In A Good Year, Max (Russell Crowe) and Fanny (Marion Cotillard) fall in love against the odds and despite a rocky start. Standard rom-com plot, I guess. The film didn’t receive great reviews from the critics but Chris and I were very fond of it. We watched it on DVD in her hospital room in Portugal in August 2013 just after we had decided to get married.
Back in England, we had a spectacular wedding in December with our dearest friends and family; became proud “parents” of Teddy the Cockerpoo in March; had several trips in our new campervan; and travelled to Amsterdam and Italy in the spring and early summer. Chris continued to supervise her doctoral students; we launched my new book; and we put on a great, two-day Centre for Narrative Leadership gathering.
Work took a back seat for once: we lived together in Kingscote and in Lyme Regis; we went to the farmers’ market on Saturdays; wrote, painted and read in the mornings; walked and swam in the afternoons; and visited friends in the evenings.
The medication did it’s job and Chris stayed symptom-free for 11 months until a series of seizures heralded the next stage of her illness in July 2014. It was a good year. It was a very good year. In some ways it was the best year we had together.
I’ve watched the film several times since Chris died, not for the story (though I still enjoy it) but for the memories it evokes of a time when we kindled a light in the darkness – a light that shone brightly right up until the moment it went out.