It was around October 2003 Steve and Sarah were coming to pick me up to go to Costco as I had never been. I was just about to leave my flat and meet them when the telephone rang, it was Lesley, we chatted for a minute or two and then she said that her and Jim were splitting up it was all over between them. I was so shocked it had come as a complete surprise although I thought she should have done it years ago. How she had coped with his temper and selfishness I will never know. I think he was worse than my husband without the physical abuse but he certainly made up for it with the verbal abuse. He was the type of person who belittled you to cover for his own weaknesses. A control freak.
He was staying at the house until he found a flat or house for himself which made life intolerable for Lesley and the children. I don't know where Lesley got the courage from to tell him it was over, as the repercussions could have been horrendous. He was the type of person who had to be the one to get in first and on this occasion it was Lesley who dared to end it.
I went over to see Lel the following day and I could see Jim in the utility room and thought an argument would ensue but no he must have gone out the back way. We had many arguments in the past due to his attitude to the children and Lel.
Finally just before Christmas he found a cottage not far from where they lived and moved out but he would still not let go. I also had to listen to his rantings over the phone he was totally out of control. If I put the phone down on him he would keep ringing. He said some really awful things about my daughter , of course none of it was his fault.
The children were really upset over the split and we dont know what Jim had said to them but it was all Lesley's fault. They really did give her a hard time. Maybe in some ways she didn't handle it very well but it was a very fraught time. He did sign the house over to Lesley on the proviso she wouldn't make a claim for his pension.
A couple of days before Christmas I woke up in the night with the most horrendous pain I had ever had, right in the middle of my chest and spreading to my back I thought it was indigestion and took some Gaviscon but it made no difference at all. I then started vomiting. I just didn't know what to do, it was about 3.00am. I got up and walked around for a bit then I laid down but it made no diference at all. The pain was ten times worse than childbirth. I was in absolute agony. I think if I had been in my right mind I would have phoned for an ambulance but it just didn't occur to me.
By morning it had eased off a little bit but I felt really ill and decided to get in the car and see my doctor. My Doctor wasn't available so I saw another one , I explained how I had been during the night and she said she thought I had a tummy bug that was doing the rounds and she gave me some antibiotics.
It was Christmas Eve and I was supposed to be going to Sarah's Mum and Dad's for dinner on Christmas day, if I didn't feel any better Christmas Day I would have to stay home. I rang and told Steve and he told me off for not ringing them during the night but I didn't see what they could have done.
Sarah rang me Christmas morning and I said I felt so ill I wouldn't be able to go for dinner, I hadn't eaten since the day before Christmas Eve and food was the furthest thing from my mind. Steve and Sarah came over and took one look at me and realised I was ill. I told them all I wanted to do was go to bed. This would be the very first Christmas I had spent on my own in all my 65 yrs.