A tribute to my Terry
Updated on January 30th, 2023
It would have been Terry’s 55th birthday on Saturday (9th July) & to mark the date I have been sharing the tributes from his send-off. It’s taken me a while but today I feel ready to share mine – my first attempt to capture my thoughts, my love & my loss. Enough said….
“I have always actively discouraged anyone from talking at these events because I think it would just be too hard & too emotional. Today I felt I had to, so please bear with me. Terry would have said it’s because I’m gobby. On this occasion, I’ll let that pass.
Before Terry went in for his op I bought a card to tell him how important he is to me. The card appealed because on the front it says “Sitting next to you doing absolutely nothing means absolutely everything to me”. Reflecting on this in terms of our amazing 18 years together all can say is “Chance would be a fine thing”.
After a busy week at work, as I sat down to relax & gather my thoughts for the weekend ahead, it was only an (often short) matter of time before I heard the infamous line “I’ve got a plan…”, shortly followed by “Well as Josie (his Mum) used to say “This won’t get the baby bathed will it?” At this point, it was my cue to get off the sofa & start on point 1 of the plan. As all of you here know, Terry lived for the moment & packed as much as possible into every single one. I think he lived in cat years – whatever the rest of us achieve in 7 years Terry did in 1, & keeping up was quite a feat!
I first met Terry when we were both medical representatives in Hertfordshire back in 1992. Terry, of course, was always amazing with people & the Drs were no different. Herts was notorious for being hard to access for everyone apart from Terry, who seemed to be on first-name terms with all of the Drs I could never even meet. His sales figures for Wyeth always reflected this. In 1994, I disappeared for 18 months to see the world & when I returned with a job for MSD, it was great to bump into Terry again. You could kind of say the rest is history & we never looked back.
The timing was everything & within 6 months of us getting together Terry proudly became a Field Trainer, followed by a Sales Manager a few years later – a role he was absolutely made for & shone even brighter in. Terry was much loved by everyone who ever worked with him & for him & I know from all the messages I have received that he will leave a very big hole everywhere.
Terry was not an academic & hated school, as, with everything, he didn’t respond to the traditional approach of trying to teach him. I remember when I first met him & he was considering getting his 1 qualification of O’level woodwork onto his business card.
Despite all the success Terry has had at work, it was always evident to him that he wouldn’t even get a foot in the door without a degree these days. This was a real bone of contention, impacting his confidence to go as far in the company as I believe he would have been totally capable of. He is eternally grateful (as so many of us in this room are) that his very good friend Ray believed in him & gave him his first job in the industry. Terry, me, Wyeth & Pfizer are much richer & more successful as a result!
Terry committed 100% to everything he did which is why he was always so successful – if he felt it was worth doing, he went for it. This combined with his incredible loyalty, skill with people & brilliant sense of fun & humour, made sure he was instantly loved by everyone he met. I know Andy is going to talk about Terry’s drumming later but I think very few people really got a flavour of how hard Terry worked to keep his commitments to everyone. I have no doubt that those who worked with Terry had no idea how talented & committed he was to his bands. Likewise, his bandmates I am sure did not know what an important & great job he did at work. There were times when he would drive home from Bristol or Cardiff, go straight to London for a gig or rehearsal without batting an eyelid because he didn’t want to let anyone down. I was very grateful for this commitment as it gave me time to catch my breath before the next “plan” was presented!
It’s no mystery to anyone that one of Terry’s passions (along with beer, curry & drums) was our holidays & before anyone asks – no we didn’t have any more days than anyone else, we just made every single one count. My sister Al used to call our trips ADHD travel as we always had to be moving on to the next place, never staying anywhere longer than 3 nights – just in case Terry got bored in paradise! Terry always said I was strategy (research, travel, finding a hotel in the middle of the action), he was implementation – developing a plan for day & night to include several different bars & hunting down a Thai or Indian restaurant in the back streets of any given city or beach resort.
I think I can safely say that we challenged each other constantly. For Terry, it was some of the places I made him stay, in particular in the early days & on our infamous trip to India. I was told beforehand that you can’t do India any less than 5 stars & I decided to prove them wrong. Terry was amazing for the whole trip & I have to say, it was me who cracked first, wanting to move to better accommodation.
Delhi, India – Feb 2009
For me, one of the challenges was to trust & follow Terry into some very dark alleys to find a bar that sounded really good in the book. Most times this paid off in having a great night out with some really unique experiences, but there was the odd occasion where we ended up being rescued by locals in a very dodgy area of town.
One example is in Tokyo where we spent ages walking around very poorly lit small streets to find the area containing the really cool, tiny bars Terry had read about in the guidebook. In the end, after about 30 minutes, I was finally allowed to check the map, only to find that his colour blindness had meant we had been exploring the gay area rather than the one with the unique bars we were hoping for. We eventually got a cab to the right place & had a very good night filling up very small bars as we were considerably bigger than the locals. We finished the night with a Thai meal where Terry ordered everything “Thai hot” which made me cry even when eating the rice. A successful night all round!
Very small bars, very big people, Tokyo, Japan – Jan 2007
Another challenge was around Terry’s desire to not be tied down by the rules. I have so many stories it’s difficult to know which ones to focus on – there was the night we broke into Universal Studios or the time he jumped the really long queue to get a hire car in Miami paying the man a really tiny tip for helping us out, just to name a couple.
One of the most embarrassing habits of recent years was Terry’s attempts to always get a better room / better table / better seats on the plane by formulating an ailment, birthday or anniversary for me which he would always brief me on after the event. As always with Terry “why let the truth get in the way of a good story?”. I am luckier than the Queen if you compare the numbers of birthday’s I have in any given year with celebrations across the globe. These were often accompanied by the whole restaurant stopping to sing Happy Birthday to me & bring a bunch of flowers or a cake with candles, so you can imagine my joy whenever I became aware that this was part of the plan.
The most embarrassing of all was in India. We arrived in Mumbai after a train ride from Goa, which apparently boasts one of the world’s most amazing views. We, of course, slept through this, partly because I had booked the night train & partly because, to cope with it, Terry had smuggled on copious amounts of local rum.
I had booked us into our final 3-star hotel of the trip & we decided that after the challenges we had faced so far, we just wanted to relax by a pool so went to find a hotel where we could pay for the privilege. As soon as we walked into the Intercontinental Terry’s eyes lit up & he wanted to check out prices for us to move in. Within an hour he had made up a birthday for me to get a room upgrade, booked us in & lied to the hotel about a very bad illness I had so we could get out of paying for the room we actually had booked.
Excited to be at the Intercontinental, Mumbai, India (for my birthday ??!) – Feb 2009
The Intercontinental was amazing – everywhere we went the staff were wishing me happy birthday & we got the usual cake in our room & also one at the restaurant in the evening with a hearty sing-song of Happy Birthday to me. It wasn’t until we checked out that we realised we had given the hotel our passports on day 1 where they would have clearly seen I wasn’t born in February!
Terry, I feel I can’t sit down without reinforcing that there was a chance that the last 23 years could not have happened at all after your aneurysm. How much less rich & fun all of our lives would have been without you in them. I am honoured & privileged to have had the love of such an amazing man and have so many happy memories it’s hard not to smile. It’s not many couples who can say they have been together for 18 years & never actually had an argument & for that, I cannot feel luckier. Terry, I love you, you are my rock, my inspiration & my best friend and words can’t express how much I will miss you.
All I can say is THANK YOU – it’s been exhausting but…