In our previous post we suggested that Jim Perrin might not have been with our sister on Tuesday, May 10th, the day before she died. What other circumstance, we wonder, could have caused him to have written of the last day of her life so dismissively — in so far as it was, for all his pathos, entirely imagined. ‘By the next afternoon [the Tuesday in question] she was scarcely coherent.’ We knew that Jac was being given morphine to alleviate her pain but she was, and quite contrary to what Jim Perrin so dishonestly wrote, sufficiently ‘coherent’ to make a phone call herself to her daughter that same afternoon, when they shared their last conversation…
Later our niece told us Jac, in their conversation, had said Jim Perrin was not there with her at the hospital — and so jealously did he guard the time he chose to spend with her, so controlling was he to the last, he would not have countenanced any phone call had he been there. (And when her daughter had visited Jac he pressured her to leave each time the visit to her mother coincided with his own. She was terribly hurt by this and given the gravity of Jac’s condition and her own youth, and the particularly strong and loving bond between them, we think Jim Perrin’s behaviour was — as so often — indefensible.)
In the course of our own conversations with Jac we had noticed that she was sometimes affected by the morphine which had been administered — and certainly the majority of our calls were made in the evening/night-time when it was natural that she would be sleepy; but on the day, Tuesday, which Jim Perrin described, although she may well have been mazy with her medication, and weary, rather than ‘slipping into sleep and beyond that deep unconsciousness’, leading — as he wrote — to her death, we know that after some refreshment and a period of rest she revived and was able to telephone her daughter.
And fully ‘conscious’ (quite contrary to what Jim Perrin wrote in West), after speaking with her daughter, she was speaking at length with two of her sisters and with her ‘first love’ (the father of her first-born child). These phone calls in total lasted several hours — from early evening until late — and, as we said before, she telephoned her daughter that very afternoon: also, one of her closest friends visited her that evening and later she described to us how, as she was leaving, Jac went with her to the corridor where they kissed as they parted. These are the details which WE know of Jac’s last Tuesday, apart from the on-going hospital routine of meals and her exchanges with her nurses and any necessary medical attention: therefore, Jim Perrin’s descriptions of Jac being ‘scarcely coherent’, leading to her unconsciousness and death, were completely untrue.
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When our sister was so gravely ill and with every moment of remaining life precious how dared Jim Perrin write of her final day as he did? We feel that, effectively, he stole it from her. In the interest of his own indulgent tale (where he is always the focal point) he airbrushed the hours she had left to her: hours in which she had actually spoken with some of those whom she most dearly loved and who, with their support and expressions of their love for her, were able to calm her. It is clear that Jim Perrin, for all his false and subsequent ‘so-sensitive’ words, was absolutely not one of those…
Jac had telephoned her daughter and spoken with her at length, as well as having, later in the evening, talked with her sisters, and with the friend who visited her: and much later (and it was to be the last conversation in her life apart from with those who were nursing her) she and her very first partner had a long and deeply intimate conversation, which apart from her other calls that day and evening, lasted well over an extra hour and a half.
It is he, ‘her ‘first love’, more than any other, who has shared Jac’s life’s most lasting sorrow: and, as well, he was acutely aware of the distress she had been suffering in her relationship with Jim Perrin (he knew him of old) because in the preceding months they had discussed it at length. Now however, this time was theirs’ — their lives coming to full-circle. They spoke of the love which had lasted since they were young; of those years in which they had been so joyous; and of the years between when although loving and making their lives with other partners their love for each other, albeit changed by time, was constant: they spoke of their lost child… So it was that Jac’s ‘first love’ was able to console her, and with his gentle Buddhist belief to reassure her and to assuage her fears and it was he, not Jim Perrin, who as Jac approached those final hours was speaking lovingly to her and who soothed her.
We have always felt that among so many other base betrayals by Jim Perrin, in this he surpassed himself: to have left our sister entirely alone when she had so little time to live; deserting her as she lay dying and thus being absent from her bedside when within only hours she slipped away from life… that is the measure of the man.
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Jim Perrin was entirely unaware of Jac’s conversations, instead untruthfully stating she was unconscious: he had chosen to leave her, on her own, before they had taken place: and he could have had no knowledge at all of Jac’s conversation with her ‘first love’, until he read our record on this site. Subsequently, by talking with her family, he garnered as many details as he could and combining them with his own (many faux) recollections he purported to describe Jac’s last hours in West — apparently so convincingly — as if he had been with her throughout. It was nothing less than the utmost chicanery.
Did he feel sadness for a while? — he certainly displayed publicly a self-consciously passionate although short-lived grief. And ‘short-lived’ it proved to be as he very quickly reorganised his life*. Later, describing in West his new house, he wrote: ‘I moved in on the first anniversary of Jac’s funeral’, neglecting to reveal of course that it was not on his own (‘I’) that he moved in but with his most recent partner at the time (since when he has had several others) and with her funds…
* Here we will quote Jim Perrin quoting Thomas Hardy (taken from his copious notes at the end of West).
‘ ”I shall traverse old love’s domain/ never again — at Castle Boterel,” He did, of course, with his second wife Florence Emily, and rather promptly at that.’ (Our italics.)
Jim Perrin’s emphasis here is a snide swipe yet the presumably unintentional irony of his choice of this passage when his own lamentable history of ‘relationships’ is considered is remarkable. He very quickly moved on, was involved with another young woman from whom he separated, and was living with a second both within a year of our sister’s funeral…