Some readers may recall a tale of Andrew's frustration at not being able to surprise me with a gift of earrings for Christmas — because he wasn't well enough to shop by himself, and I was handling the money.
That was his last Christmas alive, though we didn't know it then. It was 2011. I didn't find out until some time after he died, when I came across the note in his journal, asking rhetorically how he was going to get the $30 he needed to buy me 'the earrings'.
He didn't describe the earrings. As my earlier entry also records, I tried to honour his wish by getting some I liked, but didn't really know what he had in mind.
This week, there they were in the pharmacy again, just as they were three years ago — beautiful Swarovski crystals in a variety of colours including a deep purple that's just perfect for me! And then I remembered.
We had been to get his regular blood test to monitor his Warfarin dose. The pharmacy was just near the lab and we ducked in the side door as we went past, as I had some stuff to pick up. He was using his walker, as he always had to by then, sitting on it while I did the buying. There was a stand of Swarovski crystal earrings in all colours, including the deep purple that friends call my colour because I wear it such a lot.
I love Swarovski crystals, So did he; he bought me some lovely pieces of it in the past. I admired the earrings, and asked the price. I seem to remember that he said I should get them. It would have been like him. But money was tight (it's always tight) and I didn't.
It all came back to me when I saw the same crystals there this week. Perhaps they vary their special Christmas stock year by year; anyway they haven't had those earrings again until now. I asked the price. $29.99. Yes, definitely the ones he so wanted to get me.
This time I had absolutely no money left in bank or wallet, after paying bills, posting presents and making sure I had the food and petrol I need. But I get paid on New Year's Eve — and I have an account at that pharmacy. This time I got them!
They are in a little purple pouch, resting on what used to be his bedside table, for me to open tomorrow morning, Christmas Day.