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Roland's Speech

I had a lot of time to think about what I want to say today. As many of you know, I spend four weeks in hospital, and I went through several different versions of this speech and various aspects of my life with Hazel. The truth is, I could talk about Hazel for hours and hours. But we don't have hours and so I had to select one aspect.

And that aspect is: What was Hazel to me? ... or, what I should really say is: What is she still  to me, since I have still not managed to accept yet that she is gone, despite the fact we have all gathered here today ... So, what is Hazel to me?

To start with, she is my best friend. There was nothing we couldn't talk about, she would always listen when I had to talk, she was always there for me when I needed her, she trusted me and I trusted her.

Then, she was my partner, with whom I shared everything ... and I really mean everything: in restaurants, we always swopped our plates half way, so we could experience both dishes. Needless to say, that some waiters in slightly better restaurants were less an amused. We shared a house, all the costs involved and all the work connected with it.

And the last, Hazel is to me, she is my companion. We somehow managed to have a relationship, in which we did very many things together … and that was what we treasured most, I think. And I don't necessarily mean very deep or fundamental things ... I mean all those hundreds of little things ... pumping up our inflatable canoe, doing our weekly shop in the supermarket, having dinner together, visiting historic sites or exploring new towns or villages, going window shopping in Manchester or Saltaire, and so on ... And we did all these things and many, many more in harmony! And that was absolutely crucial to both of us and to our relationship. We both longed for harmony; we both hatted and avoided confrontation. And we found that quality in each other ... at least for four years, four months and 17 days. 

23 Jan 2012, 10:56