It’s your birthday, my dear.  Your first birthday I’ve been away from you since we met.  It was so long ago, Madonna was at number 1 with one of your favourites. 1990 was the last year before we were a couple, and we never missed one from then on. Even last year, you’d finished your treatment and we had a wee bit of hope.  Oh, if we’d known what was to come.  On the plus side it means I’ll no be sneaking oot of bed at 4 in the morning to festoon the place with banners and balloons.  On the down side. You’re dead.  And there are no more high days or holidays.

You weren’t fussy for presents.  You just wanted someone to make a fuss of you.  Because you never had that.  Childhood birthdays went unrecognised.  Which is why I was happy to follow your lead, even it did mean a 6.30am serenade of happy birthday.  I’m sure the neighbours loved that when we were in oor wee, one bedroom, Leith flat.

Even on holiday I had to pop banners and balloons in my backpack. The one year I forgot, we were in Pitlochry and I had to spin a line, so I could sneak off to the card shop the day before without you finding oot.

You enjoyed small pleasures, so a birthday spent in a wee cottage in the country was your idea of heaven.  Lazy mornings over the papers, long riverside walks and maybe a puppy to pet.  Your favourite cottage was in Peebles, doon on Tweed Green, right next to the river.  We were there three times in two years. I mind how upset you were when the owners decided to sell up.  Mind you they were flitting from Eddleston to Houston, Texas so you couldnae blame them.

The picture below was taken there.  I miss you now, more than ever and I hope you find some way of releasing from the promises you asked from me.  Happy birthday, my dear. I love you.


As for me, well nearly everyone has fallen away by now.  I thought it would happen even though you hoped otherwise.  Well, it is me after all.  Thankfully that includes those who, after you died, spewed their lies about how they were going to look out for me only to spend the subsequent months boning up on the Big Book of Excuses so they could avoid seeing me.  I only hope their future holds a degree of the pain they caused by giving me a crumb of hope.

Anyways, here’s your Madonna tune.  My bestest.

St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton