Doreen fought bowel cancer for seven years. It was first diagnosed in 2012, operated on, and so say cleared.

It raised its head again in 2014, and again operated on, and so say got it.

It was back in 2016, only this time it was very low down. Doreen’s surgeon said he was not qualified to operate that low. Doreen did not like the options.

So we had radiation and tablet Chemo.

It killed two cancers and shrunk the large one considerably.

Her palliative care lasted about two years (they were angels).

Unfortunately, it was cancer 1. Doreen nil. She succumbed to it on 19th June 2019.

In Nepal they have a gesture and a word when they greet people. The word has many meanings, the one I prefer is “I bow to thee” For that I say “Namaste”.

Before she got sick, Doreen and I were both always happy and contented when we were walking

Locations like the Himalayas of Nepal, the Andes of Peru, snow-capped Kilimanjaro Tanzania, New Zealand Alps, Snowdonia Wales, our own Red Centre, Snowy and Blue Mountains and the beautiful Nepean and more.

In 2003 we spent seven weeks in Nepal trekking the Annapurna Range, staying at the beautiful City of Pokara and searching for the elusive Tiger in Chitwan National Park. Never saw one, but no doubt we were probably watched by one. Our trip to Nepal culminated in a Trek to Everest Base Camp.

Now you cannot see Everest from Base Camp as you are under the Mountain and in all truth unless you are climbing Everest, Base Camp is a letdown. To see Everest, we summit-ed Kala Patthar (5640m) a hill overlooking the locality of Gorap Shep and wonderful views of Everest.

We both agreed that whichever one of us passed first the other would return with some ashes and scatter them at Kala Pather.

I was holding Doreen’s hand just before she passed and I said ‘would you like me to take some of your ashes back to Kala Patthar?’

I received this gentle squeeze of my hand and took that as a yes. Moments later she was gone.

My mission was now set to go back to Kala Patthar, but when?

As luck or coincidence would have it, a week after Doreen’s family memorial, I had to attend the Funeral of my first Company Sergeant Major in 1 Commando Coy. Talking to a few of my Commando Brothers and telling them my mission, one Derek Murphy said he and Allison his wife and perhaps Jim Reilly were going to Base Camp in October. I put both Derek and Jim through their Commando training culminating with them winning the coveted Green beret. I booked my trip that night.

Before I scattered her ashes, I said the following words for Doreen:

‘Underneath the southern Cross she stands

A twig of Wattle in her hand

A native of her native land

Doreen you bloody beauty

May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine bright on your face

May the rain fall soft upon your fields

Doreen you visited in 2003

You came to stay in 2019

Until we meet again my love

Enjoy your new Journey’

In the small jar that had her ashes, I placed the words I spoke, a Bowel Cancer ribbon and her driving licence photo, this I placed on my Red Neckerchief guarded by two Koalas, behind that I placed the Australian Flag and the boxing kangaroo Flag.

Doreen’s spirit now rests amongst the mountains surrounding Mount Everest, and for now I will do as Doreen would want and that is ‘Love live and get on with life.’

I know Doreen:

‘Isn’t far away for life goes on.

If I need her all I have to is call.

Though I can’t see her or touch her, she is near me.

And when I listen with my heart,

I will hear, All her love around me soft and clear.’

I will see her again but not now.