance Service) was recognised by a British Citizen Award presented to her in London at The Palace of Westminster in July 2015 (one of just 30 people honoured throughout the country) and she could proudly add the initials BCAv after her name. She was and continues to be an inspiration to all who knew her and all who may follow her as at the animal hospital the orphan rearing unit has been very kindly named after her.
We met each other when we were at school many years ago and remained close friends throughout various marriages, and jobs, somehow, we knew we would end up together and as we both hoped married in 2008, Monica called our wedding "the icing on the cake" and I had to agree with her, we had a fairy tale, intimate ceremony with our friends at a local wine centre.
The music we chose for our first dance at our wedding was "After all" sung by Cher and Peter Cetera, the words of this beautiful song echo our journey and our destination through life. I will truly miss this wonderful lady who made my life complete.
Our honeymoon was spent at Careys Manor in The New Forest, but our favourite holiday destination was the magical Greek island of Santorini, legend says the site of Atlantis... we had two trips there, a stunningly beautiful island which everyone should visit in their lifetime, I'm glad we did, a place we called our own.
I feel extremely honoured to have known and shared so much of my life with her, I was so proud to be with her and although our married life was comparatively short we lived life to the full, more so since she was diagnosed with cancer.
My hobby was and continues to be photography and throughout the years have taken hundreds of pictures of her and her children, many, many lovely memories of a very special person, some of which I have included here.
"All I can do, in what remains of my brief time, is mention, to whoever cares to listen, that a woman once existed, who was kind and beautiful and brave, and I will not forget how the world was altered, beyond recognition, when we met".(Michel Faber)