Oliver Soden

Caring for the dying in a world of Zoom

James Runcie’s harrowing account of his wife’s last days during lockdown includes blackly comic descriptions of trying to follow nursing instructions on YouTube

James and Marilyn in Trieste in 2018. [Courtesy of James Runcie]

Ten years ago, recently graduated and unemployed, I sent my CV to a raft of radio producers. Just one replied. ‘Dear Oliver,’ wrote Marilyn Imrie, in an email with the subject line ‘YOU’: ‘How nice to hear from you and about you.’ Her generosity and enthusiasm were writ large in those three capitals, which headed a letter that came festooned with advice, offers of work experience and an anecdote about her adaptation of Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in