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Thu, Mar. 2nd, 2006, 01:55 pm

Thank you to everyone who came to the funeral yesterday, I guess it was a nice day in many ways, even though at one point I didn't want to go and was in a real state at about 2pm! I was glad so many people came, it was lovely to meet people I've not before and to see others I don't see very often. I just wish it wasn't in such sad circumstances. I think she'd have liked it! I still haven't got a clue what I'm going to do with my life now though, I feel a complete mess! For those of you that want to read my eulogy to Katy I've put it behind this LJ cut:

Good afternoon!

Thank you for attending our gathering to celebrate the life of our much treasured, sorely missed and much loved Katy. To have known that so many people cared and were here would have brought great pleasure to Katy, although knowing how shy she was I expect she’d be pretty embarrassed to be the centre of attention. The tragic thing is we all should have been here in a little over a years time for our wedding which she had planned in such minute detail. I know one of her deepest wishes, probably the thing she wanted most was to become Mrs Katherine Jane Handy. Even when she was very ill she would often lie in her bed and just practice saying her name, although she wouldn’t practice her signature in case she cursed it! I can still hear her saying this, and I know in many ways she imagined she was it’s not quite the same. Life is full of what ifs, buts and maybes, but possibly the biggest regret I’ve got is certainly that we didn’t just go ahead and get married like we’d spoken about in mid December. We’d even filled out all of the forms; I discovered them a few days ago whilst going through one of Katy’s many boxes of stuff with Jane, my mother in law. The idea we initially had had been to get married very quietly and then to have a big celebration and blessing when she was better, but for some reason Katy changed her mind and said we should wait until she was better. I have got several thoughts as to why this was. I do know she was worried that people might think it was too soon and that we were rushing. I knew within a very short time of meeting Katy that this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and it certainly went both ways-we used to talk about this stuff frequently in the hospital! I’m pretty surprised I haven’t found my wedding speech written out somewhere as Katy had scripted just about everything else to do with our wedding in different places.

There really aren’t words to describe the girl who brought us all so much pleasure in life-anyone who came into contact with her would have found their lives greatly enriched by her beaming smile and cheery demeanour. I’m standing here now half expecting her to walk around the corner and appear, it’s all been a bad dream. I read on one of the many cards people have sent to us expressing their sadness at Katy’s passing that she is ‘the brightest star in Heaven’ and that is about the most justice I can do to her. There were occasions we sat outside looking at the stars, sometimes by the back door to the flat, sometimes on the swing bench in my garden, but little did I know that the brightest star was sat next to me. Katy would not leave the house unless she was dressed and done up to her high standards. Quite what she saw in me when we first met I will never know as I was in an eight year old jumper, a rough pair of jeans and looked like a vagrant! We were late going out for many things simply because Katy had to do her make up, do her ‘naturally blonde’ hair and spray herself with copious amounts of glitter. After going through this performance she would normally end up changing what she was wearing to something that was even more low cut. I think at times she did it just to see how far she could go before I would say something! Katy used to pronounce with alarming frequency that she had no clothes to wear, but on going through our wardrobe I did used to wonder what she meant. It is only in the time since she’s gone that I realised just how many clothes she did have-I have a feeling that in reality she just loved shopping. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she actually had forgotten about some of the items in her wardrobe as some still had their labels on. Whilst Katy did have some less dressy clothes I never knew her leave the house in them, if she was going out she had to look the part. Very rarely did she wear jeans, but the odd thing is she very rarely went out without her denim jacket, mobile phone in the top pocket. We went to a wedding in late August and I got the feeling that she wished she had taken her denim jacket as opposed to her very smart suit jacket…I remember strolling around Lincoln and she was clutching on to this coat and quite why she couldn’t put it on it beyond me. That was Katy though, she always did her own thing and once she had an idea in her head then that was it. There was no going back, it was her way or no way!

I suppose I should say a bit about Katy’s education! Katy went to Gigmill Primary School before attending Ridgewood for her secondary education. From what I’ve been told Katy was a very studious individual who would spend many hours beavering away until something was right…an absolute perfectionist. After leaving Ridgewood, Katy moved on to firstly Halesowen College and then Dudley College where she picked up an apprenticeship in Accountancy and worked for two companies as a trainee accountant. Alongside this Katy also had worked for a time as a barmaid at The Queensway near to where she lived, I guess to make money to feed her need for stationary and glitter! Longer term, once fully qualified, Katy was looking to move to Devon or Cornwall and continue her accountancy work there.

