widow Dwina on life four months after the Bee Gee singer
Kneeling at his graveside, Dwina Gibb is lost in thoughts and memories as she shares a with her late widow of Bee Gees singer Robin reads yet another card from a devoted fan who visited his resting place, just one of hundreds from around the world.
Every day letters, flowers and gifts are left at the grave where a small handmade flag reads “The best dad”, a tribute from youngest son Robin John.
Today Dwina tells how the support from fans has helped her cope in the four months since Robin lost his with cancer. She also reveals how Robin tried to mouth the words to his Bee Gees hits as he lay dying. and how Tony Blair was one of the last people to speak to him.
Dwina has pinned up cards and letters in a 12th Century chapel in the grounds of their family estate which has become a shrine to the much loved singer who, with his Bee Gee brothers Barry and Maurice, sold more than 200 million albums.
“They are all wonderful and show how Robin touched the lives and hearts of so many people,” she said.
“It is extraordinary. They come every day from everywhere in the world. India, Egypt, Japan and all over the UK. The grave has become a second postbox.
“I miss him so much and there have been very difficult times but knowing the effect that he and his voice had on is helping me.”
Today a blue plaque from the Heritage Foundation will be unveiled at their home, Robin’s music career and charity work.
Robin died on May 20 aged 62 after a two and a half year battle with colon and liver cancer.
Dwina, his wife of 27 years, kept a vigil at his bedside with son RJ, 29, and his two children, Spencer and Melissa, from his first marriage. At one stage it seemed all their prayers were being answered when he emerged from a coma as his music played in the room. It gave everyone hope, but he died two weeks later.
Dwina, 59, holds back tears as she reveals how she coped afterwards.
“The most difficult time was up his clothes and putting them away,” she said. “Just the thought that he was never going to wear them again, then touching them and when he last wore the different outfits. There were ties, suits, shoes, hats and jeans. I remember clothes from certain videos. Thankfully a friend helped.
“The minister who performed the funeral service said to me, ‘Grief comes in waves you think you are getting over it but one never knows what rocks the boat.’ That was good advice putting away his clothes was a difficult day.”
But there are many other reminders of Robin’s suffering that are upsetting for Dwina when she finds them at their home in Thame, Oxfordshire.
She said: “I hate it when I find empty Ensure canisters. He would have these drinks of because he struggled to digest food. I have also found his hospital wristbands with the name Robin Radcliffe. He made up a false surname from the first hospital he attended, John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.”
But the sadness on Dwina’s face disappears as she describes how she copes with the grief by to Robin’s voice, watching videos of the Bee Gees and looking at photos of the trio. She said: “People who lose loved ones often only have answering machine messages but I am fortunate because I can hear his voice all the time if I just switch on the radio or put on the television.
“When I came back from I saturated myself with him. I looked at photographs and watched videos. I am so proud of everything he has done. All the songs bring back memories. Woman In Love, written for Barbara Streisand to sing, when I first met him, has a particularly place in my heart. And of course How Deep Is Your Love. My memories of him singing in the house will never go away.”
Robin’s cancer was spotted after the star had an operation for an intestinal blockage. But at first he ignored pleas to have a proper check. He wanted to carry on a tour and tests two weeks later showed that the cancer had spread.
Last year Robin was to keep working between visits to hospital and chemotherapy sessions, and he helped to raise millions for the RAF Command memorial in honour of 55,575 men who died in the Second World War. He to finish recording his classical Titanic Requiem album with son RJ this year before he was rushed back into hospital, where he slipped into a coma.
Dwina said: “Robin was a workaholic. It’s as though he had a sense of urgency to get everything finished.
“I think deep down he knew, but we never spoke about him not being here. To the end there was hope.”
Describing how he came around from a coma, Dwina said: “We played I Started A Joke (a Bee Gees song from 1968) and as the words were about to be sung he opened his mouth. His eyes were closed but his mouth was moving. Sometimes there were tears from him while he was in the coma, once when we played How Deep Is Your Love.
“It was one of the pieces from the Titanic Requiem called when he opened his eyes and came out of the coma. it was amazing, incredible.
“We didn’t have him for long. The chemo was working but there were problems like and kidney failure.”
Robin’s funeral was held at the village church. Barry, 65, spoke in his eulogy of Robin being reunited with his twin Maurice, who died 2003 from a twisted intestine.
Younger brother Andy died at 30 in 1988 from a heart infection. Their mother Barbara is still alive aged 92 and living in Florida.
Dwina said: “We think there was a hereditary thing because of Maurice and we actually traced it back to their great grandmother. When we did the programme Who Do You Think You Are? we found out a lot of stuff health issues and discovered that there was a link with with the digestive system. So now all of the children are going for early tests.”
After Robin died Dwina was inundated with messages of sympathy from some of the names in music, TV and film, adidas tenisky including John Travolta, who became a movie superstar in Saturday Night Fever, whose Bee Gees soundtrack was at the heart of the 1970s disco boom.