Ally McLaws – Living with cancer during a pandemic: It’s the little things that we keep in our minds forever

When there were shortages of certain things in the supermarkets, we decided to create a wee “stock cupboard” up in our loft.

Just a few things such as toilet paper, kitchen roll, anti-bacterial spray, wipes, and some dried foods such as pasta and rice along with some multipacks of sparkling water and cans of juice.

Laura headed up the loft ladders the other day with the intention of bringing down some kitchen roll and a couple of bottles of bleach.

I was relaxing in the recliner downstairs trying to keep my eyes open as an old movie meandered across the TV screen.

Sleep eventually came and when I woke more than an hour later, Laura was still up the loft. That’s where many memories and those bits of stuff we’ve hung onto for most of our lives have survived.

I have a few cardboard boxes, two small cases and a few big tins containing newspaper cuttings capturing highlights of my career. There are also some awards presentation photographs, family photographs, watches, mementos and even three golf bags with an assortment of golf clubs, spiked shoes, balls and rolled-up waterproofs (they must have been home to spiders for at least 10 years and deserve not to be stored any longer).

Laura has a similar hoard of items from times dating back to childhood and motherhood.

But it was more recent stuff that had grabbed her attention. When we first started dating, I wrote many a romantic little note to Laura.

We emailed and messaged a lot when she lived in Yorkshire and me in Ayrshire – many of them were printed and kept.

And we travelled a lot. Paris, Rome, Barcelona, New York and Athens among the great cities we visited along with a lengthy list of Mediterranean countries and islands where we had romantic and memorable sight-seeing trips.

Postcards and notes and photographs filled our memory box. Laura had got lost in those memories – and when she came into the living room her eyes were red.

In her hand was a card with a silhouette image of the Eiffel Tower on the cover and a handwritten message from me inside to say I’d booked a tiny little boutique hotel – The Murat –in Paris. Alongside that was a little love note about my feelings for her. “Isn’t this so sad to look at now,” she whispered.

I replied: “No, it’s wonderful. I wrote I’d love you forever and I will – and aren’t we so lucky we lived for every moment from the moment we met. It would have been terribly sad if we’d put off these great times until we retired. We lived and loved those moments and we have them forever.”

Ally McLaws is a freelance specialist in writing, business marketing and reputation management. See the full range of services on offer and view all previous back issues of this column at:

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992