Fundraisers and supporters of Pancreatic Cancer UK have many incredibly touching ways to remember their loved ones and support the charity. Geoff Green, whose wife Gill passed away from pancreatic cancer in September 2009, shared the story of her poetry with us, and how he and his family are paying tribute:
During our long and happy marriage, my wife, Gill Green, referred on a few occasions to the fact that, while still single, she had written some poetry. Whenever I suggested that I might see the poems, Gill was always reluctant that I should do so; and I never pressed the point.
Gill died in September 2009. This followed a long and determined fight against pancreatic cancer, for which she had undergone complex surgery in July 2008. Gill's poetry was the last thing on my mind when I was undertaking the inevitable and melancholy task of going through her papers. I was, however, pleased when I came across the folder containing the poems - all of them written in Gill's distinctive handwriting. Even so, it was with some trepidation and nervousness that I started to read them.
The poems reflect several of the characteristics which I - and, I am sure, many of her friends - associate with Gill: deep-seated belief in the goodness of humankind; love of, and respect for, nature in all its forms and moods; understanding and acceptance of human frailty; personal modesty; unquenchable optimism; recognition of the duty to support those who are frail or in any way vulnerable; and a capacity for giving and engendering profound love. Gill trained and worked at the Westminster Hospital in London from 1963 to 1971, and a number of the poems touch on her work as a nurse and midwife.
I know that she would have recoiled from any suggestion that her poetry had any special merit; and I should dishonour her memory were I to make such a claim. However, I hope that those who read the poems derive pleasure from doing so; and that, for those who knew Gill, the poetry will rekindle happy memories. Our sons, Anthony and Simon, of whom Gill was so fond and proud, join me in this wish.
For a £2 donation Pancreatic Cancer UK is happy to send you a collection of Gill's poetry. Contact the office at 020 3535 7090 to order by phone or send in a donation by post with a letter requesting the book.