Music was a great passion in Katy’s life, something she enjoyed very much. When I first met her she was so obsessed with Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, something that I believe had been the case for several years. I really did not approve of the poster she used to have on her wall, both at home and at the hospital-I cannot begin to describe the poster here, but suffice to say it caused some strange looks. I just hope they get their socks well laundered! I know it was one of the highlights of her life when she saw the Chilli’s in Cardiff. I just wish she had been able to hear their new album ‘Stadium Arcadium’ in May and had been able to see them in either Coventry or Derby this summer. I know she would have loved it. What other music did Katy like? This is a very difficult question to answer as she seemed to like so much! In the last year of her life I know Katy really thought a lot of KT Tunstall, the last gig she ever went to, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Do Me Bad Things and The Darkness. Sadly, my musical tastes seemed to permeate into Katy and she had developed a taste for Queen, Duran Duran, Jeff Scott Soto and The Boogie Knights. After Jenny’s wedding in August Katy and I went a walk around Ironbridge in the pouring rain during the middle of the night with one of us a bit tipsy (give you a clue, they were wearing pink!) and then we got into the car to come home. It was then that Katy heard the Boogie Medley for the first time and I think we had it on repeat for about twenty five minutes! Shortly before becoming ill we had got into discussing cheesy music and how she should have a 21st birthday party in the style of school discos. The inspiration for this in fact was taking Paige and Lauren to their school disco last October when I was disgusted that they might not play ‘Agadoo’ or ‘The Birdie Song’. Katy and I sat down and put together a CD of tunes that we should have at the aforementioned party. I had totally forgot about this until we found the CD last week. Amongst rather bizarre artists everybody’s favourite, Cliff Richard featured. Those that knew Katy and I well we used to have a running joke about Cliff. Thinking about music, another rather bizarre fact was that Katy had a bit of a thing for Roger Taylor who was thirty odd years older than herself! Katy used to enjoy listening to me playing music, and coming to see Rich and I was something that I never quite understood! It is my eternal regret that I didn’t manage to get her on stage at the final gig we played to sing backing vocals on, rather appropriately, ‘Knocking On Heavens Door’, but I do remember looking up and seeing her smiling away at me. Quite possibly the final time that Katy saw me play guitar was in a rehearsal facility in Wolverhampton where we were auditioning a drummer, and whilst the guy was pleasant enough, he couldn’t play for toffee. Katy was sat next to me and I was so close to ending up playing the wrong music as she had me in stitches. I know she put Rich off too, and it was a mercy when that session was cut short.

Katy loved driving, I guess that this could be combined with her love of the outdoors and the countryside. Those of you that know me know I’m not a very good passenger, but I can honestly say I never had that problem with Katy – when I was ill she used to drive me around without any complaint from myself! To my knowledge Katy never actually went on a motorway, but the roads of Stourbridge were well beaten by her little red Micra. I have happy memories of driving around with Katy and Jack to go a long walk through the woods that she claimed to know so well – I wouldn’t say we got lost but I don’t think she really knew where she was. To go with Katy into Birmingham was an experience, she had the route written out on several pieces of paper with things highlighted. Pieces of paper, lists and being well prepared was something Katy was notorious for. When she was ill she used to produce the dreaded lists of things for people to do, or call with lists of things that needed doing, some of which we still have knocking about. I have heard stories off many people, Katy herself included, that she used to lock herself away and revise for exams and write thorough revision notes on index cards. It was only recently that I got to see some for myself, but maybe this explained the bizarre need for stationary and stationary catalogues that she possessed. We spent over an hour in Staples on one Sunday afternoon last summer – I never knew that was possible! I used to accuse her of being sad for this stationary obsession, but I guess we all have our little collections.

Food and eating. When I first met Katy and in the months that followed I was often perplexed as to Katy’s eating habits and I think I still am! Katy used to often begin the day with cereal or toast, nothing unusual there I here you say, but that was where normality began and ended! Before I even talk about the food I should also mention that Katy would only ever eat with her plates, bowl, knife and fork and drink from her glass. I’m not quite sure what the thinking was behind this, whether it was down to possessiveness or not trusting other people, but it was something I quickly got used to. The only person allowed to share stuff was me, and that was because the marker pen had worn off the plates and she’d got confused! Thinking about the foods that Katy would eat you had Farleys Rusks, cereal, Walkers Light Crips, Chips, curry sauce and that was pretty much about it other than the occasional McDonalds. I like to think that in our time together she increased her intake to include Chinese (especially prawn crackers and fried rice) and also she seemed more keen to eat soup. I think she probably went off Yorkshire Pudding following the rubber tyre incident, but she certainly did make an effort to try a wider range of food in the time we were together. I was impressed, with some more work then maybe she would have become a proper multicultural eater! Katy did also love chocolate – we used to have Malteasers and Dairy Milk regularly. It was the Dairy Milk that was nearly the end of poor Jack when the silly dog decided to steal a whole bar, open it and devour it. I’m not talking a small bar here either!!! Possibly the final chocolate related request Katy made to me was that I got her a packet of Buttons for when she came out. This was on Boxing Day and they are still sat in my car over two months on.

