POTTERING in the old green garden shed recently, I found a 1990 calendar, the pages of which were discoloured and curled with age, whereas the message stood out, written prominently in black felt pen.

As I read the text, the memories came flooding back, the ones I had turned over in my mind so often in the 30 years since I wrote them:

'The saddest day of my life!'

'My darling went to heaven!'

I was reminded of an elderly neighbour who, some years previously, remarked: 'When you are first in love, life is wonderful and you are afraid something will happen to spoil it.'

In fact, I never felt that way.

For me, the words of the song: 'Every day is a holiday', rang true, as we romped and laughed with our friends and relations, sharing our joy with them.

Then, there were three of us! The dearest, most beautiful tiny daughter arrived to complete our happiness.

The look of love in the eyes of Peter when he first held her is indelibly etched in my mind.

Then, the real fun began. As bold as brass she sat, in her carry cot, between us on the church pew, her little head swivelling so as not to miss a trick.

An early talker of sentences, clearly and with volume, she said, 'I want to use Jesus' potty!'

Urgently, she upped the decibels, in St John's Church, Glastonbury, 'I want to use Jesus' potty, now,' she bellowed.

By this time, there was pandemonium as the whole congregation turned to witness our budding actress play to her first gallery.

Much, much later, when she was playing at Salisbury Playhouse, her beloved father died. But, the show went on!

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Even so, on the day of his death, she had visited him in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.

When I arrived, the staff working to save his life restrained me from running to his side.

His favourite nurse, Maria, told me that, in his croaky, fading voice, he sang 'Maria' from West Side Story in a whisper.

This lovely nurse, the young doctors who were crying because they had failed to save him, the wonderful strangers who became friends on our last journey together across Europe, and our kind family doctor.

All form a special invisible book in my heart, which I open time and time again.

Rest in peace, Peter David Gardner, of Keinton Mandeville, who died September 26, 1990.

A modest, amusing and delightful husband, father and friend.

Many thanks to all those who have contributed to my continued happiness. Especially teams at Musgrove Park, Williton, Dene Barton, the air ambulance and 'Wivey Cares'.

Not forgetting the team in ICU at Musgrove who saved my dear friend of 30 years - Gordon.

I clapped louder than most on those Thursday NHS claps.