Talking about Jack, he was the closest thing that Katy ever got to having a baby of her own, although she certainly had planned for it down to the sort of clothes they would wear and their full names! When in hospital I think Jack was probably the one person Katy missed most-when she was first in I know that she was worried he would forget her by the time she came out. Jack certainly did miss her, he used to howl at night initially and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t there. It came as an immense relief to Katy that when she did come home he was chomping at the bit to get to her and give her a kiss. Katy told me that when she broke her leg many years ago she used to talk to Jack, and I know that in sad times and when she was upset she used to discuss stuff with him. Funnily, I doubt he ever answered back, he probably just sat looking at her, giving her his big brown eyes. I am scared stiff of dogs and before I met him Katy had warned about how he did have a reputation for biting. I was somewhat dubious about having him in bed with us as quite often I would roll over to find his face next to me on the pillow! However, we became firm friends and he eventually became ‘our’ dog as opposed to ‘Katy’s’ dog. I’ll have to take good care of him, even if he is old and silly! They say animals can sense things, and in the time since Katy has not been with us he has been incredibly well behaved. Maybe he knows?

I can’t not mention Katy’s love for the Wolves. I never understood why she would want to go to a custard bowl to watch them kick a ball around and lose, but I guess it takes all sorts! The final match she saw at the Molineux was in September against Millwall when they threw away the match in injury time. From her hospital bed she followed the results and I have to say they never really went the right way! It was always the plan when she got better that we’d return to watch the football, and also we’d go and watch Worcester play the Rugby. One of the nicest things that happened in hospital was when she got her signed Wolves football, it was something she treasured very much and it would have been closely guarded when she got out to prevent Jack from playing with it.

Katy was an incredibly caring person – when I had a broken foot she was the perfect nurse to me, driving me around, cooking for me and making sure I was comfortable. It was in this period that we had some of our funniest moments. Most weeks we would have the Bargain Pages and read the adverts looking for things to amuse us. The animal section provided much laughter as I told her I was going to buy her a dragon and a whole host of other things, but not spiders. Katy detested spiders and it was always fun to wind her up when there was one nearby. I’ve known her sleep in the living room in case the spider I had removed had got friends! I’ve also known her to wake me up at 1am to move a spider she had seen. It was a strange period in time really, we spent our nights watching Top Gear and sitting talking about random stuff in bed. Little did we know that as my foot was healing we were about to be thrown into a whole new situation. It was real backs to the wall stuff, taking each day as it comes and just seeing what was going to happen. I sure won’t forget those months in a hurry, although there were so many sad times there were many really uplifting and exciting moments. One of the things that will stay with me forever, and I know Katy treasured the moment, was when I returned her to the hospital one evening and we drove through the Christmas lights in Leonard Road with Prince on the CD player and the heat on in the car. I think we held hands all the way back (barring gear changes!) and looking at Katy you wouldn’t have known she was ill with her normal clothes, her wig and her ABBA hat. We cried most of the way back through Brierley Hill, it was just one of those perfect moments where everything comes together. Since Christmas it’s been a different game, but even then we still had some very happy times. Even though Katy was very ill she still wanted to know what other people were up to, and wanted to know all of my troubles. I didn’t want to burden her with my troubles, but she always knew when there was something on my mind. Even the weekend immediately following my birthday she was talking about our kids and stuff.

I’m convinced she’s here around us. There have been a lot of very strange situations in the last week and a bit which I cannot explain, and I know she will have been laughing at us over them. Some of them are so surreal and bizarre. Whilst nothing can be done to change the outcome of the situation, I know Katy would be smiling at how we’ve handled things and how today is going. Sadness has brought us all closer together as a family, and whilst I know the coming months are going to be incredibly hard we will get through it together. I made a lot of promises to Katy over the duration of the time she was ill that I shall be keeping, it’s going to be incredibly hard without her. Katy will never be forgotten, the love shown towards her today and throughout her life will ensure that.

Thank you.